Heading into the tournament, USA coach Jeff Sauer wanted Adam Page to shoot the puck more. Specifically to shoot the puck on net more and stop creating so many black marks on the glass behind the net.
Page not only got the puck to the net, he got the puck in the net Monday night, scoring twice as the United States cruised past Germany, 7-0, in the second preliminary round game of the IPC Sledge Hockey World Championships at HarborCenter.
Page finished with a four point night – two first period goals (including a power play tally) and two second-period assists.
“It seemed like everything I put to the net was going in,” said the 23-year-old Lancaster native. “This one’s over and we’ve got to focus on the next game.”
The focus is sharp for the Americans, even after easily winning their first two preliminary round games by a combined score of 13-1.
The U.S. pulled back in the third period of Monday’s game, working puck possession, movement and positioning rather than pummeling Germany with more shots on goal.
“As a competitor you always want to keep going as hard as you can but it comes to a point where you really want to show class. We were all perfectly fine with that,” Page said.
Meanwhile the U.S. continued to work on its offense keyed by overall team speed.
“We’re moving the puck really quick and using our speed to our advantage,” Page said. “We’re a really quick team and when we can move the puck quick and use our speed instead of just sitting around, it's hard for anyone to beat us."
Plenty of goals and offensive zone pressure has been the forte of the Americans this tournament with a bit of the "best defense is a good offense" cliche at work. But Page noted the importance of tightening up defensively, something the team will work on during Tuesday’s off day.
“We’ll keep working on moving the puck and figuring out where to be on the ice with each other and jelling a little bit more,” Page said. “And probably we want to play better defensively. I know we’ve only let in a goal so far, but that’s one thing we always want to get better at is playing well defensively.”
Home ice advantage: This is the eighth World Championships for Page and the first time he’s been able to play for Team USA in Western New York. Playing for his country in his hometown is something Page dreamed about. But reality is far better.
“It’s actually better than I expected,” Page said. “You dream about it and for it to actually happen and be in person is really special. I’m just taking each game and enjoying the whole moment. I feel like the pressure is off for it being here. I’m just going out and playing my game.”
He’s also getting text messages and requests from people he barely remembers.
“My mom said for the game with Russia she was getting text messages from people we haven’t heard from in years,” Page said.
Next up: Tuesday is an off day for the entire tournament. The final preliminary round games are Wednesday at HarborCenter. Tickets for the preliminary round games are $5 and be purchased at the door or through tickets.com.
Russia vs. Germany, 10:30 a.m.
USA vs. Italy, 2 p.m.
Canada vs. Czech Republic, 5:30 p.m.
Norway vs. Japan, 9 p.m.