LANDEROS SCORES TWICE, U.S. BEATS CANADA IN FIRST-PLACE SHOWDOWN
JASON LA ROSE
LEDUC, Alta. – Nikko Landeros supplied the offence, Steve Cash made the saves and the United States claimed first place in the preliminary round at the 2015 World Sledge Hockey Challenge, beating Canada’s National Sledge Team 2-0 in the round-robin finale on Wednesday night.
The win means the U.S. will face Korea in Thursday’s first semifinal (2 p.m. MT) at the Leduc Recreation Centre, while Canada will take on Russia in the late game (7 p.m. MT).
Landeros scored with a pair of wrist shots from the point, while Declan Farmer added two assists.
Cash made 13 saves to record his second consecutive shutout of the Canadians; the U.S. goaltender turned away all 11 shots he faced in a 3-0 American win in a semifinal at the Paralympic Winter Games last March.
A back-and-forth game looked to be headed to the first intermission scoreless before Landeros let go a shot from just inside the blue-line that found its way over the glove of Canadian netminder Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) with just 1:12 left in the opening period.
Canada struggled to get its offence going, managing just eight shots in the first two periods and rarely testing Cash.
Landeros added insurance just past the midway point of the third period; after Watson chose not to freeze the puck, the American defenceman took a pass from Farmer and snuck a low, off-speed shot just inside the post.
The Canadians couldn’t get one back, losing for just the fourth time in 26 games, dating back to April 2013.
Canada lost a preliminary round game at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge for the first time ever; it was 23-0 entering the game and 32-2 overall, with its only two previous defeats coming to the U.S. in the gold medal game in 2009 and 2012.