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Canada crushes Switzerland to open Olympic women's hockey tournament – CBC Sports

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The Canadian women’s hockey team opened its Olympics with a 12-1 victory over Switzerland on Thursday in Beijing, but the win came with a cost.

Melodie Daoust, a key part of Canada’s second line that combined for three goals in the first period, left the game and did not return following an awkward hit into the boards during the second period.

The 30-year-old, who won tournament MVP at the 2018 Olympics, appeared to favour her shoulder as she immediately exited to the dressing room following the collision.

The injury put a damper on Canada’s fast start which was led by Daoust’s linemate, the dynamic 21-year-old Olympic rookie Sarah Fillier.

WATCH | Daoust exits with injury:

Melodie Daoust injured in Canada’s win over Switzerland

8 hours ago

Duration 0:42

Forward Melodie Daoust left the game during the second period of Canada’s 12-1 win over Switzerland, in their opening game at the Beijing 2022 Olympics. 0:42

“Just to step on that ice, see the [Olympic] rings, be in a building with Beijing 2022 written all over it and in this black jersey, it’s really cool,” Fillier told CBC Sports’ Kenzie Lalonde during second intermission.

Fillier opened the scoring just over one minute into the game, knocking a rebound out of midair and into the back of the net for her first career Olympic goal at the Games.

The Georgetown, Ont., native was forced to wait an additional 10 minutes for confirmation as officials went to video review, but the goal ultimately stood as Canada’s icebreaker in Beijing.

Defender Renata Fast said the team was “pumped” for Fillier after she scored.

“Talk about making an entrance to the Olympics. To score on her first shift, to bat the puck out of the air, that is so skillful,” she said.

Fillier made sure to leave no doubt when she scored her second minutes later, ripping a slot shot over the blocker of Swiss goalie Andrea Braendli, who stopped 58 of a whopping 70 Canadian attempts on net.

“I circled out in front and the seas just seemed to part and I took my shot,” said Fillier, who completed her three-point period with the primary assist on linemate Natalie Spooner’s goal.

WATCH | Fillier pots pair:

Olympic rookie Sarah Fillier scores twice in win over Switzerland

7 hours ago

Duration 1:56

21-year-old Sarah Fillier from Georgetown, Ont., shines in her Olympic debut as she scores two goals and adds an assist in Canada’s 12-1 victory over Switzerland. 1:56

While Daoust was held off the scoresheet, she was on the ice for all three first-period goals as the “FillDaSpoon” line kept up the momentum it built at the world championships in August. Spooner finished the night with four points, including two goals and two assists.

Canada extended its lead over Switzerland with two goals in 15 seconds in the middle frame. First, Rebecca Johnston buried her own rebound to put Canada up 4-0 before Laura Stacey fired home her first of the tournament from below the goal line after an Ashton Bell dump-in caromed off the end boards.

Canada then capitalized on the power play stemming from the hit on Daoust as Spooner potted her second of the game. Blayre Turnbull scored her first of two goals soon after.

After Laura Stacey made it 8-0, Canada had more goals than Switzerland had shots on net (seven).

“I felt we were not ready and we have to learn from that,” Braendli said. “It was a hard game but it was fun to play against a bunch of great players.”

The Swiss quickly corrected that with a power play, testing Canadian goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens in the dying seconds of the frame. But the 27-year-old netminder was up to the task, sliding across her crease and stacking her pads to make her best save of the game.

WATCH | Desbiens robs Swiss player in dying seconds of 2nd period:

Desbiens stacks the pads for early ‘save of the Olympics’ candidate

9 hours ago

Duration 0:23

Ann-Renée Desbiens stacked the pads to make an incredible save in Canada’s 12-1 win over Switzerland, in their opening game at the Beijing 2022 Olympics. 0:23

Switzerland finally got on the board in the third period after Canadian forward Sarah Nurse was sent to the penalty box as forward Lara Stalder slid the puck under Desbiens’ pads and into the back of the net.

The Canadian goalie finished with 13 saves.

Turnbull, Bell, Erin Ambrose and Claire Thompson, who also added four assists, replied for the Canadians in the final frame.

The Swiss did manage to succeed in limiting Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who was held to a single assist. On Wednesday, Poulin, 30, was named Canada’s flag-bearer for the opening ceremony alongside short track speed skater Charles Hamelin.

Canada returns to the ice Friday against Finland, and wraps up the round robin with contests on Sunday against the Russian Olympic Committee and Monday against the U.S. All games begin at 11:10 p.m. ET on CBC.

Czechs win Olympic debut

Michaela Pejzlova scored on a breakaway with 13:33 left in the third period, and the Czech Republic capped its women’s hockey Olympic debut with a 3-1 win over host China.

Tereza Radova became her nation’s first female to score in the Olympics by redirecting defender Aneta Tejralova’s pass into the slot to open the scoring 10:38 into a game the Czech Republic never trailed. Denisa Krizova also scored and Klara Peslarova stopped 13 shots in a Group B preliminary round game.

China was out-shot 36-14 in its fourth Olympic appearance, and first since finishing seventh of eight teams at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Mi Le scored and Canadian-born goalie Tiya Chen stopped 33 shots for a Chinese national team made up of mostly members of the Russian-based Women’s Hockey League’s Vanke Rays.

The defending champion United States opens the tournament later in the day against Finland.

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Heartbreaking end for Edmonton Oil Kings at Memorial Cup – Toronto Sun

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The Oil Kings lost 4-2 to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the final round-robin game for each team at Harbour Station arena Friday, eliminating them from the tournament

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SAINT JOHN, N.B. — A championship season came to a crashing end for the Edmonton Oil Kings at the 2022 Memorial Cup.

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The Oil Kings lost 4-2 to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the final round-robin game for each team at Harbour Station arena Friday, eliminating them from the tournament.

The Bulldogs move on to the semifinal Monday against either the host Saint John Sea Dogs or QMJHL champion Shawinigan Cataractes, who play Saturday to determine top spot.

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Mason McTavish scored a pair of goals, while Avery Hayes and Ryan Winterton had the others for the Bulldogs, who had lost their first two games of the tournament, but advanced with the win. Marco Costantini made 40 saves.

“It was a gritty effort,” said Bulldogs head coach Jay McKee. “We obviously got fantastic goaltending, it was one of the best games I’ve seen Cosy play, and I’ve seen him play a lot of games. We’ve got some guys that are banged up that are playing through things, like a lot of teams here, and I was just impressed with the effort; the guys left it all out there.”

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Jalen Luypen and Carter Souch scored for the Oil Kings, who only needed a tie in regulation to advance with the new points system announced by the CHL on the even of the tournament. Sebastian Cossa made 32 saves.

“I thought this was actually our best game of the tournament,” said Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer. “I thought we were a lot more engaged and had more purpose to our game. We generated a lot of opportunities and unfortunately, we didn’t finish a lot of them.”

The Bulldogs needed to win the game in regulation to earn all three points for the win and move into third spot in the standings ahead of the Oil Kings. Teams are only awarded two points for an overtime loss, while the loser gets one.

Hamilton opened the scoring on the power play nine minutes into the first period. Hayes took a pass from Logan Morrison at the side of the net and was able stuff the puck in through Cossa to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

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Hamilton increased their lead to 2-0 with less than four minutes in the period with another power-play goal.

Defenceman Nathan Staios was able to leap up and keep a puck in the zone. He slid it over to McTavish, who fired it across the ice to Morrison and he in turn, sent it back across the ice to Winterton for a tap in.

“Playing with those guys on the power play, it’s so easy to get points,” Winterton said. “It’s easy to produce because they find you so easily. It was a great goal and I’m thankful for Logan for finding me.”

In the second period, the Oil Kings took the play to the Bulldogs but were unable to cut into the deficit.

The Bulldogs sustained a big blow when Staios was injured after being hit into the corner from behind by Oil Kings defenceman Simon Kubicek, who had lofted the puck into the zone and then gave chase after it. Kubicek was not assessed a penalty and Staios watched then rest of the game from the stands.

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“Nathan is already playing – like a number of guys – a little sore in some areas,” McKee said. “I mean if that’s not a hit from behind, I need to understand what is. Looking at the tape, it was directly from behind and he’s hurting, he sore.

“He clearly didn’t come back in the game and I certainly would have liked to have seen a different call there.”

Edmonton out-shot Hamilton 15-9 in the period and the best chance they had to score fell to Josh Williams, who fanned on a shot in front off a centring pass from Carter Souch.

“I thought it was the best game of the tournament for us,” said Neighbours. “That was the closest to I’ve seen all tournament since we’ve been here. We just couldn’t finish early, but I’m proud of the guys, they never quit.”

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Luypen scored shorthanded two minutes into the third period to cut the deficit to 2-1. He took a drop pass from Jaxsen Wiebe just inside the Bulldogs zone and snapped a shot short side on Costantini.

The one-goal deficit made for a tense final 15 minutes as the Oil Kings poured on the pressure looking for the tying goal.

Costantini made an outstanding save on Brendan Kuny, who had been set up on cross-crease pass. The Bulldogs goaltender then somehow managed to stop Jake Neighbours at the side of the net on a tip-in attempt.

McTavish extended the lead to 3-1 with six and-a-half minutes remaining, one-timing a shot from the left face-off circle over the shoulder of Cossa.

“It was nice to get that one, we were kind of getting outplayed in the third,” McTavish said. “We expected them to have a big push there and it was their season on the line. We expected it, but it was nice to get that one.”

Souch cut the lead to 3-2 with 2:46 left in the game on a shot that found its way through traffic past Costantini with Cossa on the bench for the extra attacker.

It was as close as the Oil Kings would get, however. McTavish scored into an empty net as time expired in the contest.

“I think we were able to get through that with the experience we have in close games,” McTavish said. “Obviously it’s a lot different here, they’re championship teams and they have a lot of skill over there and they pushed really hard, but I think our experience helped us.”

Email: dvandiest@postmedia.com

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3 Keys: Lightning at Avalanche, Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final – NHL.com

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(3A) Lightning at (1C) Avalanche

8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS

Colorado leads best-of-7 series 3-1

The Colorado Avalanche can win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2001 with a victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at Ball Arena in Denver on Friday.

The Avalanche took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 4 on Wednesday. Colorado is 15-3 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including 7-2 at Ball Arena, but know this home game will be different with the Stanley Cup in the building.

“You try to treat it like another day, but you’re going to have thoughts of different things that haven’t been there all year,” Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram said. “But you’ve just got to stick to your routine, do what you’ve done every other day you’ve come to the rink and just make sure that you’re prepared to play your best tonight.”

The Lightning will seek to become the second team in NHL history to rally from down 3-1 in a best-of-7 Cup Final. Tampa Bay came back from trailing 3-2 in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs and a 2-0 hole against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final. 

[RELATED: Stanley Cup Final coverage | Stanley Cup Final schedule]

Now the Lightning need three straight wins against the Avalanche to become the first team to win the Stanley Cup in three consecutive seasons since the New York Islanders won four straight championships from 1980-83.

“You just don’t know how many opportunities, how many kicks you’re going to get at it,” Lightning forward Alex Killorn said. “I think for us it’s easier to think that you’ll be back every year just because of how things have been going. That’s just not the reality. There’s a lot of guys in the room that haven’t won Cups, guys that have been in a lot of situations like this in the past, so there’s a lot on the line and you just want to make sure you make the most of these situations.”

Here are 3 keys to Game 5:

1. Be smart at the start

Colorado started fast in winning each of the first two games of the series at home, grabbing a 2-0 lead in the opening 9:23 of Game 1 and a 3-0 lead by 13:52 of the first period in Game 2. With the chance to win the Stanley Cup in front of their fans, the Avalanche will try to jump on the Lightning early again, but they will also need to control their emotions and keep their focus regardless of how the start goes.

“Any time — a playoff game, a regular season game — you want to start well,” Avalanche forward J.T. Compher said. “We’ve done that at home, but it’s going to be 60 minutes. We’ve talked about it. The hardest one to win is the one to close out a team, especially a team like this. So we know whether the start goes our way or not the first five, 10 minutes, it’s going to be a 60-minute effort, maybe even more. We’ll be ready to play our way for as long as it takes.”

Conversely, the Lightning will need to do a better job of weathering the early Avalanche storm than they did in the first two games.

2. Status of Point, Cernak, Cirelli, Burakovsky

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said forward Andre Burakovsky, who hasn’t played since being hit in the hand with the puck in the second period of Game 2, is “a possibility for tonight.” Things are less clear for the banged-up Lightning with forwards Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Erik Cernak. 

Point returned to play the first two games of the Cup Final after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury, but was unable to play the past two games. Cernak left Game 4 in the second period after blocking a shot from Nathan MacKinnon off his leg. Cirelli returned to finish Game 4 after appearing to injure his arm in the second period, but his status is unclear for Game 5.

“This is definitely a game-time decision with a few of our guys,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “‘Cernie’ is feeling better, though. I’m pretty confident he’s going to play tonight.”

3. Balance of power

The Avalanche have been dominant on special teams in the Cup Final. Colorado is 6-for-13 (46.2 percent) on its power play and has killed 13 of 14 (92.9 percent) Tampa Bay power plays.

Failing to stop the Avalanche power play while not converting on their own has been a difficult combination for the Lightning to overcome in the series.

“We’d like to score on the power play. We’d like to be more productive,” Killorn said. “But more importantly, I think we’ve got to just keep them off the power play. They obviously have had a great power play and it seems like the way they’re going, pucks are kind of bouncing off skates and that’s what a good power play does. It puts themselves in a good chance and a good opportunity to score. So I think keep them off the power play and even if we do, we have tighten up and do a little better job getting pucks out of the zone.”

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej PalatSteven StamkosNikita Kucherov

Brandon Hagel — Anthony Cirelli — Alex Killorn

Ross Colton — Brayden Point — Nicholas Paul

Pat MaroonPierre-Edouard BellemareCorey Perry

Victor HedmanJan Rutta

Ryan McDonaghErik Cernak

Mikhail SergachevZach Bogosian

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Cal Foote, Frederik Claesson, Riley Nash

Injured: None

Avalanche projected lineup

Artturi Lehkonen — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel LandeskogNazem KadriValeri Nichushkin

Alex Newhook — J.T. Compher — Logan O’Connor

Darren HelmAndrew CoglianoNico Sturm

Devon ToewsCale Makar

Jack JohnsonJosh Manson

Bowen ByramErik Johnson

Darcy Kuemper

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: Justus Annunen, Ryan Murray, Kurtis MacDermid, Jacob MacDonald, Jayson Megna, Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Injured: Samuel Girard (sternum), Andre Burakovsky (hand)

Status report

The Lighting held an optional morning skate. … If Burakovsky is able to play, Sturm or O’Connor likely would be scratched.

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Following Siakam's path, Koloko thrilled to join Raptors: 'It's just surreal' – Sportsnet.ca

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Christian Koloko has big dreams, but also plans. He couldn’t be more excited about them unfolding while wearing a Toronto Raptors uniform.

The second-round pick by the Raptors believes in himself and is confident he can out-perform his draft position as the 33rd player taken on Thursday night.

“My goal is to be a long time NBA player, to be a really good player in the NBA,” he said Friday in media conference call. “Being mentioned for multiple time all-star and just having the best career possible, because you know I kind of started playing basketball kind of late so I think the sky is the limit for me and I will continue to get better.”

But first, baby steps. Having grown up in Cameroon and finished high school in Southern California and then spent three years at the University of Arizona, he’s already ear-marked a portion of his first NBA pay cheque towards a big winter jacket, his first.

He’s seen snow once but living in a northern climate will be a new thing for the long-armed, 7-foot-1, 22-year-old.

Fortunately, Koloko has proven remarkably adaptable throughout his athletic career. Like most kids in Cameroon, Koloko grew up playing soccer – flipping between striker and goalkeeper. He played basketball only recreationally and like Raptors star Pascal Siakam, who – like Koloko — also comes from Douala, only began playing seriously in his late teens, arriving in California for his last two years of high school.

His first language was French, but he pushed himself to become quickly fluent in English, and over his career at Arizona he pushed himself to grow as a player too. He barely saw floor time as a freshman, came off the bench in his second year but in his junior year was a starter, a star, and earned multiple all-conference awards in the Pac-12.

“I think what happened was just me being confident, me believing in myself,” he said. “My first couple years at Arizona were really tough with COVID and everything. “I never really had a chance to work on my game during the summer. My first year at Arizona during the summer I was home and couldn’t do anything with the California rules, so I think I really lost that period of time.

“This year we had a new coaching staff. I came in and talked with the coaches and he told me how he wanted to use me and how he was going to help me get better. I just needed to commit to work hard and that’s what I did, and I think I was more confident this year.”

Koloko is confident he’ll be able to contribute in the NBA sooner than later, with his ability to defend at the rim and — hopefully — hold his own on the perimeter as his calling card. He’ll get his first chance when he joins the Raptors summer league team next month.

“I think I’m a really good defender,” he said. “During the game I can switch one through five and contain my guy in front of me. I probably can’t guard the point guard the whole game, but I feel comfortable during the game switching on a guard and making it hard for him to score on me. I feel like I still have room to improve, and I’ll continue to get better with that, for sure.”

He’ll have a ready-made role model and possible mentor at hand in the form of Siakam, who was an unheralded selection at No.27 in 2016 and has since turned himself from an energizing defender and chaos agent to one of the best all-round forwards in the game, twice earning all-NBA recognition.

The two have met in the previously though only in passing, but Siakam made a point of calling his new teammate on Thursday night, sharing some words of congratulations and encouragement in French.

Koloko considers Siakam’s path to the NBA from Cameroon as a template that he and others back home want to replicate.

“He [Siakam] means everything,” said Koloko. “He’s the first person from Douala to go to the NBA, to get to that level. He’s an NBA champ. He’s an NBA All-Star. This year he was in one of the All-NBA teams. He just means a lot, showing people like me that anything is possible. I think he said when he won the MIP, everything seems impossible until it’s done. That’s what he just shows people … even this year, he had the injury and came back. [He had a] pretty slow start and kept working on his game, and he showed people who he is. Just that perseverance he showed, he just means everything to the city of Douala, for sure.”

The Raptors are obviously heavily invested in Koloko reaching the upper limits of his potential. They have been tracking him since he was a 17-year-old at a Basketball Without Borders camp in South Africa in 2017 and told him that he was available with the 33rd pick they would take him.

For Toronto, Koloko represents something different in that they haven’t had: a prototype of the modern big man – someone who can challenge shots at the rim defensively and be a lob threat offensively, while having the quickness to contain the ball on the perimeter.

“I mean, he’s seven foot, I’m not sure what his wingspan or standing reach is but it definitely is something that we do not have,” said Raptors general manager Bobby Webster. “We probably won’t know [when he can contribute] until we get to be around that a little bit more. But yeah, I think as far as like a seven-foot rim protector? We don’t have that.”

Koloko wants to be more than that – he wears No.35 in honour of his favourite player, Kevin Durant – but he understands that he’s got to prove his ability as a defender before his offensive responsibilities will be fully explored. That he improved so dramatically as a free-throw shooter – from 35 per cent as a freshman to 73.5 per cent as a junior–  and that he has shown some dashes of playmaking while recording six assists in one game and four in two others provides room for optimism.

He watched the draft in Los Angeles, with his family, a night he won’t soon forget. To make to the NBA is one thing, but to do it while playing for Raptors vice-chairman Masai Ujiri, a legend in African basketball and alongside Siakam, a giant figure in their hometown makes it even more special.

“It was amazing. It was crazy. My family was really happy. I was happy for myself,” he says of his draft experience. “Where I’m from, it’s only me and Pascal from that city to make it this far. Even when I got to college, it was a big thing for me to get to that level. To get to the NBA, it’s just surreal. I’m just going to embrace it and continue to get better and show people that you can achieve anything if you put the work in, for sure.

“… I’ve built a really good relationship with Masai and every time I saw [people from the Raptors] they always showed love to me and having them pick me in this draft just means everything, man. I’m forever going to be thankful for them and I’m going to go out there and give everything I have for them.”

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