U.S. beats Russia, earns top quarterfinal seed at hockey worlds

Leave a comment

The U.S. men’s hockey team rallied past Russia 5-3 on Tuesday, rolling into the world championship quarterfinals as a top seed.

The U.S. will play Finland in the quarterfinals Thursday at 10:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. A full broadcast schedule is here.

The Americans, with one Olympian on their roster (goalie Jimmy Howard), won their last six group-play games after losing the opener to worlds co-host Germany.

It’s the best U.S. record in group play since the annual tournament switched to a pair of eight-team groups in 2012.

The U.S. downed world powers Russia and Sweden (4-3) in group play, but the favorite is two-time defending champion Canada. Canada topped the opposite group, meaning it would not play the U.S. until a potential gold-medal game on Sunday in Cologne.

The U.S. reached the semifinals three of the last four years at worlds, bagging bronze in 2013 and 2015. It last won the world title in 1960.

Its roster is led by Jack Eichel, a 20-year-old who led the Sabres with 57 points in his second NHL season. The full U.S. roster is here.

New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes scored twice Tuesday, while Howard stopped 16 of 19 Russian shots. A full box score is here.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Bettman quashes renewed Olympic hope in talk with IIHF boss

Laurie Hernandez plans on competing in 2019, agent says

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Olympic gymnastics champion Laurie Hernandez plans on competing in 2019, her agent said.

Hernandez has not competed since taking team gold and balance beam silver at the Rio Olympics, followed by winning “Dancing with the Stars” later that fall.

She said in October that she hoped to compete in 2018 but would not rush a comeback. Hernandez since decided not to compete at the U.S. Championships this August.

No member of the Final Five has competed at the elite level since Rio, though Madison Kocian is in her sophomore season at UCLA and Simone Biles plans to return this summer.

Aly Raisman said in September 2016 that she planned to take one year off, then return to training for a Tokyo 2020 run. But her focus shifted in the last year to something more important — taking on USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee after Larry Nassar sexual-abuse crimes.

The last member of the Final Five, 2012 Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas, has not said in widely reported comments if or when she will return to competition.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Nastia Liukin among gymnastics Hall of Fame inductees

*Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated Hernandez earned Olympic silver on vault rather than beam.

Sonja Henie record at stake; figure skating worlds pairs preview

Getty Images
Leave a comment

When Aljona Savchenko won her first gold medal at her fifth Olympics with her third different partner in PyeongChang, she said she “wrote history.”

She can write some more this week.

Savchenko, who at 34 became the oldest female figure skating champion in Winter Olympic history, and partner Bruno Massot are the only pairs medalists from PyeongChang who are back for the world championships in Milan.

The Germans headline the field for the short program Wednesday and free skate Friday.

MORE: World Champs TV Schedule

Savchenko can tie Norwegian Sonja Henie for the female record of 11 world championships medals. She can grab a share of second on the all-time pairs list with a sixth world title, four shy of Soviet Irina Rodnina‘s record.

Savchenko, who won four crowns with now-retired Robin Szolkowy, goes for her first world title with Massot. They’re clear favorites.

Olympic silver medalists Sui Wenjing and Han Cong withdrew from worlds due to Sui’s foot injury. Olympic bronze medalists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford retired.

It’s arguably a surprise that Savchenko and Massot chose to compete in Milan. They’re the first Olympic pairs champions to compete at a post-Olympic worlds since 1992.

Their top challengers are Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who outscored Savchenko and Massot in the Olympic short program but dropped off the podium in the free skate with a fall on their throw.

U.S. champions Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Christopher Knierim, 15th at the Olympics, made the top 10 in all of their four world championships appearances with a best finish of seventh. The last U.S. pairs medal came in 2002, the nation’s longest drought in any figure skating discipline.

The Knierims were the only U.S. pair in PyeongChang, but in Milan they’re joined by Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholomay.

Stellato earned singles silver at the 2000 World Junior Championships, then retired at age 17 due to hip injuries. She came back at age 32 in 2016 in pairs and, with the Sochi Olympian Bartholomay, took bronze at this year’s nationals.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Best figure skating moments from PyeongChang