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U.S. sled hockey team wins Paralympic gold by beating Russia

U.S. sled hockey team wins Paralympic gold by beating Russia
Members of the U.S. hockey team pose for photos after winning the gold medal in sled hockey at the Paralympic Games on Saturday in Sochi, Russia. (Sergei Chirikov / EPA)

The word "heroic" is overused in sports, but no other word seems appropriate to describe the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey team and its gold-medal victory over Russia on Saturday in Sochi.

Josh Sweeney of Phoenix scored the only goal in a 1-0 triumph, giving the U.S. team the distinction of being the first team to win back-to-back gold medals at the Paralympics.

Four members of the team have served in the U.S. military, and one, backup goaltender Jen Lee of San Francisco, is on active duty in the Army.

Goalie Steve Cash of St. Louis, who lost his right leg to cancer at the age of 3, preserved the win in the final seconds at Shayba Arena. Sweeney, who lost both legs in October 2009 after being injured by an
improvised explosive device while serving with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan, gave the U.S. the only goal it would need at 9:28 of the second period. Here's a link to USA Hockey's story on the game.

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The team was coached by former Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer, who has also coached the U.S. team at the Deaflympics.

Congratulations to all, and here's hoping NHL teams take notice and honor these players as a team or individually when they come home.

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