Shannon Szabados, Monique Lamoureux

U.S.-Canada women’s hockey fight (video)

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In the first of six pre-Olympic exhibition meetings, Canada beat the U.S. women’s hockey team 3-2 in Burlington, Vt., on Saturday night.

The Americans played a lackluster first two periods, but the intensity picked up in the third as they rallied from a 3-0 deficit.

With a little over three minutes left, American forward Monique Lamoureux collided with Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados. This was a true meeting of giants.

Lamoureux was the leading scorer at the 2012 World Championships. Szabados is Canada’s No. 1 goalie who has set records playing for a men’s team back in Canada.

Canadian defenseman Courtney Birchard took exception to the collision and ran down Lamoureux against the boards and down onto the ice. Lamoureux’s twin sister, Jocelyne, quickly came to her aid. More players joined.

Fists flew. So did helmets, gloves and sticks.

This is nothing new for the U.S.-Canada rivalry. They’ve played in all but one Olympic gold-medal game dating to its first edition in 1998. has won the last three.

“We had a similar scrap in 2010, so I guess we have one every Olympic cycle to get it out of our system,” Canadian four-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser told The Associated Press. “It was kind of fun to see, and it brought a lot of intensity to another dog fight with these guys. There are few if any blowouts in this series.”

The image of Szabados getting bowled over by Lamoureux, regardless of intention, brought to mind a similar incident at the 2007 World Championships. There, a Canadian player knocked down U.S. goalie Chanda Gunn.

The player was Gillian Apps, the all-time penalty minute leader in the National Women’s Hockey League whose grandfather, Syl Apps, won the NHL’s Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play in 1942 and competed in the pole vault for Canada at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Future of greatest Olympic women’s hockey player uncertain

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

Sam Girard
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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire

Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

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Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

MORE: How Gracie Gold landed in Philadelphia, thoughts competitive return

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