The USA’s Para ice hockey team left Elmira, Ontario with a victory and a tie against its North American rivals, Canada, in a two-game exhibition series. After the first game on Thursday (13 February) ended in a 2-2 tie, the USA used third-period goals from Travis Dodson and Jack Wallace to squeak out a 2-0 victory in the second game on Saturday (15 February).
Here’s a closer look at how the two games panned out.
GAME 1: USA 2 - CANADA 2
For the first time since these cross-border rivals met since Para ice hockey joined the Hockey Canada family in 2004, their rivalry game did not have a winner.
Canada jumped to a quick 1-0 lead six minutes into the game when veteran Billy Bridges snuck the puck past netminder Jen Lee.
The Canadians looked on pace to end their five-game losing streak to the Americans until Brody Roybal rallied 2:07 into the third period to even score. Rob Armstrong responded with just over six minutes left in the game, though, to restore the Canadian advantage.
With 64 seconds remaining in the contest, US star forward Declan Farmer scored to force overtime.
Following a scoreless overtime period, each team scored once in the three-round shootout – Josh Pauls for the USA and Auren Halbert for Canada – leaving the game at a 2-2 tie.
GAME 2: USA 2 - CANADA 0
Through the first two periods, Canadian goaltender Dominic Larocque and American counterpart Steve Cash combined for 17 saves to keep the game scoreless. Roybal landed back-to-back shots on goal in the slot halfway through the first, but wasn’t able to convert.
Just 44 seconds into the final frame, former U.S. Marine and Purple Heart recipient Dodson scored what would be the game-winning goal off a pass from Farmer. Then with two minutes to go in regulation, Wallace added an insurance goal with helpers from Farmer and Roybal.
Larocque finished the game with 13 saves, denying a number of point-blank chances early on, while Cash ended the day with 10 saves.
“I'm really proud of the effort we put out there today,” US head coach David Hoff said in a USA Hockey statement. “It was a very physical game. We had to be both physically and mentally tough, but we continued to play our style of hockey and we got the outcome we wanted.”