COACH SAUER: The next time we're together, guys,
we're a family and the next time we're together,
we're going for that gold medal.
We're going for that gold medal.
The doctors basically told me right up front, you know,
"Look, you're probably never going to be able to play sports
because it's too dangerous."
Getting in there and hitting in those corners and bashing
has really taught me that I may be injured
but I can still do anything I want to do.
TAYLOR CHACE: We've all come from a very low point in our life.
To overcome that and then achieve Paralympic status
is pretty overwhelming.
RICO ROMAN: When they got me out of the Humvee,
I looked down at my legs
and I seen my bones sticking out.
DECLAN FARMER: I was born as a double amputee,
so I mean, I've been using prosthetics my whole life.
NIKKO LANDEROS: I knew I didn't have one leg when I first woke up,
then I looked down and I didn't have both.
So that was kind of a shocker.
Let's send a message today.
They're going home thinking,
"What the hell are we going to do?"
Because they know what's coming.
They know what's coming.
SAUER: I know every one of these guys,
when they put that USA jersey on, I know how they feel:
no different than any other athlete
representing millions of people in the United States
on a world stage.
(players chanting "USA!")
DAN BRENNAN: Cash?
You're in the yellow.
Sweeney, bag, you're in the yellow.
Just keep this simple, go with your bag.
We got to move here, all right?
Go ahead and get in there and we'll grab your chair.
All right, we got her.
BRENNAN: I work with the 2014 Paralympic sled hockey team.
You know, we're starting out to a brand new season.
We're just trying to get our timing back.
Because we know come end of February or early March,
we're going to have to take on the best teams in the world.
NIKKO LANDEROS: This year's going to be a pretty big test for us,
and I think everyone's ready to go.
I mean, the goal is to win and win a gold medal, so...
It is, you know, only five, five and a half months away,
but, you know, there's a lot of practices and a lot of games
in between now and then.
You know, you've got nerves, I have nerves, you know.
I'm ready, I want to play right now.
BRENNAN: You know, they're so excited to be back together and playing,
but there's also that kind of grey cloud looming
over some of them where they know that
they're going to have to really step up
to be able to stay on the team.
RICO ROMAN: The game of sled hockey, it's a disabled sport.
There's all different disabilities--
amputees, spina bifida,
you name it, as long as you can't play stand-up hockey,
you can play sled hockey.
It's the same thing as regular hockey,
but we're sitting on our butts in these sleds,
and it's just as intense, just as physical.
JOSHUA PAULS: The easiest way to describe it is
your arms are your arms and your legs,
if you think about hockey.
You're using them to skate and handle the puck,
all at the same time.
INTERVIEWER: You guys are built, basically.
You have to be!
The first time anybody's in a sled, um, even NHL players,
they are totally...
you'd think they had never played hockey before
in their lives.
TAYLOR CHACE: We have two sticks, one in each hand.
On the end of the sticks are small picks
that basically protrude out from the end,
and we use that to propel ourselves around the ice.
STEVE CASH: And then underneath the bucket is a bracket
with metal blades attached to those,
and so basically you have skate blades underneath you
that you're digging into the ice.
LIPSETT: When people first see sled hockey,
like, the first thing they notice is the speed.
You know, top skaters in the world are skating
30, 35 miles per hour.
Okay, here we go!
LIPSETT: When you start talking about the physicality,
checking at 30 miles an hour,
you're talking about small car crash collisions.
BRODY ROYBAL: My favorite part
is probably the physical aspects of the game,
hitting out there, pushing guys around.
CASH: We get away with quite a bit, yeah.
It's a pretty rough sport, you know,
two sleds come crashing, one guy does a flip,
another one's laying out on the ice.
You can just hear the whole crowd gasp.
INTERVIEWER: Head over heels?
Pretty much... well, if I had heels, then yeah.
ROYBAL: It hurts a lot more than just getting shoulder to shoulder,
because I mean, your shoulder gives.
The metal sled doesn't give.
That's probably the most painful one you could take
is just a sled to the head or to the body.
It hurts a lot.
Yeah, I've gotten the front nose of the sled right to the kidney.
It's not fun, but... (chuckles)
SHAW: There's a chance of getting majorly hurt
and we take it very serious,
but there is nothing to hold us back.
It makes you feel normal, I guess, maybe a little bit, so...
CHACE: I think we're all playing it
because we do have some aggression and we want to...
My father always told me that contact sports,
it's anger management for men.
It's one of those feelings that is just trapped inside
and you get to release so much emotion
and, uh, just everything that's building up inside of you
in one check.
Do they say "cheese" in Buffalo?
Go ahead, hit your message bar.
AUTOMATED VOICE: Thanks, guys, for the photo!
Go, USA Hockey!
CHACE: I think people perceive a person with a disability
as weak or different,
because they're not normal and they look different.
SAUER: On three, ready?
TEAM: One, two, three... USA!
Everybody has a disability, if you think about it.
Everybody has a weakness,
everybody has limitations and barriers,
whether they're physical, cognitive, social,
all those things.
Growing up with a disability, I didn't even know I was disabled
until I was about seven years old
when I actually had to go to kindergarten,
and all of a sudden, it hit me
that I was different from all the other kids.
We're definitely more comfortable
than the people around us.
We want you to walk up and ask us questions
and not just wonder, like, "I wonder what's wrong with him."
CASH: These guys, they all have different stories,
and they all have past struggles and current struggles
they have to deal with, and so,
just being a part of the team where I know that I belong,
it, you know, means the world to me.
We haven't been in a team setting
in probably five or six months, and so doing this training camp
is really an opportunity for us to come together as a team.
This is our first training camp,
so we're really just focused on getting in hockey shape.
That's what we call it.
We're working on stick handling and shooting
and turning and things like that,
you know, just like any other team would do
at the beginning of the season.
BRENNAN: This year for the first time,
we had 65 players come to try out.
We have to get down to 17 players
that we're allowed to carry going over to Sochi.
We have 18 right now, so we're going to have to let a player go
in the middle of December after one of our last events
leading up to Sochi.
So that's not going to be an easy thing, obviously.
My name is Rico Roman.
I'm a forward on the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey team
on an all-veteran line.
I'm an Army veteran.
In 2007, I was running a vehicle checkpoint,
checking vehicles, making sure they don't have weapons, bombs
or anything they weren't supposed to have.
After running this vehicle checkpoint,
me and all my guys got into three up-armored Humvees
and I decided to be the lead vehicle
going back to our patrol base.
These IEDs are hidden.
They're not in plain view so you could see them.
And we didn't...
I just didn't see it.
It felt like getting punched in the stomach,
felt like getting the wind knocked out of me.
It flipped the Humvee up in the air
and put it on its side, on my driver's side.
My gloves that were on,
the fingertips blew off of my gloves.
That's how much power was behind this bomb that went off.
When I got out of the Humvee, when they got me out of it,
I looked down at my legs,
and I seen my bones sticking out of my pants.
I knew that my leg was broken.
They ended up medevacking me.
I went on to Walter Reed Hospital.
I stayed there for a year as a limb salvage.
They asked me, "Do you want to save your leg?"
And I was like, "Are you serious?
Of course I want to save my leg!"
This is a big choice, to be an amputee,
to opt to cut my leg off.
I was really scared about it, and ultimately,
getting above-knee amputation to my left knee.
They asked me to come out to try-outs for sled hockey
and I was like, "I don't come from a hockey state.
"I'm from Oregon, we don't play hockey there.
How many Hispanics do you see playing hockey?"
I was, like, "No, thank you, I don't play hockey
and we're in Texas."
But they kept bothering me,
said, "Hey, just come and try it out."
So I finally gave in, and I'm so happy I did it.
It was just like football on the ice.
I knew this was my sport
when I first got on the ice that first time.
When you're out there on the ice,
it's like you don't think about nothing else.
You're free from any thoughts
of maybe something that was bothering you that day,
or any of that stuff.
It's like you're just playing and having fun.
ROMAN: Being in that locker room was an amazing feeling.
It was like, yes, I'm not with my guys no more overseas,
and I really missed being a part of a team.
And as soon as I entered that locker room and somebody says,
"Oh, he's an Army guy," it was like, "Oh, here we go!"
We're already starting that heckling
and bashing on each other,
and it's like, "Oh, this is what I've missed,
this is what I've been missing,"
and so it was a great feeling to be a part of that again.
Being a part of a team that's so diverse in age and cultures
and backgrounds, I think it's actually an asset.
Different guys have different things
that they can give the team on and off the ice.
It's an unbelievable mix
and I think it's going to take us pretty far this year.
Um, sir, that is not a protein shake.
LIPSETT: The only difference with us
and, you know, some Olympians and other pro athletes is
we're only part-time athletes.
Most of our guys work full time or they go to school full time.
We don't get paid like professional athletes do.
When I was five years old,
I was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta.
It's also known as brittle bone disease,
so when I was one and a half, I broke my first bone,
and pretty much from one and a half to 12,
I broke my legs two to three times a year.
I was in a body cast from the chest down
about six months out of every year.
CHERYL LIPSETT: Broke his collarbone first.
A week later, broke his leg.
And that's before we knew anything.
He was one and a half then.
He wasn't diagnosed until he was five.
I'd be at the hospital crying
because I didn't know what was the matter.
And it was devastating.
'Cause he'd hurt just like you or I would.
It hurt every single time he broke.
LIPSETT: I've broken about 105 times.
So it was kind of odd.
When people hear I play sled hockey with that disease,
you know, you kind of get some crazy eyebrows, you know?
The doctors basically told me right up front,
"Look, you're probably never going to be able to play sports,
"just because it's too dangerous.
You're risking getting hurt every time you're out there."
CHERYL LIPSETT: He got on the ice and that was it.
Sled hockey is his thing.
He wouldn't be who he is without this in his life.
I've developed my style of play
to where I try to keep myself out of, you know,
harmful situations that could be season-ending for me.
Unless I get just t-boned right along the boards,
there's not really any issue.
It's happened once, and there was no penalty,
and I broke my leg.
BRENNAN: We're kind of a hodgepodge of the disabled world.
We have four military veterans on our team
who have lost some legs in Afghanistan and Iraq.
We have players with spina bifida.
We have players
that unfortunately had just personal accidents.
CHACE: When I was 16 years old, I was playing junior hockey
for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs,
and I was the youngest player on the team.
At that point in my life, hockey was my life.
I wanted to pursue it to the highest level I could,
whether it be college, pro, whatever.
During a game, I took a hit into the boards.
As I was trying to control myself from the hit,
I spun myself back-first into the boards.
I shattered two vertebrae,
and I actually suffered a spinal cord injury.
I was in a state of paralysis from the waist down
for a good three months.
I definitely went into a lot of depression.
Sports was my life.
But I didn't sever the spinal cord completely.
Now I can walk on my own, um,
without the use of a walker, crutches, cane,
and I have minor deficits in both legs.
To find out after my accident about sled hockey,
that was the light-switch moment, and I was, like,
"Wow, I can still play, just a different style,
and I'm just going to have to learn how to do that."
So when I first got on the ice, it was frustrating.
It's a whole new bag of skills.
But at the same time, those smells, the sounds,
being around a team, hearing a whistle being blown again,
I mean, that was all there.
I was just in a sled, but I didn't care about that.
It was ice hockey.
I stopped saying, "Why me?"
and all those selfish thoughts
and I started to understand
that maybe this was just another chapter in my life.
A door closed and another one opened.
BRENNAN: You know, especially our military guys,
they lose a limb when they're in their early 20s or mid-20s.
That's a real adjustment.
They already know how to walk,
and now they have to relearn how to walk.
When I learned to walk, I learned to walk in prosthetics.
People ask me all the time, "Is it hard?"
And I go, "I don't know.
This is the only thing I've ever been used to."
CHACE: I mean, kids are getting in sleds
at the age when I was getting on skates,
which was four or five years old.
Says a lot about the development of the sport within our country
and what the USA Hockey has done
to provide opportunities for young sled hockey players.
Declan Farmer, for example, I mean, he's 15, 16 years old,
and he's one of the best players on our team.
I was born as a double amputee.
One of legs is amputated above the knee
and the other below the knee.
So I mean, I've been using prosthetics my whole life.
MATT FARMER: He was first selected
when he was 14, and that was a surprise.
You know, he just really took to the sport
and got on it very quickly.
FARMER: Well, my goal for this season
is definitely to bring home a gold from Sochi.
ROYBAL: Declan's a really smart finesse player out there.
He scores a lot of goals.
My style, I'm, like, a really physical player out there,
not afraid to get in the corners, put a body on.
I was born completely without legs.
I'm a sophomore in high school.
When we're on trips like this,
you have to put a little bit of homework aside for every day
so you're not just, like, overwhelmed.
When we get off the ice,
you learn a lot of life lessons from the older guys on the team.
Like Andy, Rico, and older guys on the team are mentors.
ANDY YOHE: Those guys are, you know,
just 20 years younger than me, so... (laughs)
That came up last night
that they were going to be sophomores in high school,
and I said, "That's funny,
that's when I actually got run over by the train."
I do remember that part of my sophomore year.
We used to jump trains for fun when we were younger.
I don't know what was so fun about it, looking back on it,
but at the time, we thought it was just a huge adrenaline rush
and, um, we would jump them and ride them for a few hundred feet
and jump back off them again.
And this train was going way too fast.
The weight of the train just sucks air underneath it.
It sucked me right underneath it and ran over my legs.
Looked down and my right leg was gone.
It was down the tracks.
And my left leg was just hanging on
by the thread of my pants that I had on.
Initially, I was really just scared
that my parents were going to be really mad
and that I wasn't ever going to play hockey again.
I think, you know, in life you probably...
always one of the things you want to do
is not disappoint your parents
or, you know, be in trouble, so...
The first time out there, just being on the ice,
playing with the puck, like, I didn't even have a good sled
and I wasn't even good or anything,
but just skating down the ice
and feeling the wind blow through your hair,
it just feels right.
SAUER: Going outside, one's going inside, right?
Defensemen, get back, get the puck.
Forwards, got to get it to you up here.
You're going to come back through the neutral zone
I've known Coach Sauer for quite a long time now.
He recruited me as a college hockey player.
He's a tremendous gentleman and a very, very knowledgeable man.
He just does a great job with our players.
Get to the red line, make a play,
get it into the zone, or dump it in and go forecheck.
Play five-on-five in the zone.
SAUER: There's no "woe-is-me" attitude with these players.
That's one of the concerns that I had taking over
was, uh, how do we handle these people psychologically?
And what I found is it's no different
than any coaching situation I've ever been in.
You have to read your players,
you have to find out what makes them tick.
Be moving when you pass the puck.
You don't have to go 150 miles an hour all the time,
but you have to at the right time.
You have to at the right time.
ROMAN: This is the first time we've gotten together on the ice,
and I can see that everybody has been working really hard
for this upcoming Paralympic year,
and I think we're just only going to build off of that.
Like the next practice, we're going to even be better.
Keep it comin', keep it comin'!
We try to have fun with it, but at the same time,
we're out there trying to get a goal.
You know, whatever we need to do
to get that puck in the back of the net against each other,
because ultimately, if we are battling each other
to try to get to that best level that we can achieve,
it's only going to make the team better.
One, two, three...
Bags and bodies.
We gotta hustle, Mike.
BRENNAN: Something that really opened my eyes up
was the first time I traveled with them,
going through security.
You know, I used to be that guy
who was in the middle of the line going,
Come on, we can't move faster than this?"
And then to watch our players go through it
and they're pulling off body parts
and, you know, stuff's going off,
they've got metal plates in their backs,
some in other areas,
and, you know, they're being wanded and it's just, uh,
you know, it's amazing to watch them go through it
and not a single player has ever complained.
In the seven years that I've traveled with them,
I've never seen that.
Putting, like, legs in an overhead compartment,
you put them up there on long flights because, I mean,
going to Korea or Japan, it's like a 12-hour flight,
and nobody wants to keep your legs on for that.
It's like taking your shoes off times a thousand.
So you take them off on the plane
and then maybe like an hour before, you just say,
"Hey, ight attendant, can you help me get something
from the overhead bin?"
You don't tell her they're legs.
You just, "Hey, can you get something for me?"
And she goes, "Oh, what?"
"Oh, just my legs."
Sometimes you put smaller people into the overheads
and just go in there before the flight and then start knocking
and people are, like, "Oh, what's in there?"
Just some guy with no legs, just hanging out.
SAUER: I'm pleased with the conditioning.
That's the toughest part,
because these guys are away from us for a month.
Every time we get together,
I want to start where we ended the last practice,
so I want to move to the next level.
We're defending gold medal champions in the Olympics.
We'd be very disappointed
if we don't play for a gold medal in the Olympics.
Everyone's gelling pretty good right now.
We just got to get this power play going,
and I think we'll be set to go.
LANDEROS: We still have one cut to go too,
so everyone's trying to make their spot here on the team.
We have one more guy that's, unfortunately,
going to leave the team before Sochi.
Nothing's final, nothing's final.
We don't have to name the team
until we get on the plane to go to Sochi.
The competition is there, and that's a real positive thing
from a coach's perspective.
They know that they have to perform
to make it to the next level.
CHACE: I wouldn't want to be a coach right now,
trying to pick this team.
Since I've been playing,
this is... the parity amongst the players
is the best it's ever been.
More importantly right now, we're all thinking
about just the individual things that we need to work on
to make this team a team.
I joined the Marine Corps back in 2005
out of Phoenix, Arizona, right out of high school,
and then in 2009, I deployed with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines,
and we went to Nowzad, Afghanistan.
Basically on that day,
while we were en route to our position,
I stepped on an improvised explosive device.
It took like three hours to finally get us out of there,
and I was bleeding so much
that they couldn't give me any kind of painkillers.
About every 30 minutes,
they would start elevating me even more
to where I was almost on my head,
keep slapping me to keep me awake,
trying to get me to say something
so that I wouldn't fall asleep
because as soon as you fall asleep, you're done.
I guess I'm not too much of a quitter, so...
Sled hockey has definitely
almost brought a new life upon me.
With the suicide rates
and all the other things that happen with veterans,
it's just a matter of getting people involved.
Getting in there and hitting in those corners and bashing
has really taught me that, yeah, I may be injured,
but I can still do anything I want to do
as long as I want to do it.
LIPSETT: As each camp progresses, each practice,
they'll start throwing in more complicated things.
We'll start working on systems, power play.
It's a progression, you know?
Our goal isn't to be the best team in the world this weekend.
Our goal is to be the best team in the world in March.
PAULS: This camp, I think for us,
is also really gearing towards...
it's getting ready for Toronto.
CASH: Hopefully, that'll give us a little momentum
going into Toronto, playing in the Four Nations Cup.
SWEENEY: Yeah, Toronto's going to be a real big event.
It's really going to give us an idea
of who we're playing in Sochi.
PAULS: In Toronto, I mean,
you're going to have the top three teams
from world championships.
It's going to be intense competition.
Canada always has a bunch of fans that come out,
and that's always fun to play inront of.
CASH: We're out at the Lindenwood Ice Arena in Wentzville.
That's actually the rink that, um...
that I got started in sled hockey on.
That's basically what introduced me to the sport.
Every time I walk into that rink, it brings back memories.
I'm a goaltender,
so I have a little bit of modified equipment.
I have a glove that actually has a track spike on the back hand
and kind of a mini goalie stick.
CASH: Is there anything else you want with your eggs?
No, eggs is good for me.
You might want to turn that down a little bit.
Got to make them fast, on the fly.
This is a team, you know, that will live on forever.
We went five games without giving up a single goal,
and that's five shutouts.
We outscored the opponents 19 to nothing.
Here's the gold medal
from the Vancouver Winter Paralympic Games.
A Paralympic medal is just as meaningful as an Olympic medal.
This is the design for the Sochi Paralympic gold medals.
That's what I'm going for in March.
It felt like it was just yesterday.
I was on the ice vying for my spot at tryouts,
and here we are, approximately 100 days away
from the opening ceremonies at the Paralympics.
I had cancer when I was three years old.
He was out climbing trees
and running with the neighborhood kids
and doing everything, and then all of a sudden,
he couldn't walk.
They told us in the beginning that, um, you know,
he had a 14% chance of survival,
I don't think we ever, ever accepted that.
Um, I think the surgery was the hard part,
the surgery we had done to his leg,
because it was so unusual.
STEVE CASH: The knee had totally been eaten by the cancer,
so they had to amputate my knee.
And so my ankle acts as my knee.
DON CASH: It was a hard... it was a hard two years.
Kids my age, they typically tried to stay away from me
simply because they didn't understand my situation.
You know, maybe I walked funny.
There were times that I felt like I was out of place.
DON CASH: Two of his brothers played hockey,
and that's what he wanted to do.
We put him in as a goalie.
He enjoyed it.
Did real good at it.
By the time he was in high school,
he could outskate most of the people on his high school team.
We held our breath every time.
Still do, I guess.
STEVE CASH: And that's an incentive for me
to live my life every day to its fullest.
LANDEROS: Stevie and Jen, they're both great goalies.
We love to protect them.
You know, without a goalie, you don't have much--
a big ol' net.
JEN LEE: Goaltending can be a lot of pressure on us.
Obviously, hockey is a very physical sport.
But for us, goaltending,
it's almost like a pitcher in a baseball game.
When people ask me about what happened
or people come up to me, "Hey," they see my leg
or they see me missing a leg,
they say, "Hey, thank you for your service."
You know, I have to tell them,
you know, I wasn't hurt, I wasn't hurt in combat.
I didn't get hurt overseas deployment.
It was after two years, just a typical day.
I was stationed in Savannah, Georgia, at that time,
and me and the rest of my four other soldiers,
we liked to ride motorcycles
and unfortunately, I was hit by another vehicle.
I think I closed my eyes, because everything went black.
The leg was mangled and there was an open fracture,
bones were sticking out.
The first thing I asked is, "Hey, can I still serve?
Can I go back to active duty?"
They were saying, you know, they'd never seen
an amputee continue on active duty
after traumatic injuries like this.
I had to prove to everybody that I would still be able
to perform my duty and continue to serve my country.
You know, I can still be an active duty soldier.
I had a lot of people around me, that has helped me.
My wife, my family, my parents.
Everybody, once in your lifetime,
is going to hit rock bottom.
Something's going to happen to you.
But if that happens,
let it go and then continue with your life,
because we're stronger than we were before.
TYLER CARRON: Me and Nikko have been friends
probably all through high school.
Two Colorado boys.
Did you already do yours?
CARRON: Similar sports,
same attitude about sports
and always wanting to be, you know, competitive.
They both played a lot of sports, I mean,
from when they were little all the way through.
Tyler played football, and he was a real good wrestler.
Tyler went to state championships for wrestling.
We both went to state for football.
We got a bad snowstorm in '07.
We got about six feet of snow.
TYLER CARRON: It was high school dance, and we got a flat tire,
so we pulled over on the side of the road
and went out in back and started getting the spare and all that.
LANDEROS: We got hit by a girl from our grade.
She came from behind us at, like, 48 miles an hour,
and our car did a 360.
It threw us out into the middle of the road.
Luckily, it was a cold night.
It was about -2 degrees,
so the doctors said that, uh, that helped with our arteries,
keep them shut a little bit.
We were bleeding everywhere.
Tyler was knocked out.
You don't know if, you know, he's alive or not.
I'm just squirming around on the ground,
didn't know I didn't have legs.
NEWS ANNOUNCER: He and his friend, Tyler Carron,
were trying to change a tire after a high school dance
and were hit by a car.
LANDEROS: Tyler's dad showed up at the scene of the accident.
Well, that's a different deal for me as a parent, you know,
You guys are going to get me choked up.
LANDEROS: I got Flight For Life to Denver.
The next day, he got Flight For Life
so we could be in the same room.
I woke up and I was laying in the hospital bed
with an IV connected to me and everything.
I was told I was real angry,
but I don't really remember because I was so drugged up.
I knew I didn't have one leg when I first woke up,
then I looked down and I didn't have both.
So that was kind of a shocker.
The hardest part was just kind of facing the fact that,
"Okay, we gotta live our life
a little bit different than we have been."
It probably took me like four or five months
to really accept that,
"Whoa, it's going to be like this forever."
LANDEROS: We went through it together, which I think really helps.
You're pretty down when something like that happens,
and it's hard to come back up.
I think it was important for Nikko to be there
because we'd always be competitive, you know.
Like, when I'd go to the prosthetic therapist
and started walking, you know, he'd start walking
and then if he started going down hills first,
then I'd have to go down hills.
It was nice having someone else there to talk to, too,
going through the same thing.
LANDEROS: We both really wanted to make the team,
so we started training and working our butts off.
CARRON: I guess it just made us feel real good there,
to find another sport that we could compete in,
and at the same level of intensity.
We were just kind of naturals, I guess,
and we just stuck with it.
It's something that they needed, you know,
to help them get through it, so...
We could have sat in our wheelchairs and said no,
but we pushed each other.
You can't complain.
You just gotta appreciate what you got.
(music playing, shouting)
JOSHUA PAULS: Off-ice conditioning is huge, on-ice conditioning is huge.
I mean, without off-ice workouts,
you don't make this team.
You keep shaking my hand, "Thank you."
"Hello, sir, good to meet you."
JOSHUA SWEENEY: We treat our shoulders
like a normal hockey player might treat their hips.
SAUER: The real strength of our team comes from their core
and the ability, the flexibility that they have
in controlling their sleds
and controlling their blades on the ice.
I'll do a lot of pull-ups,
a lot of just body movement type exercises with weight.
Going to get tested, huh?
Yeah, don't feel like it, but what can you do?
BRENNAN: They treat our athletes
no different than the able-bodied athletes.
Our players are drug-tested throughout the year,
as they should be.
I think it's great that they keep the sport clean.
PAULS: A lot of times they're random, just at home.
You're at work and hey, USADA's here,
time to go pee in a cup.
If you test positive on a test,
then you know your dreams are over.
Right here, boys.
Guys, welcome David Backes.
He was nice enough to come out and skate with us.
Let's welcome him and let's have fun out here for the next hour.
Around the puck, let's go!
YOHE: David Backes has been an amazing
really kind of a mentor for our team.
He's become such an awesome ambassador,
not only to our team but to our sport as well.
Last night, we were fortunate enough to go
to the Blues/Penguins game.
And not only that,
our tickets and our suite were donated by David Backes.
You know it's right, you know it's right!
BACKES: It just gives me chills to think about some of their attitudes
and some of the strife they've been through,
to be out here smiling,
having a great time doing what they love to do still,
it's a great lesson for anyone to learn.
And they're at the top of their game,
they've won two gold medals and two Olympics.
They keep driving, keep striving to be better,
and that's awesome.
ANNOUNCER: Under 90 seconds to play.
Gold medal game.
Joe Howard has one at home, a gold medal...
It bounced off of Suno!
And the U.S. will win the gold medal
for the first time in eight years!
Gold medalists in 2010 in Vancouver.
YOHE: So winning gold in 2010 was just awesome.
I think one of the coolest things
about the Paralympics and Paralympians
is every single person has an amazing story of triumph.
Every athlete has overcome something
to reach the top spot in their respective sport.
It's unbelievable to see and be a part of.
BRENNAN: At the Paralympic level,
the intensity of all the games is real high.
SAUER: This is every bit as intense
as an NFL football game or an NHL hockey game.
Anyone can get hurt, things happen,
so we just all have to stay healthy
and keep our confidence up.
There's trash talking, they're talking back and forth.
When you put a face mask on people,
you don't see the conversations between the players on the ice.
TYLER CARRON: I guess you can't really say some of the stuff,
but it's kind of inappropriate.
I don't know, a lot of it's bad.
We got cheaters from Texas and (bleep).
BRENNAN: I'll come down to the locker room
and ask, "Hey, what'd you say to that guy?"
every once in a while, and they'll repeat it to me
and I'm like, "Oh, no wonder he wanted to take your head off."
If you know a guy really doesn't like you
to make fun of this specific area about his life,
whether it be his mom or his sister or something like that,
then you might take that just to try to get in his head
and throw him off his game a little bit.
ROMAN: I'm not a trash talking player.
I will get you back when the time comes, you know,
and so I don't do a lot of trash talking.
Picking, there's those picks on the bottom of the sticks,
so when I go and get a good hit on,
I'm going to say it:
a Canadian player, when I go to skate away,
they pick me in the back, and they only do that
because they know the ref's not watching now,
and they know you want to return and retaliate.
But once they get out on the ice,
it's a free-for-all.
They get after it hard.
It's really fun
because the intensity level's through the roof.
LANDEROS: Every camp, we get better and better.
It just progresses.
Today was a lot better than the first practice for sure.
We're just starting to mesh a lot better together
and working as a team a lot better.
SAUER: I like the attitude.
We really approach things with a real positive attitude,
and that's the most important thing right now.
It's been a long day.
I'm ready for a nap.
PAULS: We're going to have maybe one or two practices
before we play our first game in Toronto,
so we gotta make sure we're ready now,
and I think we're just excited to play Russia and Canada
and to really get into that real game mode.
SHAW: This week is one of our major tournaments
called the World Sled Challenge.
It's where four different teams come in from all over the world
to play for this cup, and it's always held in Canada.
CHACE: The four particular teams that are here
I think are arguably the four top teams in the world right now
and we need to be ready to play for any game
no matter who we play.
YOHE: All these teams are good--
Canada and Russia and Korea.
These games are going to be hard hitting
and they're going to be fast,
and it's just going to be really good preparation.
We don't take anyone for granted
in any of these tournaments.
Any day, any game, anything can happen.
SAUER: My biggest goal for this weekend
is to force teams to play with us.
By that, I mean set the pace.
Get out there, do the job
and force them to play at our level.
If we can do that, I hope we can have success.
We're getting close now.
It's time to bond together and go to work.
We're all very impressed with Russia.
They've gotten so much better
since even two years ago.
They're certainly doing the right things
to prepare for Sochi,
and you know, they're certainly not going to be embarrassed
in their homeland.
LANDEROS: They want to be the best in the world
just like we do.
Our goal is always going to be
to be in the gold medal game every tournament,
so we just gotta play our game.
SWEENEY: I'm looking forward to it.
I mean, they've come a long way
since the first time that we played them.
I think this will be a really good game.
BRENNAN: From what I've seen, all they need is more ice time,
so they're definitely, you know, a top three, four team
that can win like anybody else.
There's a ton of tradition in Russia with hockey.
STEVE CASH: It's kind of a traditional rivalry with the 1980 miracle,
when the U.S. national team beat the Soviets
in the semifinal game of the Olympics.
ANNOUNCER: Do you believe in miracles?
CASH: That was a pivotal moment in USA hockey history.
ANNOUNCER 1: Good afternoon,
and welcome to the MasterCard Center in Toronto.
Opening day of the 2013 World Sledge Hockey Championship.
This is the first of six preliminary games.
Team Russia will take on Team USA here today.
ANNOUNCER 2: Yeah, Ken, it should be
a very entertaining first game to get things underway here
from the World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
Team USA certainly the more veteran team here,
but Team Russia's got some good bodies on there.
It should be a pretty physical game.
ANNOUNCER 1: Well, the World Sledge Hockey Tournament is underway
here at the MasterCard Center.
Team Russia gets the puck to center.
They break inside the line.
Good hit there by Landeros, he loves to hit.
Russia out there was a really physical team.
They're really big guys out there.
YOHE: Russia specifically likes to cycle high in the zone,
so just being prepared for that
and not getting lost in their high cycle
is something that I've already just picked up
from watching their games.
ANNOUNCER 1: Here comes the U.S. down the wing.
Here's Sweeney, Sweeney shoots!
A big save early, and the puck is loose!
SHAW: We had very good momentum for the first ten minutes,
and then they turned around and scored the first goal.
ANNOUNCER 1: And a quick shot and they score!
Team Russia up 1-0.
ANNOUNCER 2: Team USA looks really disjointed right now
whereas Team Russia is playing as a cohesive unit.
Injured player right now.
Salamone slams his stick in frustration.
SHAW: We basically had to regroup, stay positive
and work through the struggles we had.
We try to stay positive out there,
even if we are behind a goal.
We keep the tempo up, don't let back.
If they're winning, don't shut down as a team.
ANNOUNCER: Final seconds in the period.
Pauls, backhand pass.
There's a shot, and they score!
Quick slapshot off the stick of Tyler Carron
and a nice play by Josh Pauls to set it up late in the period.
Team USA have tied this game up against Team Russia.
ANNOUNCER 1: Alexi Salamone,
one of the top players in the world,
wears number 21 for Team USA.
ANNOUNCER 2: Salamone, as with many of the guys playing in this event,
has a very unique backstory.
He was a victim of the Chernobyl accident.
ALEXI SALAMONE: My name is Alexi Salamone.
I was born in Briansk, Russia.
I was given up at a couple months after birth,
and then transferred
to the Moscow Institute of Prosthetics
and an orphanage.
As the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded,
the radiation spilled into the air.
The wind was blowing it north,
which affected the region that I was born in.
So my parents were affected heavily,
and it affected me.
A lot of children were born with nerve damage,
a lot of brain tissue damage,
mental delays and physical deformities.
I was born with legs, but they were twisted at the knees,
where I wasn't able to walk.
They had no idea what to do.
They didn't have the resources there to do it anyway.
At three years old, my legs were amputated in Moscow.
At six years old, in 1993,
Susan Salamone and Joseph Salamone
adopted both my sister and I from Moscow.
I grew up dealing with the effects of the world,
be it environmental, socially, growing up with a disability.
But I think over the years,
you kind of hold in it, you know,
and I've been guilty of it, just holding in the pain,
holding in the agony, you know, not really talking about it.
ANNOUNCER 1: Salamone goes after it.
Oh, he's surrounded by three Russian players right away.
SALAMONE: I'm really caught up in the good
and the well-being of being here.
ANNOUNCER 1: Salamone's open, has the puck.
Shooting, he scores!
SALAMONE: It's hard to track back
and look at the disaster that I came from, you know,
but I accept it because that's who I am.
SAUER: We scored some goals, that's the important thing.
I was pleased with the way we adjusted to that style of play.
Now we're going to have to step it up again against Canada.
We just gotta focus on Canada coming up.
That's going to be our toughest test so far.
LIPSETT: They're our toughest competition,
we're their toughest competition.
We're playing in their home country,
so there's obviously going to be a lot of their fans.
So with those games,
we really have to make sure we're on point
with every aspect of our game.
We get on the ice with Canada
and the first thing they're doing
is, you know, trying to get into our heads.
I just saw Team Canada
for the first time downstairs at breakfast.
ROMAN: They were mad-dogging me,
giving me dirty stares at breakfast and at lunch,
and I'm like, "I don't even know these guys!"
Like, "Why are they looking at me like this?"
Yeah, we don't really talk.
Us and Canada are kind of... we're not buddies.
It's a rivalry, that's all I gotta say.
I don't want to get caught with anything else, that's it.
I mean, it's been that way for decades,
so it's the same in sled hockey.
We're going to come out there
and we're going to give it to them.
We're not intimidated, it doesn't work.
Here we go, boys, here we go!
Put it on the net!
Dial that shot in!
Hit the net!
ANNOUNCER 1: The Americans won thisig tournament last year.
The Canadians trying to take the title back.
If they do so, it will be their fifth championship
in the seven-year tournament.
LIPSETT: U.S. and Canada I think are really similar.
They're fast, they're getting younger.
We have a young team, we focus a lot on our speed.
They're physical, we're physical.
That's why I think we're so well matched up against each other
and we have such great games.
YOHE: It's easy to get up for these games.
The energy level is high
and everybody's pumped up and everybody wants to go out
and lay the biggest hit that they can.
ANNOUNCER 1: Six previous World Sledge Hockey Challenges,
Canada has won four of them, the United States the other two.
Into the right wing circle, makes a nice move,
still has the puck to the side of the net,
turning with it, heading to the net,
and the shot with a left-handed, ambidextrous move,
and a very fine save there by Cash
to keep it a scoreless game.
DANIEL McCOY: They're an aggressive team.
They move the puck really well.
They've got some good shooters on the team.
We've just gotta watch out for their puck movement
and make sure we're staying on our assigned man.
ANNOUNCER 1: Little forecheck here for Canada...
It looked harmless enough,
but it made its way from the point
and it's 1-0 Canada
with under six minutes left, first period.
SAUER: We let them get up on us,
and that was the difference in the game.
ANNOUNCER 1: The Canadians up
off essentially what amounts to a turnover
in behind the American net.
They score again!
It's the top line down to Westlake,
and just like that, it's 3-0 Canada.
ANNOUNCER 2: The Canadians have dominated.
Now this is the Canadian team that everybody fears.
Nobody can stop them.
ANNOUNCER 1: One minute remaining.
It's down deep and this hockey game is over.
Canada, the champions of the World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
ANNOUNCER 2: Greatest thing in the world, winning.
Toughest thing in the world, losing.
CASH: We just didn't pull it off.
We're not going to look too far into this
and think that it's a precursor
to how things are going to look in Sochi.
I have the utmost confidence in all 17 of those guys,
and you know, they're all my brothers
and I know what they're capable of.
And I know that when the time comes,
we'll be able to step it up and execute.
It's not so much winning a game, it's winning the right game.
And we've got that right game ahead of us yet,
and that's hopefully in the Paralympics for the gold medal.
At the beginning of the year, we determined that
we were going to carry 17 players on our roster.
We can only dress 15 players in Sochi at the Olympics.
We had to make some difficult decisions.
They're hard decisions.
The worst day in a coach's life
is to cut players or send players home and so forth.
Salamone was the player that really ended up
being the last cut from the team.
He wasn't pleased, but that's just the nature of our business.
We have to make decisions.
Bottom line is we think we have a good nucleus of players
and we're ready to go.
CHACE: You're going to have to commit yourself
literally every day.
You have to commit some part of your day to Sochi.
If you don't, then I think you've already lost.
SAUER: We're a family,
and the next time we're together,
we're going for that gold medal.
We're going for that gold medal.
(yelling): Are you ready?
Who are we?
What do we do?
NEWS REPORTERS: The winter Paralympics in Sochi could be affected
by the political situation in Ukraine...
We've withdrawn a presidential delegation
that was supposed to be attending the Paralympics...
The games are taking place
with the ongoing crisis in Crimea
just 600 kilometers away along the Black Sea coast...
CASH: We heard a few bad things
over the media outlets.
NEWS REPORTERS: Russian forces have strengthened
their control on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula...
Russia's actions continue to draw condemnations...
Meanwhile, 28 foreign ministers at the European Union
held an emergency meeting...
ROMAN: Well, we got off the plane,
we had a lot of security, you know, different buses
and then going through different checkpoints,
and it almost kind of reminded me of a military base
because you have all the fences, you know,
to keep people out and stuff.
You have all these checkpoints.
NEWS REPORTER: The opening ceremony for the games is on Friday evening.
Several countries, including Britain and the U.S.,
have cancelled plans to send their government ministers
in protest over events in Crimea.
Despite this, Obama confirmed that the U.S.
would not be boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the opening ceremony
of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games!
NORM PAGE: Being parents of a disabled child
and to think here we are in Russia,
a place that not that long ago these kids were, you know,
put in orphanages and forgotten about.
The very same athletes that not very long ago in this country
were not able to do what they're doing now,
it's a very powerful thing for us as parents.
SANDY PAGE: The energy, it's electrifying, you know, in those stands.
I think they're just so excited to be here
and to experience this.
BOB ROYBAL: This is as big as it gets, you know?
You're here, you're in the Paralympics,
you're representing your country.
This is what they all want.
"Gold or bust," that's all they say.
This is it.
Hopefully, they win a gold medal.
ROMAN: It was great getting onto the village.
They put us in these rooms, kind of like dorm-style rooms,
and it was really nice, we were all together.
Josh Pauls for Team USA Sled Hockey here for my first blog.
Right now, we're in the Team USA Athlete Lounge.
Got a couple of my teammates watching TV,
cheering on fellow Team USA Curling.
So there's our balcony.
We have a beautiful view outside of Fisht Stadium.
Goalie Steve Cash, a couple other guys outside.
So I'm really excited to get going.
CASH: We got to go to Adler,
to downtown Adler for a little bit as a team
and see the boardwalk,
get a little feel for Russian culture.
ROMAN: Seeing the mountains, unreal.
Seeing these mountains from the village with the snow on them,
just beautiful and breathtaking.
The water right there, the Black Sea,
sunny, but got that breeze coming through.
It was great.
You know, the people are great here, we love it,
but we're here to play hockey.
ANNOUNCER: And so it begins for the Americans.
The United States,
the defending Paralympic Gold Medalists from Vancouver,
are coming into this tournament
as the number two seed behind Canada.
ROMAN: The first game was with Italy.
It was unreal.
The crowd was amazing.
ANNOUNCER: Here's a breakaway for Italy, a chance early.
Gianluigi Rosa giving it up late inside.
Winkler trying to stuff it past Cash,
puck is still loose in the crease,
and Steve Cash, who has not allowed a Paralympic goal,
keeps it out again somehow.
ROMAN: They played really well.
Italy came to play.
I don't think anybody came here to just come to lose.
ANNOUNCER: At the Italian goal, pressure on.
Farmer, the rebound.
Brody Roybal scores for the Americans!
And the Americans and Jeff Sauer win their opener five to one.
YOHE: We're just taking this one game at a time,
so we're just going to go out there
and play our game and play hard
and try to come away with another victory.
ROMAN: Korea, oh, great game, great matchup.
They came out, played really, really strong as well.
The games went so fast, you know?
ANNOUNCER: As the United States here in the first minute,
a shot and a score!
It's Taylor Chace,
and it's one-nothing Team USA, 57 seconds in!
And the United States are now two for two in Sochi
at the 2014 Paralympics.
CASH: To come out with two wins in the Paralympics,
it kind of gave us a little bit of momentum.
Let's go, Page!
ROYBAL: It was so exciting
to have that many people there watching us.
It's nothing like I've ever seen before.
It was so cool.
Yeah, great support
from all the players' families this week.
NORM PAGE: What this has given Adam is just an incredible opportunity
that, you know, I think back to the first week
when Adam was born with spina bifida,
and realize, "Wow, what a journey."
You know, what a journey it's been,
you know, to see him succeed
and, you know, be the young man that he's turned into.
It's really pretty incredible for us as parents to think.
We would never dream that he would have this opportunity.
BOB ROYBAL: My wife and I are in tears almost, you know,
watching the games.
You see him on the Jumbotron,
you see him, they're announcing his name
and, you know, playing for the USA.
Nothing makes you prouder than seeing your kid succeed
at something that they love.
Good to see you!
CHERYL LIPSETT: Back-to-back gold medals hasn't been done.
When they take that gold medal home,
they're going to be the first,
and it's going to be huge
to go back and say, "I represented my country well."
That's what it means to them.
Gotta love him, best friends since seventh grade!
SANDY PAGE: He said to me the other day,
he goes, "Mom, I just love this game."
And that just says it all.
ANNOUNCER: Final preliminary game, the United States and Russia.
So the top two teams in the B pool.
The winner wins the group.
Since it's the Paralympic debut for the Russians,
it is the first meeting ever
between these two countries in the Paralympics,
but they know each other well.
They've seen each other four times in the last 14 months
and the United States have won all four.
It is the hottest ticket in town.
It is the most emotionally charged matchup
of the Paralympic Sled Hockey tournament.
PAGE: The crowd was definitely ready to cheer their home team on,
and Russia came out ready to play.
Bottom line is, it's another hockey game
and we're on a journey here.
If we can beat Russia, it puts us in the number one seed,
and that's where we want to be going into the weekend.
(announcer speaking Russian)
ANNOUNCER: The United States and Russia.
ROMAN: Our line started.
The crowd was unreal.
Every time they touched the puck,
it don't matter if they were in their zone.
MATT FARMER: The roof was just
blown off that place.
ANNOUNCER: Steve Cash once again
in goal for the United States.
Through three Paralympic games, he has never allowed a goal.
CASH: It was a very testy game.
You're playing the host country,
you're playing them on their soil.
It's very nerve wracking.
You travel across the world to, to watch this,
and on one hand it's very exciting,
but on the other hand, your stomach's in knots.
ANNOUNCER: And everybody saw it!
CHACE: I don't know if I want
to share words on camera,
but it was a couple F bombs and this and that.
PAGE: We're playing for our country,
and they are too.
ANNOUNCER: Back come the Americans!
Chance here, Declan Farmer.
Kamantcev says no and shuts the door!
Here they come again.
On the rush, Josh Pauls.
Kamantcev parries it away with a blocker.
Here come the Russians.
Lysov knocked off of it, and that's going to be a penalty.
United States down a man.
And that looked like more frustration than anything else.
ROMAN: Then we got some really bad calls,
getting two penalties and getting a three-on-five.
ANNOUNCER: Here comes the Russian rush
and the crowd rising right along with them.
Shot and save by Cash, but he spills the rebound.
Under ten seconds on the two-man.
Shot in front and a goal!
ROMAN: They scored on that three-on-five,
and that was tough.
Just a huge deflator.
ANNOUNCER: Ilia Volko, his second of the tournament
and the first ever given up by Stevie Cash!
CASH: At that point, we were surprised.
We were astonished that the Russians
had come out with such a drive.
They knew what they wanted to do:
they wanted to beat the United States.
Rebound, knocked back in!
Stevie Cash thought he had it, spilled the rebound
and the Russians are able to follow it in.
Steve Cash, the American goaltender,
over 300 minutes of Paralympic competition without a goal
and then lets up two in the span of about eight minutes.
CASH: That was a rebound that I had given up
that I probably should have had.
ANNOUNCER: Russians leading the Americans two-nothing.
It is going to be interesting to see how the U.S. responds
because it is the first time they've had to play from behind
in this tournament.
Here come the Americans on a rush.
Page is right in front.
Page shovels it in!
The Americans are on the board!
Russians don't have to score, they just have to burn time.
Under a minute to play!
The Americans need one chance, one shot, one goal.
The Russian fans are up, they can see the finish line.
20 seconds left!
The Russians pull the upset and win, two-one!
PAULS: We dominated the game, we knew we played well.
Obviously hockey's a game of who scores the most goals,
and they ended up scoring the most goals.
SAUER: We just didn't have any puck luck,
and a couple calls one way or the other,
those types of things, but that's hockey.
LANDEROS: That was the first time we lost to Russia.
It definitely hurts to lose.
We were all very, very emotional about it,
Obviously we were pretty pissed,
but we didn't blame anyone but ourselves.
ROMAN: We were a little down about it,
questioning, "Am I good enough?
What do I need to do to be better?"
This game's over now, and we need to look forward
to the semifinal, and you know, keep our heads up.
CASH: I don't take losses very well.
Sometimes you have to lose
in order to be a better athlete and a better competitor.
MATT FARMER: What happened, unexpectedly,
is that our route to the gold medal game
got a little bit tougher, I think,
because we play Canada now early in the semifinals
rather than the expected meeting for gold.
SANDY PAGE: We certainly did not want to be in a semifinal with Canada.
They're our biggest rivalry.
ROMAN: They say, "Have a short memory."
Don't worry about that shot you missed, forget about that,
because you'll keep dwelling on that shot you missed
and you won't get the next one.
You lost, oh well.
Focus on the next game.
CHACE: All the athletes, including myself,
we've all come from a very low point in our life,
so to overcome that and then to go beyond that
and achieve Paralympic status, it's pretty overwhelming.
That's why Paralympic sport is so great,
because it allows us to forget about the past
and compete and play for a teammate
and your own country again.
ANNOUNCER: At the Olympic Winter games last month,
the Canadians were triumphant
over their American counterparts.
Today, the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team
will seek to do what the U.S. Olympic Hockey teams could not:
defeat the Canadians,
giving the U.S. a shot to defend their gold.
The winner will play in the gold medal final.
USA, USA, USA, USA, USA!
ANNOUNCER: The Untied States and Canada.
The two top seeds in this tournament.
The two best teams in the world.
The Russians await in the gold medal final.
There is nothing friendly about this rivalry.
CASH: They want that gold medal just as much as we do,
and you can see it in their eyes when that first puck drops.
ROMAN: We've got to bring it,
and how many losses and wins we had before,
that's behind us.
This is the game right now,
and if we want to be in that gold medal game,
we need to go through Canada.
SAUER: If we win this game, we get to the gold medal game,
and that's what it's all about, that's what we came here for.
We just have to come out and set the pace.
ANNOUNCER: The Americans have been beaten once.
They lost their pool final to Russia.
Greg Westlake moving it up, chance here for the Canadians!
Dixon shoots and misses wide.
Here's Bridges now,
all the big guns for Canada crashing the net,
buzzing right in front of Stevie Cash,
and the Americans keep it out of the basket.
Stevie Cash went 313-plus minutes over three Paralympics
without allowing a goal,
and then the Russians touched him twice
in that loss in the pool final.
Is he shaken a little bit?
ANNOUNCER 2: I would expect that to be a motivating factor
ANNOUNCER: And here comes Canada again.
The Americans have to be very careful, Kip.
They have given it away a number of times
and the Canadians almost poached an early goal.
Crowd getting into it.
Declan Farmer, the 16-year-old, with a takeaway.
Here comes the youth line.
He's got the 15-year-old Brody Roybal on his left.
ANNOUNCER 2: Like I said earlier, it's a game of mistakes
and the Canadians are typically a team
that will take advantage of that.
Here comes Declan Farmer.
Farmer waiting on it, he gets through and scores!
United States up one-nothing!
Yeah, looked like Corbin Watson had it.
He kind of chicken-winged it, it went underneath his elbow.
He tried to squeeze it against his ribs.
Worst feeling in the world for a goaltender.
One-nothing, the United States.
The Americans got off to the start they wanted.
Frustrating for the Canadians early on.
They must feel like they've outplayed the Americans
to this point, but they're down one-nothing.
The Americans are starting to win the neutral zone now,
and you can feel that the ice is beginning to tilt
in favor of the United States.
Off the hands of Cash.
Stevie Cash got a bit handcuffed on it.
Maybe it was a dipping shot.
Kevin Rempel on the ice now, number five for Canada,
he's got a couple of touches.
Shot goes wide, by Adam Dixon in the fold!
And able to get back on post to post
is Steve Cash, showing that lateral movement.
Americans have been drawing a lot of attention
both in Sochi and back home.
Did that go in?!
ANNOUNCER 2: Yes, it did!
ANNOUNCER: They're going to count it!
"How did that happen?
", Corbin Watson says.
Declan Farmer scores again!
The Canadians have to just be shot.
Number one seed in the tournament,
they had only allowed one goal through three games,
and they get touched twice
in the first 15 minutes, and maybe more.
SWEENEY: You know, we knew it was...
It was really either this or bust.
The guys were talking out there, we played physical,
we moved the puck, and we had fun.
ANNOUNCER: Time running out on the Canadians in Sochi.
Five seconds to go for the Americans!
They're going to beat the Canadians,
and the Americans will get their shot at history!
They'll play Russia for the gold medal on Saturday!
Shutout for Steve Cash!
Jeff Sauer focused on this one,
but somewhere in the back of his mind is the rematch with Russia.
And now they have a chance to go back-to-back.
No team in Paralympic history
has ever won back-to-back gold medals in sled hockey,
and the Americans are going to get that chance.
FARMER: It was really exciting.
I mean, we played Canada a lot this year.
It was just really fun to get the win.
It was probably the best game we've played as a team
in this whole season.
We're really excited because we get another shot at Russia.
We weren't too happy about the way that last game ended,
and we're wanting to come out and work twice as hard
to come home with a gold medal.
It's one more game,
but it's the most important game of their career.
I went into the room tonight before the game against Canada.
I said, "This is our gold medal game.
"If we can win this game,
we've got a great chance to win a gold medal."
And the guys came out and responded
and did an excellent job.
Our goal was to play for a gold medal.
We knew we would have to go through Canada to get there,
and bottom line is we won the game that we had to win.
Now we're playing for a gold medal.
You gotta go that way.
Oh, Roman's racing!
He makes the inside move!
Here we go.
Did not work.
It's solid, too.
Let's go, let's go!
PAULS: We just gotta play like we did two nights ago,
but we just have to score.
CASH: The season was a difficult one.
We had a lot of ups and downs,
but I think we're a really resilient team,
and it's not about what we've done in the past,
but what we're going to do next, and we're all pretty confident,
and we just can't let Russia get the best of us.
You got it, you got it, watch that puck!
PAULS: You don't want to look back four years from now
or a year from now or two days from now
and say, "I could've done more."
That's the ultimate regret, so we're not about to do that.
SWEENEY: You know, I don't know what the coaches have in store for us.
They know that we know what we need to do,
and they know that our hearts are fully in this next game.
We have to use everything they've taught us
up to this point to win.
CASH: Coach Sauer came in the locker room
and he said, "Play your game, have fun."
ROMAN: He said, "You know, the pressure's on Russia.
"They're the ones hosting the games.
"They're the ones that are in this gold medal game.
They're the ones with all the pressure."
And I was like, "You're right."
You know, like, we don't have no pressure.
It's the other way around.
Coach Sauer, he's amazing--
I mean, I joke around, "the encyclopedia of hockey."
He just knows everything.
And he's taught me so much in these last couple years.
I told him, you know,
"I wouldn't be here and I wouldn't have played as good
if you wouldn't have been the coach."
Both our men's and women's team got beat by Canada,
and neither one of them won a gold medal.
So from our standpoint,
we're the team that can save the gold medal
for the United States this year in hockey,
and we'll use that as a build-up for the game.
ANNOUNCER: Canada have done it!
They've won their fourth consecutive gold medal!
CASH: It was kind of astonishing to see the tough times
that the U.S. Olympic team had over here in Sochi,
and I think it did add a little bit of drive
and a little bit of fire in our hearts.
We wanted to come out and we wanted to avenge their loss.
LANDEROS: We've been getting texts from them, you know,
they've been shouting us out on Twitter,
you know, Shattenkirk, Backes,
they've all been really big supporters, helping us out.
It gives you more fuel there
to just go out and play even harder.
SAUER: To be honest with you,
I think everybody in that room wants to play Russia again.
In the United States, people are getting a chance
to see what these young athletes can do.
The Russian people are seeing what they can do
in a short period of time.
It's a tremendous, tremendous thing
for the sport of sledge hockey.
That's a cool shot, huh?
ANNOUNCER: Sled hockey has been part of the Paralympics
since '94 in Lillehammer.
No team has won back-to-back gold,
something that the Americans had an opportunity to do in '06,
settled for the bronze, and have an opportunity here again
after winning the gold in Vancouver.
ANNOUNCER 2: The U.S., it was a little bit of a wake-up call,
and I think that powered them
through the game against Canada in the semifinals
and got them here to the gold medal,
and now they're going to, you know,
get out there and get after it, and they want to win.
PAULS: You just look up in awe and you go,
"I'm really here, I'm really skating on this ice,
I'm really playing with these guys."
CASH: We knew that there were going to be 7,000 fans
cheering against us, and we wanted to come out here
and we wanted to prove to the world that we were the best.
It's the biggest game of our lives,
so we're going to do everything in our power
to win this gold medal.
ROMAN: This is the one.
We have to beat this game
if we want to go home with a gold medal.
We have to win this one.
Otherwise, why did you come?
You know, why are we here?
ANNOUNCER: Team USA trying to make history,
becoming the first Paralympic sled team
to win back-to-back gold medals.
They did it in Vancouver, trying to do it here in Sochi.
ANNOUNCER 2: And we're getting ready to drop the puck,
and these guys are going to be ready to go.
ANNOUNCER: The Bravo Delta line will start for the United States.
Josh Sweeney, Rico Roman, Paul Schaus.
ROMAN: Both sides came out to play.
They did not come out to just fold over and lose.
They came out ready to rock and roll,
and so did our team.
ANNOUNCER: Team Russia trying to make a play,
gets it back into the USA zone.
Race for the puck, Nikko Landeros.
ROMAN: Right off the bat,
they spread the ice really well,
real physical, getting knocked all over the place.
CASH: A lot of hitting, a lot of good passes made,
and a lot of guys just going and giving it their all.
ANNOUNCER: A tremendous pace to the period.
ANNOUNCER 2: Both teams are really coming after the puck.
CASH: At that point, we knew what kind of team they were.
We knew that they were capable of being the best in the world.
ANNOUNCER: The Americans felt that they did everything right except score
in the first meeting between these two teams.
And whistled down.
CASH: It was mostly defensive.
I didn't see many shots.
Both teams kind of feeling each other out.
ANNOUNCER: Scoreless here in the second period of the gold medal game.
ANNOUNCER 2: First period was very fast paced for this game.
I would expect the U.S.
to probably pick up the pace a little bit,
try and dump some more pucks on net
and see if they can bounce one in.
Opportunity for the Americans.
Sweeney to the net, and he scores!
That is a goal!
What a terrific play!
And the USA with a one-nothing lead!
ROMAN: One-zero is the worst lead
you can have in hockey
because one goal, boom, they're tied with us.
ANNOUNCER 2: Hockey is a game of mistakes,
and the team that can take advantage
of their opponents' mistakes the best
is going to come out on top.
ROMAN: Every time we go for the next period,
we're always saying, "Zero-zero, boys.
It's still zero-zero."
And you gotta play every shift like that.
And you gotta come out there and battle for that puck.
ANNOUNCER: A lot of things can happen
from a face-off in your own zone.
Right now, the Americans get into the corner.
CASH: I was a little bit nervous.
It was in the third period
when the Russians had a lot of pressure.
We were scrambling around in our zone,
and it's usually around then...
...where bad things happen.
ANNOUNCER: A skipping shot from center ice,
and Cash had to be alert on that.
The Americans get to it,
less than five minutes remaining.
High slot, opportunity here!
Knocked down in front of Cash
and cleared by the Americans out to center ice.
ROMAN: I remember Sweeney was going deep into the zone,
just like the last maybe 40 seconds of the game,
he flips it, I got it.
ANNOUNCER: 18 seconds, 17...
Bouncing puck off the stick off one of the Russian players,
the Americans are going to get to it, Rico Roman now.
ROMAN: And I know I could have went to the net, but I was like,
"No, there's not that much time."
So I just took it into the corner.
I looked up at the clock, there was like five seconds left.
I'm like, "Yeah!
", you know, we got this.
ANNOUNCER: He's just going to hold it there,
watching the clock wind down.
And the American sled hockey team has done
what no other sled hockey team has been able to do:
win the gold in consecutive Olympics!
CASH: All I could do was just scream at the top of my lungs,
and years of pressure lifted off of your back.
And I'm here with 16 of my brothers
who I spent the last four years with
and I've shared such a bond with.
I would say it's probably the best 45 minutes of my life.
YOHE: We had to play our hearts out, you know, every game
to really... to make it here.
ANNOUNCER: Andy Yohe!
Katie, Abby, Levi, I love you guys!
It's what we worked so hard for at home, day in and day out.
You know, when nobody's looking and nobody really cares,
that's what we're working so hard for,
and to have it actually come together,
it's just a real special thing.
CASH: It was kind of saddening that it's over,
but also, you know,
we lived in the moment and we embraced it,
and I think everybody was going through the same thing I was.
ANNOUNCER: Please rise as you are able for the national anthem
of the United States of America.
(announcer speaking Russian)
ROMAN: They brought soldiers out to lift up the flags.
It was just unreal
and it almost made me feel like crying,
but I'm not no crybaby, and so I didn't.
You can't be out there crying in front of 7,000 people,
and, "Oh, is that the military guy
crying over there on somebody's shoulder?"
No, no, I can't.
I don't want to be that guy, you know?
("Star Spangled Banner" playing)
♫Gave proof through the night♫
♫That our flag was...♫
CASH: You see the flag raise and the anthem being played
and we all huddled together and sang it as a unit
because we knew that that was going to be the last time
we were going to be together on the ice as one, all 17 of us,
so we wanted to make sure that we cherished it together.
PAULS: To be huddled around all your teammates
singing the national anthem, listening to that play,
and just screaming your heart out,
just screaming words of the national anthem...
Just so much pride in your country,
in your family and your teammates and everything.
You know you've all worked so hard, sacrificed so much.
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the Paralympic medalists!
The Russian team, I mean, they were great.
There was never a moment in that game
where I thought that, you know, we have this,
so it was definitely a game that was a gold medal game.
If it was any other way,
it probably wouldn't feel as good as it does right now.
YOHE: I mean, those guys played their hearts out.
We knew when we came here
that we had a real fight on our hands
and that this was not going to be easy.
They brought home a silver medal, you know,
for their first Paralympic Games.
That's pretty awesome.
As we were shaking hands, one of the other soldiers
that was on the Russian team said, "Good job, soldier,"
and that really meant something to me too,
so it was something special, you know.
That's why I went back and got to shake his hand.
BRENNAN: It's the pinnacle of our sport,
so for these players to be able to say
they participated in a Paralympic Games
is the height of what they're going to do
in the sport of sled hockey, and to do it together as a team
I think is a real special moment for them.
The young kids on our team were so cool and calm
during this whole thing, you know, so mature for their ages,
and the military guys being on our team,
you know, getting to play with those guys,
they're such a good group of guys.
SAUER: It's an emotional thing and you can't imagine,
and you've been with us most of the year,
the last couple years.
You've seen what these guys go through.
You see how tough it is for them
just to get from the locker room to the rink.
You've seen them do things that maybe some normal kids don't do.
And these guys are special athletes,
and they're world-class athletes.
LIPSETT: Thinking back to five years old
when I was told I'd never play sports
and then to be here at the end of a ten-year career
with multiple gold medals in my pocket,
it's a cool experience.
The Paralympics have been a dream of mine
since I was eight years old.
And to have the chance to achieve it now,
it's pretty much indescribable.
ROMAN: When I get to go back and share it
with all the other people in San Antonio,
all the people that have helped me get here,
that's where it's going to be really truly special,
because taking it to those guys and saying,
"Look what I just did, you guys, you can do it too.
If you want something, just go out and get it."
Go behind the scenes with the sled hockey athletes.
"Ice Warriors" is available on DVD.
To order, visit shopPBS.org, or call 1-800-play-PBS.
Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH access.wgbh.org