USA cruises sledge hockey to fourth straight gold medal game with win over China

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Josh Pauls is challenged by Zhidong Wang of Team China during the sledge hockey semifinal match between Team USA and China at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games on March 11, 2022 in Beijing.

The Americans poured it in the second stanza along with five other scores. Misiewicz added one three minutes later, and Farmer increased the lead with another two minutes after that. Rookie Malik Jones then found the net for the fourth time in three games thanks to a shovel pass from Jack Wallace before Farmer again lit the lamp for his second goal of the period. Nashville’s Joseph Woodke extended the USA lead to nine before the final break with his first international goal.

In the third period, Roybal wasted no time, scoring his fourth goal of the game at 1:57 remaining in the period. USA captain and four-time Paralympian Josh Pauls added his second score of the tournament a minute later. Earlier in the tournament, Pauls surpassed Howard’s previous record of 16 Paralympic Games appearances. The American captain has now hit the ice in 18 Paralympic games, the most of any player in Team USA history.

Goaltender Jen Lee recorded her third win and second shutout in Beijing, recording 17 saves in the game.

The United States are now 4-1 in the Paralympic semifinals and are the only undefeated team remaining in Beijing. In the preliminary round, she shut out Canada 5-0 and beat South Korea 9-1 to earn a bye and automatically advance to the semis. The Americans faced just two opponents in the preliminary round after RPC athletes were denied entry by the International Paralympic Committee.

“I think we played a great game today,” Roybal said, “but our best will be on Sunday.”

Team USA will now face arch-rivals Canada in the gold medal contest for the second straight time. The match will take place at 11:05 p.m. EST on Saturday and will be televised live on USA Network.

The Americans will be playing for a record fourth straight Paralympic title and fifth overall.

“At the end of the day, our goal is to get better every time we’re on the ice, and I think we’ve achieved that, Pauls said. “For us, I think we’re really looking at Canada. We will celebrate this victory tonight, but tomorrow we must have everyone on board to move forward because winning the gold medal is our ultimate goal. Sunday is going to be one hell of a battle.

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

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