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U.S. Drops Opening Match of 2021 Para Ice Hockey World Championship, 2-1, to Canada

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Branden Sison of Canada (L) and Jack Wallace of USA (R) in action during world para ice hockey championship game between USA and Canada in Ostrava, Czech Republic, 19 June 2021. Photo: Lukas Kabon
U.S. set to play Czech Republic Tomorrow at 8:30 am ET, live on Olympic Channel
 
OSTRAVA, Czech Republic  — Team USA dropped a 2-1 decision in its opening preliminary round game of the 2021 Para Ice Hockey World Championships. Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) was the lone scorer for the U.S. 

“We want to keep playing forward and need to be physical, but stay out of the box,” said head coach David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.). “We have to learn from it and come back tomorrow strong. I liked our energy in the third period and I think we can build on that.” 

After more than a year-and-a-half without international competition, both teams spent the first five minutes feeling one another out, looking for their rhythm and chemistry. Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) rushed down ice five minutes into the period, with support from Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.), on a two-on-one in what looked like a promising opportunity to challenge Canadian goaltender Dominic LaRocque.

A rolling puck, however, bounced free resulting in a Canada breakaway chance that Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) ultimately thwarted. With less than a minute remaining in the opening frame, Roybal raced into the offensive to cancel an icing whistle.

His hustle was converted into a Travis Dodson (Deming, N.M.) shot on net. Canada scored on the power play just 2:03 into the middle frame to take a 1-0 advantage and extended its lead with another man-advantage marker at 9:35. With less than three minutes left in the period, Farmer charged up the middle of the ice and was hauled down as he carried the puck into the slot, drawing a U.S. power play. Team USA used the momentum from the extra man to push for a flurry of chances in the final 30 seconds, including a great opportunity from Jack Wallace (Franklin Lake, N.J.) that LaRocque pushed away. 

The U.S. started fast in the third period with Roybal scoring on a breakaway just :57 into the final 15 minutes. Pauls circled back in his defensive zone and strung a pass to a streaking Roybal, who tucked the puck under his sled and finished far side.

Later in the stanza, U.S. netminder Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.), who had seven stops in the contest, kept the game at 2-1 with a blocker save with Canada on the power play. Team USA continued to pressure throughout the remainder of the period, firing eight total shots on goal, including a rebound chance from Josh Misiewicz (La Grange, Ill.) on a U.S. power play late in the period, but LaRocque closed the door. 

The U.S. outshot Canada in the contest, 16-9. Team USA returns to action tomorrow (June 20) against host Czech Republic in its second of three preliminary round games. Opening faceoff is set for 8:30 a.m. ET and the game can be seen live on Olympic Channel.

NOTES: Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) was named U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Canada, 16-9 … The U.S. went 0-for-2 on the power play, while Canada was 2-for-3. Click here for full stats, and click here for full Team USA coverage.

(USA Hockey Photo)
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