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Wild Winter Paralympics

Reprinted from SNS May 2018

The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics provided plenty of redemption stories and a handful of highlight-reel finishes

One of the most successful Paralympic Games for the United States finished with a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat gold-medal victory. 

Team USA’s men’s para ice hockey team rallied from a one-goal deficit in the final 40 seconds, defeating Canada 2-1 in overtime in South Korea in mid-March and recording the team’s third straight Paralympic title in the sport.

It was just another exciting, wild and fun finish, which encapsulated the team’s 2018 Paralympic Games — and one in which the United States led the medal count for the first time in more than 25 years. 

Here are some of the major highlights from this year’s Games. 

Oksana Masters earned five medals, including silver in the women's sitting 6k biathlon, finishing as the most decorated female U.S. athlete. (Photo by Mark Reis).

Thrilling Three-Peat

Team USA men’s para ice hockey captured its third straight Paralympic gold medal in its most exhilarating fashion yet.

Forward Declan Farmer’s two goals lifted the United States to a wild and electrifying come-from-behind victory, as Team USA defeated Canada 2-1 in overtime in the gold-medal final at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, South Korea. 

With only 1 minute left in regulation and the U.S. trailing 1-0, Team USA coach Guy Gosselin pulled goalie Steve Cash for an extra skater. After a Canadian shot went wide, the United States’ Brody Roybal hit Farmer with a cross-ice pass. Farmer launched a shot and scored with 37.8 seconds remaining to tie the game at 1. 

Then, eight-and-a-half minutes into overtime, Farmer netted the game-winner, lifting the U.S. to its unprecedented third straight Paralympic gold medal in para ice hockey. 

Farmer finished as the 2018 Paralympics’ leading goal scorer with 11 goals and overall points scorer with 17. He was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Roybal (10 goals and six assists) was named Best Forward. Cash totaled 11 saves. 

Forward Billy Bridges scored Canada’s lone goal off assists from Liam Hickey and Ben Delaney in the first period. 

Team USA defeated Russia 1-0 in the 2014 Sochi Paralympic gold-medal game and Japan 2-0 in the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games gold-medal game. 

In March, Team USA lost its head coach, Jeff Sauer, who died at age 73. A 2014 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Sauer was in his sixth season as head coach of the United States’ national sled hockey team. 

Military Members’ Major Success

Military members had a memorable 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games, as well. 

There was Navy SEAL veteran Dan Cnossen, who finished with six medals. Cnossen was the first American man to win a biathlon gold medal in Olympic and Paralympic history. He won gold in the men’s sitting sprint biathlon, finishing the 7.5-kilometer course in 19 minutes, 45.8 seconds and taking the event over Belarusian Dzmitry Loban by a little over 10 seconds. Cnossen missed just one of 
10 shots on the range. His best Paralympic finish previously had been sixth in the men’s cross-
country sprint. 

Cnossen also earned silver in the men’s middle-distance 12.5-kilometer sitting biathlon (46:37.3) and men’s 15-kilometer sitting cross-country (42:20.7) events. 

There was Army veteran Andy Soule, who rallied to defeat Loban in the men’s 1.1-kilometer sitting sprint, leaning in at the finish line to win his first Paralympic gold medal. Soule and Loban recorded an identical time of 3:31.4, but Soule earned the win thanks to a photo finish. 

Soule also finished third in the men’s middle-distance 12.5-kilometer sitting biathlon (47:08.7), and with he and Cnossen taking the podium, it marked the first time two U.S. men earned podium biathlon finishes in Olympic or Paralympic history. 

And then, there were the USA men’s para ice hockey team military members, who helped Team USA win its third straight Paralympic gold medal — an unprecedented feat. They included Ralph DeQuebec (Marine Corps), Travis Dodson (Marine Corps), Jen Lee (Army), Luke McDermott (Marine Corps), Josh Misiewicz (Marine Corps) and Rico Roman (Army). 


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Wild Winter Paralympics


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