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US sledge hockey coach says final against Russia to be most important for his players

March 14, 2014, 2:32 UTC+3 SOCHI
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SOCHI, March 14, /ITAR-TASS/. US ice sledge hockey team’s Head Coach Jeff Sauer said that the final game against the Russian squad at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games will be the most important in the team players’ career.

Team USA blasted past the Canadian team 3-0 in the semifinal match held on Thursday night at the Shayba Arena located in the coastal cluster of the Paralympic Games.

“It is one more game but it is the most important game of their career,” Sauer said after the game.

“I went into the locker room tonight before the game with Canada and said this is our gold medal game,” Sauer said. “If we get to win this game we have got a great chance to win the gold medal and the guys came out, responded and did an excellent job.”

US 16-year-old Declan Farmer became the hero of the match as he netted two first goals and assisted his teammate Joshua Pauls, who scored the third and the final goal of the match.

Earlier in the day, the Russian team, which debuted at the Paralympic Games this year, creamed team Norway 4-0 to make into the final, which will be held on Saturday.

The Russian and the US teams already squared off each other during the preliminary round match on Tuesday with Russians winning the match 2-1.

“To be honest everybody wants to play Russia again,” Sauer said commenting on the previous game of his team against the Russian squad. “The crowd the other night was great.”

The US coach praised the current tournament saying that it does a tremendous thing to popularize the sport of the ice sledge hockey.

“I think in the United States people are getting the chance to see what this young athletes can do,” he said. “Russian people see what they can do on a short period of time. This is a tremendous publicity for our sport and we are part of it.”

Hinting on the possible game plan of his team against Russia in the final, Sauer said “We need to play the hard game and if we do that we have got the advantage.

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