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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Sports execs oppose esports in Olympics, survey shows

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A global survey of sports industry executives shows 57 percent oppose Olympic status for video gaming.

Audit firm PwC says more than 400 sports industry professionals from 42 countries answered an online questionnaire for its annual survey. The findings were discussed Tuesday at the Olympic Museum, where the IOC hosted an esports conference in July on possible Olympic status for the booming games market.

The PwC survey asked “Is esports an Olympic sport?“: 28 percent said, “no, because esports does not qualify as ‘sport,’” and 29 percent said esports should grow independently of the Olympics.

A further 26.7 percent said esports must first unify under a single governing body, and 10.4 percent said esports should join “as soon as possible.” Almost 6 percent said they did not know or abstained.

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Annemiek van Vleuten, back from horrific Rio Olympic crash, leads Dutch sweep at cycling worlds

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Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten led the first medal sweep by one nation in a world road cycling championships elite time trial, repeating as gold medalist two years after a horrific crash at the Rio Olympics.

Van Vleuten, 35, clocked 34 minutes, 25.36 seconds on the 17-mile course in Innsbruck, Austria.

She bettered Olympic road race champion Anna van der Breggen by 28.99 seconds, matching their one-two finish from 2017 Worlds. Ellen van Dijk, the 2013 World champ, completed the Dutch sweep with bronze, 1:25.19 back.

Van Dijk edged Canadian Leah Kirchmann by 1.62 seconds. The top American was Leah Thomas in fifth. Full results are here.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the men’s time trial on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold. A full broadcast schedule is here.

In the Rio Olympic road race, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped into a ditch. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title.

Van Vleuten wasn’t out long. She raced at the October 2016 World Championships, placing a career-high fifth in the time trial. She then won La Course in 2017 and 2018 and the Giro Rosa in July, in addition to the 2017 World time trial.

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