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Team USA Sweeps Sled Hockey Preliminaries, Beating South Korea 8-0 Print E-mail
Written by Josh Eisenberg   

GANGNEUNG, South Korea —- The volume was 106.8 Db. The house shook. This was not a metaphor… the house literally shook. It was standing room only. There were more butts than seats.. “Loud” or “deafening” weren’t the words to use in Gangneung Hockey Centre on Tuesday. Aurally, for ear canals around the rink it was a bloody mess.  Korea brought the weight of nation to face off against the stars and stripes, the Men from the American Sled Hockey Team were not phased by the uproar of the Korean nation in the least.

“The crowd! I mean it was just so loud!” said American Forward Rico Roman, “It was just so loud and the energy was all there..”

2018-03-13-00928.jpgTeam USA Sled Hockey helped make the stadium extra loud during the match with South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

As for the game, the U.S. Sled Hockey Team members knew things would be a little different today.

“We knew it would be a harder match” said U.S. Coach Guy Gosselin,”We knew the Koreans would give us all they had.”

Korea took a power play with just over ten minutes left in the first and USA’s Brody Roybal made the Koreans pay big time. His seventh goal of the tournament came off passes from Nikko Landeros and Declan Farmer. The second goal came soon after, at 6:40 from Farmer who picked up right where he left off on Monday vs. the Czechs. Jack Wallace and Ralph DeQuebec picked up the assists and the goal during this Paralympics. It was the 11th point for Framer, so far in 3 games (He has 6 goals and 5 assists).

“You know everyone likes scoring goals and stuff,” quipped Farmer, “It’s all about getting those wins and moving onto the next round, so we’re really looking forward to playing Italy.”

In their first 4 attempts, Team USA went 50% on goals. Jong Kyung Lee picked up a penalty for interference which sent the Americans on the power play once again. And once again the Americans went rabid. A goal for #24 Josh Misiewicz, his first for the PyeongChang Paralympics, fed from  Nikko Landeros and Captain Josh Pauls. The score was 3-0 already with 6 minutes and change left in the first. One minute later it was 4-0. Misiwewicz picked up his second on the day with the help of Kevin Mckee and Brody Roybal. Misiewicz feels like a weight has been lifted off of him after scoring his first two of the season:

 

2018-03-13-01360.jpgJoshua Misiewicz deposits his second goal in the net on Tuesday in the 8-0 win over host country South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

“I mean it felt good, because i had a couple chances the two games before and I didn’t capitalize on it, so it finally felt good to bury the puck,” said Misiewicz after the win.

Rico Roman picked up a Teeing Penalty for the United States at 12:13, but even down a man could not stop Declan Farmer and Brody Roybal. Farmer (7,8)  scored shorthanded and connected twice to pick up a hat trick within a minute of each other and Brody Roybal got the assists. That was the end of goalkeeper Man Gyun Yu’s day for Korea. The goalie was replaced by his teammate Jae Woong Lee. At the end of the first, there was only one South Korean shot on goal compared to the U.S. who went 6 of 11. 6-0 USA.

The second period started with an early penalty on Rico Roman for holding. Then, with 7:10 left in the period, a 2:00 minute holding minor on South Korea’s Ju Seung Lee sent the great white sharks of the United States Team into a feeding frenzy. There was blood not just coming from the ears as fans from the sound of the arena, there was blood in the water. Korea’s Jung Kyong Lee, as the power play ended, received a monster hit from Ralph DeQuebec of the United States and DeQuebec was sent to the box for roughing. With 25 seconds left in DeQuebec’s penalty minutes, there was a teeing penalty called on Sueng Hwan Jung. The clubs were at 4-on-4 and it was getting ugly. But even with all the ugliness, the Koreans did it. They stopped the United States from scoring in the second period. There was still one problem: The Koreans didn’t score either and there was still a 6-0 difference in score.  After two full periods the United States had 18 shots on goal and the South Korean sled hockey team just had two..

The U.S. drought wouldn’t last. At 33:36 in the game, Travis Dodson resumed the goal making activities by receiving the puck from Rico Roman and Tyler Carron to make the score 7-0 in favor of the United States. Korea’s Young Sung Lee received a 2 minute roughing penalty and was sent to the box along with Kwan Hyouk Choi also for the same infraction. It was 3 on 5 in favor of the United States. In the end, Brody Roybal added one more for the United States, his second of the game. The Final Score was 8-0.

_W1I0366Team USA Celebrates their 8-0 Win over South Korea on Tuesday. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

The United States Sled Hockey team plays Italy in the Semi-finals, Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Noon Korean Time.

 
PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics: Day 3 – In Pictures Print E-mail
Written by Staff   

Emotions ran high as the day three (March 12th) of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games saw six americans winning six medals in the para snowboard cross course. Here are the best highlights of the day.

Danny Chin - Omega Photo StudiosAmy Purdy competes in the women’s SB-LL1 snowboardcross at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 12, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

 

1DX22976.jpgUSA fans cheeing on the Sled hockey Team again Czech Republic at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 12, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. ClubineCJ6I8823.jpgSteve cash had 13 saves and a shutout for the USA Sled hockey team in their 2nd match against Czech Republic. Team USA wins 10-0. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Clubine

 

untitled-4194.jpgMia Zutter and Guide Trygstad Saari compete in the Cross Country Women’s 15km Free, Visually Impaired at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 12, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken KingDanny Chin - Omega Photo StudiosMike Schultz reacts to winning the Men’s Snowboard Cross SB-LL1, at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 12, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin
1DX22879Billy hanning jr fights with a Czech defender for puck in Monday’s 10-0 win. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Clubine

 

untitled-4137.jpgMia Zutter competes in the Cross Country Cross Country Women’s 15km Free, Visually Impaired at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 12, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken King

 

asset_SB5_8557_3667_1_ioc_2018-03-13_014644.jpgMichael Spivey USA competes during the Men’s Snowboard Cross run at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. The Paralympic Winter Games, PyeongChang, South Korea, Monday 12th March 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Simon Bruty for OIS/IOC.CP7P4320.jpgBrody Roybal who had a hat trick in Monday’s win against the Czech Republic takes the puck in Monday’s 10-0 win. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Clubine

 

untitled-4733.jpgGrace Miller competes in the women’s standing cross-country 15-kilometer at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 12, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken King

 

untitled-6149Mike Schultz celebrates during the medal ceremony for men’s SB-LL1 snowboardcross at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 12, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken King
 
Team USA Sled Hockey Team Calls “CzechMate” on CZE Print E-mail
Written by Josh Eisenberg   

GANGNEUNG, South Korea—- After Team USA used the power of ten goals to defeat Japan in their previous match, game number two of the preliminary round on Monday for the U.S. Sled Hockey Team was par for the course against a Czech Team, who on the day prior lost their second match to host country Korea 3-2 in a crushing overtime defeat.

As for the game itself, it was as Coach Guy Gosselin said, “Hard to take their foot off the pedal.” for the United States.

For instance, “Anything you can do, I can do better…” is a line from Broadway show Annie Get Your Gun, but it perfectly describes the race for points that Declan Farmer and Brody Roybal of USA Sled Hockey are having in Gangneung Hockey Centre.   

Starring the role “The Fastest Gunner in the West” is Assistant Captain Declan Farmer, a current Princeton University scholar,  and he is taking everyone is to school. He has already accumulated 4 Assists, 5 Goals and 9 points in the 2018 Paralympics so far.  

Also starring is “Wild” Brody Roybal. He is just another nightmare for statisticians everywhere. Roybal has now scored 5 goals this competition, and he has one assist and 6 points in just the past two games.

“I’ve known Brody for a long time, and we’re around the same age and the same skill level so we’re always pushing each other to get better.” Farmer expressed of Roybal.

“Me and Declan, we are super competitive, but we’re just out here having fun,” said Roybal.

CJ6I9306Declan Farmer, who had 4 goals in this game tries to shake a Czech defender. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine

It was Steve Cash in net for Team USA and was he ever money in the bank. He stopped 12 shots on goal and the goaltending for the red, white and blue is been pristine. No goals in either game for the goalkeepers so far.

After the match, Team USA Sled Hockey Head Coach Gosselin praised his goaltender saying,

“Steve is one of the best in the world and he showed up and he is focused and is in good shape and he was ready to go,” he added, “We all play this game to win and he comes to compete at a high level.”

There were no unexpected adjustments on Team USA’s first line with Roybal, Carron, Landeros, MIsiewicz, and McKee. Team USA won the opening faceoff, and in just over one minute into the match that Nikko Landeros passed to Brody Roybal who stuck it in the net behind Czech goalie Martian Kudela for the first score of the match. After two of the goals from Declan Farmer, the score after one period was 3-0 in favor of the stars and stripes.

1DX22864Nikko Landeros, who scored a goal in the first period, slams head first into the wall. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine

In the second period, it started fast and ferocious with both teams ready to pounce. But it was #75 Jiri Raul of the Czech Republic who picked up the penalty for interference and Team USA swarmed like a pack of wild dogs and took advantage with Farmer getting his hat trick with assists from Page and Wallace.  With 8:15 left in the second it was Jack Wallace getting his first of the game going top shelf on the goaltender. Farmer and Page brought the help.

Travis Dodson joined the scoring party increasing the score to 7- 0. Billy Hanning Jr. got his first assist on the goal.

Czech Head Coach Jiri Briza after match about the third period, “I’m just glad they called off the dogs and stopped scoring.”

With the win, Team USA earned 3 more points sending them automatically to the next round.

Team USA returns to the rink Tuesday to take on host nation South Korea at Noon Korean Time.

 
Recap Day Two: Four New Shiny Medals for USA Print E-mail
Written by Staff   

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea–it was a warm day today full of turns and new winnings for the american team.

In the second day of Alpine skiing at the Jeongseon Alpine centre started and the atmosphere was out of this world. Today’s course worked in favor of Andrew Kurka, who claimed a silver medal for the U.S.

Super G the second speed discipline started with the women’s visually impaired category. The course didn’t serve Staci Manella well who finished in 10th position while her racing buddy Danelle Umstead fared better in 6th position.

asset_JM1_2401_2760_ioc_2018-03-11_161844.jpgAlly Kunkel USA races in the Alpine Skiing Standing Women’s Super-G at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. The Paralympic Winter Games, PyeongChang, South Korea, Sunday 11th March 2018. Photo: Joel Marklund for OIS/IOC.

The Standing category had a similar fate. The United States skiers raced their hearts out but unfortunately it wasn’t fast enough. Stephanie Jallen from Harding, PA, came in 10th and 16-year-old Ally Kunkel came in at 7th position. Stephanie could still be seen and with an optimistic attitude as ski down the slopes. Marie Bochet won her second gold in PyeongChang for France.

asset_JM1_2443_2768_ioc_2018-03-11_162035Stephanie Jallen USA races in the Alpine Skiing Standing Women’s Super-G at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. The Paralympic Winter Games, PyeongChang, South Korea, Sunday 11th March 2018. Photo: Joel Marklund for OIS/IOC. Handout image supplied by OIS/IOC

Anna Schaffelhuber, won her 7th gold medal in the Women’s sitting category making Germany proud. Considered the most condecorated Paralympian on Team USA, Laurie Stephens, finished 5th.

Andrew Kurka returned to the podium winning silver in the men’s sitting super-G his second medal in the games after winning Gold in sitting downhill on Saturday.

Amy, Andrew’s mom was in the stands passionately supporting her son. Deep down, she just knew that her son was going to make America proud one more day for a second day in-a-row “He’s always been really aggressive and whatever is in front of him he conquers and moves on to the next!” she said. Aspen’s Thomas Walsh finished in 13th position in mens standing.

At the Alpensia Biathlon Center, Cross Country skiing got underway with women and men sit skiers contesting their longest event for the Games, 12km and 15km, respectively with Team USA claiming three podium finishes. The morning started cold, breezy with the sun shining it began to get warmed as the day progressed for the first time during these 2018 Winter Paralympic Games.

The warming trend brought with it, changing snow conditions for the ski waxing teams and athletes to adjust to. Team USA’s Andy Soule, who finished 11th today, a three-time Paralympian and U.S. Army veteran said after the race, “The snow was a little soft in places, but it held up pretty good.”

The sit skiers raced on a 3km loop that wound through the stadium. The delighted spectators had brilliant opportunities to watch and cheer for the hard working competitors chasing after each other at every turn. The men started their 15km event at 10am while the snow was still firm and fast, but by about half through their competition they were noticeably working harder to maintain their speed in the softening snow.

2018-03-11-C4-01961.jpgOksana Masters and Kendall Gretsch celebrating their silver and gold medal respectively at the at the Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza medal ceremony. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

Dan Cnossen overcame the day’s challenges like snow meltage to grab silver despite the terrain conditions “Today’s race was very tough, it’s a different kind of race than Biathlon, for me at least it’s a different mindset…” he continued, “… it’s all about digging as deep as I can and going as hard as I can”.

2018-03-11-02349.jpg

Later, the women’s 12km pushed off. Fresh Gold medalist, from yesterday’s Biathlon event, Kendall Gretsch and Silver Medalist Oksana Masters battled it out with a total of eighteen competitors. True to form Kendall took Gold one more time. The paralympian, who debuted on Saturday said on her astonishing winnings “It’s pretty unbelievable, yeah I’m really excited, it’s unexpected, I really didn’t know what to expect coming in to these Games”.

Danny Chin - Omega Photo StudiosKendall Gretsch competes in the women’s 12-kilometer sitting cross-country at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 11, 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

Oksana Masters continued her podium run with a Bronze medal. In the men’s, Sean Halsted, a U.S. Air Force veteran and three-time Paralympian finished the race on the 22nd place out of a field of 27 men.

2018-03-11-02988.jpgOksana Masters crosses the finish line after racing in the women’s 12-kilometer sitting cross-country at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 11, 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

Meanwhile, at the Gangneung Hockey Centre, the USA Sled Hockey team took to the ice to face Japan and a minute and one second into the match we had the game winner. Then it turned into a scoring party. 10-0. Brody Roybal lead the way in this one with a hat trick.

CJ6I6848One of Brody Roybal’s three goals against Japan in Team USA’s 10-0 win Sunday. PHOTO CREDIT: MIchael A. Clubine

Jen Lee picked up the shut out, with only two shots on goal. After the game, Head Coach Guy Gosselin praised his  first line which had a combined 5 goals:

“I think you know they are prepared to play. They utilize their speed better and use their skills to move the puck together,” explained Gosselin.

Forward Nikko Landeros who picked up two assists and had one goal stated, “Every Game is a gold medal game for us,” Nikko Landeros told reporters after the game, continuing, “We’re just trying our hardest and we are trying to get to the gold medal.”

 
Andrew Finds Paralympic Redemption on the Slopes Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

JEONGSEON, South Korea—Whether he is hanging out at the Paralympic village, doing interviews at the mixed zone or just out in the field of play racing ferociously the clock or his competitors on the course, you can easily spot Andrew Kurka, always smiling and with a great presence. Charismatic, charming and determined the native Alaskan, born and raised in a Russian village called Nikolaevsk, came to South Korea with one goal in mind: to find redemption from Sochi 2014. There he saw his chances to medal slipped away when he broke his back before the competition even began. After that he wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to compete anymore. “I didn´t know if I was going continue to ski again, to chase this dream because I had all these several injuries” he said.

Danny Chin - Omega Photo StudiosAndrew Kurka at the welcoming ceremony at the Paralympic Village on March 8th. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Chin

After a four-year fightback from rock bottom and despite the physical challenges the 26-year-old made an impressive comeback winning four world championships medals in the men’s sitting class, including his first world title and a three-medal performance in 2017 of what could be considered one of the most successful years of his entire career. This Saturday morning, he finally saw his Paralympic dreams come true and found redemption when he hit the podium at the Jeongseon Alpine Center, winning the well-deserved gold medal in the Men’s Downhill, sitting category on a course that seemed to be deteriorating as the day grew longer.

“This is redemption right here, I’m going to move forward with what I know how to do, I’m going to continue listening to my coaches, I’m going to keep the line on my text and going to my best, to be better tomorrow that I was today, that’s my goal, that´s my plan” he said.

AQ2I1350Andrew celebrates hid gold medal along with silver medalist Taiki Morii from Japan and Corey Peters from New Zealand, bronze. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken King

Yet, for the Paralympian the journey hasn’t been the easiest one. Growing up, Andrew knew deep inside he wanted to become a pro-athlete, taste the podiums, the glory, and collect the hard working efforts. That’s why he started to compete so young, at just 6 years of age, wrestling was the sport he chose, due to its popularity at the village, and soon enough he showed great promise became the one to beat. Traveling across the nation, competing in high-class junior championships.

But his aspirations to become an Olympian changed drastically at 13 when he became paralyzed from the waist down in an ATV accident while heading out on a fishing trip. He then was introduced to the sport of sit-down alpine skiing by a physical therapist while recovering from his spinal cord injury, from then on he knew immediately that skiing was his true passion. He became unstoppable in the field, but for him it has always been about the sportsmanship and how he can make a change rather than the titles or the medals.“The super G is coming tomorrow, and I need to keep moving forward this week, it’s not over for me, I’ve got more going, it´s not about the gold medal for me, the media is always surprised, I’m here to be the best person that I can be. If I got silver or bronze, I just would´ve learnt from it and focus on being better tomorrow” he said after the victory

When asked about his golden moment he said “The gold medal sunk in when I was out there with Corey Peters, in the middle of the snow and I looked left and I got to see my family standing there cheering, my mom waving at me, this is the first race that they see me compete in, and they were here.

For the new Paralympian champion is not only the accolades what drives him but the life experiences and the people he creates relationships with. For Andrew there’s always more to learn, to be or do “I get my inspiration and motivation from anyone who can overcome something”.

AQ2I1273Andrew looks at the stands where his mom Amy and brother Christian were cheering on him after the race. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken King
 
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