PYEYONG CHANG, SOUTH KOREA - Declan Farmer scored the equalizer with just 37.8 seconds to play in the third period and tallied his second goal of the game 3:30 into overtime to lead the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team over Canada, 2-1, and win an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal at the Paralympic Winter Games.
Josh Pauls of Green Brook, added an assist in the win as he takes home his third gold medal. "It's unbelievable and indescribable," he said after the game. "Winning never gets old. We were pumping each other in the locker room and we knew we had the best players in the world. We knew we had to score."
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"We were making hard plays, I was behind the net when Declan scored the tying goal, and I saw him come around the corner with the goalie down and beat, and I was just like, here we go, this is Declan Farmer time. And then I saw him pop one top shelf, because that's just what he does in overtime. It's an unbelievable feeling to go and hug your teammates - Steve (Cash) on the bottom of the pile, you're just trying to protect his head from all the sleds piling in. But it's such an unbelievable feeling.
* Pauls previously won gold in Sochi in 2014 and Vancouver in 2010.
* Pauls was born without tibia in both legs.
* He was named Best Defenseman of the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship and named a finalist for the 2015 ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete with a Disability.
On winning a third consecutive Paralympic Winter Games gold medal in ice hockey after an overtime goal, Pauls said, "If you asked any kid then the dream would be to come from 1-0 down, go into overtime and score a winning goal in a Paralympics final."
In six Paralympic Winter Games, the United States has now won four gold medals (2002, 2010, 2014, 2018) and one bronze medal (2006).
With 2:54 remaining in the first period, Canada took a 1-0 lead when Billy Bridges’ shot from the left faceoff dot bounced off of USA goalkeeper Steve Cash’s blocker and into the net. The score held until the last minute of the game. In the final minute, Team USA pulled Cash for the extra attacker. After Canada had an attempt on the empty net ring off the post, the U.S. countered and Farmer buried a loose puck in front of goal to even the score with 37 seconds to play.
The teams entered a 15-minute, four-on-four sudden death overtime period, where Farmer beat Dominic Larocque glove-side for the winner at 3:30 of the frame.
On dedicating the win to former coach Jeff Sauer, who died of cancer in February 2017:
"Coach Sauer took over the US sled hockey program in 2012,” Paul’s said. “He passed away from cancer last February so coach (Guy) Gosselin has done a great job taking up the slack, filling that role. He (SAUER) meant everything to us and if I was to tell you exactly what he meant to this team, we would be sitting here for hours.
"The guy was something. He was a mentor, he was a father, he was everything. To lose him so suddenly was tough but to rally round is something we are very proud of. We felt his presence today, especially when that puck hit the post (Canada, leading 1-0, hit the post with a minute of play remaining). That was coach looking out for us."
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