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WJC roundup: Lundell powers unbeaten Finland past Slovakia at WJC – NHL.com

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Day 6 games

Russia 4, Sweden 3 (OT): Marat Khusnutdinov (Minnesota Wild) scored a power-play goal with six seconds remaining in overtime, and Russia ended Sweden’s 54-game preliminary-round winning streak in a Group B game at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship on Wednesday.

Russia got a power play when Sweden forward Arvid Costmar (Vancouver Canucks) was called for holding with 25 seconds left in overtime. Russia gained possession, and Rodion Amirov (Toronto Maple Leafs) carried the puck to the net. Sweden goalie Jesper Wallstedt (2021 NHL Draft eligible) made the save, but Khusnutdinov knocked the rebound under his pads for the winning goal.

It’s the first time Sweden has lost a preliminary-round game since Dec. 31, 2006, when it lost to the United States.

Amirov had a goal and two assists, Khusnutdinov had a goal and an assist, and Egor Afansasyev (Nashville Predators) and Kirill Kirsanov (2021 draft eligible) scored for Russia (2-1-0-1, eight points). Iaroslav Askarov (Predators) made 33 saves.

Alexander Holtz (New Jersey Devils) had a goal and an assist for Sweden (2-0-1-0, seven points), and Costmar and Noel Gunler (Carolina Hurricanes) scored. Wallstedt made 31 saves.

Gunler scored with 1:00 left in the third period to tie the game 3-3. With Wallstedt pulled for an extra attacker, Holtz’s shot from the point went in off Gunler’s shin pad.

Russia took a 3-2 lead at 9:46 of the third on Kirsanov’s goal from the left face-off circle.

Afanasyev gave Russia a 1-0 lead at 7:28 of the first period when he scored from the slot off a pass by Mikhail Abramov (Maple Leafs).

Costmar tied it 1-1 at 14:33 when he scored on a backhand in front.

Amirov put Russia ahead 2-1 with a power-play goal with 46 seconds left in the first off a setup by Vasiliy Podkolzin (Canucks).

Holtz tied it 2-2 at 15:59 of the second period. He missed an open chance from the slot but got to his rebound below the goal line. He threw the puck in front, and it bounced off Askarov and into the net.

Russia next plays in the quarterfinals Saturday. Sweden plays the United States on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN).

Germany 5, Switzerland 4: Tim Stuetzle (Ottawa Senators) and John-Jason Peterka (Buffalo Sabres) each scored five points, and Germany clinched third place in Group A with its first win of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship on Wednesday.

Stuetzle, the No. 3 pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, scored two goals and had three assists. Peterka scored a hat trick and had two assists. Florian Bugl (2021 NHL Draft eligible) made 31 saves for Germany (1-1-0-2, five points), which will play in the quarterfinals Saturday.

Since the current tournament format was adopted in 1996, it’s the first time Germany will play in a playoff round.

“It’s very important, maybe even a historical moment for us,” Germany coach Tobias Abstreiter said. “We reached the quarterfinals now. … With all the conditions, the obstacles we had to [face], the team made a big impact and always believed in themselves. It’s unbelievable what they achieved and every player can be proud.”

Germany played with 12 forwards and seven defensemen for the first time after being limited to nine forwards and five defensemen during its first three games because of coronavirus issues.

“Everybody knew our situation, we were down to 14 guys,” Stuetzle said. “I’m so proud of the team. It’s just special how everybody is working together. I think we totally deserve it. And I’m so excited and can’t wait to play the quarterfinals.”

Switzerland (0-0-0-4, zero points) scored four times in the third period. It will finish last in Group A.

Ronny Daehler (2021 draft eligible) had a goal and an assist, and Noah Delemont (2021 draft eligible), Noah Meier (2021 draft eligible) and Simon Knak (2021 draft eligible) scored for Switzerland. Thibault Fatton (2021 draft eligible) made 20 saves.

“Last 20 minutes was probably the best 20 minutes from our team,” Switzerland coach Marco Bayer said. “We started again not good in the first, I was really loud in the first [intermission] to wake them a little bit up and then I think we played well, had some great chances.”

Peterka scored on the rebound of a Stuetzle shot at 4:38 of the first period to give Germany a 1-0 lead, and Stuetzle made it 2-0 at 9:08 when he scored after taking a pass at the Switzerland blue line and muscling round defenseman Cedric Fiedler 2021 draft eligible). Peterka scored a power-play goal to make it 3-0 with 2:44 remaining in the first.

Stuetzle scored his second goal for a 4-0 lead at 13:19 of the second period.

Delemont scored Switzerland’s second goal of the tournament at 9:59 of the third period to make it 4-1, and Daehler made it 4-2 at 10:55.

Peterka completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal at 17:39 of the third period that made it 5-2, but Germany forward Justin Volek was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for cross-checking with 2:01 remaining.

With Fatton pulled for an extra attacker and a 6-on-4 advantage, Meier made it 5-3 with 1:46 remaining, and Knak scored with 24 seconds left to make it 5-4.

Bugl made his biggest save with 17 seconds left against Raymond Fust (2021 draft eligible) from the crease.

Finland 6, Slovakia 0: Anton Lundell (Florida Panthers) scored a goal and had two assists to help Finland to its third straight win in Group A.

Samuel Helenius (2021 draft eligible) scored two goals, and Kasper Simontaival (Los Angeles Kings) and Topi Niemela (Toronto Maple Leafs) each had a goal and an assist. Kari Piiroinen (2021 draft eligible) made 12 saves.

Finland (3-0-0-0, nine points) and Canada (3-0-0-0, nine points) are tied for first place in Group A. They will play for the top seed in the group for the quarterfinals Thursday (6 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN).

“We had a good first period, but I think we played even better in the second and third,” said Lundell, who is tied with Niemela for the Finland lead with six points (three goals, three assists).

Samuel Hlavaj (2021 draft eligible) made 44 saves for Slovakia (1-0-1-2, four points).

Lundell, Finland’s captain, scored the game’s first goal at 8:57 of the first period when he tapped in a cross-ice pass from Simontaival, giving him a goal in each of his team’s three games. Lundell then set up Niemela’s goal during a delayed penalty to make it 2-0 at 6:09 of the second.

Simontaival was credited with the goal that gave Finland a 3-0 lead at 8:35 of the second. He carried the puck to the net, Hlavaj poked it away from him, but it bounced in off the stick of Slovakia defenseman Oliver Turan (2021 draft eligible).

Santeri Hatakka (San Jose Sharks) made it 4-0 when at 6:10 of the third when he scored from the goal line, putting a shot between Hlavaj’s head and the post. Then Helenius, who received a B rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary players to watch list, made it 5-0 at 7:27 when he scored on the rebound of a shot by Benjamin Korhonen (2021 draft eligible), and made it 6-0 at 13:49.

“We had a good first period, but I think we played even better in the second and third,” Lundell said.

Slovakia is assured of playing in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

“In that second period, there was lots of pressure on us, they were all over us … we were losing lots of battles,” Slovakia coach Robert Petrovicky said. “We have to go back to what it was in the first few games and the first few days, see what was working for us, especially those first few games.”

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Sinclair to lead Canadian women’s team in her fourth Olympics

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Christine Sinclair, the all-time international goal-scoring record holder, was named to her fourth Olympic squad on Wednesday and will headline a Canadian roster at the Tokyo Games that features a mix of veterans and youth.

Led by Sinclair, whose 186 goals for her country are the most by a female or male soccer player worldwide, Canada won medals at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and was the only nation to make the podium in both competitions.

“I am looking forward to doing whatever I can to help take this team back to the podium and make history again,” said Canadian captain Sinclair. “Our team is in a good spot, we are excited, we are hungry and we are ready to go.”

The 18-player roster features 12 members of the squad that competed at the 2016 Rio Games while a quintet including Vanessa Gilles, Jayde Riviere, Julia Grosso, Adriana Leon, and Evelyne Viens will be making their Olympic debuts.

Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan travelled to Rio in 2016 as an alternate.

Canada will kick off their Tokyo 2020 journey when they face Japan on July 21 and continue Group E play against Chile on July 24 and Britain on July 27.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Which of the Canadians Picked in the 2021 NFL Draft Will Thrive This Season?

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It was a good NFL Draft for Canadian players in 2021.

Some four stars from north of the border were selected by NFL franchises in the free agency pick ‘em, and that is tied as the highest number of Canadians drafted in the 85-year history of the event.

Of course, the hope is that these young talents are more than just filler and roster depth, but can any of the quartet make the breakthrough into the big time?

Here’s a look at which of the NFL’s newest Canadian additions can shine in 2021/22.

Jevon Holland

The defensive back was the number 36 pick in the Draft by the Miami Dolphins, who beat off a number of rivals in the hunt for the Coquitlam native.

A versatile defender, Holland is a former Jim Thorpe Award semi-finalist thanks to his exploits in the NCAA back in 2019 with the University of Oregon.

He sat out the 2020 campaign, but representatives from dozens of NFL teams were in town to watch Holland go through his paces at the Oregon Pro Day.

The 21-year-old is following in the footsteps of his father Robert, who turned out for the Detroit Lions, and he is expected to force his way into the starting line-up at the Dolphins. And, who knows, maybe Holland could go all the way in his first season, with Miami priced at +2500 in the Super Bowl 2022 American football odds.

Benjamin St-Juste

When you’re six foot three, 205 pounds and still able to run 40 yards in 4.51 seconds, it goes without saying that you have the physical credentials to succeed in the NFL.

Benjamin St-Juste is the man that can, and he will bolster the roster at a Washington Football Team that will be looking to improve upon their playoff showing in 2020.

The 23-year-old may only have been a third-round pick, but he comes with a burgeoning reputation thanks to a successful time at the University of Minnesota. An All-Big Ten special mention in 2019, more than 50 NFL recruitment personnel attended the college’s pro day – largely to catch a glimpse of St-Juste going through his paces.

Both Brian Gutekunst and Jon Robinson made the trip but, in the end, it was Washington who snapped up the powerhouse from the Draft.

Chuba Hubbard

The third Canadian to be drafted in 2021 was Chuba Hubbard, who became the first Canadian running back to be selected from the Draft in 25 years.

It’s the Carolina Panthers who have taken a chance on the 22-year-old and with his credentials, you can see why. Hubbard finished eighth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in 2019 after a stellar campaign – he served up 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, an NCAA best. He was named the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

While running backs are not the hottest of properties in the Draft, Hubbard provably has the talent to cross into the end zone with regularity – the Panthers might just have got their hands on an unheralded gem here.

With these three Canadians taking the step up to the NFL, the future of the sport north of the border looks in safe hands.

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Berrettini ends Murray’s comeback at Queen’s

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Andy Murray‘s grasscourt return was cut short in brutal fashion at Queen’s Club as Italian top seed Matteo Berrettini dished out a 6-3 6-3 defeat to the former world number one on Thursday.

The 34-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion, playing in his first singles tournament on grass for three years, could not handle the ferocious pace of Berrettini as he slid to defeat.

Murray eased past Benoit Paire in his opening match on Tuesday but world number nine Berrettini was too big a step up.

Berrettini’s huge first serve and forehand did most of the damage but the Italian also showed plenty of silky touch on the slick lawns to register his first career win over Murray.

Berrettini, 25, finished the match off with a powerful hold of serve, banging down four massive first serves before sealing victory with a clubbing forehand winner.

He faces British number one Dan Evans in the quarter-final after Evans beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

Murray, a five-time winner of the traditional warm-up event but now ranked 124 after long battles with hip injuries including resurfacing surgery in 2019, has been handed a wildcard for the Wimbledon championships.

Apart from a slight groin niggle, Murray said he was reasonably happy with his condition, considering this was only his third Tour-level tournament of the year.

“I think obviously I need to improve,” Murray told reporters. “I actually felt my movement was actually quite good for both of the matches. My tennis today was not very good today. That’s the thing that I’ll need to improve the most.

“I felt like today that that sort of showed my lack of matches.”

Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, who won the singles title in 2019 and the doubles alongside Murray, was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Canada‘s Denis Shapovalov.

(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

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