Canada edges U.S. at women’s hockey worlds, ties longest win streak in rivalry in 13 years

Women's Hockey World Championship

Canada beat the U.S. 4-3 after a nine-round shootout to close group play at the world women’s hockey championship and extend its win streak in the rivalry to five games, matching its longest run over the U.S. in 13 years.

Jamie Lee Rattray, Canada’s 13th forward, potted the shootout winner after the teams went scoreless in seven consecutive rounds against goalies Ann-Renée Desbiens (29th birthday Monday) and Aerin Frankel. In the third period, the U.S. scored twice on Desbiens in the last 39 seconds to force overtime.

Sarah Fillier, Marie-Philip Poulin and Laura Stacey scored in regulation for the hosts in Brampton, Ontario. Canada earned its 100th all-time win against the U.S. dating to the first worlds in 1990, according to Hockey Canada. (Hockey Canada and USA Hockey have historically differed on the all-time head-to-head record.)

“They’re loaded,” U.S. head coach John Wroblewski said of Canada, according to The Associated Press. “They’re big, they’re fast, they’re skilled. I’m super proud of our girls for holding them at bay, and then being able to take our swings.”

Hannah Bilka, Hilary Knight and Amanda Kessel scored for the U.S., which features a largely new-look roster without 2018 Olympic gold medalists Kendall Coyne Schofield (pregnant) and Brianna Decker (retired in March) and its No. 1 goalies from the last two Olympics — Maddie Rooney and Alex Cavallini — who didn’t make the team at a late March tryout camp.

Canada led 2-1 deep into the third period until Stacey scored an empty-net goal with 2:27 left. Knight cut the deficit back to one with 39 seconds to go, followed by Kessel’s equalizer with 3.4 seconds left.

Canada, the reigning Olympic and world champion, earned the top seed in Thursday’s quarterfinals, where it plays Germany, Sweden, Hungary or France. The second seed U.S. gets Germany, Sweden or Hungary.

Canada and the U.S. will meet again in Sunday’s final should each win its next two games.

Last summer, Canada repeated as world champion by beating the U.S. in the final, six months after beating the U.S. in the Olympic final. Canada is on its longest global title streak since winning all five Olympic or world titles between 1999 and 2004.

The Canadians are on a five-game win streak versus the Americans overall, winning this season’s seven-game rivalry series from down three games to none. Their 5-0 win in the decider in February was their largest margin of victory over the U.S. since 2005.

The last time Canada had a win streak over the U.S. of more than five games was in 2009-10, when it won six in a row, culminating in a 2-0 shutout in the Vancouver Olympic final.

“We’re so young,” Wroblewski said, according to the AP. “There’s got to be belief in that room that they can play with them and someday hopefully be able to beat them. Hopefully that’s Sunday when we earn our way to the gold-medal game.”

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At the French Open, a Ukrainian mom makes her comeback

Elina Svitolina French Open

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, once the world’s third-ranked tennis player, is into the French Open third round in her first major tournament since childbirth.

Svitolina, 28, swept 2022 French Open semifinalist Martina Trevisan of Italy, then beat Australian qualifier Storm Hunter 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the last 32 at Roland Garros. France’s top player, fifth seed Caroline Garcia, or 56th-ranked Russian Anna Blinkova is next.

Her husband, French player Gael Monfils, finished his first-round five-set win after midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Svitolina watched that match on a computer before going to sleep ahead of her 11 a.m. start Wednesday.

“This morning, he told me, ‘I’m coming to your match, so make it worth it,'” she joked on Tennis Channel. “I was like, OK, no pressure.

“I don’t know what he’s doing here now. He should be resting.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Svitolina made at least one major quarterfinal every year from 2017 through 2021, including the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2019. She married Monfils one week before the Tokyo Olympics, then won a singles bronze medal.

Svitolina played her last match before maternity leave on March 24, 2022, one month after Russia invaded her country. She gave birth to daughter Skai on Oct. 15.

Svitolina returned to competition in April. Last week, she won the tournament preceding the French Open, sweeping Blinkova to improve to 17-3 in her career in finals. She’s playing on a protected ranking of 27th after her year absence and, now, on a seven-match win streak.

“It was always in my head the plan to come back, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself, because obviously with the war going on, with the pregnancy, you never know how complicated it will go,” she said. “I’m as strong as I was before, maybe even stronger, because I feel that I can handle the work that I do off the court, and match by match I’m getting better. Also mentally, because mental can influence your physicality, as well.”

Svitolina said she’s motivated by goals to attain before she retires from the sport and to help Ukraine, such as donating her prize money from last week’s title in Strasbourg.

“These moments bring joy to people of Ukraine, to the kids as well, the kids who loved to play tennis before the war, and now maybe they don’t have the opportunity,” she said. “But these moments that can motivate them to look on the bright side and see these good moments and enjoy themselves as much as they can in this horrible situation.”

Svitolina said that she’s noticed “a lot of rubbish” concerning how tennis is reacting to the war.

“We have to focus on what the main point of what is going on,” she said. “Ukrainian people need help and need support. We are focusing on so many things like empty words, empty things that are not helping the situation, not helping anything.

“I want to invite everyone to focus on helping Ukrainians. That’s the main point of this, to help kids, to help women who lost their husbands because they are at the war, and they are fighting for Ukraine.

“You can donate. Couple of dollars might help and save lives. Or donate your time to something to help people.”

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Marcell Jacobs still sidelined, misses another race with Fred Kerley

Marcell Jacobs

Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy will miss another scheduled clash with world 100m champion Fred Kerley, withdrawing from Friday’s Diamond League meet in Florence.

Jacobs, 28, has not recovered from the nerve pain that forced him out of last Sunday’s Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco, according to Italy’s track and field federation.

In his absence, Kerley’s top competition will be fellow American Trayvon Bromell, the world bronze medalist, and Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala, the world’s fastest man this year at 9.84 seconds. Kerley beat both of them in Rabat.

The Florence Diamond League airs live on Peacock on Friday from 2-4 p.m. ET.

Jacobs has withdrawn from six scheduled head-to-heads with Kerley dating to May 2022 due to a series of health issues since that surprise gold in Tokyo.

Kerley, primarily a 400m sprinter until the Tokyo Olympic year, became the world’s fastest man in Jacobs’ absence. He ran a personal best 9.76 seconds, the world’s best time of 2022, at last June’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships. Then he led a U.S. sweep of the medals at July’s worlds.

Jacobs’ next scheduled race is a 100m at the Paris Diamond League on June 9. Kerley is not in that field, but world 200m champion Noah Lyles is.

The last time the reigning Olympic and world men’s 100m champions met in a 100m was the 2012 London Olympic final between Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake. From 2013 to 2017, Bolt held both titles, then retired in 2017 while remaining reigning Olympic champion until Jacobs’ win in Tokyo, where Kerley took silver.

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