Getty Images

Olympic Hockey Day 8 Preview

Leave a comment

Throughout the entire 2018 Winter Games, NBC Olympics staff will preview the upcoming slate of hockey games and recap the prior day’s action.

Men’s Tournament
Canada vs. Czech Republic, 10:10 p.m. ET | LIVE STREAM

Canada’s offensive attack was overwhelming in its first game against Switzerland, but a consistent presence up front will be critical as the 2014 gold medalists look to defend their title.

The Czech Republic ran into a hot goalie and a raucous crowd in its opening game against South Korea, but still managed to escape with a 2-1 victory.

USA-SVK Recap| OAR-SLO Recap

Korea vs. Switzerland, 2:40 a.m. ET | LIVE STREAM

The Swiss looked overmatched against Canada in its first game and will look to rebound vs. the host country Saturday. After failing to match Canada’s skill level and physical intensity, Switzerland will look to gain some confidence against Korea.

OAR vs. USA, 7:10 a.m. ET | LIVE STREAM

The last time these two sides met, American forward T.J. Oshie played hero, beating reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky four times in a shootout to defeat Russia 3-2 in a thrilling preliminary round contest in Sochi. Much has changed four years later. The matchup is now technically the United States vs. the Olympic Athletes from Russia, and only two players from the 2014 game will take the ice in PyeongChang: OAR forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk.

Both squads are coming off of much-needed victories after suffering upsets to open the tournament. The point Team USA earned in its overtime loss to Slovenia could prove crucial, as a win over OAR would put the U.S. at 7 points and guarantee a bye to the quarterfinals.

Slovenia vs. Slovakia, 7:10 a.m. ET | LIVE STREAM

Both teams lost their second game of the Olympics after earning surprising victories to open up the tournament. Slovakia upset OAR, the tournament favorite, but fell to Team USA Friday. Slovenia looked out of place against OAR in an 8-2 defeat and struggled to compete.

Women’s Tournament
OAR vs. Switzerland, 10:10 p.m. ET, CNBC | LIVE STREAM

Alina Muller has led Switzerland’s offensive attack with six goals as the team looks to improve on its 2014 bronze-medal finish. OAR has only scored one goal in three games so far and will likely struggle to keep up offensively with the Swiss.

The winner of this game will face Canada in the semifinals.

Finland vs. Sweden, 2:40 a.m. ET | LIVE STREAM

Noora Raty has looked sharp between the pipes but has not gotten the necessary support from her teammates to help Finland advance in the tournament. With one more shot to qualify for the semifinals, Finland hopes Raty’s presence in the crease will motivate the squad. Many observers thought Finland could challenge one of the North American teams in the preliminary round, but that was not the case.

Regan Smith swims another historic backstroke time at Pro Series meet

Leave a comment

Regan Smith, who last summer broke both backstroke world records, put up the fastest 100m back in history outside of a major international meet or trials competition on Saturday.

Smith, a 17-year-old Minnesota high school senior, clocked 58.26 seconds to win at a Pro Series meet in Knoxville, Tenn. It tied for the 12th-fastest time in history. None of the other fastest dozen came in January, six months out from when swimmers peak for the world’s biggest events like the Olympics.

Making it more impressive: Smith did it 27 minutes after finishing second in the 200m butterfly, which she’s also expected to contest at June’s Olympic trials in Omaha.

“It actually wasn’t as bad, as I was nervous it was going to be,” Smith, whose world record is 57.57, said of the double on NBCSN. Smith entered two events per day at the three-day Knoxville meet, in part to prepare for the trials, where she is slated to race six straight days in a bid to make the Olympic team in enough events to swim eight straight days in Tokyo.

On Saturday, Smith held off fellow 17-year-old Phoebe Bacon by six tenths. Bacon beat Smith at the U.S. Open in December, posting the second-fastest time among Americans in the event for 2019.

The teen emergence puts pressure on Kathleen Baker, the Rio Olympic silver medalist who had the world record before Smith took it at worlds.

Full Knoxville results are here. USASwimming.org live streams the last night of finals Sunday at 6:30 ET.

In other events Saturday, world silver medalist Hali Flickinger overcame Smith in the 200m fly, winning in 2:08.34. Smith, third-fastest among Americans last season, was .39 behind. The second-fastest American last year, Katie Drabot, was not in the field. The top two at trials make the Olympic team.

Erika Brown beat world champion Simone Manuel in a freestyle sprint for a second straight meet, taking the 50m free in 24.57 seconds.

Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, edged Manuel by .06 and took .01 off her personal best. Brown ranked third among Americans last year behind Manuel (24.05) and Abbey Weitzeil (24.47).

Brown also defeated Manuel in the 100m free at the U.S. Open in December, moving to fourth-fastest in the U.S. last year in that event. The top six in the 100m free at trials are in line to make the Olympic team, given relay spots.

MORE: Australian swim star issues plea after hometown hit by fires

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Mikaela Shiffrin nearly makes it three-way tie for World Cup win

Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffrin came .01 shy of making it a three-way tie for a World Cup giant slalom win on Saturday, confirming GS has been the most up-for-grabs discipline for either gender in recent years.

Shiffrin, beaten in her last two slaloms, had the fastest second run to place third behind co-winners Italian Federica Brignone and Slovakian Petra Vlhova in Sestriere, Italy. The reigning Olympic and World Cup champion in the GS rallied from fourth place and .42 behind after the first run.

Shiffrin still leads the World Cup overall standings by 233 points over Vlhova. The American last won Dec. 29. Though she made the podium in three of her four races since, Shiffrin expressed a lack of confidence heading into this weekend’s races at the 2006 Olympic venue.

“The most exciting thing for me is that people have stopped asking me, like, are you unbeatable?” said Shiffrin, who won a record 17 World Cup races last season and has four victories nearly halfway through this season, tied with Vlhova for most on tour. “I feel really good in GS. It’s just been a long time since [the last GS on Dec. 28].”

Vlhova earned her third victory this month after beating Shiffrin those last two slaloms. Brignone leads the GS season standings by 61 points over Shiffrin, seeking to become the sixth different woman to win that discipline title in the last six years. There are four more GS races left this season.

It’s the second straight season with a World Cup GS tie. Last Feb. 1, Shiffrin and Vlhova tied in Maribor, Slovenia.

It’s the first time the top three finishers were separated by such a small margin since the last three-way tie for a win in 2006, when Lindsey VonnMichaela Dorfmeister and Nadia Styger had the same super-G time, and fourth-place Kelly VanderBeek was .01 behind.

“Last season, I had the lucky side of the hundredths many times, so sometimes I’m not going to be on the lucky side, too,” said Shiffrin, who had three victories by .16 or tighter last season.

World Cup racing continues with a parallel giant slalom on Sunday at 5:45 a.m. ET on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBC Sports Gold.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Shiffrin among 10 dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s decade