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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Punahou, Barack Obama’s school, produced Olympic talent in 4 sports

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Some high schools have a swimming tradition. Others produce great ice hockey or water polo players. The Punahou School in Honolulu, private and K-12, is best known for a student who also played basketball — its most famous graduate, Barack Obama.

Also this: Dating to Obama’s tenure in 1976, at least one Punahou student went on to make the last 11 U.S. Summer Olympic teams.

And with the addition of skateboarding and surfing to the Olympic program, there are former Punahou students among the best in the country in four different Olympic sports, plus another Paralympic sport.

“One of my favorite things about going to Punahou was that I felt like I was surrounded by a lot of excellence,” said Carissa Moore, the reigning world champion in surfing and a Punahou grad. “A lot of my friends are some of the smartest girls, women. … The whole school, everyone is doing something.”

Moore, 27, qualified for the U.S. Olympic team with her fourth world title last year. Heimana Reynolds is the reigning world champ in park skateboarding.

Brothers Taylor and Trevor Crabb are on different beach volleyball teams ranked among the top three in the country. Erik Shoji is a veteran libero and Micah Ma’a a promising setter and outside hitter for the U.S. indoor volleyball team.

Shelby Baron is a Rio Paralympic wheelchair tennis player who is now ranked third in the country.

It’s possible that they could all qualify for the Tokyo Games, which have been postponed to summer 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Punahou, whose name means “the New Spring,” referencing renewal and a spring at the center of the campus, bills itself as the largest single-campus independent school in the U.S. and reportedly the oldest west of the Mississippi.

It was founded in 1841 with a first class of 15 students who were children of congregational missionaries. Now, it has more than 3,700. Annual tuition is $26,000, though there are financial aid options.

“This used to be an elite school, you know. Mostly rich. Predominantly Caucasian,” said Eric Kusunoki, who was Obama’s homeroom teacher for four years as part of his four decades working at Punahou. “But then when I stepped foot here, I said, wow, you know, it’s so diverse. Hawaii’s golden people, you know.

“It’s [a] very cosmopolitan campus and very reflective of what Hawaii is like.”

The school has been compared to Stanford. Sports Illustrated ranked it the No. 1 high school athletic program in 2008, replete with an eight-page magazine spread, and again in 2009. The magazine deemed it a “76-acre citadel of academic and athletic excellence where Aristotle meets Duke Kahanamoku.”

Kahanamoku, the Olympic swimming champion and surfing pioneer, never attended Punahou.

But several famous athletes are among the alumni. Like Michelle Wie, Manti Te’o and Obama, who played one season of varsity basketball on the Buff n’ Blue’s 1979 state title team.

In fact, Obama wrote in his autobiography that the lure of Punahou helped keep him in the States with his grandparents rather than flying back to Indonesia with his mom.

Obama, needing a financial aid scholarship to attend, toured the campus with his grandfather before the fifth grade. “Gramps grabbed me by the arm. ‘Hell, Bar,’ he whispered, ‘this isn’t a school. This is heaven,’” Obama wrote.

“He wasn’t a big standout,” Kusunoki said of the student they called Barry. “But yet everybody knew him. He was well-liked, well-known, but he did it real subtly.”

Others followed Obama with athletic success. Reynolds was a skateboard prodigy, profiled by the local NBC affiliate as a 10-year-old before leaving Punahou after 10th grade. He switched to online classes to accommodate all his traveling for competition.

Skateboarding and surfing are not sanctioned high school sports in Hawaii. Moore still won a record 11 National Scholastic Surfing Association titles. In her spare time, she was such a convincing tour guide for prospective Punahou students that admissions officers called her “The Closer,” according to SI.

“I have heard this,” Moore said, smiling when told the nickname. “It wasn’t really ever a big thing for me, but yes, I would bring potential prospects that would come to the school and stuff and give them tours.

“It’s just a beautiful environment to learn. It’s a very comfortable, free environment. The best part of this community is they’re going to support you in chasing your dreams.”

Moore said she was classmates with Taylor Crabb, one half of the U.S.’ top-ranked men’s beach volleyball team. Taylor’s mom, Paula, a champion canoe racer, has been a Punahou P.E. teacher since Obama was there. Taylor and partner Jake Gibb have been competing against Taylor’s older brother, Trevor, and Tri Bourne for Olympic beach volleyball berths.

It’s possible both Crabb brothers, who grew up a five-minute walk from the Punahou campus, can make it to Tokyo.

“Whenever someone says, oh, I went to Punahou, the first thing someone says is, oh, it’s where Barack Obama went,” said Trevor, who won a state basketball title and goes back to campus about once a year to see the old gym.

Shoji’s father, Dave, was the University of Hawaii’s women’s volleyball coach for 42 years, capturing four national titles and retiring in 2017 as the winningest coach in NCAA history. Ma’a won four state titles in volleyball at Punahou and others in football and basketball. At 22 and fresh out of UCLA, he was the second-youngest U.S. player at the 2019 Volleyball Nations League.

Both Trevor Crabb and Moore said you wouldn’t know it by walking around campus that Obama once roamed the grounds. He contributed to just one of a reported 505 state championships in the school’s history, a record for any state.

“There’s nothing up there yet,” of the 44th U.S. President, Moore said, “but it’s definitely something the school is very proud of.”

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IOC, sport federations in talks about Tokyo Olympic age rules

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The International Olympic Committee and Olympic sport federations hope to finalize any adjustments to age rules for the Tokyo Games within the next two weeks.

Two sports’ rules stand out in particular.

Since the 2000 Sydney Games, an age minimum in artistic gymnastics requires female Olympians to turn 16 years old or older in the Olympic year (men must turn 18, though the age rule is less of a factor for top male gymnasts). As such, Tokyo Olympic eligibility rules state all female artistic gymnasts must be born Dec. 31, 2004, or earlier.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) can choose to keep the Dec. 31, 2004, deadline. Or it could keep the 16 or older mandate by moving that date to Dec. 31, 2005 for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. The federation hasn’t announced its plan.

Its decision could impact U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team selection. At least one woman who turned 16 or younger in the Olympic year made the last 10 U.S. Olympic teams. That includes Kyla Ross, the 2011 U.S. junior all-around silver medalist who made the 2012 Olympic team. And Laurie Hernandez, the 2015 U.S. junior all-around champion who made the 2016 Olympic team.

The 2019 U.S. junior all-around champion, Kayla DiCello, turned 16 on Jan. 25. The 2019 U.S. junior all-around silver medalist, Konnor McClain, turns 16 on Feb. 1, 2021. Under the 2020 Olympic eligibility rules, McClain is 32 days too young for the Tokyo Games. If the birthdate deadline is moved one year forward, McClain would be eligible.

Another sport facing an age decision: men’s soccer. Olympic men’s soccer tournaments are limited to players who turn 23 or younger in the Olympic year with three over-age exceptions. Similar to the FIG, FIFA can keep its 2020 deadline of Jan. 1, 1997. Or it can keep its under-23 mandate and move the birthdate deadline to Jan. 1, 1998.

Fourteen of the 16 men’s soccer teams already qualified for the Games using players from under-23 national teams. The last two spots are to be filled by CONCACAF nations, potentially the U.S. qualifying a men’s team for the first time since 2008.

“You can imagine there’s a logic to looking at that, having the same athletes or teams that achieved the qualification place to be the ones taking part next year, but aiming to confirm that with the respective federations,” IOC sports director Kit McConnell said Thursday.

The U.S.’ biggest star, Christian Pulisic, was born Sept. 18, 1998, and thus will be unaffected. Same goes for French superstar Kylian Mbappe, born Dec. 20, 1998.

Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus was born April 3, 1997, and would become an over-age exception if the birthdate rule is moved to Jan. 1, 1998.

However, players need permission from their professional club teams to play in the Olympics, often limiting the availability of stars.

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