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2020 World Juniors: CZE vs. RUS recap — Opening day upset in Ostrava – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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We are on our way in the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship. Starting us off on Boxing Day; Russia against the home team from the Czech Republic. This immediately meant a duel between two of the tournament’s top goalie prospects; Yaroslav Askarov and Lukas Dostal.

The hosts, backed by a frenetic audience in Ostrava, got off to a hot start when they scored on the first power play of the game a little more than two minutes in. Simon Kubicek, usually playing in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds and an eligible for next year’s draft, shot from the blue line and surprised Askarov with his quick release.

Minutes later the crowd had another reason to celebrate as Jan Mysak, another 2020 draft prospect, made it 2-0 for the Czechs.

The home team’s impressive start was surprising considering they were already without one of their top players, forward Jakub Lauko, who was helped to the locker room early with a leg injury after being on the receiving end of an unfortunate mid-ice hit.

Things looked bleak for the heavily favoured Russian team. However, they would manage to claw their way back and tie the contest thanks to penalties to their opponents. Even if none of the goals came on the power play, both of them were results of a heavy two-minute domination ending with the puck in the net seconds after the teams became equal in strength again.

First, Anton Khovanov and captain Grigori Denisenko assisted defender Yegor Zamula, who waited in the right shooting lane and took advantage of heavy traffic in front of Dostal. Minutes later, another long offensive sequence ended with Vancouver Canucks first-round pick Vasili Podkolzin finding the puck in the crease with no chance for the Czech netminder to react. This goal also meant the first point of the tournament for last year’s top defenceman, Montreal Canadiens prospect Alexander Romanov, who was attributed with the second assist.

It was an aggressive and fast-paced first period, where seven players received minor penalties and Russia dominated the shots, outshooting their opponents 18-5, with just one of the home team’s shots registered during the last 12 minutes of play.

Russia was working on taking the lead, but Matej Blümel surprised everyone, including Askarov, with a well-timed shot from a bad angle. Czech Republic regained the lead and Askarov, who has been as highly touted as any goaltending prospect in the last decade, had conceded three goals on a single-digit number of shots.

If Russia’s coaching staff at the time was pondering a goalie change, they immediately got other, better things on their mind when Zamula tied the game with his second of the day only 45 seconds later.

Late in the period, a penalty on Nikita Rtishchev gave Czech Republic a formidable chance to go on top yet again with a 40-second five-on-three. Jan Jenik immediately demonstrated his skills to slap one past Askarov and make it 4-3.

Seconds later and still a man down, Anton Malyshev took his second penalty of the day. This gave the home team yet another, longer chance to play two men up. Russia eventually weathered the storm to make sure that the Czech advantage remained just one goal.

Before the start of the third period, head coach Valeri Bragin decided that he had seen enough of Askarov and replaced him with Bars Kazan’s Amir Miftakhov.

Russia spent most of the third period chasing that fourth goal to tie it up, without creating any first-class chances. With a few minutes left, the already undisciplined Russian team became desperate and irritated, taking their seventh and eight penalty of the game and giving the Czechs yet another opportunity to play five-on-three. The last of the penalties gave the culprit, Russian defender Danila Galenyuk, a one-way trip to the locker room with three-and-a-half minutes left.

Russia extracted the last of their energy trying to come up with a game tying goal, removing Miftakhov and playing six-on-five once they had survived the penalty kill, but to no gain. To the joy of the home crowd, the Czech Republic won their first game of the tournament against their rivals.

Both teams will now recharge for Saturday and their second outing of round robin, where the Czechs will face off against Germany, and Russia will try to overcome the difficult challenge of playing Canada.

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LeBron Saves Team USA in Thrilling Exhibition Against South Sudan at O2 Arena

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LONDON — In what could have been one of the most monumental upsets in international basketball history, Team USA narrowly escaped with a 101-100 victory over a spirited South Sudan team at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night. This exhibition match, serving as a tune-up for the 2024 Olympics, showcased the rapid rise of South Sudanese basketball and the indomitable spirit of the American team led by LeBron James.

The atmosphere at the O2 Arena was electric, with fans witnessing a game that turned out to be far more competitive than expected. South Sudan, a team composed largely of refugees and players from the diaspora, pushed the heavily favored Americans to their limits.

First Half Highlights:

  • South Sudan came out firing on all cylinders, building a surprising 16-point lead in the second quarter.
  • Team USA struggled with their three-point shooting, missing 12 of their first 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite the odds, South Sudan’s players, many of whom have overcome significant personal and professional challenges, played with remarkable cohesion and determination. Their performance was a testament to the rapid progress the team has made under the guidance of former NBA star Luol Deng.

With the game hanging in the balance, LeBron James demonstrated why he remains one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Benched at the start of the third quarter, James returned to the floor with a determination that was palpable.

Key Moments:

  • Third Quarter: Anthony Davis’ defensive prowess helped shrink the deficit. LeBron’s return brought stability and focus back to Team USA.
  • Final Minute: With just 20 seconds left, JT Thor of South Sudan scored over LeBron, giving his team a one-point lead.
  • Game-Winning Shot: LeBron drove to the basket, scoring the decisive layup with eight seconds remaining.

South Sudan’s journey to this point has been nothing short of inspirational. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the basketball program, still in its infancy, has quickly become a source of national pride.

Notable Contributions:

  • Carlik Jones: Delivered a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
  • Wenyen Gabriel: LeBron’s former teammate with the Lakers, contributed 11 points.
  • Marial Shayok: Led South Sudan with 24 points.

The team’s formation and rise have been spearheaded by Luol Deng, who played a pivotal role in recruiting and funding the program. His efforts have culminated in South Sudan qualifying for the Olympics, marking a historic achievement for the young nation.

Stephen Curry: “Wild game. They played really intense. It was nice to see how we responded. LeBron with a great finish down the stretch.”

Steve Kerr: “The whole team was embarrassed at halftime. We were challenged today, and it was good for us to feel that now. This was a reminder that we need to bring our best every game.”

Luol Deng: Expressed immense pride in his team’s performance, emphasizing the significance of their journey and the obstacles they have overcome.

This exhibition game was more than just a pre-Olympic warm-up. It highlighted the potential for underdog stories in sports and underscored the global reach and impact of basketball. Team USA, despite the narrow escape, was reminded of the importance of every game and the challenges that lie ahead.

South Sudan, on the other hand, has cemented its place on the international stage, showcasing that with determination and the right support, even the newest teams can compete with the best in the world.

As both teams prepare for the Olympics, this game at the O2 Arena will be remembered not only for its thrilling finish but also for the remarkable stories of resilience and ambition that played out on the court.

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UFC Vegas 94: Amanda Lemos vs. Virna Jandiroba – Main Event Recap

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In a thrilling main event at UFC Vegas 94, strawweights Amanda Lemos and Virna Jandiroba faced off on Saturday night. After an evenly matched first round, Jandiroba secured a dramatic submission victory in the second round, just moments before the bell.

Fight Summary:

  • First Round: The opening round was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and maintaining a close contest.
  • Second Round: In the final seconds of the second round, Jandiroba managed to secure a submission, forcing Lemos to tap out. The win marks an impressive fourth consecutive victory for Jandiroba.

Post-Fight Remarks:

  • In her post-fight interview inside the Octagon, Jandiroba confidently called out UFC President Dana White, declaring, “Dana, I’m the next one. Dana, I’m your next champion.”

Future Implications:

  • With this victory, Jandiroba has positioned herself as a strong contender for the strawweight title. Tatiana Suarez, who was the rightful next contender for Weili Zhang, has been sidelined due to an injury. Jandiroba’s current four-fight win streak and her dominant performance at UFC Vegas 94 make a compelling case for her title shot.

Stay tuned for more updates as the UFC strawweight division continues to evolve, and see if Virna Jandiroba will indeed become the next challenger for the championship belt.

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Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry: Fight Night Updates

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Jake Paul is back in the ring, and he’s promising fireworks as he takes on former UFC star Mike Perry at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The fight will be broadcast live on DAZN. Originally, Paul was set to fight Mike Tyson, but Perry stepped in after Tyson suffered an injury.

Fight Details:

Jake Paul (9-1, 6 KOs)

  • Paul is coming off a first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland in March.
  • He has promised that Perry won’t survive the second round.
  • Paul is more experienced in boxing but still relatively new to the sport.

Mike Perry (0-1)

  • Perry, known as “Platinum,” brings over a decade of fighting experience, mainly in MMA and bare-knuckle fighting.
  • He believes Paul is still green in the fight business and intends to use his experience to pull off an upset.

Main Event:
Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry

Live Updates: Follow DAZN for all the live updates, results, and highlights from the Paul vs. Perry pay-per-view main card.

Main Card Results:

Amanda Serrano def. Stevie Morgan via TKO

  • Round 2, 0:38
    • Watch the finish

Lucas Bahdi def. H20 Sylve via knockout

  • Round 6, 2:27
    • Watch the finish

Corey Marksman def. Tony Aguilar via majority decision

  • Scores: 76-76, 77-75, 78-74

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision

  • Scores: 59-55, 59-55, 58-56
    • Recap

Stay tuned for the main event updates and see if Jake Paul can deliver on his promise of another highlight reel knockout or if Mike Perry will teach him a lesson and pull off a major upset.

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