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How to watch IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship

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The U.S. women’s hockey team, after a near-boycott, opens its bid for its first world championship on home ice in Plymouth, Mich., on Friday.

The U.S. also seeks its first four-peat in world championships history, dating to the first tournament in 1990.

Its first three games will be in group play against the world’s other top nations — three-time Olympic champion Canada, Russia and Finland.

The top two teams in group play advance directly to the semifinals next Thursday. The bottom two advance to the quarterfinals.

The U.S. is coached by former NHL goalie Robb Stauber. Its roster is packed with Olympic silver medalists, including forward Hilary Knight, who was the MVP of the last two world championships.

Forward Amanda Kessel is on her first worlds team since 2013 after coming back from a life-altering concussion.

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MORE: Stanley Cup-winning goalie joins U.S. women’s coaching staff

The slated U.S. schedule:

Date Time (ET) Opponent Network
Friday, March 31 7:30 p.m. Canada NHL Network/NHL.com
Saturday, April 1 3:30 p.m. Russia NHL Network/NHL.com
Monday, April 3 7:30 p.m. Finland NHL.com
Thursday, April 6 TBD Semifinal NHL.com
Friday, April 7 3:30 p.m. Bronze-Medal Game NHL Network/NHL.com
Friday, April 7 7:30 p.m. Gold-Medal Game NHL Network/NHL.com

Green Bay Packers pull another Olympic sport TD celebration

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We’re halfway to a decathlon of Olympic sport touchdown celebrations over the last two seasons.

After the hurdles, the long jump, the bobsled and the relay came the race walk on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, once part of a three-man bobsled team, led three other teammates in a race walk after scoring in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. (Adams later left the game with a concussion.)

Adams won the race walk, which was much, much shorter than the standard Olympic distances of 20km and 50km, over teammates Jordy NelsonRandall Cobb and Geronimo Allison.

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Canada in control of hockey rivalry going into Olympics

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Four years ago, the U.S. women’s hockey team rode a four-game winning streak over rival Canada into the Olympics, then lost both games in Sochi, including a gut-wrenching overtime final.

This time, Canada goes into the Winter Games having won four straight.

The Canadians beat the Americans 2-1 in overtime in Edmonton on Sunday night, taking their pre-Olympic series 5-3 overall.

“I don’t think it was our best performance,” Canada coach Laura Schuler said. “There’s still more work to do.”

The Canadians were led by their stalwarts — captain Marie-Philip Poulin scored in regulation, Sochi gold medalist Jennifer Wakefield scored 26 seconds into overtime and longtime goalie Shannon Szabados stopped 34 of 35 shots.

Hilary Knight netted the U.S. goal, with Maddie Rooney making 24 saves.

“The goal for us is to be hitting on all cylinders in February,” U.S. coach Robb Stauber said.

The U.S. appeared to be in that kind of form until about two weeks ago.

Before this losing streak, the U.S. had a 12-4 record against Canada since the start of 2015, including taking the last three world championship finals.

At one point, the U.S. won six straight games over a 12-month stretch, its longest streak over Canada since it famously won eight straight going into the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics then lost the gold-medal game.

Canada also beat the U.S. in their last four meetings before the 2006 Olympics and five straight going into the 2010 Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic team will be announced Jan. 1. The national-team roster is at 25 players (22 skaters, three goalies), but the Olympic roster is 23 (20 skaters, three goalies).

“Can’t live in the past, can’t live in the future, so tonight we were worried about this game,” U.S. captain Meghan Duggan said, according to the Canadian Press. “We weren’t looking ahead to February.”

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MORE: Full Olympic hockey schedule