U.S. men’s hockey beats Canada for 5th time in 45 world champs games

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The U.S. men’s hockey team opened the world championship with an upset, beating Canada for just the fifth time in 45 meetings in tournament history.

The Americans, captained by two-time Olympian Patrick Kane, came back to win 5-4 in a six-round shootout in Herning, Denmark. Columbus Blue Jackets All-Star Cam Atkinson had both U.S. shootout scores, with Canada putting just one shootout attempt past New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid.

Anders LeeJohnny Gaudreau and Dylan Larkin (twice) notched the regulation goals for the U.S.

It marked the first of seven group-play games for each nation, both expected to finish in the top four of the eight-nation group and advance to the May 17 quarterfinals. The U.S. next plays Denmark on Saturday.

Canada owns the U.S. in world championship history, winning 40 of their 45 games starting with the first meeting in 1931. The U.S.’ win on Friday marked its first in the series since 2012. Canada also has a 12-3-3 edge in all-time Olympic play.

This U.S. team is trying to earn the nation’s first world title since 1960, when the Olympics doubled as worlds, and third medal in six years. Its only title at a standalone worlds came in 1933. Kane, Gaudreau and Larkin are the roster headliners.

Canada earned medals at the last three worlds and last three Olympics, including back-to-back titles at each. Its roster includes 2017 Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid.

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Weekend Gymnastics Roundup: Carey and McCusker on World Cup podium

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World medalists Jade Carey and Riley McCusker headlined gymnastics action over the weekend as the World Cup circuit continued with an all-around competition in Birmingham, England, and an apparatus event in Doha, Qatar.

Carey won both the vault and floor events in Doha, pushing her to the top of the standings on both apparatus (she also won the vault and floor competitions the previous weekend at the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan).

Doha marked the halfway point of apparatus World Cups, putting Carey in a promising position to qualify for the Tokyo Games heading into the next four events. The apparatus World Cup series includes a total of eight competitions spread over two seasons, and one gymnast per apparatus will qualify for the Olympics based on his or her top three results across the eight events.

Carey, 18, was the 2017 world silver medalist on vault and floor. But she opted not to try for a spot on the 2018 World Championships team due to the International Gymnastics Federation’s rules that active team members who help their countries qualify team spots for Tokyo (as the U.S. women did in November) cannot earn individual spots. Carey, an apparatus specialist rather than an all-around gymnast, chose the World Cup route to keep open her options of qualifying individually.

McCusker, who was part of the U.S. team that won the world title last year, finished second at the all-around World Cup in Birmingham, posting the top scores on the uneven bars and floor. Russia’s Aliya Mustafina, a seven-time Olympic medalist, won the event. Mustafina bounced back from a shaky showing last weekend at the World Cup in Stuttgart, where she finished fifth in an event won by Simone Biles. Mustafina, 24, is trying to qualify for her third Olympics after giving birth to daughter Alisa in June 2017.

The all-around World Cup circuit continues on April 7 in Tokyo, Japan, where two-time world all-around medalist Morgan Hurd and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak are expected to compete.

First Olympic women’s aerials champion Cheryazova dies at 50

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MOSCOW — Lina Cheryazova, the first woman to win an Olympic aerials skiing gold medal, has died. She was 50.

Officials in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, where Cheryazova was living for the last two decades, said she died “following a lengthy illness,” without giving further details.

Competing for Uzbekistan, Cheryazova won gold with a triple flip when aerials skiing debuted on the Olympic program in 1994 in Lillehammer.

Shortly after winning, she learned her mother died three weeks before.

Cheryazova’s career was derailed later that year when she suffered a serious head injury while training in the United States, and spent days in a coma. She retired after failing to qualify for the 1998 Winter Olympics.