Tag Archives: comeback

Oilers’ 3rd-period comeback makes up for sleepy start in win over Canucks

Dominik Kahun scored twice Tuesday as the Edmonton Oilers clawed out a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver (8-13-2) had a 3-0 lead late in the first period, thanks to goals from Bo Horvat, Tyler Myers and Elias Pettersson.

Kahun sparked the comeback for Edmonton (13-8-0) with goals late in the first and early in the third. Connor McDavid buried a power-play tally to tie the game, and Tyler Ennis scored to seal the win. Leon Draisaitl registered three assists.

Edmonton’s Mike Smith had 30 saves, while Thatcher Demko stopped 25-of-29 shots for Vancouver (8-13-2).

The victory extends Edmonton’s win streak to four games. It was another disappointing result for the Canucks, who have just two wins in their last 12 games.

Ennis broke a 3-3 deadlock 13:25 into the third period. Stationed at the side of the net, he took a puck that had bounced off his shin and tipped it in behind Demko.

WATCH | Ennis nets winner for Oilers:

Tyler Ennis completes the comeback in Edmonton’s 4-3 victory over Vancouver. 0:54

McDavid knotted the score with a power-play tally 4:23 into the third.

Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler had been sent to the box for tripping just nine seconds earlier. When Demko dove to make a stop, McDavid was quick to capitalize, popping a shot in over the sprawled-out netminder from the side of the net.

Edmonton had already cut Vancouver’s lead to a single goal less than a minute into the third when Kahun’s shot from the face-off dot sailed in over Demko’s glove.

It was the Czech forward’s second goal of the night and fourth of the season.

After a slow start to the game, the Oilers came close to whittling away the Canucks lead in the second frame.

Draisaitl unleashed a blast that tested Demko mightily four minutes in. The goalie hugged his post tightly to ensure an errant puck didn’t sneak through, not letting up until the whistle sounded.

Near the end of the frame, McDavid fired a shot off the cross bar. Play continued for a few moments before officials decided to check the play to see whether the puck had, in fact, gone into the Vancouver net before bouncing back out. A video review confirmed there was no goal.

Quick start for Canucks

Vancouver started the scoring race just 1:06 into Tuesday’s game.

Horvat sprinted down the boards and fired a sharp-angle shot from near the goal line. The puck slid under Smith’s pads and into the net to the goaltender’s apparent disbelief.

Myers extended Vancouver’s lead seven minutes later with a blast from the top of the face-off circle. His shot ticked off the stick of Edmonton’s Tyler Ennis and sailed in over Smith’s shoulder to put the Canucks up 2-0.

A scramble in front of the Oilers net ended with another Vancouver goal midway through the first.

Canucks defenceman Jordie Benn sent the puck to the front of the net and, through a crowd of sticks, Miller was able to deflect it back to Pettersson at the top of the crease. Falling to the ice, the Swedish centre batted a backhanded shot past Smith.

It was Vancouver’s third goal, coming on its ninth shot of the night.

Edmonton responded just before the first intermission.

Kahun got a shot off from low in the face-off circle and Demko appeared to make the stop. But the Canucks netminder couldn’t hold on to the puck, which dribbled out from under his arm and into the net.

The Oilers and Canucks will face each other again in Vancouver on Thursday.

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Toronto Six claim franchise’s 1st win with 3rd-period comeback against Pride

Mikyla Grant-Mentis scored the go-ahead goal at 4:56 of the third period, and the Toronto Six held on to edge the Boston Pride 2-1 on Tuesday in National Women’s Hockey League action.

It’s the first victory in franchise history for the expansion team.

Toronto (1-1-1) trailed 1-0 heading into the third before Brooke Boquist tied the game 3:31 into the period with a power-play goal

Christina Putigna opened the scoring at 11:59 of the first while on a Pride (1-2-0) power play.

WATCH | Mentis’ winner sends Six past Pride:

Toronto’s Mikyla Grant-Mentis netted the game-winning goal with fifteen minutes remaining in their 2-1 victory over Boston. 1:20

Elaine Chuli made 24 saves for the Six, while Boston’s Lovisa Selander stopped 36-of-38 shots.

The NWHL went full bubble hockey Saturday in a quarantined environment in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Each of the six teams are set to plays five games in eight days followed by the playoffs, with the semifinals and final airing on NBCSN.

The semifinals are Feb. 4 and championship game is Feb. 5.

The NWHL didn’t crown a 2020 Isobel Cup champion in its fifth season because of the pandemic.

The majority of the Six roster is Canadian NCAA Division 1 alumni with some who also played in the defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

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A Lim Kim caps huge comeback with 3 straight birdies to win U.S. Women’s Open debut

The Bermuda grass of south Texas was unlike anything A Lim Kim had ever seen. The U.S. Women’s Open, with its reputation as the toughest test, was a major she had never played.

What didn’t change in a frigid final round at Champions Golf Club was how to keep score. And when the 25-year-old from South Korea saw she was trailing and running out of holes, she started attacking flags.

Kim birdied her final three holes and tied the record for the largest comeback in a U.S. Women’s Open, rallying from five shots behind with the a 4-under 67 to win the biggest event in women’s golf.

“Still can’t really soak in that I’m the champion,” she said, minutes after being soaked in champagne on a day with temperatures in the 40s.

WATCH | Kim crowned U.S. Open champion:

South Korea’s A Lim Kim closed with three straight birdies to win the U.S. Women’s Open by one stroke. 1:48

She won by one shot over Jin Young Ko, the top-ranked player in women’s golf, and Amy Olson, who played her heart out while coping with the grief of her father-in-law’s unexpected death Saturday night in South Dakota.

“I felt very weak and helpless the last couple days, and probably today on the golf course,” Olson said, fighting back tears after a 72. “I really believe the Lord just carried me through. It just makes you realize how much bigger life is than golf. But pleased with my finish overall and my performance.”

Kim’s spectacular finish made it tough for anyone to catch her. Two shots behind Olson, she hit 5-iron to 4 feet on the par-3 16th hole to get to 1-under. Then she hit 8-iron that rolled out to just inside 2 feet on the 17th for a tap-in birdie and a share of the lead. She capped it off with a pitching wedge to just inside 10 feet.

Behind her mask — fitting that the final major champion of this pandemic-disrupted year in golf was wearing one — the thrill was evident. So was the fist pump, a rare show of emotion for Kim.

“I’ve been eyeing the leaderboard throughout the round and I knew how many shots I was back,” she said through a translator. “That’s probably the reason why I tried to hit more aggressive, tried to attack the pins.”

Kim started the final round, delayed to Monday because of rain, in a tie for ninth. No one had ever started in a position that far back and won the U.S. Women’s Open. She became the seventh player to rally from five shots behind in the final round, and the first since Annika Sorenstam at The Broadmoor in 1995.

Olson held her own amid her heavy heart. Winless in seven years on the LPGA Tour, she had a two-shot lead on the back nine after 54-hole leader Hinako Shibuno faltered. But she couldn’t do anything about Kim’s late charge, and Olson fell back when her hybrid on the par-3 16th bounded over the green and into thick, brown rough, leading to bogey.

She birdied the final hole for a 72 after Kim had already secured the title.

WATCH | Amy Olson gets an ace in 1st round:

American Amy Olson had a hole in one during her opening round of the U.S. Women’s Open in Houston Thursday, on the 16th hole at the Cypress Course. 0:58

Olson was singing Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” to keep her in the right frame of mind. She couldn’t think of many shots she wanted back after three early bogeys. The cold weather, the mud-splotched golf balls and the U.S. Women’s Open test helped keep her mind from wandering.

“I knew I had to stay very mentally disciplined just to get through the day,” Olson said. “I allowed myself to think about what I’m grateful for, and I’ve got a long list.”

Ko, the No. 1 player who only recently returned from South Korea where she rode out the COVID-19 pandemic, also birdied the 18th when it was too late to catch Kim.

Ko closed with a 68, one of only six players to break par in the final round.

South Korean dominance

Kim finished at 3-under 281 and won $ 1 million. She added to South Korean dominance of this major, the ninth winner in the last 13 years.

Shibuno was trying to win in her first try at a second major, having won the Women’s British Open last year in her first tournament outside Japan. Her short game only carried her for so long, however, and she fell out of the lead by starting the back nine with consecutive bogeys.

Shibuno birdied the 18th hole for a 74 and finished two behind. Only four players finished under par.

Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., shot a fourth round of 72 to finish tied for 44th at 10 over.

A two-time winner on the Korean LPGA, Kim got into the U.S. Women’s Open off the world ranking when the pandemic kept the USGA from conducting open qualifying. She had slipped to No. 94, the lowest-ranked player to win the Open since the women’s world ranking began in 2006.

She is the second non-LPGA member to win a major this year, joining Sophia Popov at the Women’s British Open. She also is the third South Korean to win a major. Second-ranked Sei Young Kim won the Women’s PGA and Mirim Lee won the ANA Inspiration — also at No. 94 in the world.

Texas senior Kaitlyn Papp birdied the 18th for a 74 to finish at 3-over 287, six shots behind in a tie for ninth, to be the low amateur.

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Sounders advance to MLS Cup final with wild comeback win over Minnesota United

Gustav Svensson scored off a corner kick in the final moments of second-half stoppage time, and the Seattle Sounders beat Minnesota United 3-2 on Monday night to advance to the MLS Cup final.

Seattle scored three times in the final 15 minutes of regulation and stoppage time to stun Minnesota and claim the Western Conference championship for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

Seattle will travel to Columbus to face the Crew in the MLS Cup final on Saturday.

Will Bruin scored in the 75th minute to pull Seattle within 2-1 and set the stage for the wild final moments when the Sounders scored twice off corner kicks. Raul Ruidiaz had a fortunate bounce fall at his feet before he beat 23-year-old Canadian goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair to pull the Sounders even at 2-2 just before the end of the 90 minutes.

Seattle continued to press for a winner and nearly got it from Ruidiaz only to see his shot hit the outside of the post. But Svensson came through by rising above the Minnesota defenders on the final corner kick.

St. Clair, from Pickering, Ont., was making his 16th straight start for the Loons. He entered the game on three straight shutouts, having last given up a goal Nov. 4 against Chicago in the penultimate game of the regular-season.

Seattle will attempt to become the first repeat champs in MLS since the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2011-12.

For most of the night it appeared the young, upstart Loons would be on their way to Columbus to play in their first final in Minnesota’s fourth MLS season. Minnesota had limited scoring chances but took advantage of the ones they did get, taking the lead on Emanuel Reynoso’s perfect free kick from 30 yards in the first half. Defender Bakaye Dibassy scored on a header off an assist from Reynoso midway through the second half, and the Loons appeared headed for the final.

Reynoso continued to show himself as one of the bright young stars in the league following his move in September from Boca Juniors in Argentina to join the Loons. Reynoso had a part in Minnesota’s final 11 goals of the season, either scoring or assisting on each one of them.

But Seattle’s late substitutions made a huge difference. Bruin came on and almost immediately scored and the late additions of Brad Smith and Svensson proved critical.

It was just the second time in team history two different substitutes scored for the Sounders. Seattle has now won 14 straight playoff matches at home.

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Pozuelo’s late penalty lifts Toronto FC to comeback win over Inter Miami

Thanks to second-half goals Sunday by Ayo Akinola and Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC goes into the final week of the MLS regular season with a shot at the Supporters’ Shield.

Toronto’s 2-1 comeback win over Inter Miami coupled with Philadelphia’s 2-1 defeat at Columbus earlier in the day left TFC and the Union with identical 13-4-5 records.

But Toronto will have to win at the New York Red Bulls next Sunday and hope Philadelphia drops points against visiting New England given the Union have the tiebreaker edge.

“With everything that transpired today…(it) means it goes down to the last game, which is what we were hoping for today” said Toronto coach Greg Vanney.

That is assuming COVID-19 doesn’t complicate matters with cancellations on the final day of the regular season.

The Supporters’ Shield goes to the team with the best-regular season record — and the playoff home-field advantage and US$ 150,00 prize that goes with it. Toronto won it in 2017 when it also claimed the MLS Cup and Canadian Championship.

Due to pandemic-related game cancellations, MLS has decided that 2020 playoff qualification will be decided by points per game rather than total points. The next relevant tiebreaker in this case is goal difference, where Philadelphia holds a 22-8 edge over Toronto, so the Union will get the trophy if both win Sunday.

Pozuelo delivered the winner in the 84th minute from the penalty spot Sunday and Toronto staved off a late Miami charge for the victory. Not for the first time, Richie Laryea created the penalty — going down at contact with defender Ben Sweat after slashing into the penalty box.

WATCH | Pozuelo nets game-winner from the penalty spot:

Alejandro Pozuelo delivers the winner on a penalty in the 84th minute as Toronto FC defeats Inter Miami 2-1. 0:47

“When you’re getting tired in the latter part of the game, for any team, dealing with Richie is a nightmare,” said Vanney.

Pozuelo left goalkeeper John McCarthy rooted to the spot as he converted his 11th penalty in MLS regular-season and playoff action. It was his ninth goal of the season and his seventh straight penalty kick success — and fifth this season.

“We already knew it was a goal before he even took it,” said Akinola.

It was Toronto’s first-ever meeting with expansion Miami (6-13-3). And it marked Toronto’s 13th straight game away from BMO Field. A limited number of spectators was allowed for the first time during Toronto’s time in East Hartford with attendance announced at 1,394 on a rainy, windy night at Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.

Toronto chartered home after the game, for a few days under quarantine with loved ones before returning south for the regular-season finale.

Toronto was coming off back-to-back losses to Philadelphia and New York City FC that followed a nine-game undefeated run (7-0-2). Miami lost 2-1 at FC Dallas midweek and has won just one of its last five (1-3-1).

While Toronto had almost 65 per cent of possession in the first half, it managed just one shot on target.

Blaise Matuidi broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute after Toronto fullback Tony Gallacher lost the ball to Lewis Morgan on the right flank. Morgan’s first attempt at a cross from the byline hit Chris Mavinga but the ball came back to him.

His second attempt then bounced off Michael Bradley to Matuidi, whose low left-footed shot found the corner on the goal. It was Miami’s first shot on target and a first MLS goal for Matuidi, a World Cup winner with France whose club resume includes Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

Akinola ties it up

Toronto tied it up in the 55th minute when Akinola, returning from injury, outmuscled a Miami defender to get to a high ball from substitute Patrick Mullins. He controlled it with his chest twice as he headed towards goal, then poked a shot past McCarthy for his ninth of the season.

Miami star forward Gonzalo Higuain came close to a 79th-minute goal but his swerving shot — after a magnificent touch to control a cross — cracked off the crossbar.

Vanney made six changes to his starting lineup.

Restored to health, Akinola and Mavinga made their first starts since Oct. 14. There was also a first MLS start for 18-year-old midfielder Ralph Priso, who had looked lively in two appearances off the bench since signing a first-team contract Oct. 14.

“I thought he was excellent…For his first start in MLS, that’s a hell of a way to start,” said Vanney.

Brazilian fullback Auro returned from suspensions with defender Eriq Zavaleta and Tsubasa Endoh also inserted into the starting 11.

Crowded injury list

But fullback Justin Morrow joined a crowded injury list that includes goalkeeper Alex Bono, midfielders Marky Delgado and Jonathan Osorio and forwards Jozy Altidore, Piatti and Achara.

“If we put everybody in bubble wrap and we get through the next week, we should get a couple of guys back,” said Vanney.

Altidore and Piatti are the longest-term casualties and may not be ready until the playoffs.

Miami was missing three-quarters of its backline with centre backs Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Andres Reyes suspended and fullback Nico Figal injured.

Entering weekend play, Miami was on the fringe of the playoffs in 11th place in the Eastern Conference going into weekend play, just behind Chicago. The top 10 makes the playoffs in the East with No. 7 facing No. 10 and No. 8 meeting No. 9 in play-in games.

“We have many key players missing but we had players that were able to step up…and we lost a match that we deserved to win,” Miami coach Diego Alonso said through an interpreter.

Whitecaps eliminated with loss to Timbers

The Vancouver Whitecaps have been eliminated from the playoffs after suffering a 1-0 loss to the Portland Timbers on Sunday.

With Major League Soccer’s berths being determined based on points per game this season, the ‘Caps (8-13-0) needed at least a tie against Portland (11-5-5) to keep their post-season dreams hopes alive. This is the third year in a row that the Whitecaps have missed the playoffs.

Yimmi Chara scored the lone goal on Sunday with an assist from Jorge Villafana.

Portland’s Steve Clark stopped two on-target shots for his fifth clean sheet of the season, and Evan Bush made one save for Vancouver.

The two sides battled through a scoreless first half before the Timbers finally broke the stalemate in the 61st minute.

Villafana got the ball to Chara just outside of the six-yard box and the Colombian midfielder’s shot sailed past Bush before he could get down to make the stop.

The first half saw a defensive battle between the two sides, with Portland controlling 57 per cent of the possession. The Timbers outshot the Whitecaps 6-to-5, but only one was one target.

Fredy Montero nearly put Vancouver ahead with a header in the 45th minute. The ball hung in the air before it was swept off the goal line by Diego Chara.

Vancouver amped up the offensive power to close out the game, swapping more defensive minded players like Jake Nerwinski for forward Theo Bair after the Timbers’ goal. Cavallini got a big opportunity directly in front of the Portland net in the 80th minute but Clark scooped up the shot, despite traffic in front of the net.

Dike sends Orlando City past Montreal

Daryl Dike scored for the third consecutive game and Orlando City beat the Montreal Impact 1-0 on Sunday night at Red Bull Arena.

Montreal (7-13-2) has lost three in a row and five of six.

Despite the loss, the Impact remain in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. D.C. United and Inter Miami both had a chance to jump over Montreal in the standings Sunday night had they won, yet both teams lost to New England and Toronto, respectively.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Dike ran on to a perfectly played through ball from Mauricio Pereyra and rolled in a one-touch shot from the centre of the area in the 39th minute. The 20-year-old rookie scored his seventh goal of the season.

WATCH | Dike lifts Orlando City over Impact:

Daryl Dike’s goal in the 39th minute lifts Orlando City SC to a 1-0 victory over Montreal Impact. 1:08

Orlando City (10-3-8) has won back-to-back games after a loss to Inter Miami on Oct. 24 that snapped a 12-game unbeaten streak.

Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had five saves, including a diving stop in the 92nd minute, for Orlando City. He has three shutouts this season.

Montreal will play for a playoff spot on Decision Day next Sunday afternoon against D.C. United in their final match of the season. Orlando City SC has already clinched a playoff spot and has two more matches to play. They will play Columbus on Wednesday before meeting Nashville Sunday.

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Real Madrid in Champions League trouble despite late comeback to draw

With one point from its opening two games, Real Madrid is facing another fight to preserve its proud record of qualifying for the knockout stage in all of its seasons in the Champions League.

It could have been a whole lot worse for the record 13-time European champions on Tuesday, though.

Heading into the 87th minute against Borussia Monchengladbach, Madrid was losing 2-0 and on course for four straight losses in the Champions League for the first time.

However, goals by Karim Benzema and then Casemiro — in the third minute of stoppage time — rescued a 2-2 draw for the Spanish champions, who opened with a 3-2 loss at home to Shakhtar Donetsk last week.

Next up for Madrid is a double-header against Inter Milan, the team which was supposed to be its toughest rival in Group B but which is also still without a win. A 0-0 draw at Shakhtar, during which Inter hit the crossbar twice, came a week after a 2-2 draw with Monchengladbach.

Madrid is in bigger trouble, though, in its 25th campaign in the Champions League, in which the team has never been eliminated in the group stage.

Last season, Zinedine Zidane’s side started in almost identical fashion, losing its opener — 3-0 to Paris Saint-Germain — and then drawing 2-2 in its second match against Club Brugge. The overall standard of its group is tougher this time round.

“This is going to be a difficult year for everyone,” Zidane said.

Defending champion Bayern Munich is having no such trouble, with a 2-1 victory at Lokomotiv Moscow extending its winning run in the Champions League to 13 games.

Also on a maximum of six points is Manchester City after a 3-0 win at Marseille, as the English team continues its latest bid to become European champion for the first time.

Liverpool is the other team to have won both of its games so far, with Diogo Jota scoring the club’s 10,000th goal of its 128-year history to set up a 2-0 home win over FC Midtjylland.

Kimmich to the rescue

Bayern went unpunished for a sloppy performance in Moscow as Joshua Kimmich prolonged the German team’s winning streak in the competition with a brilliantly taken 79th-minute goal.

Leon Goretzka put Bayern ahead in the 13th, but the champions gave up plenty of chances before Anton Miranchuk finally took one in the 70th.

Bayern opened with a 4-0 win over Atletico Madrid, which got its Group A campaign back on track by rallying to beat Salzburg 3-2.

Joao Felix scored twice, including the winner in the 85th minute. Marcos Llorente opened the scoring for Atletico before Salzburg went ahead through goals by Dominik Szoboszlai and Mergim Berisha either side of halftime.

Man City pours it on

Playing without a striker didn’t stop Man City racking up the goals against Marseille.

Sergio Aguero is back on the sidelines with a hamstring injury and with Gabriel Jesus also injured, City started at the Stade Velodrome with Ferran Torres then Raheem Sterling filling in as the makeshift centre forward.

Both of them scored, either side of a goal by Ilkay Gundogan as City backed up its 3-1 win over Porto last week.

Porto rebounded from that loss by beating Olympiakos 2-0 thanks to goals by Fabio Vieira and Sergio Oliveira. It was the 100th victory for Porto in the European Cup and Champions League.

Olympiakos opened with a 1-0 win over Marseille.

Fabinho injury

Liverpool’s defensive woes deepened as Fabinho was forced off with a hamstring injury during the first half of the win over Midtjylland.

The Brazil midfielder has been filling in at centre back for Virgil van Dijk, who is likely out for many months after damaging cruciate knee ligaments. With Joel Matip currently struggling for fitness, Liverpool has just one fit senior centre half in Joe Gomez.

A 19-year-old, Rhys Williams, replaced Fabinho and Liverpool was shaky at times against the competition newcomers from Denmark.

However, Jota scored in the 55th for a historic goal for Liverpool and substitute Mohamed Salah converted a stoppage-time penalty.

Duvan Zapata scored twice in six minutes as Atalanta rallied for a point against Ajax, who went 2-0 ahead thanks to Dusan Tadic’s penalty and a scruffy goal from Lassina Traore.

Atalanta is two points behind Liverpool in second place.

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Canadian Ally Haran scores late equalizer to complete Pride’s 3-goal comeback

Canadian Ally Haran scored in stoppage time to give the Orlando Pride a 3-3 come-from-behind draw with the North Carolina Courage in a fall series match Saturday in the National Women’s Soccer League.

The Courage led 3-0 at the half. On a run from the midfield, Debinha scored against Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris in the 18th minute.

Lynn Williams added to North Carolina’s lead with a goal in first-half stoppage time and a short time later Debinha scored her second goal. It was Debinha’s fourth goal of the fall series and her second brace.

The Pride closed the gap early in the second half when Marisa Viggiano scored on a rebound of a shot from Sydney Leroux. The Pride got closer with Kristen Edmonds’ goal in the 71st minute, then tied it on Haran’s goal, off a cross from Marta, in stoppage time.

Haran, from Stratford, Ont., entered the game as a substitute in the 85th minute, replacing fellow Canadian Jordyn Listro of Toronto.

WATCH | Ally Haran’s stoppage-time equalizer:

Ally Haran of Stratford, Ont., scored in stoppage time to give the Orlando Pride a 3-3 come-from-behind draw with the North Carolina Courage in both teams’ final fall series NWSL match. 1:50

It was the final game of the fall series for both teams. The Pride, who withdrew from this summer’s Challenge Cup tournament because of positive COVID-19 cases, finished 0-2-2.

The Courage, the two-time defending regular season champions, finishes the fall series 1-1-2.

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Cavallini, Whitecaps find extra gear in comeback win over RSL

Lucas Cavallini and his Vancouver Whitecaps teammates knew what was on the line Saturday night.

The squad was on a four-game losing streak with their playoff hopes consistently growing more dim.

“We knew that today was fundamental, that we had to win, no matter what, to stay in the fight,” Cavallini said.

That knowledge propelled the ‘Caps to 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake (4-7-6) in Portland on Saturday.

At times, however, the end result seemed in doubt.

Vancouver (6-11-0) gave up the game’s first goal in the 37th minute due to some weak defence.

Salt Lake’s Justin Meram put the ball at the feet of an unmarked Damir Kreilach, who tapped it in for a 1-0 lead.

The goal marked the first on-target shot by either team on Saturday.

WATCH | Cavallini’s winner helps snap Vancouver’s 4-game losing skid:

Lucas Cavallini’s goal in the 75th minute gives Vancouver a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake. 1:24

Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos said his team knew just how dangerous Kreilach and Meram are after watching video of the duo earlier in the week.

Dos Santos went into halftime “incredibly upset,” but focused on what his team could fix over the following 45 minutes.

His message to the players was simple: you have a choice.

“[I said] we have the choice to decide to get the excuse of it’s such a hard year and blah blah blah or the choice of saying `No, let’s prove everybody wrong,”” he said after the win. “A lot of people don’t believe we can make the [playoffs]and a lot of people don’t believe in this team. So it’s a huge opportunity.”

The team responded, forcing an own goal by RSL’s Douglas Martinez in the 71st minute.

Four minutes later, ‘Caps striker Fredy Montero got off a nice shot but was stopped by Andrew Putna. The RSL ‘keeper couldn’t control the rebound, though, and the ball popped out to Cavallini instead. The 27-year-old Canadian striker immediately sent a rocket into the Salt Lake net for the go-ahead goal.

Keeping faith

Dos Santos was proud of how his group responded on Saturday.

“A group that’s not together doesn’t bounce back the way we did,” he said. “We kept believing.”

RSL pushed hard for a draw through the final 15 minutes, even bringing Putna out of his net and into the attacking area in injury time.

Vancouver netminder Evan Bush withstood the barrage despite a pair of collisions with RSL players.

The 34 year old joined the ‘Caps in a trade from the Montreal Impact late last month and is the fourth man to start in goal for the club this season. Canadians Maxime Crepeau (fractured thumb) and Thomas Hasal (concussion and tibia stress fracture) both had their seasons cut short by injury.

The injury history wasn’t lost on Bush, who spent several moments on the field being looked at by the trainers.

“Looking at what’s happened to other Whitecaps’ goalkeepers this year, it might be a cursed position,” he said with a laugh after the game.

The victory was his first Saturday since Aug. 28, 2019.

Playoffs still in sight

The group has talked a lot recently about how games don’t stop after one goal, Bush said.

“I think maybe in the past few games we’ve put our heads down after we’ve gone down a goal and then we’ve kind of taken ourselves out of the game and things kind of snowballed,” he said. “I think the way we handled the second half was very professionally done and I was very proud.”

The win moves Vancouver up the standings in Major League Soccer’s congested Western Conference. The ‘Caps now have 18 points and sit two spots back from a playoff position.

Winning also changed the mood in the locker room, Cavallini said.

“After the game today, I saw a different mentality in the players,” he said. “We have to enjoy it today, enjoy the victory. And then tomorrow, get ready for the game on Wednesday.”

The Whitecaps will play their fourth game in 16 days Wednesday when they host Los Angeles FC in Portland.

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GM Plots an EV Comeback Inside Its Secretive Battery Lab

WARREN, Michigan – If General Motors is to successfully challenge Tesla for supremacy in EVs, the battle starts with better battery technology. Research, prototyping, and testing take place here at the company’s Global Battery Systems Lab 20 miles north of Detroit. They’ll go into new GM EVs late this year or in 2021, and the batteries will have their own name: Ultium.

“We’re trying to wear out the [test] batteries,” says Douglas Drauch, lead engineer at the battery lab. GM has the largest battery test lab of any automaker anywhere. This one has been expanded to 100,000 square feet – the size of a Home Depot or a big Walmart – inside the Estes Engineering Center on the 710-acre GM Technical Center, which has 38 buildings. Designed in the 1950s by architect Eero Saarinen, most visitors won’t get past the outer lobbies. From time to time, GM brings in editors and analysts, as long as they leave their cameras behind. (The photos here are GM’s.)

The cold chamber at the GM Battery Lab in Warren, Michigan, 20 miles north of Detroit.

Shakers and Environmental Chambers

GM is working with LG Chem on a new generation of lithium-ion batteries and housings, with new battery modules. The first EV battery design, circa 2010 was a T-shape used in the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid. It took up the space between the seats that would have been the transmission tunnel, as well as under the back seat.

With the Chevrolet Bolt EV, GM switched to a rectangular flat pack, or slice, that formed the bottom of the car (suitably protected from road hazards), with a bump that fit under the rear seat. Internally it’s called BEV2 (main photo) and has 288 cells. On the Bolt EV, it had an EPA range of 238 miles for the 2017-2019 models; tweaks got it up to 259 miles for the 2020 Bolt. The next-generation Bolt is now slated for introduction in 2021 as a 2022 model.

GM’s new BEV3, or Ultium, battery. It can be sized from 50 to 200 kWh. GM says the JV with LG Chem will drive the cost below $ 100/kWh

Next-Gen Battery: Ultium

Last month, GM CEO Mary Barra unveiled the latest lithium-ion battery technology, gave it a name, and said it will use a proprietary low-cobalt-content lithium-ion chemistry. “Our team accepted the challenge to transform product development at GM and position our company for an all-electric future,” Barra said. “What we have done is build a multi-brand, multi-segment EV strategy with economies of scale that rival our full-size truck business with much less complexity and even more flexibility.”

GM president Mark Reuss added, “Thousands of GM scientists, engineers and designers are working to execute a historic reinvention of the company. They are on the cusp of delivering a profitable EV business that can satisfy millions of customers.” And GM in a statement said, “The strategy [allows GM] to grow the company’s electric vehicle (EV) sales quickly, efficiently and profitably. … They will allow the company to compete for nearly every customer in the market today, whether they are looking for affordable transportation, a luxury experience, work trucks, or a high-performance machine.” (Talk about buzzword bingo day.)

The coming third-generation battery – Ultium / BEV3, the type now in testing – will also be a rectangular slice that can be wider and thinner for cars that won’t be as high as the Bolt EV. It will be modular, allowing six, eight, 10, 12, or 24 packs of pouch-type cells that can be packaged vertically or horizontally. Some BEV3 batteries will output 400 volts and support 150-kW DC fast charging. Larger 800-volt packs will use 350-kW chargers DC fast chargers. The DC fast chargers are for public stations; you’d need 10-20 times the power coming into a typical residence to make fast charging work in your own garage. For home use, you’d want a 240-volt Level 2 charger ($ 400-$ 600 plus installation); as a fallback, a 120-volt outlet would recharge, but it might take a day.

GM engineers with a battery pack for the Chevrolet Volt, circa 2010.

Shakers and Environmental Chambers

The test equipment, for the most part, looks non-descript: big blue metal cabinets with conduits for power or data cables stretching up to the ceiling.

The battery lab has 19 600-kilowatt (600,000 watts each) battery cyclers programmed to simulate city and highway driving, waiting in traffic on hot days, regenerating power going down hills or braking, and dealing with potential power surges back into the battery under panic braking or an instantaneous high-draw if a slipping tire on ice suddenly finds traction on a dry patch. If all the battery cyclers are in use, they can draw as much power as all the residents of Warren, population 135,000.

There are other cabinets set up as environmental chambers that can place the batteries in the desert, an arctic city (temps can be set as low as minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit), or a monsoon climate.

Finally, there are shaker tables that emulate the increasingly rough roads of US highway infrastructure, or off-road trails.

There’s also testing on how the batteries perform in a second life: If they’re too worn to be used in a car, they’re still good enough to provide backup power in a home or business.

A prototype Cadillac EV, the Lyric, that will implement GM’s new electrical-vehicle architecture. GM also announced a collaboration with EVgo, ChargePoint, and Greenlots “to establish the largest collective EV-charging network in the United States with access to more than 31,000 charging ports.” It was to have been unveiled April 2; that was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Manufacturing in Lordstown, Hamtramck

Every US-flagged automaker takes flack from politicians and unions about closed plants and laid-off workers. In GM’s case, EV and battery manufacturing will bring GM back to one factory town and repurpose an existing plant.

GM had closed the Lordstown, Ohio, plant that had produced the now-defunct Chevrolet Cruze and employed 4,000 workers. It was sold to Lordstown Motors, a startup that plans to build EVs there, but with fewer workers. President Trump had criticized GM for closing it. Separately, GM is converting the Hamtramck plant on the border of Detroit to an EV-only assembly facility. It had been building the Chevrolet Impala, arguably the best big sedan GM ever built, but sedans are out of favor, the aging Impala was losing sales, and production is ending.

In their best years, neither the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid nor the Bolt EV topped 25,000 sales. Tesla Model S sold more than 50,000 units in its first three years. The Model 3 averaged 150,000 sales for the last two years.

Playing Catch-Up to the Mouse That Roared

Reality check time: General Motors was the world’s largest automaker for much of the 20th century. At the peak of its market dominance, in 1962, GM had 51 percent of the US market. Fast forward to the 21st century, and it was just 17 percent in 2019. On EVs, the General was clobbered by Tesla in the last decade. As the chart above shows, neither the Volt plug-in hybrid nor the all-electric Bolt EV ever sold more than 25,000 units a year, while every year since 2015 there’s been a Tesla model with at least 50,000 sales. Last year, the midsize Model 3 outsold the Bolt EV 10 to one.

This just shows how the market for electrified vehicles – PHEVs and EVs, but not hybrids – while small at less than 2 percent of sales, has gone Tesla’s way. Thus the need for GM to play catch-up, including – especially – on battery technology. GM says the Ultium batteries and vehicle architectures will allow ranges up to 400 miles, 0-60 mph acceleration as low as 3.0 seconds, and motor placement for front-drive, rear-drive, all-wheel-drive, or performance all-wheel-drive architectures. GM says it plans 19 battery/drive unit configurations initially; in comparison, it has 550 combustion engine powertrain configurations now.

The grille of the GMC Hummer EV, slated to be announced this year and go on sale in 2021 as a 2022 model with up to three motors and 1,000 hp.

Race to Deliver the First Electric Pickup

One of the reasons GM’s battery lab is so important is GM would like to be first, best, or both with an electric pickup truck. GM has resurrected the nameplate of the earth-trampling, 10 mpg Hummer of the early 2000s. Now, it’s on an electric-only pickup truck under the GMC brand, with one to three motors and up to 1,000 hp. All dates are subject to change, but before the world changed in the wake of the coronavirus, it looked as if the Hummer was to be introduced this spring, and ship in 2021 as a 2022 model. In a February analyst meeting, GM president Mark Reuss hinted the Hummer could be the first to market.

Meanwhile, there are many others with plans for electric pickups, a market that currently has zero sales:

  • Tesla Cybertruck is best-known because it’s a Tesla, which is the gold standard for EVs that sell, and Tesla of late has been hitting planned ship dates. There’s talk that the wedge-shape design will need a redesign. Tesla said as much in an April 1 announcement, which was unsettling news: Was this an April Fools’ joke? Was a redesign necessary and Tesla was using the date as a double-fake? For sure, there will have to be some mods from the design unveiled last fall (the one where Elon Musk tossed a metal ball at the shatterproof and the window, of course, shattered) to meet bumper-impact regs around the world.
  • Rivan R1T is the pickup half of a startup venture (there’s also an R1S SUV) that is highly regarded, with a half-billion of Ford money invested and a management team that is young but normal (as opposed to some tech startups). Amazon and others have invested, too, and as of the beginning of 2020 Rivian had raised $ 2.2 billion with an estimated value of $ 5 billion-plus. Analysts believe Rivian will be a survivor, in part because it’s licensing its expertise to others, including Ford.
  • Ford F150 is the best-selling pickup truck, with the F Series closing in on 1 million sales a year. In 2018 Ford said it would bring 16 battery-electric vehicles (which could be hybrids) to market, starting with an all-electric crossover (the Mustang Mach-E). Ford initially planned a hybrid F150, but then last year said it would bring out an all-electric F150 in 2022.
  • Bollinger B2 has been self-financed by CEO Robert Bollinger. The company moved from upstate New York to Michigan and also plans an SUV, with initial deliveries said to be in 2021. They’ll be priced at about $ 125,000. Prototypes have been at auto shows for a year now.
  • Nikola Badger was announced in February, but as a concept, meaning one or two stages removed from production. The specs (sometimes specs can be pronounced “promises”) call for 300 miles on battery, 600 miles total including a hydrogen fuel cell, a supercapacitor for launch assist, and the ability to climb a 50-degree grade (for the few drivers who wouldn’t panic trying it). Nikola is better known for the hydrogen fuel cell sleeper semi-truck under development.
  • Lordstown (Ohio) Motors Endurance has been shown on video but not yet announced; that was scheduled for the now-canceled North American (Detroit) International Auto Show in June.

A Chevrolet Bolt EV cutaway with the current BEV2 battery design. The next-gen Bolt has been reset for a 2021 announcement and ship date.

How Big Will the EV Market Be?

In 2019, about 3 million pickups were sold out of 17 million vehicles. Nobody knows the size of the EV pickup market initially, or how badly EV range suffers under a heavy load (Tesla owners have known range tanks when a Model S or Model X tows a trailer), or if buyers are willing to pay extra to get the large batteries that allow 300 t0 400 miles of range on pickups.

As for the market for all plug-in vehicles – battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids – the final 2019 US sales numbers for light vehicles amount to combustion-engine-only cars, 98.1 percent of the market, BEVs and PHEVs 1.9 percent.

There is some hope – among environmentalists, at least – that Americans, in the wake of the coronavirus slowdown, will appreciate the cleaner skies in major cities and adopt plug-in vehicles to keep the air clear and clean. GM’s battery R&D is for its worldwide markets, not just the US, and it may find more traction outside the US. Depending on how many people and businesses have money to spend on new cars in the next year.

At the Ultium rollout, GM cited forecasters who called for EV volumes to double between 2025 and 2030 to 3 million units annually – one in six vehicles sold – and added its belief the numbers could be “materially higher.”

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Raptors record biggest comeback in franchise history with victory over Mavs

On a night the Toronto Raptors looked headed for its worst loss of the season, the team recorded its greatest comeback in franchise history.

Kyle Lowry scored 20 of his 32 points in a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback Sunday and the Raptors roared back from a 30-point deficit to beat the Dallas Mavericks 110-107, topping the team’s previous best comeback of 25 points.

Lowry added 10 assists and eight rebounds and, with a couple of minutes to play, the capacity crowd of 19,800 fans Scotiabank Arena broke into chants of “Low-ry! Low-ry!”

Montreal’s Chris Boucher scored a career-high 21 points, including a huge dunk in the dying seconds. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 18 points for the undermanned Raptors (21-8), who were playing without Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Norman Powell (shoulder).

Jalen Brunson had 21 points for the Mavericks (19-10), who were missing star guard Luka Doncic for the fourth consecutive game (ankle). Toronto native Dwight Powell added 17 points.

Toronto’s largest comeback before Sunday came when it erased a 25-point deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons 120-116 on Dec. 11, 2010.

Dallas has been one of the best road teams this season, going 11-2 before arriving in Toronto. The Raptors played the gracious host for most of the afternoon. The Raptors had an early 12-point lead, but without any sustained energy on either side of the court, saw that quickly evaporate. When Powell slashed to the rim for a layup late in the third quarter, the Mavericks went ahead by 30.

Lowry plays hero for Toronto

Trailing 86-63 to start the fourth, the Raptors finally showed some life. Toronto chipped away at the deficit and when Lowry drilled a three-pointer with 8:05 to play, glancing over at the Dallas bench as the ball dropped, the Raptors were within 10 points.

Lowry’s heroics continued, and when he dropped a shoulder and drove to the hoop for a layup with 5:59 to play, it was a two-point game. Back-to-back three-pointers by the all-star point guard had the Raptors up by five with 3:05 to play. It was Lowry again with a layup with 1:18 to play to give Toronto a four-point cushion.

A pair of Kristaps Porzingis free throws had Dallas up by a point, but Boucher took flight for an emphatic dunk with 19 seconds to play to put the Raptors back up. Bunson’s shot with two seconds left bounced off the rim, then Boucher headed to the line for a pair of free throws to seal the victory.

Dwight Powell, who has said he’d love to play for Canada in Olympic qualifying in June in Victoria, had numerous family and friends in Scotiabank Arena for his hometown game.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle spent a couple of days in Toronto working with Dwight Powell last summer.

“He is one of the ultimate competitors in this whole league. He just goes hard all the time. He is a relentless worker,” Carlisle said. “He loves Toronto. He’s up here in the summer time and I know it is always special for him to come back.”

WATCH | Raptors’ Lowry, Thomas debut in The Nutcracker:

Toronto Raptors guards Kyle Lowry and Matt Thomas made their debut on centre stage as they appeared as Cannon Dolls in the National Ballet of Canada’s performance of The Nutcracker. 2:25

The Raptors, who lost 110-102 in Dallas on Nov. 16, raced out to an early 12-point lead. The Mavericks shot just 21.7 per cent in the quarter, but started to find their shooting groove toward the end of the frame, and pulled to within 20-17 heading into the second.

Toronto struggled mightily in the second quarter, connecting on just one of seven shots from behind the arc. Porzingis’s three with just under four minutes left in the half capped a 16-2 Mavericks run that put the visitors up by eight points.

The Mavs had possession for just 4.1 seconds to end the half, but Porzingis still managed to launch a 30-footer at the buzzer, and Dallas headed into halftime with a 51-42 lead.

The Raptors are in Indianapolis against the Pacers on Monday, then return home to host the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day.

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