By Paul Osborne

The US and Canada will battle it out in a three game ice sledge hockey series this week ©Getty ImagesJanuary 8 - Defending Paralympic ice sledge hockey champions the United States will go head to head with world champions Canada in a three-game series due to get underway at the Extreme Ice Centre in the North Carolina town of Indian Trail tomorrow.

The competition is likely to be the teams' last international tournament prior to the Sochi Winter Paralympics in March and will give each nation an opportunity to showcase their squads ahead of the Games.

"We're excited to be returning to Extreme Ice Centre and North Carolina for this series against Canada," said Dan Brennan, general manager of the US Paralympic ice sledge hockey team.

"Not only is this an opportunity for the fans to see the best sledge hockey players in the world, but also a chance to watch some fantastic competition as we prepare for the Paralympics."

The US and Canadian teams will top the bill at the Paralympics in Sochi with each hoping to claim the top prize and return home with the all important gold medal.

The United States will be looking to reassert their dominance over Canada following two defeats in major finals last year ©Getty ImagesThe United States will be looking to reassert their dominance over Canada following two defeats in major finals last year ©Getty Images

Canada, who failed to win medal at Vancouver 2010 following shock defeats to Japan in the semi-finals and Norway in the bronze medal match, will be looking to continue the form that saw them beat the US in both the World Championship final in April and the World Sledge Hockey Challenge last month.

The US will be hoping to make it four in four in terms of medals at the Winter Paralympics having secured two golds and a bronze in the last three Games.

The defending champions have had a tough time against the Canadians over the past year but with seven members of the 2010 gold medal winning team present in this year's squad their sights will be firmly set on gold come March.

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