NESHL in a Nutshell

 The NESHL is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established in 2005 as a means for regional Sled Hockey teams to engage in competitive, sportsmanlike hockey. We are the first-ever organized, multi-state, adult sled hockey league in the U.S, with Teams from Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Western Mass, and Pennsylvania currently in our league.

Sled hockey, also known as sledge hockey, is the fast, exciting, rough-and-tumble version of ice hockey played primarily by people with lower limb mobility impairments. The game is essentially the same as “stand-up” ice hockey, the major difference being that the players use a sled with two hockey skate blades mounted under a seat.


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Written by Peter Quartuccio

            There were smiles on the faces of the U.S. players after they thrashed Japan 6-0 and earned themselves a place in the 2010 Paralympic Semifinals on Tuesday night, but you could sense that they expected to make it this far.  There was no prolonged celebration, and frankly, there shouldn’t have been.  There are simply too many terrific players on this team to accept anything less than a Paralympic Medal, and some would argue anything less than a Gold would be a disappointment.  The way several members of Team USA are playing certainly give them a very good shot at winning Gold, but there are serious concerns that I’m sure more than solely myself have about this team.

            Americans Taylor Lipsett and Alexi Salamone continued their fantastic play against Team Japan, with Taylor scoring his fourth goal in three games and Alexi scoring his third of these Paralympics.  The remaining four goals were firsts for each of the scorers: Forward Greg Shaw, Forward Adam Page, Defenseman Nikko Landeros, and four-time Paralympian, the great Joe Howard.  As with their previous victories, the U.S. scored in each of the three periods, distributing their six goals equally: two in the first, two in the second, and two in the third.  Penalties were a problem once again for Team USA, but they did not commit any truly egregious errors on the ice last night. 

            In truth, this game was nearly identical to the two games that preceded it.  Japan, like Korea and the CzechRepublic before them, lacked the defense to stop the quick and tirelessly aggressive U.S. attack, leading to way too many shots on goal for Japan’s goalie to handle.  From the offensive perspective, Team Japan could not sustain possessions long enough to mount a real attack.  Instead, they relied on poor U.S. passing and turnovers to create scoring chances, a strategy that rarely results in goals and even more rarely results in victories.  Their best offensive opportunity was a breakaway that was stopped with relative ease by the excellent U.S. goalie Steve Cash, who has not allowed a goal in 75 consecutive minutes of Paralympic play.  Team USA simply overwhelmed Japan, doing pretty much whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.

            The biggest worry Team USA has going into the semis and hopefully beyond is that their play has not consistently been at the level they’re capable of.  Tom Brake, who has years of sled hockey coaching experience and has even coached several members of Team USA, said it best: “They’re playing to the level of their competition.”  Rather than just blowing out their far inferior foes, they have instead kept them at a safe distance with three and four goal leads.  Their wins have been comfortable affairs, not out-and-out beatdowns, which they should’ve been.  In short, they have dominated their competition without being truly dominant, and perhaps this is because they haven’t had to be so yet.  They haven’t been truly tested.  Their play, while it has lead to an impressive three victories and a combined goal differential of +17, seems lackluster at times, and despite their immense talent, they struggle with the so-called “little things.”  Sloppy line changes, lax passing, dumb penalties.  These are not the marks of a Gold Medal winning team, and it is something Team USA needs to remedy if they want to find themselves hearing The Star Spangled Banner play as they stand atop the victory podium on Saturday afternoon.

            For more coverage of the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, please visit www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org

 

From USA Hockey website:

BURNABY, B.C. - The U.S. National Junior Sled Hockey Team fell to Sledge Team Ontario, 2-1, in a shootout in the first of a three-game exhibition series here this morning. The exhibition games are being played in conjunction with the Paralympic Winter Games sled hockey tournament that is currently taking place in nearby Vancouver, B.C.

The U.S. opened the game's scoring one minute into the second period with an unassisted goal by Kevin McKee (Eldridge, Iowa). But Sledge Team Ontario tied the game less than three minutes later.

Following a scoreless third period and overtime, the teams went to a shootout. Team USA got a goal by Daniel McCoy (Cheswick, Pa.), but Sledge Team Ontario scored twice to earn the victory.

U.S. goaltender Dany Hefley (Wexford, Pa.) made 13 saves in the losing effort. Both teams will face off again tomorrow (March 19) at 10 a.m. PDT.

NOTES: The U.S. National Junior Sled Hockey Team will be in attendance as the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team faces Norway tonight (March 18) at 7 p.m. PDT in the semifinals of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. For more information including a live game blog, photos, and features, visit usahockey.com... The U.S. National Junior Sled Hockey Team captured the Western Sled Hockey League title last month, beating out teams from Utah, Colorado and Arizona ... The U.S. National Junior Sled Hockey Team and Sledge Team Ontario played a two-game exhibition series last October in Rochester, N.Y., with each team winning once ... For the U.S. National Junior Sled Hockey Team roster, click here.

 

From US Paralympics website:

Alex Clark March 18, 2010

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Team USA faces Norway on Thursday for the right to play for gold.

The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team will compete for a medal at this year’s 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. The question to be answered on Thursday night is for what color medal it will be vying.

Team USA and Norway are facing off in the Paralympic Winter Games semifinals for the second consecutive tournament. In Torino, Italy, in 2006, it was Norway who emerged with a 4-2 victory and a ticket to the gold-medal game. Nine players on the U.S. squad were part of that team, and all believe this year’s version of Team USA has improved since four years ago.

“We’re a young team now, but a lot of us gained a lot of experience four years ago,” said Taylor Lipsett (Mesquite, Texas), who leads Team USA with four goals in its three games so far. “We’re faster and better conditioned, and we’re capitalizing on more of our chances.”

The U.S. advanced to Thursday’s game after claiming Group A’s top seed with a 6-0 victory over Japan on Tuesday night. In three preliminary-round games, Team USA has yet to surrender a goal while scoring 14 of its own. Norway, on the other hand, enters Thursday’s affair stumbling, having posted a 1-1-0-1 record in Group B, including a shootout victory over the seventh-seeded Sweden and a 5-0 loss to Canada.

But Team USA cannot expect a free pass to Saturday’s gold-medal game. The U.S. posted a 1-1-0-1 record against Norway during the 2009-10 season, with its only regulation win coming in a game in which Norway’s star Rolf Pederson did not play due to suspension. A plucky team that has participated in every gold-medal game since sled hockey was introduced to the Paralympics in 1994, Norway is sure to put up a fight.

“No one is overlooking Norway,” added Lipsett. “They have a good team, and Pederson’s been one of the best in the world for a long time now. We’ve worked hard over the last few years to make the gold-medal game in every tournament we play in, and we hope to do that here too.”

One final piece of fodder for Thursday’s match-up: these were the same two teams that met in the title game of the International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic, last May. Team USA took the contest, 1-0, with the game-winning goal coming off the stick of captain Andy Yohe (Bettendorf, Iowa) with just 11 seconds remaining in regulation.

Thursday night’s game may prove to be even more pressure-packed.

 

written by Peter Quartuccio

After a seemingly endless string of delays at Whistler Creekside, site of the Alpine Skiing events at the 2010 Winter Paralympics, action got under way Monday the 15th for the Men’s and Women’s Standing Slalom event. It was an unexpectedly warm day in Whistler, but neither the competitors nor the crowd who packed the place seemed to mind. Both the Men’s and Women’s classes were dominated by Canada, who took home two medals in the Women’s Slalom, and Germany, who won Silver in both the Men’s and Women’s events. For the Men, New Zealander Adam Hall ran the table, leading after his first run by over two full seconds and edging past Germany’s Gerd Schonfelder for the overall time. Schonfelder’s excellent second run put him only half a second behind Gold Medalist Hall. In the Women’s Standing Slalom, Canada reigned supreme, occupying two of the three places on the Medal podium. Canadian Gold Medalist Lauren Woolstencroft dominated the event, winning by an enormous margin of 6.38 seconds. Teammate Karolina Wisniewska narrowly missed Silver, as German Andrea Rothfuss’ time bested Wisniewska’s by a margin of 49 seconds, forcing the latter to settle for the Bronze. American skier Allison Jones recovered from a 7th place position after her first run thanks to a very strong second run. In fact, when she crossed the finish line her second time down the course, the time she posted put her in first. Unfortunately, her time didn’t hold up, as she wound up finishing in 5th place overall. Allison’s finishing slot, however, was the best among all American skiers that day, both Men and Women. The best American performance in the Men’s class belonged to Monte Meier, who finished 8th.

For more coverage of the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, please visit www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org.

 

 

 

From USA Hockey website:

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team defeated Japan this afternoon, 6-0, in its final preliminary-round game of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. With the win, Team USA improved to 3-0-0-0 overall and earned Group A's top seed entering Thursday's (March 18) semifinal round.

Six different players scored for Team USA, which will face the loser of tonight's preliminary-round showdown between Canada and Norway for the right to play in the tournament's gold-medal game.

"We're continuing to improve with each passing game," said Ray Maluta, head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. "We connected on more of our prime chances tonight, and only committed a handful of mistakes."
 

japan cov 2

Team USA celebrates Greg Shaw's goal.
Photos from the game
Video: 
Josh Pauls | Steve Cash

Team USA jumped out to a 1-0 lead just one minute into the game. After receiving a pass from Tim Jones (Mt. Ephraim, N.J.) at the offensive blue line, captain Andy Yohe (Bettendorf, Iowa) skated to the top of the right circle and slid a pass to Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y.) in the high slot. Page's first shot attempt failed to get through, but he collected the rebound and snapped the puck low to the far post for his first goal of the tournament.

Greg Shaw (Park City, Utah) gave Team USA a 2-0 lead late in the opening period. After intercepting a pass at the U.S. blue line, Taylor Lipsett (Mesquite, Texas) broke through the neutral zone on a two-on-one rush with Shaw. When the Japanese defenseman engaged with Lipsett, he slipped a pass to Shaw, who fired a shot past the glove of Japan goaltender Mitsuru Nagase.

Five minutes into the second period, Alexi Salamone (Grand Island, N.Y.) notched his third goal of the tournament on the power play, cutting through traffic between the faceoff circles and scoring over Nagase's glove to give the U.S. a 3-0 lead. Lipsett collected his team-leading fourth goal of the tournament eight minutes later, holding onto the puck on a two-on-one rush and shuffling a shot past Nagase's blocker for an unassisted tally.

U.S. goalie Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) turned aside a breakaway chance by Japan's Daisuke Uehara to send Team USA into the second intermission with a 4-0 advantage. Cash made five saves in 30 minutes of action before being replaced by Mike Blabac (Buffalo, N.Y.) at the start of the third period.

Team USA extended its lead to 5-0 four minutes into the third period on the first goal of the tournament by Joe Howard (Kingston, Mass.). The four-time Paralympian escaped a defender at the Japanese blue line and fired a hard wrist shot over Nagase's blocker. Nikko Landeros' (Berthoud, Colo.) first career goal five minutes later closed out the scoring.
 
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