Brody Roybal

Brody Roybal’s golden goal lifts U.S. to sled hockey world title

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Brody Roybal scored the world championship-winning golden goal, lifting the U.S. sled hockey team past Canada 3-2 in overtime on Saturday.

Roybal, the PyeongChang Paralympic tournament MVP, beat Canadian goalie Dominic Larocque 5:08 into the extra period. The U.S. forced OT when Princeton junior Declan Farmer scored with 3:26 left in regulation of the final in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

The sequence proved similar to last year’s Paralympic final, when Farmer scored a last-minute tying goal and then a golden goal to beat Canada.

The U.S. and Canada have met in four straight world championship finals, trading the biennial titles.

Josh Pauls scored the U.S.’ first goal in the second period. Longtime goalie Steve Cash made eight saves. A full box score is here.

Roybal, born without femurs, was the youngest member of the entire 2014 U.S. Paralympic team at age 15. Last fall, he climbed Chicago’s Willis Tower’s 2,149 stairs using his upper body, arms and hands in 71 minutes (video here).

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Brody Roybal, Paralympic hockey champ, climbs Willis Tower by hand

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Brody Roybal, a two-time Paralympic gold medalist and the PyeongChang hockey tournament MVP, climbed Willis Tower’s 2,149 stairs using his upper body, arms and hands on Sunday.

Roybal, born without femurs, scaled the 1,400-foot building in 71 minutes as part of the 10th SkyRise Chicago, the world’s tallest indoor stair-climbing event.

“I like to prove to myself that I can do things that able-bodied people do,” Roybal, who debuted at the Paralympics at age 15 in 2014, said before the climb. “I think this is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

The fastest able-bodied entrant ascended the former Sears Tower in 17 minutes, 6 seconds.

“I just want to eat and take a long nap,” Roybal said after, his knuckle skin shriveled like chalky prunes.

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U.S., Canada set for gold-medal Paralympic hockey showdown

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To get to the gold-medal game, the U.S. and Canada outscored opponents by a combined 80-1. The final on Saturday (11 p.m. ET, NBCSN and streaming) figures to be a little closer.

The U.S. dropped Italy 10-1 in the semifinals Thursday, hours after Canada dumped host South Korea 7-0, to set up the Paralympic gold-medal game that everybody anticipated.

Nikko Landeros, in his third Paralympics, led the U.S. with a hat trick against Italy. Brody Roybal, the youngest member of the 2014 team at age 15, scored twice and has a tournament-leading 10 goals in five games.

Roybal is one goal shy of the record for a single Paralympic tournament set by American Sylvester Flis in 2002 (via the International Paralympic Committee).

The U.S. was scored on for the first time in the tournament in the third period with the victory already in hand. It outshot Italy 33-4.

BOX SCORE | HIGHLIGHTS

The Americans, already the only nation with multiple Paralympic hockey titles, now bid for a three-peat against their rivals to the north.

“It’s going to be a chess match,” NBC analyst and three-time Paralympian Taylor Lipsett said. “Both teams are fairly equally matched up.”

The Canadians are the reigning world champions, beating the Americans 4-1 in the final (also in PyeongChang) on April 20. Then the U.S. returned the favor with a 3-2 win in Prince Edward Island on Dec. 9. The teams then split a home-and-home series in February.

In 2014, the U.S. blanked Canada 3-0 in the Paralympic semifinals en route to gold. Its final opponent in Sochi, Russia, doesn’t have a hockey team in PyeongChang as it was unable to qualify while banned from competition due to the country’s poor anti-doping record.

The U.S. is dedicating its tournament to its 2014 Paralympic coach, Jeff Sauer, who died of pancreatic cancer in February 2017.

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