Getty Images

U.S. retakes edge in Canada rivalry at pre-Olympic tournament

Leave a comment

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (AP) — The Americans showed off their special teams skills in beating Canada for the second time in three games as part of their pre-Olympic exhibition tour.

Kendall Coyne and Megan Bozek each had a goal and an assist and the U.S. beat Canada 4-2 on Wednesday night in a physical game at the Four Nations Cup.

Cayla Barnes and Alex Carpenter each had power-play goals as the Americans went 3 of 5 with the advantage. Brianna Decker had two assists, and goalie Maddie Rooney made 20 saves for her second win in two nights with the Americans trying to win this event for a third straight time and eighth overall.

“We did so many things right, it’s a great thing to build off of,” U.S. coach Robb Stauber said.

Rebecca Johnston and Meghan Agosta scored for Canada, which went 1 of 9 on the power play. The Canadians did not dress Jennifer Wakefield, who had a hat trick and an assist Tuesday night in a 9-0 win over Sweden. Coach Laura Schuler said Wakefield usually is a part of the power play, but Canada still is busy evaluating players before roster cuts for the 2018 Winter Games.

“Our special teams didn’t get the job done tonight,” Schuler said. “Our power play didn’t produce like how we would like them to, and our penalty kill at the same time wasn’t as successful as we have been in the past. I think we need to shoot more and get more pucks through.”

The Americans took the first game 5-2 in Quebec City, and Barnes was in the stands watching when Canada evened it up with a 5-1 win in Boston on Oct. 25.

Since the Canadians rallied to win the 2014 Olympic gold medal 3-2 in overtime, the Americans have been on a tear winning five of six international events and now 10 of 13 games overall against their rivals. They are poised to meet again Sunday in the cup championship.

Rooney from Andover, Minnesota, has been in net for both wins over Canada.

“Maddie played really well for them I thought,” Schuler said. “At the same time, I thought we missed a lot of opportunities, missed the net when we had some pretty good chances. Obviously, that affected the outcome of the game.”

Barnes, the youngest player on the U.S. roster at 18, was only called up Oct. 28 and withdrew from Boston College to chase an Olympic berth. She scored in the first period of Tuesday night’s 8-2 win over Finland and scored her second goal in as many nights at 15:03 of the first skating into the left edge of the right circle to beat goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens for a 1-0 lead.

Bozek, who didn’t dress against Finland, made it a 2-0 lead with a slap shot at 17:50 of the first.

The Canadians answered by taking the first seven shots and outshooting the United States 15-9 in the second. Johnston got Canada on the board with a power-play goal 3:07 into the second. That was the only time Canada made the Americans pay for being short-handed in a game with lots of shoving between teams that know each other so well.

The United States went up 3-1 when Coyne scored a power-play goal off a rebound 50 seconds into the third. Agosta pulled Canada within 3-2 with 4:29 left on a short-handed goal, but Carpenter answered with the Americans’ third power-play goal from the left circle 36 seconds later.

In the other game Wednesday, Linda Valimaki scored the game-winner as Finland rallied with three goals in the third period to beat Sweden 3-1. Finland will play Canada on Friday followed by the United States and Sweden.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Path to USA Hockey through gas stations, concussions, 90-save epic

2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens TV, streaming schedule

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Rugby World Cup Sevens, held in the U.S. for the first time, airs live on NBC, NBCSN and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

NBC Sports’ TV coverage totals more than 30 live hours. NBC Sports Gold will also stream live, commercial-free coverage of every match with its “Rugby Pass.”

NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will stream all NBC Sports and Olympic Channel TV coverage.

The Rugby World Cup Sevens is the biggest standalone competition outside of the Olympics for an event that debuted at the Rio Games. Traditional 15-a-side rugby was played at the Olympics in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924.

Like the Olympics, the World Cup takes place every four years, now in the middle of every Olympic cycle, with men’s and women’s competitions at the same site.

New Zealand is the defending World Cup champion for men and women, though Fiji took the men’s Olympic title and Australia the women’s gold in Rio.

The U.S. finished fifth (women) and sixth (men) in this season’s World Series standings, though the U.S. men won the only World Series leg played in the U.S. in Las Vegas in March.

The U.S. men are led by Perry Baker, the 2017 World Player of the Year, and Carlin Isles, the 2018 World Series leader in tries. The U.S. women feature Naya Tapper and Rio Olympian Alev Kelter, two of the top scorers from the World Series.

The NBC Sports broadcast team includes U.S. Olympian and Super Bowl champion Nate Ebner as a studio analyst. Leigh Diffey and Bill Seward are on play-by-play, and Ahmed Fareed hosts on-site studio coverage.

Former USA Sevens captain Brian Hightower, U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame member Dan Lyle, former Premiership Rugby and English international prop Alex Corbisiero and World Rugby Hall of Famer Phaidra Knight will provide game and studio commentary.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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

Day Time (ET) Network Coverage Highlights
Friday 1 p.m. NBC Sports Gold Men’s Qualifiers
4-7 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Qualifiers
7 p.m.-1 a.m. NBCSN Women’s Quarters/Men’s Round of 16
Saturday 12:25-3 p.m. Olympic Channel Women’s Semifinal 1
3-5 p.m. NBC Women’s Semifinal 2
5-6 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Challenge Quarters
6:30-11:30 p.m. NBCSN Men’s Quarters/Women’s Finals
Sunday 11:55 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Bowl/Challenge Semifinals
2:30-5 p.m. NBC Men’s Semifinals
5-7 p.m. Olympic Channel Men’s Bowl Finals
7-10 p.m. NBCSN Men’s Finals

Denis Ten, Olympic medalist figure skater, dies

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Denis Ten, the 2014 Olympic figure skating bronze medalist from Kazakhstan, died after he reportedly was stabbed in Almaty on Thursday.

The International Skating Union and the Kazah Olympic Committee confirmed Ten’s death.

Ten, 25, competed in three Olympics and earned world championships silver and bronze medals in 2013 and 2015.

At 16, Ten was the youngest men’s competitor at Vancouver 2010 and finished 11th in his Olympic debut; he was also only the second singles skater Kazakhstan had ever sent to the Olympics.

Ten made unexpected history in 2013, becoming the first skater from Kazakhstan to win a world championships medal. After experiencing health setbacks at the start of his 2014 Olympic season, he was the biggest question mark among the top men in Sochi, but he surprised by becoming the first skater from Kazakhstan to earn an Olympic medal.

Ten struggled through health issues leading into his last Olympics in PyeongChang, where he placed 27th. Those Winter Games were nonetheless special to Ten, who was of South Korean descent; his great-grandfather was a famous general who fought for Korean independence, and there is a statue and memorial dedicated to him in Wonju, a town 35 miles southwest of PyeongChang.

Ten also played a significant role as an ambassador for his hometown Almaty’s bid for the 2022 Winter Games. Beijing got the Games over Almaty in an IOC members vote in 2015.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.