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U.S. Sled Hockey Opens Paralympic Play With Win Over Archrival Canada

by Stuart Lieberman

Brody Roybal shoots past Billy Bridges (Canada) during the preliminary round A match against Team Canada at the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 5, 2022 in Beijing.

 

BEIJING – The U.S. sled hockey team opened its 2022 Paralympic campaign with a 5-0 victory over its archrival Canada on Saturday, as rookie Malik Jones scored his first international goal and three-time Paralympian Declan Farmer had a four-point performance to make him the all-time U.S. Paralympic points leader.
Aiming for a record-extending fourth consecutive and fifth overall Paralympic gold medal, Team USA had points from eight different players in its opening contest at the National Indoor Stadium.
Farmer fed the puck to captain Josh Pauls right in front of the crease for a quick U.S. score 5:44 into the contest, marking Pauls’ second goal and 13th point in four Paralympic Winter Games appearances.
With 11.3 seconds remaining in the first period, it was Farmer again with the friendly feed, this time to Chicago native Brody Roybal, who cashed in to double the U.S. lead and grab the 20th Paralympic point of his career that spans back to the Sochi 2014 Games when he was just 15 years old.
The U.S. extended its lead in the second stanza when 19-year-old Jones — with the helper from Jack Wallace — tipped the puck into the net. The gritty and shifty Jones, born without shinbones, is only the second Black athlete to have represented the U.S. in sled hockey at the Paralympics. Tim Jones, of no relation, was the first when he represented Team USA at the 2006 and 2010 Games.

"It was such a good feeling to get that goal, and all my teammates had my back," Jones said. "We had a big group hug, and it was such an exciting feeling that I loved it. I was a little nervous, but once I started playing and got the nerves out it was go time."

Exactly three minutes later, former U.S. Marine Josh Misiewicz picked up right off where he finished off from his surprising 10-point PyeongChang performance, scoring the fourth U.S. goal with assists from Farmer and Pauls.
Farmer added an insurance score with 3:34 remaining in the game, as Misiewicz and Kevin McKee were credited with the assists.
San Francisco’s Jen Lee tallied nine saves in his new role as starting goaltender, recording the shutout. 
The U.S. sled hockey team has not lost a Paralympic game since falling to Russia in the preliminary round at the Sochi 2014 Games. It is now 4-0-1 against Canada in Paralympic play. 
Team USA will have less than 24 hours before returning to the ice to play South Korea in its second and final preliminary round game at 12:05 a.m. ET on Sunday. South Korea won a bronze medal at the last Paralympics, its home Games in PyeongChang. The game will be shown live on USA Network.

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022? Visit www.teamusa.org/beijing-2022-paralympic-games to view the competition schedule, medal table and results.


Stuart Lieberman has covered Paralympic sports for more than 10 years, including for the International Paralympic Committee at the London 2012, Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.