Alexis Lafreniere scored seven seconds after the United States tied the game late in the third period as Canada beat its North American rival 6-4 on Thursday in the opener for both countries at the 2020 world junior hockey championship.
Barrett Hayton, with two, Connor McMichael, Nolan Foote and Ty Dellandrea, into an empty net, also scored for the Canadians, who got 28 saves from Nico Daws.
Lafreniere, the projected No. 1 pick at the 2020 NHL draft, added three assists.
“He’s an amazing player,” McMichael said about Lafreniere. “The way he carried the team today and did the things he did was incredible. We’re obviously happy to have him.”
After Shane Pinto buried his second of the night for the U.S. with 3:18 left in regulation on the Americans’ third power-play goal of the night, the 18-year-old Lafreniere scored on a slick move to put his team back in front.
Lafreniere knocked a down a backhand saucer pass through the slot by American defenceman K’Andre Miller, then got in alone on Spencer Knight before deking forehand and sliding the puck just past the right pad of the sprawled-out netminder.
“I got lucky to knock it down. I just tried to get it to the net. I was lucky enough to put it in,” said Lafreniere.
The U.S. pressed late with the extra attacker, but Dellandrea sealed it into an empty net with 70 seconds left on the clock.
Nick Robertson, with a goal and an assist, and Arthur Kaliyev also scored for the Americans, who got 26 saves from Knight.
The Americans saw their streak of 12 straight victories to open the under-20 event snapped.
The countries usually face off later in the tournament when placed in the same group — often on New Year’s Eve — but instead met on Boxing Day.
In Group B’s early game, hosts Czech Republic upset Russia 4-3 inside a raucous Ostravar Arena.
Next up for Canada is Saturday’s tilt with the Russians, while the U.S. goes right back at it Friday versus Germany.
Down 2-0 after the first period where they didn’t generate much of anything offensively, the Canadians came out flying in the second with three goals in just over 10 minutes.
McMichael, the Ontario Hockey League’s scoring leader before joining the national team, got things started at 3:31 when he took a feed from Akil Thomas off the rush and beat Knight.
Hayton, who was loaned to Canada for the tournament by the Arizona Coyotes and was named captain on Wednesday, tied it on a power play at 6:34 when he took a pass from Lafreniere at the top of the face-off circle and wired a one-timer shortside just seven seconds after Pinto went off for holding.
Heartbreak for Canada at the World Juniors
Foote, whose father Adam won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche and also captured gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics, then gave Canada its first lead at 13:03 on another man advantage when he beat Knight upstairs.
“We just tried to keep it simple and get pucks to the net,” said Lafreniere. “I think that worked out pretty good. Our power play was good. We’ve got to keep working, keep getting better.”
Pinto appeared to score the Americans’ third power-play goal in three chances late in the period, but time expired before the puck entered the net in front of 8,693 fans.
Daws, who was making his international debut for Canada at any level, made a couple big stops in the third period to keep his team ahead before Hayton beat Knight on another power play off a feed from Lafreniere at 10:47.
But Robertson, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, got the Americans back within a goal at 4-3 on a wicked shot with 7:45 left in regulation before Pinto tied it with the Americans’ third power-play goal of the game.
“That was really fun,” said McMichael.
“You can tell we had a lot of nerves in the first period, but we got back to our game in the second and third.”
Canada, which according to the website eliteprospects.com is icing its youngest-ever roster at the world juniors with an average age of 18.6 years, found itself down 2-0 after 20 minutes.
Pinto, a 2018 first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators, opened the scoring on a deflection at 3:10 with Hayton in the box.
The goal came as Canadian fans at Ostravar Arena were in the process of passing a giant flag across the lower bowl.
Canada couldn’t connect on a man advantage of its own, but started to get going midway through the period with an energetic shift capped by hulking six-foot-six defenceman Kevin Bahl using a 10-inch height advantage to lower the boom on Bobby Brink.
The Canadians didn’t really threaten Knight’s goal, and the Americans doubled their lead with 1:28 left in the first on another power play when Trevor Zegras drew the puck through his legs after Bahl fell at the blue line before finding Kaliyev.
The U.S. came in having won four straight and six of its last 11 against Canada at the world juniors after picking up just two victories — albeit in the 2004 and 2010 gold-medal games — in the countries’ 10 previous meetings dating back to the 2000 tournament.
While none of the players on the ice Thursday had ever suited up against one another on this stage, there’s plenty of familiarity at lower age groups, including at the under-18 worlds and the annual Hlinka Gretzky Cup summer showcase.
One of the players with zero familiarity is the undrafted Daws, who came out of nowhere with a banner start to the OHL season to grab the starting job despite having never played for Canada before this month.
The Canadians, who have won the world juniors 17 times since the event’s official inception in 1977, finished a disappointing sixth at last year’s tournament in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., following a stunning overtime loss to Finland in the quarterfinals.
On the other side, the Americans headed to the Czech Republic having won a program-record four straight medals, including last year’s second-place finish after losing to the Finns in the final.
Canada won the tournament in both 2015 and 2018 in North America, but hasn’t topped the podium in Europe since the last time the Czech Republic hosted in 2008.
© 2019 The Canadian Press
Kansas State rallies to stun No. 3 Oklahoma – TSN
NORMAN, Okla. — Skylar Thompson passed for 334 yards and ran for three touchdowns, and Kansas State rallied from 21 points down to beat No. 3 Oklahoma 38-35 on Saturday.
Freshman Deuce Vaughn caught four passes for 129 yards and ran for a touchdown for the Wildcats, who were coming off a season-opening loss to Arkansas State. It was Kansas State’s first-ever road win against a top-three team in the AP poll.
Oklahoma freshman Spencer Rattler passed for 387 yards and four touchdowns, but he threw three interceptions.
Kansas State upset Oklahoma 48-41 in Manhattan, Kansas, last year.
Kansas State said earlier in the week it was struggling to have enough players available at all position groups to play the game because of COVID-19.
In the opening moments of the second quarter, Rattler threw into traffic and found Drake Stoops for a 32-yard touchdown. It was the first career touchdown for the son of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, and it gave the Sooners a 14-0 lead.
Thompson’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Chabastin Taylor in the second quarter cut Oklahoma’s lead to 14-7, but the Sooners answered with Marvin Mims’ 9-yard touchdown reception in the final minute of the first half.
Rattler’s 53-yard pass to Stoops led to Seth McGowan’s 5-yard touchdown run and a 35-14 late in the third quarter.
Two short rushing touchdowns by Thompson got the Wildcats back in the game. Kansas State’s Nick Allen blocked Reeves Mundschau’s punt, and the Wildcats took over at the Oklahoma 38. Vaughn’s 38-yard touchdown run on the Wildcats’ second offensive play and the extra point tied it at 35 with 8:17 to play.
Kansas State’s Blake Lynch hit a 50-yard field goal with 4:32 remaining. Kansas State’s Jahron McPherson intercepted Rattler in the final minute to help close out the win.
Kansas State: The Wildcats didn’t fold when they fell behind and the defense improved in the second half against Rattler.
Oklahoma: The defense fell apart much like it has many times in recent years.
Kansas State: Hosts Texas Tech on Saturday.
Oklahoma: Travels to Iowa State on Saturday. The Cyclones beat the Sooners three years ago and nearly upset them last year before falling 42-41.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP
NBA Finals 2020: LeBron James' 10th trip to the Finals is a reminder of his all-time greatness – NBA CA
Yes, I’m aware that LeBron actually finished with a ridiculous 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists on 15-for-25 shooting – this isn’t a box score thing.
Allow me to clarify.
In his 17th NBA season, LeBron James is now set to make his 10th appearance in the NBA Finals.
If you take away the three years in which James-led teams failed to qualify for the postseason, you’re looking at him appearing in the Finals 10 out of a possible 14 times (71.4%). And after tonight, teams that feature James have only lost once in the conference finals, his lone loss coming against the Orlando Magic in 2009.
Yes, LeBron now holds a 10-1 record in the conference finals.
James has become just the fourth player in NBA history to make 10 or more Finals appearances, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Boston Celtics legends Sam Jones (11) and Bill Russell (12) are the only two players that have played on the NBA Finals stage more.
Say what you want about Finals records but to be quite honest, you can only lose in the Finals if you make it to the Finals. Jerry West, the Logo, took seven losses in the Finals before capturing that elusive title on his eighth try, only to lose for an eighth time while in pursuit of a repeat. Winning titles is hard, and getting to the Finals – win or lose – is not the type of accomplishment to scoff at.
The standard to which James is often held speaks to his greatness. That he’s expected to lead teams to the Finals – in his 17th year, no less – is not normal.
Like, we-may-never-see-this-again abnormal.
We also know LeBron’s star has shined its brightest in the Finals. The last time he was there, he opened with a 51-point, eight-rebound, eight-assist performance in what I consider to be one of the greatest individual performances I have ever seen – regular season or postseason.
Now, after a one-year hiatus from the postseason, James is four wins away from title No. 4 with team No. 3.
It’s worth mentioning that Robert Horry and John Salley are the only players in league history that have won titles with three separate franchises. While Horry and Salley executed their respective roles to a T, LeBron is the first player to lead three separate teams to the finals, posting averages of 26.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists through the first three rounds, and also has a chance to become the first player to ever win a championship and Finals MVP with three different franchises.
With that being said, James and the 2020 Lakers still have four wins to earn before attaining basketball immortality. And in this league, nothing is guaranteed.
For now, appreciate the greatness of the accomplishment at hand. Unlike the fairly common sight of a player shooting 10-for-17 from the field, we may never see a player lead a team to the Finals in 10 of his 17 seasons ever again.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.
Israel Adesanya dominates Paulo Costa, finishes with devastating second-round knockout in UFC 253 main event – MMA Fighting
“The Last Stylebender” predicted that precision would beat power and that’s exactly how the fight played out as he avoided just about everything Costa threw at him while chopping down the Brazilian contender with leg kicks throughout the opening round. Adesanya then finished the fight with a blistering counter left hand that put Costa down and out for the final time.
The end came at 3:59 in round 2.
There was a lot of bad blood between the middleweights in the days and weeks leading to the event but Adesanya ultimately needed less than two rounds to dispatch Costa and hand him the first loss of his professional career.
“I’ve been telling you guys. Like Roy Jones said, ya’ll must have forgot. Ya’ll must have forgot,” Adesanya said in reference to his previous win over Yoel Romero before making short work of Costa on Saturday night.
“I see you media people with your little clickbait headlines. I had to make ya’ll remember.”
Wary of the power coming from Costa early, Adesanya concentrated on leg kicks in the opening exchanges while looking to chip away at his opponent’s foundation. Rather than rushing ahead to close the distance, Costa countered with a couple of stiff kicks of his own to the body while inviting Adesanya to come after him.
As the fight continued, Adesanya was methodical while dishing out a steady diet of those same leg kicks with Costa willing to stand directly in front of him. While Costa was constantly taunting Adesanya, it was the former kickboxer turned UFC champion who was inflicting far more damage.
Midway through the second round, Adesanya’s leg kicks paid off when he was able to go up to the head where he connected and opened a cut over Costa’s eye.
With a dazed look in his eyes, Costa never really recovered as Adesanya saw the hurt painted all over his opponent and he knew the end was near.
At that moment, Adesanya welcomed an exchange on the feet where he showcased his dazzling defense and then tossed the counter left hand that ultimately led to the finish. As soon as the punch connected, Costa crumbled to the mat and Adesanya only had to threw a few more shots before the referee rushed into stop the contest.
The win moved Adesanya to 20-0 in his career, 9-0 in the UFC and he’s now a two-time defending middleweight champion. Never one to sit back and wait for the next challenge, Adesanya already had a name in mind as he looked ahead to UFC 254 in a few weeks when a former champion squares off with a top ranked contender at 185 pounds.
“He’s the one I want to fight next. He deserves it. If he beats Robert Whittaker handily and dominates him, he’s next.”
19 new coronavirus cases reported in Saskatchewan, hits single-day testing record – Global News
Kansas State rallies to stun No. 3 Oklahoma – TSN
NBA Finals 2020: LeBron James' 10th trip to the Finals is a reminder of his all-time greatness – NBA CA
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