U.S. Men need a win against Japan tomorrow to secure a spot in the quarterfinals while U.S. Women locked in a 3rd seed quarterfinals spot with a 3-2 record in pool play.
U.S. Men earned their first win of the tournament against Czech Republic (8-3) on the third day of competition. They continued the trend with a 13-3 win against Egypt and another win over North American rivals, Canada today.
The win against Canada was clutch for U.S. Men as they need to win their last two games in pool play for a spot in the quarterfinals. Team USA stacked on goals in the first half against Canada, making it 5-2. Goals from John Kusku and Grej Pesjaka gave the U.S. Men a healthy lead. In the second half, U.S. Men held Canada to their only two goals from the first half and added to their lead with three more goals from Pesjaka and one goal from Joe Hamilton for a final score of 8-2.
“We had a game plan that Coach Boyle set for us,” said Pesjaka. “He told us to throw bouncers in the cut gaps and across the court and that’s what I did and it worked out today.”
With five goals against Canada and numerous excellent saves, Pesjaka was a standout player in the game. “It feels good,” said Pesjaka, “but it feels better to get the win for the team. I mean, we’re here to win the world championship and it all starts and ends with the team.”
The team hopes to dominate the court again tomorrow against Japan and earn a spot in the quarterfinals as the 4th seed in Group B.
A solid start to the tournament was followed by two tough losses for U.S. Women. Team USA was only able to get a single throw through the solid wall of Brazilian defense and let three goals slip into their goal. Then, a 5-2 loss to Canada made U.S. Women 3rd seed in Group D for the quarterfinals.
“[Brazil] executed very, very well,” said U.S. Women’s Head Coach Jake Czechowski, “and we played great defense but they snuck a couple by us. That one’s in the books but we’re still in great shape.”
“It was definitely a tough loss but Canada played a really good game,” said Paralympian Lisa Czechowski. “We just need to refocus, stick to our game plan and we’ll be alright for tomorrow.”
The action continues in Sweden at 7:00 a.m. ET when U.S. Men take on Japan in a must-win situation. U.S. Women take the court against Turkey in quarterfinals at 11:00 a.m. ET. Watch the games live at http://www.wcg18.se/. A podium finish for Team USA would qualify teams for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.