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Team USA Paralympic sled hockey shuts out Canada, goes for gold

Declan Farmer of the USA competes with Kevin Rempel of Canada during the Ice Sledge Hockey semifinal match between the USA and Canada at  the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games
Declan Farmer of the USA competes with Kevin Rempel of Canada during the Ice Sledge Hockey semifinal match between the USA and Canada at the 2014 Paralympic Winter GamesPhoto by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Team USA Paralympic sled hockey showed no mercy against Canada as they delivered a 3 – 0 blow to their northern neighbors. The semi-final win played on March 14, places USA as a contender for a gold medal when they compete against Russia this Saturday. This was a welcome win as the team shook off the previous defeat with Russia.

Steve Cash of USA (L) celebrates victory with teammate Greg Shaw during the Ice Sledge Hockey semifinal match between Canada and USA during day six of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games
Steve Cash of USA (L) celebrates victory with teammate Greg Shaw during the Ice Sledge Hockey semifinal match between Canada and USA during day six of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images

The entire team was playing hard and smart, as they knew Canada would be a formidable challenger. Notable players for the game include Declan Farmer, Josh Pauls and Steve Cash. Defying his 16-year old rookie status, Farmer sunk 2 goals in the first quarter and got credit for an assist. Josh Pauls, in his second winter Paralympics, delivered the third goal in the second period. Steve Cash continues to prove himself as a skilled goal tender as he deflected 10 of his 11 goal attempts within the first 30 minutes of the game, as the U.S. defense held Canada to a single shot in the final stanza.

Declan Farmer is the second-youngest member of the Sled Hockey Team, at 16 years old. He has been playing sled hockey since age nine. Farmer was born a bilateral amputee and first tried out sled hockey at a clinic at age 9. He has competed on several squads since his introduction to the sport, starting with the Tampa Bay Lightning Sled Hockey Team in 2007. In 2013 joined the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team for the 2013-14 season.

Pauls, was born without tibia bones and had both legs amputated at 10 months old. He got an early interest in sled hockey playing on the New York Rangers Junior Sled Hockey club team from 2002-08. At 17, he was the youngest member of the gold medal-winning squad at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. He is now on track for his second team medal win.

At 24 years old, this is Steve’s Cash’s third Paralympic games, and is now the key goalie for the team. His interest in sled hockey started as young boy, and eventually progressed to the Sled Hockey National Team in 2005. He participated in winning the bronze medal at the 2006 Torino Games and the gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games. He also claims USOC’s Paralympic Sports Man of the Year in 2009. Steve plays hard, just has he did in his youth. Losing a leg to osteosarcoma (bone cancer) at age 3, he was shortly walking on a prosthetic by pre-school. But with 3 older brothers who played ice hockey, Steve was destined to take part, and was skating with his prosthetic by age 5. Steve played hockey with able-bodied youth teams until age 14, when he joined a local Paralympic sport club to play with the St.Louis Blues Sled Hockey team.

The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team will be playing for its second straight Paralympic gold medal against Russia. No team has won back-to-back gold medals in Paralympic sled hockey. The game will be on Saturday, March 15 at noon ET with live streaming on the TeamUSA web site. NBC Sports will air the game in its entirety beginning at 1 p.m. ET.