Host nation the United States got their International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool campaign off to the best possible start as they thrashed Russia 6-1 in their opening match in Buffalo.
In a repeat of the Sochi 2014 gold medal contest, also won by the United States, the Americans got the better of their Russian counterparts once again in what was a fascinating battle in front of a raucous sell-out crowd.
Youngster Brody Roybal opened the scoring for the hosts in the first period, before Josh Sweeney and Declan Farmer both found the net in the second to give their side a 3-0 lead.
Russia managed to pull one back through Ilia Volkov but it was to prove a fleeting moment of success for his team.
Josh Pauls reinstated America’s three-goal lead in the third period and Sweeney doubled his personal tally to extend their advantage to 5-1.
Joshua Misiewicz then put the gloss on what was a commanding performance from the home side by adding a sixth late on to ensure they got off to a winning start in Group B.
“It was a world of difference out here [compared to Sochi] having that many fans to cheer 'U-S-A, U-S-A' the entire game,” Roybal said.
“It was amazing.”
In the other match in the group, European champions Italy narrowly edged a tight contest with Germany as Andrea Macri’s first-period opener proved enough to give his side a 1-0 win.
Elsewhere on the opening day of the event, due to take place until next Sunday (May 3), world champions Canada looked in formidable form as they inflicted a crushing 17-0 defeat on a Japanese side who had stunned them with a shock victory in the semi-finals of the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver.
There was to be no repeat this time around as Canada dominated from start to finish, with Greg Westlake, who scored the first just 20 seconds into the match, the pick of the defending champions attack , bagging five goals.
The other contest in Group A also went the way of the form book as Norway, eager to get on the podium at this event following a fourth-placed finish at Sochi 2014, beat the Czech Republic 4-1.
The victory was far from routine however as the Czech side opened the scoring in the first period thanks to Michal Geier, but the Norwegians responded well and effectively ended the contest with a three-goal salvo in the second period.
The competition is due to continue today as the Czech Republic face Japan, Canada entertain Norway, Italy play Russia and Germany go up against the United States.
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