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
Blue Jays blank Royals as Manoah makes marvellous Rogers Centre debut – Sportsnet.ca
TORONTO — The Blue Jays celebrated a second win in two starts in their Rogers Centre return thanks to co-starring performances from rookie pitcher Alex Manoah and centre fielder George Springer.
Manoah tossed seven shutout innings while Springer smashed home runs in his first two at-bats in Toronto’s 4-0 victory against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. The Blue Jays arrived back home in Toronto on Friday after 22 months away because of the Covid-19 pandemic, playing home games in Buffalo and Dunedin, Fla.
Manoah made a return of sorts, too. He injured himself two weeks ago, slipping on the rain-soaked steps of the Blue Jays dugout in Buffalo. He suffered a right-back contusion. He yielded only a pair of singles in his 89-pitch outing.
“It kind of got me pretty good,” Manoah said when asked about his fall. “It was a long couple of weeks, and I’m just so happy and so grateful to be back on that mound.
“Body felt really good; everything felt good. I was able to throw a lot of strikes and get the boys a win.”
The 23-year-old Manoah (3-1) knew he would be keyed up for his first Rogers Centre start. So he attempted to control his adrenaline with deep breaths. He didn’t have the velocity he exhibited earlier in the season.
However, he still managed four strikeouts and retired 16 Royals in a row between Ryan O’Hearn’s one-out single in the second inning and Hunter Dozier’s two-out base hit in the seventh.
“We thought he was going to be rusty,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoya said. “But he was throwing strikes.
“This kid didn’t have his best stuff, and he still can get you out.”
If Manoah can continue to chip in as he did on Saturday, the Blue Jays should have a scary starting rotation with their top four pitchers, led by Robbie Ray, Hyun Jin Ryu and newcomer Jose Berrios. The latter was acquired from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for shortstop/outfielder Austin Martin and right-handed pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson on Friday.
Berrios, scheduled to start for the Twins on Friday, was expected to arrive at Rogers Centre on Saturday evening. Montoyo plans to start his new pitcher in the series finale on Sunday afternoon if he deems himself ready.
“I’ll be waiting here for him,” Montoyo said in his post-game remarks.
The Blue Jays also had to wait for Springer to make an impact this summer. The free agent signed a six-year, $150-million US contract with Toronto last January. But a right-quadricep strain limited his playing time earlier this season.
He found his form in July. His first-pitch leadoff homer down the left-field line, for his 40th career leadoff round-tripper, and his third-inning two-run blast were his 10th and 11th home runs of the year. He now has gone 19-for-49 (.388) in his last 13 games with six doubles, six homers and 10 RBI.
“Obviously, this is where I wanted to play,” said Springer, who has reached base 50 times in his 34 outings in 2021. “This is home. For us to have a chance to come back here, to play in front of the fans, the atmosphere has been unbelievable the last couple of games. It’s exciting.”
After Manoah departed, the Blue Jays received some substantial relief pitching from lefty Ryan Borucki and Adam Cimber. Borucki got the first two outs in the eighth inning, while Cimber closed down the Royals (45-58) with four straight strikeouts to end the game.
The Blue Jays (53-48) have won three in a row and four of their last five.
Toronto's Penny Oleksiak makes history as Canada swims to bronze in medley relay – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, July 31, 2021 10:23PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 31, 2021 10:23PM EDT
TOKYO — Canada’s women capped Olympic swimming with a bronze medal in the medley relay Sunday and produced a historic seventh career medal for Penny Oleksiak.
Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., Sydney Pickrem of Clearwater, Fla., Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., and Toronto’s Oleksiak touched in 3:52.60, a Canadian record.
Australia took gold with an Olympic-record 3:51.60. The Americans were close behind, finishing second in 3:51.73.
Oleksiak swam the anchor freestyle leg into the history books as the most decorated Olympian in Canadian history. The 21-year-old surpassed speedskater Cindy Klassen and speedskater-cyclist Clara Hughes at six medals apiece.
“Knowing that I have the best girls in the world to race with, I pretty much had a medal in the back of my mind the whole race,” Oleksiak said. “I’m racing with three of the best swimmers in the world, so why should I worry?”
The achievement says a lot about Oleksiak’s depth of talent, said Marnie McBean, Canada’s chef de mission.
“Winning one medal is hard, and multiple at one Games is all about the ability to reset and focus. Winning multiple medals at multiple Games — that is a battle against so much more,” McBean, a three-time Olympian, said in a statement.
“The notion of repeating and the burden of expectations, internally and externally, can be so disruptive. Penny figured out how to thrive all while being an amazing role model to young Canadians.”
Masse led Canada off in backstroke followed by Pickrem’s breaststroke leg and Mac Neil in butterfly.
As Mac Neil hung the medal around Oleksiak’s neck during the medal ceremony, Masse applauded and Pickrem shimmied in celebration.
“Most decorated,” they chorused during post-ceremony interviews with reporters.
Oleksiak, Mac Neil and Masse claimed their third medals at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre.
Mac Neil, 21, also captured 100-metre butterfly gold. She and Oleksiak took silver in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay on the first day of finals, so Mac Neil leaves Tokyo with a complete set.
The COVID-19 pandemic kept Canada’s swim team out of the water for large chunks of the last 15 months. Mac Neil said that didn’t stop the swimmers from challenging the world in Tokyo.
“We’ve had one of the strictest lockdowns in the entire world, so it was just putting in the training that we’ve doing for the last 15 months in and showing the world what we have,” Mac Neil said.
Masse, 25, earned a pair of silver in backstroke. Oleksiak, who revealed Sunday she’d been dealing with an ongoing back injury, also claimed bronze in the 200-metre freestyle.
The women’s swim team amassed six medals in Tokyo to equal its Rio count of five years ago.
Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, B.C., Pickrem, Mac Neil and Toronto’s Kayla Sanchez posted the fastest qualification time in Friday’s heats to give Canada a middle lane Sunday.
The medley relay medal was Canada’s first since 1988 and fourth in the 61-year Olympic history of race. Canadian women were bronze medallists in 1976, 1984 and ’88.
Oleksiak won 100-freestyle gold, 100-butterfly silver and anchored Canada to a pair of freestyle relay bronze medals at age 16 in Rio.
Heats, semifinals, finals and relays added up to 10 races over nine days for Oleksiak in Tokyo, where she added a pair of relay medals and the 200 free bronze to her total.
Canada’s men’s team finished seventh in the medley relay just minutes after the women left the pool Sunday.
Markus Thormeyer (backstroke), Gabe Mastromatteo (breaststroke), Joshua Liendo (butterfly) and Yuri Kisil (freestyle) finished in 3:32.42.
The U.S. took gold in the men’s event with a world record 3:26.78. Great Britain came second and Italy captured bronze.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 31, 2021.
Kylie Masse won her second medal of the Summer Olympics – Sports – Castanet.net
Make it an even dozen medals for Canada and a second for swimmer Kylie Masse at the Tokyo Olympics.
Masse won her second silver, finishing just behind Australian Kaylee McKeown in the women’s 200 metre backstroke.
She also won silver in the 100 backstroke.
Masse went out fast and led for much of the race. But, McKeown put on a strong kick over the final 25 metres to touch just ahead of Masse.
McKeown won in two minutes, 4.68 seconds, 74 one-hundredths ahead of Masse.
Masse’s time of 2:05.42 established a Canadian record in the event.
Kelowna-born Taylor Ruck was sixth in 2:08.24.
Masse joins Maggie Mac Neil and Penny Oleksiak as double medalists at the Olympics.
Canada has a good chance for one final medal in the pool Saturday evening in the women’s 4×100 metre medley.
The team, which included Ruck, finished with the best time in their semi-final earlier in the day.
The roster for the team could change for the final.
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