USA beat Canada in OT for World Sledge Hockey Challenge title

Josh Pauls' goal helps US win back-to-back gold medals. 24 Jan 2016
US ice sledge hockey players celebrate after a goal

US ice sledge hockey players at the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge.

ⒸUSA Hockey
By USA Hockey and Hockey Canada

The US won gold for the second year in a row and stays in possession of the three biggest titles in sledge hockey.

Josh Pauls was the golden-goal-getter in overtime for the second year in a row, netting the game-winner 7:31 into the extra period to give the United States a 3-2 win over Canada in the final Saturday (23 January) at the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

It is the second year in a row the US has won gold, and keeps it in possession of the three biggest titles in sledge hockey – the World Sledge Hockey Challenge, IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship, and Paralympic Winter Games.

"It's always fun to win, especially in a hostile environment," said Jeff Sauer, head coach of the US National Sled Hockey Team. "I thought we won the first period but struggled to find our game until overtime. Give credit to Canada for making a game out of it."

With the US swarming the Canadian net – holding a massive 10-0 advantage in shots on goal in overtime – Pauls took a pass in the slot from Declan Farmer, made a quick move and roofed a shot over Canadian goaltender Corbin Watson.

Farmer and Brody Roybal had a goal and two assists each in the win, and finished one-two in tournament scoring with 12 points and 11 points, respectively, in five games.

Brad Bowdenand Ben Delaney each had the goals for Canada, which trailed 2-0 after two periods, but pulled even before the five-minute mark of the final frame.

The US got off to a red-hot start, striking twice in the opening period while outshooting Canada 10-2.

Roybal started the scoring at 5:11, beating Watson from the slot, and he set up Farmer’s power play goal at 13:35 to send the USA to the dressing room up by a pair.

Canada turned the tide in a scoreless second period, outshooting the US 8-2, but it failed to convert on its only power play opportunity of the game and headed to the third still training by two.

Needing a quick start to the final period, Bowden knocked in the rebound of his own shot with just 65 seconds off the clock, and Delaney took a pass from Adam Dixon and went under his sled before tucking the puck around US goaltender Steve Cash at 4:03 to tie the game.

The Canadians held an 18-16 advantage in shots on goal through regulation, but the play stayed in the defensive zone for almost the entirety of overtime before Pauls’ winner.

Canada has won a medal at all nine editions of the World Sledge Hockey Challenge, earning five gold, three silver, and a bronze, while the Americans have four gold, two silver, and three bronze in their nine trips.

Complete stats of the finals from the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge can be found on Hockey Canada's website.

South Korea 4 Russia 2

Min-Su Han paced the offence with a goal and an assist as South Korea upset Russia in the bronze medal game on Saturday afternoon, earning its first-ever win at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge.

The Koreans were a combined 0-for-14 in their first three appearances before Saturday, including three losses to the Russians, but finally broke through thanks to power-play success and solid goaltending.

Han and Young-Jae Cho converted with the man advantage to give Korea a 2-0 lead through two periods, and 41-year-old Man-Gyun Yu stopped 18 of the 20 shots he faced to record the victory in the Korean goal.

Nikolai Terentev scored both goals for the Russians, who failed to win a medal for the first time in three appearances at the tournament; it won bronze in 2013 before taking silver last year.

The four goals are the most South Korea has ever scored in a World Sledge Hockey Challenge game; it entered with just 11 goals total in its first 14 losses.

It is just the second time the fourth-place team from the preliminary round has won a medal; the Koreans join Norway, who took home third place from the 2009 tournament.