U.S. tops Canada for gold at world sledge hockey challenge
Josh Pauls scores OT winner
Head coach Ken Babey went into the Canadian sledge hockey team's dressing room in the second intermission with an important message for his team.
Don't give up.
Down 2-0 to the United States after two periods in Saturday's gold medal game at the world sledge hockey challenge, Canada scored twice in the opening minutes of the third before falling 3-2 in overtime.
"I just talked to them about the fact that we can battle back if we play our style and play as a team," Babey said. "I told the guys 'never, never quit.' We got some quick goals and it gave us a lot of emotion. But when you go into overtime it's going to go one way or the other.
"Our guys showed a lot of character and heart to come back and we've got some work to do as we prepare for 2018 in Korea."
Josh Pauls scored 7:31 into overtime to lift the defending gold medallist Americans to their second straight world sledge hockey challenge title. They beat Russia last year in Leduc, Alta. for the top prize.
It was the fifth time the North American rivals had played each other for gold at the four-team tournament.
"It's always fun to win, especially in a hostile environment," said U.S. coach Jeff Sauer. "I thought we won the first period but struggled to find our game until overtime. Give credit to Canada for making a game out of it."
Brody Roybal and Declan Farmer had a goal and two assists apiece for the U.S. and Pauls added a helper for a two-point outing.
Brad Bowden and Ben Delaney scored three minutes apart early in the third period to erase Canada's early deficit. Delaney also assisted on Bowden's goal and Adam Dixon helped set up both.
"We were in a game that was going down to the last inch and it didn't go our way," Babey said. "We were down 2-0 and we battled back. It could have gone either way. That's the way it goes in sports."
American goaltender Steve Cash stopped 16 shots for the win.
Canada's Corbin Watson made 23 saves, including 9-of-10 in overtime. The Canadian team did not register a shot on goal in the extra period.
"Corbin Watson was outstanding through the whole tournament. He was probably our best player and it's always a good thing when your goaltender is your best player," Babey said. "He held us in in the first period even though two goals were given up — he allowed us a good chance to win the game. He made great saves when he was called upon in the third period and certainly in overtime.
"If you keep giving up chances in overtime something's going to go in and that's what happened. But he was outstanding every game of this tournament."
The U.S. was 1 for 2 on the power play while Canada failed to score on its only chance with the man advantage.
Canada had beaten the American team 3-2 in a shootout in preliminary play earlier in the week.