SOCHI, March 11 (Xinhua) -- More than 5600 spectators watched a fierce competition Tuesday afternoon in the Shayba Arena, with Russian sledge hockey team beating the U.S. 2-1 in a preliminary round group B game during the Winter Paralympics.
Russian Goalie Vladimir Kamantcev delivered one of the best performances of the sledge hockey tournament, outplaying his U.S counterpart Steve Cash and leading Russia to the top of group B with a 2-1 win.
Russia ended two runs, snapping Cash's Paralympic Winter Games shutout streak of more than 300 minutes dating back to Torino 2006, and handing U.S. its first Winter Paralympics loss since that tournament.
Kamantcev stopped 10 shots, many quality chances, in the first 10 minutes before his team tested Cash. The Russian netminder ended the game with 22 save.
Cash's streak ended at the 11:57 mark of the first period with Russia on a two-man advantage. Russian defenseman Ivan Kuznetsov slid the puck across the goal to forward Ilia Volkov, who slotted it into the upper left corner to make it 1-0.
The Russians increased their lead with some luck. A few minutes into the second, forward Konstantin Shikhov fired from the left. Cash made the save but the rebound slid into the path of a recovering Brody Roybal. It bounced off his sled and into the goal, leaving coach Sergey Samoylov with a sheepish grin and his team with a 2-0 lead.
The U.S. forward Adam Page's third goal in two games cut the lead to one with about 10 minutes to go in the third period but that was as close as the U.S. got.
After the games, Shikhov, who scored one goal for the team, told reporters that after losing to South Korea and winning the Italians, the team understood they needed to get to the semifinals by all means and we had to somehow beat the U.S. "There was no single-player game. The whole team scored," he said.
Jeff Sauer, the U.S. coach, said his team played as welled as they could, and it dominated play for the majority of the game. Therefore, he won't criticize his team at all, he concluded.