Our own Sled Hockey team, the DC Sled Sharks, traveled to Vineland, NJ on January 10th for their first game! NRH's Recreation Therapy Coordinator Joan Joyce graciously drove the Sharks -- who range in age from 7 to 14 years old -- to New Jersey to take on the Vineland team.
DC Sled Sharks Sean Thompson and Nate Murray
On the strength of a four goals offensive explosion in the second period, some timely goaltending and some defensive heroics including the Sharks' Sean Carlson's blocking a shot with his helmet late in the game, the Sharks led the hosting team to a very entertaining 4-4 tie.
The Sharks found themselves down 2-0 early in the game, but fought off the early game jitters to make a game of it. In addition to his puck blocking, Sean Carlson provided a lot of offensive muscle with 3 goals and an assist, earning the "game puck" award in the process. Supporting him with strong offensive contributions were Joel Pool with a goal and an assist and Sean Thompson with two assists and Alex Gonzalez who contributed an assist and a lot of tenacious forechecking. The Sharks led by as much as 4-2 in the second but Vineland valiantly fought back to a tie with goals in the second and third periods.
Some strong defensive efforts from Erik Madaus and Mark Hoppman also kept the game close when Vineland was threatening. Madaus stymied a number of Vineland breakout attempts at the blue line, and Mark made two key interceptions on Vineland breakout passes. Nate Murray made the save of the game when he blocked a Vineland breakaway midway through the second period and provided steady goaltending throughout the first and second period. Gonzalez took over netminding duties in the third and lunged to the side of the net to block a shot that would have sealed the game for Vineland.
The Vineland team provided some excellent competition and the Sharks thank them for a fantastic game and their hospitality at the rink. The team looks forward to returning the favor when they're in DC for a game at Kettler Capital Iceplex.
Learn more about the NRH Sled Hockey program.