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Connor Hellebuyck makes 36 saves as Jets down Maple Leafs – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the North Division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday.

Andrew Copp, with a goal and an assist, Josh Morrissey, Kyle Connor and Mason Appleton scored for Winnipeg (16-8-1). Neal Pionk added three assists and Nikolaj Ehlers had two of his own for the Jets, who now trail the Leafs by five points in the standings with two games in hand.

Auston Matthews, with his NHL-best 19th and 20th goals of the season, and Zach Hyman replied for Toronto (18-7-2). Frederik Andersen stopped 19 shots as the Leafs dropped their third straight in regulation.

Winnipeg was coming off an embarrassing 7-1 loss in Montreal to the Canadiens on Saturday that halted a four-game winning streak, while Toronto returned home following back-to-back defeats to the Vancouver Canucks after sweeping the Edmonton Oilers three straight by a combined 13-1 scoreline.

The Leafs and Jets play eight more times between now and April 24, including Thursday and Saturday back at Scotiabank Arena.

Down 2-1 through 20 minutes, Winnipeg got even at 12:45 of the second period when Matthews tried to block Morrissey’s point shot, but instead saw it glance off his airborne skate and fool Andersen for the defenceman’s first goal of the season.

The Jets then went ahead for the first time with 2:18 left when Ehlers showed great patience off the rush before finding Connor from behind the Toronto net to bury his 12th.

The Leafs had a couple of chances to make it 3-1 earlier in the period before Winnipeg equalized when Alexander Kerfoot had a chance from the slot on Hellebuyck and Ilya Mikheyev fanned on a tap-in off a pass from Morgan Rielly.

Down to five defenceman after Nathan Beaulieu took a shot off his hand, the Jets also came close as Mathieu Perreault was denied in tight by Andersen, while Blake Wheeler saw his sneaky deflection smothered by the Toronto goaltender.

Hellebuyck robbed Mitch Marner from point blank four minutes into the third as the Leafs came out of the intermission with more purpose.

But the Jets made it 4-2 at 7:53 when Appleton took a little pass from Copp before stepping around a sprawling Rielly and beating Andersen to score his seventh.

Toronto’s goalie then stopped Wheeler on a break away with four minutes left in regulation to keep his team close.

Matthews scored his 20th of the campaign with 1:54 left in regulation and Andersen on the bench to make it 4-3, but the home side wouldn’t get any closer and will now turn its attention to Thursday looking to snap a three-game slide.

The Leafs, who beat the Jets 3-1 in Toronto on Jan. 18 in the teams’ only meeting this season, opened the scoring at 8:16 of the first when Hyman took a pass from T.J. Brodie in his own zone and sliced through a porous Winnipeg defence before roofing his eighth on Hellebuyck.

The visitors got even on their second man advantage of the evening at 12:20 when Copp recovered a loose puck and then finished off the sequence by tipping Pionk’s point shot home for his fifth.

But Toronto got that one back when the league’s top-ranked power play connected for the 26th time in 27 games this season as Matthews, who’s been bothered by a wrist/hand injury and had failed to score in his last five outings, tipped his NHL-best 19th past Hellebuyck off Rielly’s point shot.

Notes: Matthews’ 20 goals have come in 24 games. … Rielly celebrated his 27th birthday. … The Jets play 17 times in 31 days in March.

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Olympics-U.S. women to face Australia in women’s football at Tokyo Games

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(Reuters) – The U.S. women’s national team will face Australia, Sweden and New Zealand at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, while in the men’s competition 2016 winners Brazil will take on Germany following the group stage draw on Wednesday.

The American women’s team are the reigning world champions and four-time winners of the Olympic tournament and will start as favourites in Tokyo, with Rio 2016 winners Germany failing to qualify.

Team GB women have drawn 2016 bronze medallists Canada, Chile and hosts Japan. Making only their second Olympic tournament appearance, Team GB will be led by England’s interim coach Hege Riise.

On the men’s side, Brazil will take on Germany, Ivory Coast and Saudi Arabia.

Mexico, the 2012 gold medallists, were pitted against hosts Japan, South Africa and France.

The men’s team are usually restricted to selecting players under the age of 23, with just three overage players allowed.

However, the age bracket has been raised for the Tokyo Games in line with the one-year postponement of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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Rafael Nadal rallies from set down to advance in Barcelona

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Top seed Rafael Nadal rallied from a set back to beat Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday in the second round at the Barcelona Open in Spain.

Nadal lost serve in the opening game of the match and wasn’t able to break Ivashka’s serve throughout the first set. He won just 70.6 percent of points on his first serve, was broken twice and had two double faults in an uncharacteristically poor showing on service in the opening set.

By the second set, he had righted his serve, winning 86.7 percent of points on his first serve in the second set and 83.3 percent in the third. He didn’t face a break point in either set.

In other action, No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, No. 3 Andrey Rublev of Russia, No. 4 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, No. 6 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain and No. 10 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada were among those advancing.

No. 9 Fabio Fognini of Italy defaulted for verbal abuse. He was losing 6-0, 4-4 to Zapata Miralles of Spain when the line judge reported him for swearing after a foot fault. He had been warned earlier in the match

Serbia Open

Top seed and home-country favorite Novak Djokovic needed just 68 minutes to top South Korean Soon-woo Kwon 6-1, 6-3 and advance to the quarterfinals in Belgrade, Serbia.

Djokovic capitalized on five of his eight service break opportunities in the win. In the next round, he’ll meet fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, the eighth seed, who needed three sets to oust Arthur Rinderknech of France 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Also advancing was the No. 2 seed, Matteo Berrettini, who defeated fellow Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 6-3. Fifth seed Filip Krajinovic beat Nikola Milojevic 6-1, 6-1 in an all-Serb match.

 

(Field Level Media)

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Ice hockey-Women’s world championships cancelled due to COVID-19

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(Reuters) -The women’s ice hockey world championships set to be played in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia have been cancelled because of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Canada, Hockey Canada said on Wednesday.

The announcement came one day before the 10 teams were to arrive to begin their quarantine ahead of the May 6-16 tournament.

“This is very disappointing news to receive with just a few weeks until the tournament was to begin,” said International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel in a statement.

“We strongly believe that we had the adequate safety measures in place. In the end, we must accept the decision of the government.”

The IIHF and Hockey Canada were informed by the Nova Scotia provincial government on Wednesday that the 10-country tournament could not go ahead due to safety concerns associated with COVID-19.

Still the news came as a shock after Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer had 24 hours earlier given the event the thumbs- up.

“At five o’clock this morning we were full go and at 7:30 am we were not,” explained Hockey Canada chief executive officer Tom Renney. “That is the way the world is right now and there is only so much we can control.

“At the end of the day there is a bigger game than the one we play here and quite honestly it is about the safety of the general public.”

The cancellation was another blow for the women’s game that has endured a number of recent setbacks, including the folding of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

It was also the second consecutive year the Nova Scotia world championships have been stopped by COVID-19.

“Definitely, a little bit of disbelief, a little shock, a lot of emotion,” said Canadian coach Gina Kingsbury, who pulled some players off the ice to deliver the bad news. “This is a group that has been through a lot this past year and two years so they are definitely familiar with disappointing news.”

Both the IIHF and Hockey Canada indicated they plan to play the world championships this year, possibly this summer, in Canada.

“Our intention, and that of the IIHF, is to reconnect with this event as a world championship in 2021 in Canada,” said Renney. “That’s our number one objective. We have every desire to hold this event in Canada.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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