Seth Rubinroit

Sweden crowned world champs after shootout

Leave a comment

COLOGNE, Germany – Sweden won the ice hockey world championship with a 2-1 victory on penalties over two-time defending champion Canada on Sunday.

Sweden goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped all four penalties as Nicklas Backstrom and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored shootout goals for the Swedes to win their first title since 2013.

The game ended 1-1 after overtime.

Lundqvist and Canada counterpart Calvin Pickard, who saved William Nylander’s first penalty for Sweden, were outstanding in a game in which the Canadians narrowly outshot their opponents by 43-42.

The breakthrough came against the odds, with Backstrom penalized for slashing, when Victor Hedman scored short-handed with 20.8 seconds left in the second period.

Ryan O’Reilly equalized when he scrambled the puck in off a rebound from Mitch Marner.

Nate MacKinnon missed a good chance to clinch the win for Canada on a power play before overtime.

The U.S. was eliminated by Finland in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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

April Ross wins first tournament since splitting with Kerri Walsh Jennings

Getty Images
Leave a comment

April Ross and Whitney Pavlik defeated Kim Dicello and Emily Stockman 2-1 (14-21, 21-16, 15-11) to win the AVP Austin Open on Sunday. It was the first victory for Ross since splitting with 2016 Olympic bronze medal teammate Kerri Walsh Jennings in April.

“It’s been a rough couple of weeks partner-wise, but Whitney stepped in and did amazing,” said Ross, who served an ace on match point.

Ross had not won a tournament without Walsh Jennings since 2015, when she claimed the AVP Huntington Beach title with Lauren Fendrick.

Ross plans on playing with Fendrick, who partnered with Brooke Sweat at the Rio Olympics, for the rest of the AVP and international season, beginning at the FIVB World Tour event in Moscow in early June. Ross teamed with Pavlik in Austin because Fendrick was playing at the FIVB World Tour event in Rio, where she finished tied for 17th with Lane Carico. Longtime friends Ross and Pavlik placed third earlier this month at the Huntington Beach Open.

Ross told OlympicTalk that “the final nail in the coffin” for her partnership with Walsh Jennings was when Ross signed an exclusivity agreement with the AVP for domestic events leading up to the Tokyo Olympics, while Walsh Jennings decided not to. But Ross made it clear that the split was not a “negative thing,” and Walsh Jennings wrote that she has “so much love in my heart for April” in a Facebook post.

Walsh Jennings is expected to make her international debut with her new partner, who has not been announced, at the FIVB World Tour stop in Croatia the last week of June.

NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will air Austin Open coverage Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: April Ross details future after split with Kerri Walsh Jennings

U.S. rugby concludes best-ever season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The U.S. ended the 2016-17 Rugby World Series ranked fifth, its best result in the Series’ 18 seasons, after finishing fourth in the season’s final tournament on Sunday in London. The U.S. ranked sixth the two previous seasons.

Perry Baker became the first U.S. player to lead the Series in tries, with 57. He was second last season, a distant 18 tries behind South Africa’s Seabelo Senatla, who finished tied for fourth this season.

Baker also paced the Series with 285 points (a try is worth five points). Teammate and captain Madison Hughes finished third with 279 points.

“It’s easy to score when the guys on the inside do all the work,” Baker told reporters in London.

Baker, who is known for his highlight-reel tries and no-look passes, became the focal point of the U.S. attack this season with Carlin Isles, who is known as the “fastest man in rugby,” sidelined for eight of the Series’ 10 tournaments with various injuries. Isles scored more tries than any other player at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where rugby sevens made its Olympic debut. Baker and Isles are nicknamed “The Slow Bros” because they are two of the fastest players on the pitch, but two of the slowest off of it.

South Africa topped the Rugby World Series standings for the first time since 2008-09. South Africa claimed the bronze medal at the Rio Games.

Fiji, the 2016 Olympic champions, finished third. The U.S. finished ninth at the Rio Olympics.

Coverage from London will be televised Monday at 12 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Several members of the rugby sevens team, including Hughes, will join the 15-a-side program this summer. USA Rugby will open its Emirates Airline Summer Series on June 10 in Harrison, N.J. on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Fiji puts Olympic champion rugby team on dollars, coins