Finland’s Noora Raty sets sights on gold (and possibly Olympic hockey stardom)

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SOCHI, Russia — From Jim Craig in 1980 to Dominik Hasek in 1998, the Winter Olympics has seen its share of hockey goaltending heroics. Saturday in Sochi, the United States women will kick off their tournament against a Finland team that features as good a candidate as any to become the next netminding legend.

Noora Raty has already beaten the Americans once, in November, when she made an incredible 58 saves on 59 shots, helping the Finns to a stunning 3-1 upset at the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid. Some called it the Finland women’s very own Miracle On Ice – even more appropriate given where it took place.

“I was seeing the puck really well,” Raty said Wednesday. “We were able to keep them outside from the best scoring areas. … That’s huge against the USA.”

Making life a bit more difficult for the 24-year-old former Golden Gopher should be the game plan for the Americans on Saturday.

“She definitely competes hard, positionally she does very well and I think she does a great job of keeping them in every game,” U.S. goalie Jessie Vetter said. “We will have to work hard, move the puck around and create deflections to score on her.”

While most of the talk ahead of the women’s tournament has focused on the rivalry between the two powerhouses, the Americans and the Canadians, U.S. coach Katey Stone has maintained all week that her team’s attention is on the Finns.

“The last game we didn’t win was against Finland in the Four Nations Cup,” said Stone, “and there’s not a player in that locker room that doesn’t remember that.”

After Finland on Saturday, the U.S. women have two more preliminary-round games, Monday versus Switzerland and Wednesday versus Canada.

Leaks, electrical outages found in Rio Olympic athletes village

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 23:  Preparations continue at the Olympic Athlete Village for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as seen during a media tour of the venue on June 23, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Thousands of athletes arriving for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics could find major plumbing and electrical problems in their rooms at the Athletes Village with the games opening in just under two weeks.

The International Olympic Committee and local organizers held emergency talks Sunday just hours before the sprawling Athletes Village was set to open officially. The 31-building village will house 18,000 athletes and officials at the height of the games.

This is the latest problem to hit the troubled games.

In a statement Sunday, the Australian Olympic Committee says it will not permit any of its athletes to move into their rooms.

Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Tancred says the building for his team has “leaking pipes, water leaking from the ceiling. We’ve got electrical problems. We’ve got cleaning problems.”

MORE: Ready or Not: Rio Olympics open doors at Athletes Village

Russian whistleblower denied bid to compete in Rio Olympics

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - JULY 07:  Yulia Stepanova pictured during day two of the 23rd European Athletics Championships at Olympic Stadium on July 7, 2016 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images for European Athletics)
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The IOC rejects bid by Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova to compete as neutral athlete in Olympics.