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Sweeney's goal gives U.S. gold medal at Paralympics

Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 6:53 PM / News

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Sweeney's goal gives U.S. gold medal at Paralympics
Josh Sweeney's goal in the second period helped the United States earn a 1-0 victory against Russia at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics.

Josh Sweeney scored on a breakaway in the second period to give the United States a 1-0 victory against Russia in the gold-medal game of ice sled hockey at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics.

The U.S. became the first team to defend its goal medal since the sport debuted in 1994, according to USA Today.

Sweeney, a 26-year-old former U.S. Marine, took a Russia turnover in alone on goalie Vladimir Kamantcev and scored 9:28 into the 15-minute period.

"I was a little surprised to have a breakaway in a gold-medal match," Sweeney said, according to the newspaper. "I came in and tried to fool the goalie as much as possible and went top shelf and it worked."

U.S. goalie Steve Cash made six saves. He shut out Canada 3-0 in the semifinals and was the winning goalie in 2010.

"At this point, it's a feeling of euphoria; it's great to get back-to-back gold medals," Cash said. "I can't say enough about how my team played in front of me this whole tournament, and I'm proud of everybody."

The United States was coached by Jeff Sauer, a two-time national champion at Wisconsin (1983, 1990).

"I've coached guys in the National Hockey League and guys that have won national championships, but the chemistry on this team with a 15-year-old and a 35-year old player is better than any team I've ever coached," Sauer said. "There's a bond there and I love them like sons."

Russia defeated the United States 2-1 in the preliminary round.

Canada defeated Norway 3-0 for the bronze medal.

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