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FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament: Czech Republic ends Canada's Olympic hopes with overtime win – NBA CA



Canada’s dreams of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games are no more.

Saturday afternoon, The Czech Republic earned a thrilling 103-101 overtime victory over the host Canada to advance to the final of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, British Columbia.

For the Czechs, it was Blake Schilb that led the way with 31 points, while Tomas Satoransky added 18 points and a clutch bucket in the final seconds of the overtime period. Canada was led by a combined 66 points from the trio of RJ Barrett (23), Andrew Wiggins (22) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (21).

For more on a wild game, here are some takeaways…

1. Satorasnky calls game

With things tied at 101, it was pretty clear whose hands the ball would be in.

Draped by Luguentz Dort, Satoransky banked in a tough turnaround jumper from the elbow.

Great defence, better offence.

As he returned to the bench, it looked as though Satoransky quoted Hall of Famer Paul Pierce in saying, “I called game.”

That he did.

2. A wild, wild finish to regulation

With 57 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Canada trailed 92-82. Then things got wild.

It’s nearly impossible to briefly encapsulate it all, but Team Canada closed on a 12-2 run in the final minute, capped off by a tough 3-pointer from Andrew Wiggins.

Also in the final minute: Dort and Barrett knocked down triples, Barrett converted an and-one and Canada forced two inbound turnovers by pressing The Czech Republic.

It all set up the game’s wild finish.

3. Great to have you back, fans

It wasn’t a large number, but fans were welcomed into Victoria Memorial Coliseum for the first time during the tournament.

It was a welcomed sight and an encouraging sign for things to come.

4. The Schilb Show

Schilb entered Saturday afternoon having scored a total of seven points in the Czech Republic’s first two games.

He outdid that early in the first quarter.

Schilb parlayed a 13-point first quarter into a game-high 31 points on 11-for-19 shooting, including 7-for-12 from beyond the arc. A late 3-pointer in the extra frame gave The Czech Republic its first lead of the overtime period before things were briefly tied back up.

The Czechs don’t win this without the performance of a lifetime from the 37-year-old.

5. Size (dis)advantage

As evidenced by some of the numbers, Canada had few answers for the size presented by The Czech Republic.

The Czechs outrebounded Team Canada 52-39, led by a 14-point, 19-rebound performance from Ondrej Balvin. Dwight Powell, Canada’s starting center fouled out in 23 minutes of action, exiting the game with just six points and three rebounds.

Save for the late-game flurry, Canada failed to take advantage of its speed and athleticism and was worn down due to lacking size.

6. Canada goes cold from deep

After an impressive shooting performance in the final game of the Group Phase against China, it was almost as though Canada couldn’t buy a 3-pointer.

Canada finished the game shooting 9-for-37 from beyond the arc, and four of those makes came in the final minute of regulation and overtime, meaning Canada hit just five 3-pointers during the first 39 minutes of game action.

The Czech Republic, on the other hand, shot it much better at 13-for-28.

7. The drought continues

The unfortunate reality of the loss from the Canadian Senior Men’s National Team on Saturday is that its Olympic drought will continue for at least another three years.

Like most times, there was some bad luck involved, including injuries to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jamal Murray, impending free agents Khem Birch and Kelly Olynyk not being able to play and the circumstances that held Dillon Brooks and Tristan Thompson out of competition.

It’s back to the drawing board for Team Canada, which will take this time to figure things out once again.

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Tokyo 2020: Canada wins first medal after swimming to silver in women's 4×100 freestyle relay – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



The Canadian Press

Published Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT

Last Updated Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT

TOKYO — Canada has its first medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay team raced to silver.

Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez of Toronto, Margaret Mac Neil of London, Ont., and Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., finished in a time of three minutes 32.78 seconds as Canada picked up a medal in the event for a second straight Games.

Australia won gold in a world-record time of 3:29.69, while the United States finished third in 3:32.81.

Oleksiak swam the anchor leg and narrowly beat out American Simone Manuel at the wall.

Canada’s women are looking to duplicate the success they had in the pool at the 2016 Rio Games, where they picked up six medals.

Earlier on Sunday, Mac Neil also advanced to Monday morning’s 100-metre butterfly final. The 21-year-old world champion in the event posted the sixth-fastest time in the semifinals.

An hour after qualifying for the butterfly final, Mac Neil drew into the relay lineup for Taylor Ruck who swam the heat for Canada. The women posted the third-fastest time in the preliminaries.

Sanchez led off the final followed by Mac Neil and Smith with Oleksiak bringing the team home.

Oleksiak and Ruck won a pair of freestyle relay bronze medals as 16-year-olds in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.

They teamed with Sandrine Mainville and Chantal Van Landeghem in the 4 x 100 to win Canada’s first medal of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Oleksiak also swam the anchor leg in Rio.

Canada’s women aim for the podium in all three relays in Tokyo after earning three bronze at the world championship in Gwangju, South Korea two years ago.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2021.

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The Edmonton Oilers select big German defender Luca Munzenberger at #90 overall – Edmonton Journal



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The Edmonton Oilers trading down on Day #1 of the NHL draft was converted not 24 hours later into Defenceman Luca Munzenbeger.

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Gotta love the name! Munzenberger is an 18-year old out of Dusseldorf, Germany. He has a late (November) 2002 birth date.

He’s a big, left-handed shot at 6’3, 194 LBS.

Munzenberger spent the majority of 2020-21 with Kolner Junghaie of the DNL U20. In 6 games he went 1-2-3 and served as Team Captain. His time in junior versus pro left open the door for him to play in college. Munzenberger also played for Team Germany at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton (0-0-0 in 5GP). More on that in a minute…

Munzenberger is considered to be an excellent PK man, but possesses a big shot which makes him a threat from the point as well. Scouts say he has a soft set of hands and makes an effective first-pass out of his own zone. Those who have seen him play, namely amateur scout Brock Otten, describe the kid as a “suffocating physical defender” with a mean streak. He’s an above-average skater for his size with a massive stride and a big wingspan. He’s effective at clearing the slot and his reach helps him get to pucks ahead of attackers. In my own viewing of his highlights from the WJC’s, Munzenberger closes quickly and effectively on the opposition along the walls. The foot-speed, reach and size are visibly key tools in his ability to break up the cycle.

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A side note from that tournament that may indicate the quality of his intangibles: Munzenberger was in COVID quarantine at the very beginning ot the WJ’s, but emerged from that status prior to Christmas and rebounded with a strong performance. That would seem to speak to the kid’s resilience. The young man in a foreign country responded to a stressful situation and considerable uncertainty extremely well.

Draft analyst Steve Kournianos says of him: “A big bodied vacuum cleaner on defence… He has ideal size but the mobility and agility to cover faster players… He plays a mean, physical brand of hockey and can be considered a throwback… He has soft hands and delivers clean passes to any area in the offensive zone, but what makes Munzenberger dangerous is his lethal shot — he owns a bomb of a shot, not only for its velocity but for the sheer power he generates with little backswing. His wrister is just as nasty.”

It is fair to consider this pick as somewhat “off the board”. Elite Prospects had him at #214. No other service had him listed at all. One wonders if fellow countryman Leon Draisaitl had and offered any insight on the player to the Oilers draft team? He and his father surely know of every sharp prospect in that nation.

Munzenberger is committed to NCAA University of Vermont in 2022-23 which offers another interesting tidbit. Todd Woodcroft is the coach of that program, the brother of Bakersfield Condors bench boss Jay Woodcroft.  So, there may well be some added insight from that connection.

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Montreal Canadiens select Joe Vrbetic with 214th pick – Habs Eyes on the Prize



After a very long day, the Montreal Canadiens final picks are finally upon us, with 214th overall being up first. The Habs acquired this pick after trading out of an earlier round, and with this pick the team selected Joe Vrbetic from OHL’s North Bay Battalion.

Elite Prospects

Unfortunately like many other prospects in the OHL, Vrbetic was not able to play this year due to the Covid pandemic. In his last full season he posted a 4.23 goals against, an .881 save percentage along with a 14-25-1 record on a dreadful North Bay team that won just 17 out of 62 games.

The Habs have the penultimate pick in the draft at 223rd overall this year coming up.

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