Sweden wins world hockey title; Patrick Kane named tournament MVP

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Sweden capped a victorious run through the world men’s hockey championship by edging Switzerland 3-2 on Sunday in the final after a penalty shootout to successfully defend its title.

Forward Filip Forsberg scored the decisive goal in the shootout to give Sweden a third world title in six years, and 11th overall. Earlier Sunday, the U.S. topped Canada 4-1 to claim its third bronze medal in six years (but no standalone world title since 1933), with captain Patrick Kane becoming the first American to take MVP honors in tournament history.

Sweden won all 10 matches at the tournament.

“We wanted to win the gold medal, and here we are,” Sweden forward Viktor Arvidsson said. “It’s unbelievable, especially for Filip. He’s a great player, one of our top players. It’s unbelievable to win with my teammates.”

Arvidsson, together with Nashville Predators teammates Forsberg and defenseman Mattias Ekholm, joined the Swedish team during the tournament after the Predators were eliminated from the NHL playoffs.

“We had the puck a lot,” Arvidsson said. “They did a great job defending.”

Sweden outshot Switzerland 38-27 as the Swiss finished runners-up for the third time after 2013 and 1935. Switzerland has never won.

“We battled hard … all the tournament long,” Switzerland defenseman Mirco Muller said. “Once you look at the bigger picture, it’s huge for Swiss hockey. But right now, there’s a disappointment. We definitely had our chances.”

Switzerland stunned Canada 3-2 in the semifinals after a 3-2 upset against Finland in the quarterfinals.

“They were close to winning the whole championship. So, credit to them,” Sweden forward Magnus Paajarvi said.

Gustav Nyquist wristed a shot from the slot high past Leonardo Genoni for Sweden to answer the Swiss opening goal by Nino Niederreiter.

Timo Meier scored a second period power-play goal past Vancouver Canucks goalie Anders Nilsson to restore the one-goal advantage for Switzerland in the second.

Mika Zibanejad equalized on a power play from the point, forcing a scoreless 20-minute overtime. The Arizona Coyotes’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Forsberg scored for Sweden in the first four rounds of the shootout, while the Swiss missed on four straight tries after the Colorado Avalanche’s Sven Andrighetto beat Nilsson in the first round.

In the bronze-medal game, Chris Kreider led the U.S. with two goals.

Forward Nick Bonino scored the winner on a rebound during a power play in the final period. Anders Lee and Kreider added empty-net insurance goals for the U.S., whose roster was made up entirely of NHL players save one.

“It’s important for the team, but it’s also important for USA Hockey,” Kane said. “Now, we can build up off this level and try to keep being better and better.”

Kane had an assist in the game to finish the tournament with 20 points — eight goals and 12 assists — the first player to do so since 2008. The two-time Olympian broke U.S. records for most assists and most points at a single worlds.

“Obviously I’m here to produce and try to create offense and make plays out there,” Kane said. “Overall, I’m happy … it was a fun tournament and a great experience for me and I hope it will help me with my career going forward too.”

Canada failed to earn a medal for the first time since 2014.

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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.