U.S. women’s hockey team stuns Canada in overtime for World title

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KAMLOOPS, British Columbia (AP) — Alex Carpenter put another gold medal around the Americans’ necks.

The daughter of former NHL player Bobby Carpenter struck 12:30 into overtime to lift the United States over Canada 1-0 Monday night to win the World Championship.

The U.S. power play was 0 for 3, but Carpenter scored shortly after time expired on a U.S. 4-on-3. She got her stick behind a sprawling Maschmeyer to bat the puck in.

“It got pretty quiet, so I wasn’t really sure if it went in,” Carpenter said. “I’ve had some chances throughout the tournament, and I guess this was just the right place at the right time. I would have given up any other goal at any other point for this one.”

The U.S. went undefeated en route to its third straight World title and extended its win streak in the tournament to 14 consecutive games dating to 2013.

The U.S. and Canada have met in every final of the 17 World Championships. Canada won the first eight, but the balance of power has swung south of the border with its archrivals now taking seven of the last nine.

“For sure this one stings a lot more, especially playing in Canada,” Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin said. “Every time you work so hard for something and you get silver, that’s hard.”

In contrast to last year’s 7-5 finale won by the U.S. in Malmo, Sweden, the gold-medal game at the Sandman Centre was a goaltending showcase.

Canada’s Emerance Maschmeyer made 33 saves in her first start in a World Championship final. The 21-year-old dressed for two games but did not play in Malmo last year.

Alex Rigsby, who had more big-game experience, posted a 32-save shutout. She was the finisher of last year’s final, playing just over a period in relief of Jessie Vetter.

“It definitely helped getting that gold-medal victory,” she said. “Same thing, it was going out there and making sure I was trusting my talent and making sure I was doing the things I could do to help our team be successful.”

Canada outshot the U.S. 25-23 over three periods but was outshot 9-4 in the third and 11-7 in overtime. The Canadians didn’t capitalize on a pair of power-play chances in overtime and went 0 for 6 with the man advantage overall.

Rigsby’s spectacular pad save on a deking Laura Fortino and Maschmeyer stoning Carpenter on a short-handed breakaway had the sellout of 5,850 buzzing in the second, as did Halli Krzyzaniak‘s well-timed block on a U.S. odd-man rush late in the period.

The Americans beat Canada north of the border for gold for the second time in the last three Worlds. The U.S. prevailed 3-2 in the 2013 final in Ottawa. A dozen players from that squad played again in Kamloops.

Canada may be the reigning Olympic champions, having beaten the U.S. in a 3-2 overtime thriller in 2014, but the U.S. is winning more Worlds skirmishes between Winter Games and performing on demand more consistently.

Hilary Knight, widely considered the best power forward in women’s hockey, and Meghan Duggan have played in all seven of those finals. Coached by former NHL defenseman Ken Klee for a second year, the U.S. outscored their opponents 23-2 in the tournament.

The Americans were the more rested team in Monday’s final, having cruised to a 9-0 win over Russia in Sunday’s semifinal. Canada burned more fuel getting by Finland 5-3 with its Sunday night semifinal.

Each country’s roster consisted mostly of players from rival leagues. The Americans had 10 players from the new U.S.-based NWHL, while 18 Canadians spent this season in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

Russia downed Finland 1-0 in a shootout for the bronze medal.

Finnish goaltender Meeri Raisanen, defensemen Monique Lamoureux of the U.S. and Jenni Hiirikoski of Finland and forwards Knight of the U.S., Rebecca Johnston from Canada and Christine Hueni of Switzerland were named to the tournament All-Star team.

Knight was voted the tournament’s most valuable player by the media.

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Ginny Fuchs hopes to emerge from OCD, tearful Olympic experience

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None of the boxers at this week’s U.S. Olympic Trials competed at a prior Olympics, but flyweight Ginny Fuchs remembers the specifics of her one Olympic experience in Rio.

Fuchs, who won the 2016 Olympic trials but failed to clinch a spot at the Games in international qualifiers, was nonetheless named team captain and brought to Rio as a sparring partner.

She had mixed feelings. Watching from the crowd as Claressa Shields repeated as Olympic champion on the final day of the Games was motivating. Fuchs had toyed with turning professional but, after talking to Shields, decided to forge another four years as an amateur for another chance to become an Olympian.

The Rio Olympic Opening Ceremony, two weeks before that Shields final, was too much for Fuchs to bear. She could not stay in the Athletes’ Village nor march with the U.S. delegation at the Maracana.

“I remember watching the Opening Ceremony at the place I was at with everybody,” she said. “I couldn’t watch. It was hard for me to watch. I went back to my room, cried and went to bed.”

Fuchs is favored to win the 51kg/112-pound division this week at Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Lake Charles, La., with finals streaming live on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday (4-7 p.m. ET). It’s one of five women’s Olympic weight classes, up from three in 2012 and 2016, the first two editions of the Games for female boxers.

No boxer can clinch an Olympic spot this week, but failing to make a final would all but end Tokyo hopes.

Fuchs’ toughest opponent in this Olympic cycle — which included an undefeated 2017 and a 2018 World bronze medal among more than 130 fights — may be herself. Fuchs has been open about struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It started in fifth grade.

“I can remember the first time I was on the school bus, and I was looking at the ground and looking at everybody’s backpacks on the floor,” said Fuchs, a 31-year-old from the Houston area. “And an instant thought came in mind, like, Oh my god. Everybody’s backpack is getting contaminated by this dirty floor on the bus.”

She cited a more recent example: spending up to 40 minutes washing her hands searching for that “perfect clean feeling.” Fuchs found boxing via a boyfriend after she was kicked off the LSU cross-country running team as a freshman walk-on for damaging school property in a prank.

She said the disorder hit her hardest this year. In January, she was driving to a Walmart three times a day to buy cleaning supplies, according to The New York Times.

She underwent intensive therapy and skipped October’s world championships, where she could have established herself as a clear Olympic gold-medal favorite.

“I still am going to probably do therapy for the rest of my life,” Fuchs said. “Maybe not as intense as I’m doing it right now, but it’s almost like training for boxing.

“You’ve got to keep training to keep winning in boxing. So I’ve got to keep training my OCD thoughts and how to handle and manage it. … Boxing is giving me hope almost. Like OK, outside the ring and in my room and the bathroom, I feel like [OCD] controls me and feel trapped. But I have this environment in this space in the gym, in the boxing ring, where I can be myself. And not let it attack me in a way where I can still enjoy life and not be trapped.”

Should Fuchs make the final of her division in Lake Charles, she will advance to a January camp and tournament, after which the U.S. roster for Olympic qualifying will be named.

If selected, Fuchs would head to a North and South American Olympic qualifying event in early spring in Buenos Aires to clinch the spot she could not secure four years ago. If necessary, she could get a second chance at a global qualifier in May in Paris.

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Yulia Efimova has lawyer ready if Russia ban affects her

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Yulia Efimova, the Russian swimmer who earned two Rio Olympic silver medals after initially being excluded from the Games for serving a prior doping ban, is bracing for another legal fight after the latest sanctions against her nation.

On Monday, Russia was banned from the 2020 and 2022 Olympics and the next four years of world championships in Olympic sports due to more recent anti-doping violations. However, its athletes can still compete as neutrals, if meeting specific anti-doping criteria, similar to how they did at the PyeongChang Winter Games.

Efimova was initially barred from the Rio Olympics under an IOC mandate that any Russian who previously served a doping ban would be ineligible due to the country’s anti-doping violations at that time.

Efimova appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which ruled that IOC stipulation unenforceable. She went on to earn 100m and 200m breaststroke silver medals and develop a rivalry with American Lilly King, who said Efimova should not have been eligible.

It’s unclear from Monday’s ruling whether Efimova will be allowed to compete as a neutral, should Russia accept the sanctions or any appeal to CAS by the nation be denied.

“I will behave in a similar way,” to 2016, Efimova said, according to RT.com. “I have already hired a lawyer. There is a rule that a person can’t be punished twice for the same offense. If you violate a driving code or instigated a brawl you will not be punished twice for that. I hope it will work, but I cannot be sure of [a positive outcome].

“Right after my race at the Rio Games, I said that this doping controversy was not over, it was just the beginning, and we would have problems in the future. It was quite clear. And with every new year the situation is only getting worse and worse.”

Efimova, 27 and the two-time reigning world 200m breast champion, was banned 16 months between 2013 and 2015 after testing positive for a steroid. A FINA panel ruled that Efimova was not intentionally trying to cheat but was negligent in failing to read the label of a GNC store supplement.

“Yes, long ago I made a doping violation,” Efimova said this week, according to RT. “But there are a great number of U.S. and European athletes who have a similar situation regarding doping, and they are competing without any restrictions. If you want to introduce those regulations, they must be equally applied to all athletes, not only Russian competitors.”

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