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USA Hockey adds 2 more players to Olympic women’s pool

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USA Hockey added two more players to its pool of potential Olympic women’s team members in a move reminiscent of Herb Brooks in 1980.

Forward Haley Skarupa and defenseman Sidney Morin joined the national team, making 26 players (23 skaters, three goalies). The 23-player Olympic roster will be named New Year’s Day (20 skaters, three goalies).

The original 23-player national team was named in May, but it was not the Olympic team. USA Hockey always had the option of adding players to the pool in the run up to the Winter Games.

Cayla Barnes, a freshman defenseman at Boston College, was added in October.

Now enter Skarupa, a member of the last three world championship teams, and Morin, who has no Olympic or senior world championships experience.

Skarupa, 23, was the only one of 12 skaters who made all three world championships teams in this Olympic cycle who didn’t make the original cut for the national team in May. Forty-two players tried out for the original 23 spots.

Morin, 22, has never played for the senior national team but was one of 12 defenseman who tried out last spring. Ultimately, seven were chosen, with an eighth added in Barnes.

Morin completed her career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth last season and now plays professionally in Sweden. She is the only player on the national team coming over from a European club.

The additions conjure memories of the 1980 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team.

A month before the Lake Placid Winter Games, Coach Herb Brooks famously added two forwards — Minnesota freshmen Aaron Broten and Timmy Harrer — but the original player pool that had been together for six months convinced Brooks to send them home.

The U.S. women have two more pre-Olympic exhibitions versus rival Canada on Sunday (NBCSN, 4 p.m. ET) and Dec. 15 ahead of the Olympic roster announcement.

The Americans won three of their four meetings so far this fall, including in the Four Nations Cup final Nov. 12.

Two-time Olympians and twins Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando did not play in any of the four games at the Four Nations Cup, reportedly as healthy scratches.

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U.S. Women’s National Team
Goalies
Nicole Hensley
Alex Rigsby
Maddie Rooney

Defensemen
Cayla Barnes — Added in October
Kacey Bellamy — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Megan Bozek — Olympian (2014)
Kali Flanagan
Megan Keller
Monique Lamoureux-Morando — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Gigi Marvin — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Sidney Morin — Added in November
Emily Pfalzer
Lee Steckelin — Olympian (2014)

Forwards
Hannah Brandt
Dani Cameranesi
Alex Carpenter — Olympian (2014)
Kendall Coyne — Olympian (2014)
Brianna Decker — Olympian (2014)
Meghan Duggan — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Amanda Kessel — Olympian (2014)
Hilary Knight — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Sidney Morin — Added in November
Annie Pankowski
Kelly Pannek
Amanda Pelkey

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).

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Yuzuru Hanyu to miss Japan Figure Skating Championships

Yuzuru Hanyu
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Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world figure skating champion, will miss his national championships this week due to ankle and knee injuries suffered in a Nov. 9 practice fall, according to Japanese media citing the Japan Skating Federation.

Hanyu can (and very likely will) be named to Japan’s three-man Olympic team despite missing nationals.

Hanyu has reportedly been off the ice for more than one month since the fall.

“It is an important selection competition, and the Olympics are a big goal, so with that in mind we would like to think things through together,” Japan Skating Federation director Yoshiko Kobayashi said last week, according to Kyodo News.

Hanyu, who turned 23 on Dec. 7, fell on a quadruple Lutz attempted and then favored his right ankle in a Nov. 9 practice at a Grand Prix event (video here).

He skated the run-through for his free skate, although he elected not to do any more jumps.

“I have been told by the doctor that I need 10 days of complete rest,” Hanyu said in a statement on Nov. 12, according to Kyodo. “Following that, it will take three to four weeks to return and get back to where I was.”

Hanyu and world silver medalist Shoma Uno are favored to lead Japan’s Olympic men’s figure skating team. The third spot is likely to go to Takahito Mura or Keiji Tanaka.

Hanyu competed twice this season.

He posted a world-record short program score in his debut at a small September event in Canada, but struggled to fifth place in the free skate and finished second overall behind two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.

He then finished second to U.S. champion Nathan Chen at the first Grand Prix event of the season in Moscow in October.

Chen is the only undefeated male singles skater this season.

Hanyu won four straight national titles before missing last season’s event with the flu.

He was still named to Japan’s team for worlds, where he won his second title in four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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