Wheelchair Sports Federation | Adaptive Sports Organization
USA Sled Hockey Gives Italy “The Boot”: Will Face Canada for Gold Print E-mail
Written by Josh Eisenberg   

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The sky outside Gangneung Hockey Centre was grey and green, bleek. The winds were strong. The rain was starting to come down in buckets.  It was quite ugly. However, as bad as things were outside, inside for Team Italy, it was way worse. They had to meet up with a U.S. Sled Hockey Team that averaged over nine goals per game (9.333333 to be exact), and so far has allowed a meatball (that’s a big ol’ zero) into goal thanks to the play of Steve Cash and Jen Lee in goal along with the speed of the Team USA defense. The storm was brewing in the arena, and the forecast called for a trip to the finals with a chance of reign.

The first line was altered slightly for Team USA, as Declan Farmer was moved to the second line in place of Joshua Misiewicz, who scored two in the previous game against Korea. Team USA’s first line was again featured Brody Roybal, who in three games was had 8 goals in just 13 shots.

At 11:37, The United States put a “spicy meatball” in Italy’s basket making the score 1-0. It was #22 Noah Grove assisted by #15 Nikko Landeros at 3:23 into the first. Then there was another helping from Joshua Misiewicz at 3:53 and from Josh Pauls. Then moments later (4:09) Brody Roybal entered the stat sheet with Josh Pauls and Misiewicz on the assist. It was quickly 3-0.

Captain Pauls in the four games played at Gangneung Hockey Centre has 7 points, all assists.

“It’s great.” Said Josh Pauls, adding, “I’m happy to be contributing to the team, but i now that we have al ot of guys contributing whether it’s goals assists blocked shots, we are just hppy to have everyone contributing.”

Still in the first at 6:04, Italy’s Gian Lucia Cavaliere received a Teeing penalty and entered the box giving the United States a power play. Moments later, it became 4 on 4 with Joshua Misiewicz getting the interference call. Within 2 seconds of getting back to full strength it became 4-on-4 again when Andrea Macri of Italy got caught teeing his opponent. Team USA was on the Power play once again. After both teams were at full strength, Italy went back to the confines of the box. Euseblu Antochi whose offense was elbowing. Finally, the United States made them pay at the stick of Nikko Landeros who scored unassisted. And just because, Luke McDemott dotted the team’s metaphorical “I’s” and picked up a goal with 4.3 seconds left making it 5-0 and that’s how it stood at the end of one period.

With 8:00 to go in the 2nd period, Italy seemed to like the geography of the penalty box. And that was part of the game plan for Team Italy.

“After the first goal I said to the team that we have to play stronger,” said Italian head coach Massimo da Rin through an interpreter after the game. He continued, “When you play strong and ahrd you are going to have more penalties.”, adding,”We know that the USA has a strong team so we think that we have to play hard and start gettng penalties.”

Sandra Kalegaris was the next Italian sent for a short two minute vacation in the box for boarding. America was on the power play. Team USA and Brody Roybal (10) picked up the goal with 7:08 to play assisted by Joshua Misiewicz. Nikko Landeros (3) picked up his second of the day assisted by Tyler Carron and Declan Farmer. 7-0 USA. The score wouldn’t last as Declan Farmer added his first goal of the night and 9th overall with assists from Adam Page and Josh Pauls. 8-0 Team USA and that’s how it would end in the second period. Italy did not get a shot off in the period. After the 2nd, USA had 30 shots on goal compared to Italy’s 2.

1DX27067Team USA Assistant Captain Declan Farmer holds the puck away from an Italian player. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine

 

The third period picked up right where the USA left off in the second with just over 11 minutes left in the match, Kevin McKee scored his second of the games with assists from Noah Grove and Adam Page. The score was 9 to nothing. Then it happened. The unexpected. With 6:30 left after a power play, Italy scored a goal on Jen Lee of The United States (Steve Cash had been relieved after period one of play). The umpires didn’t even believe it. They had to ask for official review. It was Italy’s Valeria Corino from Christopher Denapoli. The score was 9-1.

“I actually thought they were quite intense, they played hard and they were frustrated, obviously.” Coach Guy Gosselin said, praising the effort of the oppositional Italian Sled Team.

The goal did not phase the USA Team in the least, in fact, Team USA was not done scoring. Brody Roybal added one more (his second of the day) and leads all scorers in the tournament with 10 goals overall. The final score was 10-1,

“If i get a good pass in the slot, then i am going to put it in the back of the ne We’re just out here to have fun.” Said Roybal, following the win.

The United States will face Canada for their share of gold on Sunday at Noon Korea Time.This is the first time that the teams will collide in a gold medal match in the Paralympic Games.

Said Captain Josh Pauls on the matchup he’s expecting: “It’ll be a fast and physical game, just like all the other games that we played against them this year and in past years. I mean they are a really good team but  so are we.”

1DX27311From Left To Right: Brody Roybal, Josh Pauls, Nikko Landeros and Joshua Misiewicz celebrating during the first period of the game vs. Italy. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine
 
PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics: Day 5 in Pictures Print E-mail
Written by Staff   

Pyeongchang is officialy warm and despite the beachy temperatures the USA athletes competed in alpine and Nordic skiing taking several medals home. The best pictures of the day here.

AU7I0674.jpgOksana Masters competes in the women’s sitting cross-country sprint at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 14, 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken King2018-03-14-01403.jpgTyler Carter blasts out of the start of the Men’s Giant Slalom. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

 

AU7I0211 (1).jpgMia Zutter and Guide Kristina Trygstad Saari after competing in the Women’s Sprint Race 1.1km. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken KingAU7I0901.jpgJake Adicoff races X from Norway in the Men’s 1.1km Sprint on March 14th, 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken King

 

 

AU7I0834.jpgDan Cnossen competes in the Men’s Sprint Race 1.1km. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken King2018-03-14-02137Tyler Walker competes in the men’s sitting giant slalom at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 14, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin2018-03-14-00126.jpgLaurie Stephens with the American flag during the Alpine Skiing Sitting Women’s Giant Slalom run 1 at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

 

2018-03-14-00548.jpgStephanie Jallen competes in the women’s standing giant slalom at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 14, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chinasset_TL1_8995_6816_ioc_2018-03-14_151422.jpgGrace Miller competes in the Women’s Cross Country Skiing Sprint Race. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken King
 
Andy Soule and His Versatile Approach to Nordic Skiing Print E-mail
Written by Orge Castellano   

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea—- The patriotic instinct of Andrew “Andy” Soule led him to pursue a career in the army following the September 11 attacks, for the young men it wasn’t a hard decision, he had the strong-minded willing to serve his country, in a way he felt he had the obligation to protect and defend his people back home. The destination where he was deployed to, was Afghanistan, joining the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He never imagined what fate could have in store for the rookie, even thought he was aware of the dangerous assignment that this honorable role entailed his mission was humble, never thinking that his journey would become an all-familiar story for so many veterans.

asset_TL3_4248_5301_ioc_2018-03-13_170641.jpgAndrew Soule USA competes during the Biathlon Sitting Men’s 12.5km at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre. The Paralympic Winter Games, PyeongChang, South Korea, Tuesday 13th March 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Thomas Lovelock for OIS/IOC.

It was in 2005 when on patrol–in a Humvee–an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that detonated eminently changing the trajectory of his life. The device that took the life of another brother in arms in his unit and his legs was an unimaginable second chance for him. It was while he was in rehabilitation, he was introduced to the paralympic sports movement for his recovery. “Post-injury, Paralympic sport felt like a natural fit,” he said.

Now, it has been several years since he attended a cross country nordic skiing clinic held by “Wood River Ability Program” in Sun Valley, ID with a lot of curiosity, interest and caution. He immediately fell in love with it and it didn’t take him long time to get hooked on that snow discipline. Director of the program Marc Mast made a huge impact on the veteran, who was lost and didn’t know how to carry on with his life after the traumatic experience of amputation.

After Soule started training he showed incredible natural promise for the sport of cross country skiing. Quickly he was embraced by the US disabled ski team, soon he was travelling all over, globally and across the country, competing in world cup events as he honed his skills with dedicated practise and a sharp sense of discipline like a razor blade. When he discovered Biathlon then he promptly realized he needed to give it a try, he was a master of the guns already.

“I had a base of shooting skills already. I certainly had to learn the particulars of biathlon shooting and it’s quite a steep curve in some ways, but I think that I picked it up fairly quickly. My shooting experience growing up had been casual target shooting and then the military. In biathlon there is more emphasis on the individual shot”

However it was in Vancouver 2010 when Soule did America proud, there he became the first US biathlete to win a Paralympic medal, it was a bronze one in the 2.4km sitting pursuit at his first Paralympic Games in ever. The international plattform served him up on a platter of consecutive streak of successes.That’s why he set high expectations for the next Games. During Sochi 2014, it was an ideal opportunity to clinch more shiny medals, but the try wasn’t victorious.

Mr. Soule had lot of races to compete in coming into Pyeongchang 2018, one the largest participations in his entire career. But that didn’t matter at all to the veteran who knows perfectly well how to balance out his dedicated sports life.

“For Cross Country and Biathlon there a lot of pieces that I’ve working on in the last for years. That emcopases both pschology, nutrition all sorts of technic work as well as just straight physical training.”

The pressure factor doesn’t get him, mainly due to the fact that out in the field there are some many aspects of the races that he can’t control. After all this is a man who has been through it all “I just focus on performing every individual task in ski racing and in Biathlon the best I can.” he said.

For the first events, Andy seemed drained, and even discouraged, but he played the consistency game he knows so well. He put out a great technical show to the spectators at the Alpensia Biathlon Center

The veteran never gave up and despite the weather conditions–it was 70 degrees at one point–and the ferocious contenders, he endured. He didn’t let anything affect his strong sense of dedication, even as he was one of the last ones on the course to cross that enduring finish line.

On Wednesday, March 14th Soule unleashed a powerful surge and leaned at the line to win his first Paralympic gold medal, one day after winning Bronze in the Middle-distance Biathlon race. This one was photo finish moment for the Texan, one could even see how anxious he was, silver was secured, but at the end he was awarded the elusive gold.

 

2018-03-11-00955.jpgAndy Soule competes in the men’s 15-kilometer sitting cross-country at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 11, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

 

“It’s so exciting. And it’s all due to so many hours and years of preparation and work by so many people, not just me. The teammates and coaches and technical staff. And wonderful support from family and friends” he said after the tactical race.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 March 2018 04:15
 
Paralympics 2018 - You Don't Know Jack Wallace… Yet Print E-mail
Written by Josh Eisenberg   

GANGNEUNG, South Korea—-The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), located in Ewing, New Jersey has a bio engineering department.  Their description of their program on their website lists their department’s goals as having to, “Design and develop instruments, devices, and computational models to evolve modern healthcare.” This is fitting for someone as bright and someone who is disabled by a boating accident during their youth. The person being referred to is Jack Wallace of the U.S. Sled Hockey Team. He happens to wear a prosthetic on his leg. Jack, who is majoring in this field at TCNJ is taking the semester off so he could focus on one thing: to bring home a gold medal to his family, friends and the entire nation; which would be his first with the team.

2018-03-13-01432#8 Jack Wallace attempts to get the puck against the wall during the Team USA Sled Hockey match against South Korea on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

Jack is a Jersey boy, born and raised from Franklin Lakes, NJ. He grew up not far from teammate and Captain Josh Pauls. He now lives 20 minutes from his Assistant Captain, Declan Farmer, who attends Princeton University. Jack splits time between college, practice for Team USA and and his other club he just joined (after the NJ Freeze folded), the NY Rangers Sled Team. While his favorite Jersey Shore character might be Pauly D, that isn’t who he looks up to. Rather he looks up to two people: his idol #30 on the NJ Devils, former goalkeeper Martin Brodeur and his biggest inspiration in life,  his father, John Wallace.

3fbe7305-3630-4de7-a4eb-196582839fd2Jack Wallace, Following the 8-0 Win over South Korea, was all smiles. Tuesday March 13, 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon Galea

“He has had it rough throughout the his life and he pushes me to keep going.”, Said Wallace of his father, continuing, “He’s always working, striving to be a better person.”

For Wallace, he’s a player who never knew how to play hockey before his accident; he sure learned quick while at Camp No Limits in Maine, a camp specializing in kids with limb deficiency. When it comes to sports, Jack is no one trick pony. His hobbies also include skiing and boating. But it’s woodworking with his family and playing the guitar which helps him keep his cool.

The way that Jack warms up for a game is throwing a tennis ball against a wall to loosen up his arms while listening to popular hip hop on his phone. “It chills me out,” he said. He’ll need the keep cool factor to avoid defenders  when he attempts to sink a goal in the net. In his first three games in Gangneung, during the 2018 Paralympics, he accumulated two of them.

“I mean, it’s a goal for the team,” he said, “You thank the guys who passed you the puck.” but he doesn’t think about it as he is shooting. He just wants the puck to go in.

As for the game plan for him and Team USA? Jack explains that he and his United States Sled Hockey Team brothers have one goal in mind: gold, but they aren’t exactly planning for it.

2018-03-13-00970A face-off between Jack Wallace of the USA Sled Hockey Team and Byeong Seon Cho of the South Korean Sled Hockey Team. March 13, 2018 PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

“I mean really we go into each game with a game plan and an open mind. We’re gonna play our style, but we’re gonna look at the adjustments that the coaches make and the players do their jobs, but we don’t go thinking this one’s gonna be a close one or this one’s gonna be a close one, or this one’s gonna be a blow out. We just go in ready to play our style.”

For this 19-year-old sled star and the rest of the USA, Jack’s time is now.

 
Rico Roman: An Officer on the Ice and a Gentleman Print E-mail
Written by Josh Eisenberg   

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea—- As far as USA Sled Hockey’s Rico Roman could remember growing in in Oregon, he wanted to be a soldier,

“I kind of followed in my uncle’s footsteps, by joining the military. Once I got in the military, I wanted to make a career out of it. I was enjoying it.” Says Roman, referring to his service days.

CJ6I3052.jpgRico Roman posing for our camera March 14, 2018 during a press opportunity. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine

However, for this veteran, things took a sharp turn after an encounter with an IED on a tour of Iraq. It exploded, his left leg would need to be amputated. After going through rehab in San Antonio, Texas, Roman, now finds solace in sled hockey. Now the soldier has gone from (U.S. Military) to General of the Ice.

“I did my rehab in ‘07…” said Roman continuing, “I did my rehab with a group called Operation Comfort. They help war wounded veterans in San Antonio. They helped me into their hand cycling program and then they invited me to play Sled Hockey.”

At first, it was not that simple at first to get Rico Roman on the ice,  “I must have said no about 10 times. I finally gave in and I was instantly hooked. You know the camaraderie, the brotherhood. We had an all veteran team in San Antonio and all different branches of military, all on one team and played for that team for almost a year. And my coach at the time Lonnie Hannah, who was a Paralympian, said that I should try out for the 2010 team. I went and tried out… didn’t make it, came back the next year and tried out again and I made it the following year.”

Rico had the honor of lighting the caldron at the 2014 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Though for him, it’s not about the personal achievements. He doesn’t like to be called a hero.

“The hardest thing, is that you have to play and you know, everyone’s got a lot of bumps and bruises, and you have to play through those. Because it’s not just about yourself, it’s about the team.”

2018-03-13-01482.jpg#23 Rico Roman jams a South Korean opponent in their 8-0 win on March 13, 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

Even with all the sportsmanship and bonds between teammates, playing for his country comes first. Just don’t tell Rico that team USA is the favorite to win the gold medal in PyeongChang, because he won’t accept that.

“I don’t fall into that. We just want to focus on one game at a time, one team at a time and make sure that we are in that gold medal match to compete, and then bring back a gold medal for Team USA.”

Rico is no stranger to receiving gold after he grabbed the top spot with the United States Sled Hockey team in Sochi. Rico is proud of his gold saying,

“My favorite thing to do personally, [the gold medal] taking it and showing it to all the people that I can because I don’t feel like it’s my medal. I feel like it’s America’s medal.”

 
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