Chace Leads USA to Victory

U.S. National Sled Hockey Team Captures 2009 World Sledge Hockey Challenge Championship with 3-2 OT Win over Canada

Chace Scores Game-Winning Shorthanded Goal
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Taylor Chace (Hampton Falls, N.H.) scored the championship-winning shorthanded goal six minutes into overtime to give the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team a 3-2 victory over Canada here today in the final game of the 2009 World Sledge Hockey Challenge. The U.S. finished with a 2-1-0-1 overall record.

After Bubba Torres (Riverside, N.J.) intercepted a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone, he fed Chace cutting up the near boards. The defenseman drove to the net and jammed the puck under the sliding Canada goalie Paul Rosen.

“Incredible finish to a great game,” said Ray Maluta, head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. “Our effort was there throughout the night, and I thought it showed in the overtime period when we carried the play. This was a great stepping stone for us moving forward.”

A scoreless first period saw good saves by both goaltenders. Team USA’s Steve Cash(Overland, Mo.) turned aside Canada’s Brad Bowden with a diving save midway through the period. Just a few minutes later, U.S. forward Greg Shaw (Park City, Utah) had an uncontested shorthanded chance from the slot, but was denied by the blocker of Canada’s Paul Rosen.

Canada broke the tie thanks to a redirection in front of the net by Billy Bridges. Team USA tied the score when Tim Jones (Mt. Ephraim, N.J.) fired a one-timer low the glove side and past Rosen. The goal marked the first surrendered by Canada in the tournament.

Once again, Canada took a one-goal lead when Gregg Westlake beat Cash high to the blocker side on a breakaway. Team USA responded once again, this time with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Torres entered the Canada zone with speed, cut to the high slot and sent a shot along the ice and past the stick of Rosen, sending the game to overtime.

Team USA controlled much of the action in the overtime frame, outshooting Canada, 2-0, including the decisive tally. Cash finished the night with 11 saves, while Rosen turned aside seven.

NOTES: Taylor Chace was named Team USA’s Player of the Game … The World Sledge Hockey Challenge was the first International Paralympic Committee sanctioned event of the 2009-10 season … Team USA finished third at the 2008 World Sledge Hockey Challenge … Full series coverage, including a team roster, photos, features, and stats are available at … The 2010 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, to be selected later this year from the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, will participate in the Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C., March 13-20.