Tag Archives: finish

Experts question whether Canucks can finish season following COVID-19 outbreak

The NHL says it remains hopeful the Vancouver Canucks can complete a 56-game schedule even though 25 members of the team have tested positive for a variant form of COVID-19, but some experts question if that is possible.

The Canucks released a statement Wednesday saying 21 players, including three on the taxi squad, plus four staff members, “have tested positive and the source infection is confirmed a variant.” Which variant has not been confirmed.

On Tuesday, when the Canucks had 18 players on the COVID-19 protocol list, an NHL spokesman said “a 56-game season is still the focus,” but if necessary the league has some flexibility on scheduling the opening of the playoffs. Asked Wednesday if anything had changed following the Canucks’ announcement, the spokesman said, “my answer is the same as it was yesterday.”

An NHL agent said he had heard nothing about any plans to cancel games.

“So far it sounds like they will push forward based on what I’m hearing,” the agent said.

WATCH | Concerns intensify amid Canucks’ growing outbreak:

Twenty-five members of the Vancouver Canucks organization have tested positive for a COVID-19 variant and it has put the remainder of the team’s season in question. 1:55

Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician for St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, said studies have shown people affected by the different variants “will recover on pace,” but depending on the severity of the virus — professional players may need extra time to regain their conditioning.

“They may be out of quarantine in 10 days, but a lot of players may not return after they are considered clear,” he said. “They may actually need a few weeks to get back to hockey normal.”

The Canucks’ situation is complicated because so many players have contracted the virus.

“If you have an outbreak of five or six [players] you can fill in the gaps, you can wait for some of your players to condition properly,” Chagla said. “At 21 players, that’s 21 different players that need to condition properly, that’s 21 players that need to get back into shape, get over their COVID and heal.”

Recovering from the virus is different from rehabbing after a sports injury.

“[A] lot of these guys, it sounds like, were in bed at home,” Chagla said. “You’re losing muscle mass; you’re losing that elite shape.”

WATCH | Vancouver Canucks sidelined by COVID-19:

The Vancouver Canucks have cancelled several upcoming games after a COVID-19 outbreak hit at least half the team’s roster. 1:59

When the first Canuck player tested positive last week, Vancouver’s next four games were postponed. The Canucks were scheduled to return to play Thursday in Calgary against the Flames. The Canucks’ website now says that game and another on Saturday in Calgary have been postponed.

The NHL season was originally scheduled to end May 8 but has already been extended to May 11 to allow for previously postponed games.

The Canucks have 19 regular season games remaining.

The cost of doing business

Corey Hirsch, a former NHL goaltender who is now a member of the Canucks’ radio broadcast team, worries about the physical strain forced on players if they are expected to play their remaining games in a condensed period of time after overcoming the virus.

“You are talking about the whole team,” he said. “You’re not only talking about one guy. My question would be if they are at risk of injury because of the physical shape they are in.”

Moshe Lander, a senior lecturer in the economics of sports, gaming and gambling at Concordia University in Montreal, said the Canucks’ situation is a result of the NHL “not bubbling up for a season.”

“The NHL has accepted this is the cost of doing business,” said Lander.

Delaying the start of the playoffs creates problems for teams in the other three divisions, Lander said. The league also won’t want the playoffs extending into late July because of the Tokyo Summer Games.

Last year’s playoffs, which included a play-in round, began Aug. 1 and ended Sept. 28.

Lander predicts Vancouver might only play 50 games, which will impact other teams in the NHL’s North Division.

“A whole bunch of Canuck games are going to be cancelled, not going to be made up,” he said. “You’re cancelling games against the Oilers, or the Canadiens, or [other teams] that are playoff-bound so their ranking system is going to be disrupted.

“The NHL has protocols in place to determine tiebreakers. I’m assuming it’s just going to be best winning percentage. Everybody has played enough games at this point that you have a reasonable enough sample size to know who [the playoff teams] are.”

Even before the virus struck, Vancouver faced an uphill battle to make the playoffs.

Heading into Wednesday night, the Canucks (16-18-3) trailed Montreal by eight points for the final playoff spot in the North Division.

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Canada beats Finland to finish 1st in pool at world juniors

Dylan Cozens applied grit and goals to Canada’s 4-1 win over Finland at the world junior men’s hockey championship on Thursday.

The Canadian co-captain scored twice, including a hard-working empty-net goal.

The host country went unbeaten in four preliminary-round games to top Pool A.

Canada drew the Czech Republic, the No. 4 seed in Pool B, for Saturday’s quarter-finals.

WATCH | Canada closes out group play with win over Finland:

Dylan Cozens scored twice in Canada’s 4-1 win over Finland, the Canadians will face Czech Republic in world juniors quarter-finals. 0:28

Dylan Holloway and Peyton Krebs also scored for the defending champions at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Canadian goaltender Devon Levi stopped 18-of-19 shots for his fourth win of the tournament.

Brad Lambert scored for Finland (3-1).

Karri Piiroinen, who played for the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires last season, had 36 saves in the loss.

Canada and Finland cruised through the preliminary round with three straight wins apiece and outscored their opposition a combined 44-7.

Their New Year’s Eve matchup was each country’s toughest test of the tournament so far, with Canada earning the higher grade.

Canada dominated puck possession, scoring three unanswered goals over two periods before the Finns replied in the third.

“We came out and played our best game so far,” Cozens said. “We reloaded hard on pucks. They had a tough time getting out of their zone and that was all because of our track and our reload.

“We did a real good job getting to the inside tonight and getting to the front of the net and battling there. That’s something we improved a lot in this game. We’d been a little perimeter so far, but today we got inside and we threw a lot more [pucks] on net.”

The top four teams in each pool advance to the quarter-finals. Finland’s opponent was to be decided by the outcome of Sweden versus the United States later Thursday.

Czech Republic blanks Austria

In earlier action, Czech Republic clinched its spot in the quarter-finals with a 7-0 win over Austria.

The Czech Republic went 2-2 in the preliminary round to lock up fourth place in five-team Group B. Austria was 0-4 this year and has not won any of its 21 games at the top level of the tournament.

Austria scored just one goal in four games overall.

The Czech Republic outshot Austria 61-15.

Martin Lang had two goals for the Czech Republic, while Simon Kubicek, Filip Prikryl, Pavel Novak, David Juricek and Jan Mysak added singles.

WATCH | Czech Republic tops Austria 7-0:

Martin Lang scored twice in the second period and the Czech Republic shut out Austria 7-0 at the world junior championship. 0:28

With a 2-1-0-1 record (wins, overtime wins, overtime losses, losses) Russia would finish no worse than second in Pool B.

Pool A third-seed Germany (1-1-0-2) and No. 4 Slovakia (1-0-1-2) also awaited the end of Pool B play to know their quarter-final opponents.

The semifinals are Monday followed by Tuesday’s medal games at Rogers Place.

Cozens is alternating the captaincy with Bowen Byram in the absence of injured Kirby Dach.

Cozens scored Canada’s first and final goals against Finland and now leads the tournament with six.

With Piiroinen pulled for an extra attacker late in the third, the Buffalo Sabres prospect from Whitehorse pursued the puck through the neutral zone and fought off Kasper Puutio to get a shot away at the empty net.

“What I like about Coz is his compete level,” Canadian head coach Andre Tourigny said. “He wants to be a difference maker.

“He’s a big-moment player, a key player and a guy we can trust when the pressure is high.”

Canada’s relentless forecheck hemmed the Finns in their own zone for long stretches.

“That was beautiful,” Tourigny said. “We applied a lot of pressure. Not just doing it, but sustaining it.

“We were expecting the Finns to push back, which they did. We had an answer for it.”

Power outage

A gap in Canada’s game, however, was an 0-for-5 power play.

“We forced it a little bit,” Tourigny said. “We missed the net on a few scoring chances. I think we did a lot of good things but at some points we forced a few plays.

“At some point we need to simplify, but the structure is pretty good.”

Finland lost defenceman Ville Heinola in the third period when the Winnipeg Jets draft pick blocked a shot with his hand and went to the dressing room.

WATCH | Canada’s Alex Newhook exits game after collision:

Team Canada forward Alex Newhook collides with Finland’s Eemil Viro, ends up leaving the game and does not return. 0:24

Canada’s Alex Newhook also left the game and didn’t return. The forward was checked hard by Eemil Viro in the first period and suffered what looked like a shoulder injury.

Neither team provided an update on their injured player following the game.

It was all Canada in the opening period with hard pace and pressure in Finland’s zone and a 17-1 margin in shots, but just a one-goal lead heading into the second.

“At the start of the game we weren’t ready at all,” Finnish head coach Antti Pennanen said.

“Team Canada was so good. They played at good speed. They win all the battles and they win the loose pucks. We tried to improve those things. I think we did, but not enough.”

Switzerland and Austria went winless in the tournament to finish outside the quarter-finals. The two countries won’t play a relegation round.

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Orlando City survives bizarre shootout as defender takes gloves to seal wild finish

Benji Michel’s goal in a second penalty shootout and a late save by a reserve defender summoned to play goalie helped send Orlando City into the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals with a wild 1-1 (6-5) victory over NYCFC on Saturday.

No. 4 seed Orlando next plays Nov. 29 against top-seeded Philadelphia or No. 8 New England.

Orlando thought it had won at the end of the first penalty shootout when goalkeeper Pedro Gallese turned away NYCFC’s fifth penalty kick. But during the team’s brief celebration, officials ruled Gallese left his line early, drawing his second yellow card. Gallese then drew a red card when he disputed the call.

Referees concluded Orlando backup goalie Brian Rowe was ineligible, which forced it to bring in reserve centre back Rodrigo Schlegel in net. Orlando briefly lost track of the penalty kick count and thought it had won after Schlegel turned away NYCFC and started celebrating. Michel then came on to end it.

VIDEO: Unlikely hero Rodrigo Schlegel secures Orlando’s 1st playoff win:

After Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was awarded a red card during a penalty shootout, reserve centre back Rodrigo Schlegel replaced him and stopped Gudmundur Thorarinsson, leading to Benji Michel’s game-winner. 3:50

Orlando scored in the fifth minute on a penalty kick from Nani, the result of a hand ball in the penalty area against NYCFC’s Anton Tinnerholm.

Three minutes later, Maxime Chanot tied it on a header off a corner kick from Jesus Medina.

Gallese helped keep it even in the first half with four saves. At the 43rd minute, Gallese stretched for saves to deny Valentin Castellanos and Keaton Parks seconds apart.

Crew set up possible clash with TFC

Pedros Santos, Darlington Nagbe and Gyasi Zardes scored and the Columbus Crew beat the New York Red Bulls 3-2 on Saturday to advance to the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals.

Third-seeded Columbus will play Nov. 29 against the winner of the Tuesday night match between second-seeded Toronto FC and No. 7 Nashville.

Seventeen-year-old Caden Clark gave the Red Bulls the lead in the 23rd minute. Santos tied it on a penalty kick in the 26th, Nagbe put the Crew ahead in the 46th and Zardes made it 3-1 in the 68th.

Brian White scored for New York in the 90th.


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NWSL Challenge Cup’s stunning quarter-finals pave way for wild finish

A spot in the championship is on the line when the NWSL Challenge Cup semifinals get underway Wednesday in Utah — and if the matches are anything like the quarters, soccer fans will be entertained. 

Whether it’s seeing the top three seeds ousted from the tournament, including the two-time defending champion North Carolina Courage, or three games decided by penalty kicks, anything can happen in a knockout format.

There’s bound to be more surprises before Sunday’s final at Rio Tinto Stadium. 

Here’s what you should know about the upcoming semifinals: 

Portland Thorns (No. 8) vs. Houston Dash (No. 4)

Canadians to watch: Portland’s Christine Sinclair (F, Burnaby, B.C.); Houston’s Allysha Chapman (D, Courtice, Ont.), Nichelle Prince (F, Ajax, Ont.), Sophie Schmidt (MF, Abbotsford, B.C.), Meaghan Kelly (F, Kansas City, Mo.) 

The Thorns were the only winless team in the preliminary round, but all it took was a Morgan Weaver goal in the 68th minute to stun the previously unbeaten North Carolina Courage. Britt Eckerstrom, the team’s third-string goalkeeper, started her first game of the tournament in place of injured Bella Bixby and enjoyed an outstanding outing. 

International soccer’s all-time leading scorer Sinclair (186 goals in 296 matches for Canada) hasn’t shown her usual penchant around goal as of yet, but as captain she played an important role mentoring Weaver and fellow rookie Sophia Smith, who’s currently injured. Midfielders Rocky Rodriguez (Costa Rica) and Lindsay Horan (U.S.) have been standouts. Horan, who scored this remarkable goal in the preliminary round, is nursing a hip injury. Veteran defender Meghan Klingenberg has been key on set pieces. 

Outside of a rough outing against Sky Blue (2-0 loss), Houston has been one of the surprises of the tournament. After finishing seventh in the 2019 season, the team retooled its lineup and gelled quickly in the Challenge Cup. 

WATCH | Thorns stun Courage en route to semis:

Morgan Weaver scored in the 68th minute to send the Portland Thorns into the semifinals of the NWSL’s Challenge Cup with a surprising 1-0 upset over the two-time defending league champion North Carolina Courage. 1:10

Rachel Daly (three goals) and Shea Groom (two goals) have given the Dash an 1-2 offensive punch, while the centreback combo of Katie Naughton and Megan Oyster are about as tight as they come, though Oyster’s status is questionable after suffering a fractured rib last game. Keeper Jane Campbell had a rocky game against Sky Blue, but showed why she’s one of the premier shot stoppers in the NWSL in denying two Utah penalties in the quarters.

As for the Canadians on the Dash, left back Chapman has played 90 minutes in four out of five games, Sophie Schmidt is soaking up significant minutes in midfield and Nichelle Prince earned her first start up front in the quarter-finals after being used mostly as a substitute. 

Sky Blue (No. 7) vs. Chicago Red Stars (No. 6)

Canadians to watch: Sky Blue’s Kailen Sheridan (GK, Whitby, Ont.), Evelyne Viens (F, L’ancienne-Lorette, Que.); Chicago’s Bianca St. Georges (St-Charles-Borommée, Que.)

This is a battle between teams with arguably the best two top goalkeepers in the league.

There were more than a few question marks about Sky Blue FC heading into the Challenge Cup, especially given that three key players were unavailable due to injury (Carli Lloyd, Mallory Pugh, Caprice Dydasco), but they seem to have found their groove as the tournament has moved along. 

McCall Zerboni’s leadership in the midfield can’t be overstated. Traded from the Courage in the off-season, the 34-year-old has been a workhorse and it’s rubbed off on everyone around her. If you’ve watched any of their games, Jennifer Cudjoe has probably caught your eye. The midfielder made the team through an open tryout — a rarity — and will likely earn more than just her current short-term contract after the Challenge Cup is over. 

Much of the team’s success has come via sure-handed Canadian goalkeeper Sheridan. She’s allowed just three goals in five games, posted three clean sheets and stopped a key penalty in Sky Blue’s quarter-final upset over Washington. She’s been one of the team’s leaders, helping to organize the backs as well as making those key saves.

WATCH | Sheridan leads Blue past Spirit:

Kailen Sheridan of Whitby, Ont., made the game-ending save as her Sky Blue FC advanced to the NWSL Challenge Cup semis with a 4-3 win on penalties over the Washington Spirit. 7:05

Chicago — a finalist last season — scored just two goals in the preliminary round, but thanks to workhorse fullbacks Julie Ertz (a tournament MVP candidate) and Casey Short, as well as U.S. national team goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, opposing teams have their work cut out for them.     

However, if they want to get back to the championship game, scoring during the run of play and not relying on a stalwart defensive line would help. Through five games, the Red Stars recorded just 30 shots (third fewest in the league) with only 10 on goal (last). 

In her first NWSL season, St. Georges hasn’t looked out of place, starting in three games including the quarter-final. She was drafted 20th overall by Chicago in 2019, but missed all of last season after knee surgery. 

Though she’s yet to cap for the Canadian senior national team, expect her to get a good look ahead of the Tokyo Olympics next summer.

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Liam Brearley’s historic bronze adds to heavy medal finish for Canada to close out the Youth Olympics

LAUSANNE — Canadian athletes saved their best single-day medal haul at the Youth Olympics for last.

The medal rush started early on Wednesday with the men’s hockey team defeating Finland, 4-2, for bronze, and was capped with Liam Brearley’s third medal of the Games, a bronze in snowboard big air.

The 16-year-old from Gravenhurst, Ont., is the first Canadian to win three medals at a single Youth Olympics, having won silver and bronze earlier in the Games.

With his mother, sister and grandmother watching, Brearley electrified his family and the crowd of onlookers by soaring and spinning through the air and then stomping his landing during all three final runs.

The three medals on the final day brought Canada’s medal total at Lausanne 2020 to eight. 

Against Finland in hockey, Canada scored two goals a minute apart early in the first period and never looked back, scoring an empty-netter late in the third to seal the win. The strong performance to leave with a medal came just 24 hours after a disappointing semifinal loss to the Americans.

Head coach Gordie Dwyer said after the defeat his team would play with Canadian pride in the third-place game, that it was “the Canadian way” to fight until the end.


Brearley soars against a backdrop of the Swiss Alps on his way to a bronze medal, his third of these Youth Olympics. (Thomas Skrlj/COC/CBC)

As a part of the Youth Olympics, many competitions included countries participating with each other in what they called mixed National Olympic Committee events. All of the mixed events were gender equal.

The last NOC event at the Games included mixed doubles curling.

Torbay, N.L. curler Nathan Young, who skipped Canada’s mixed team at the Youth Olympics, was paired with Hungarian curler Laura Nagy.

The two found instant chemistry in the event and found themselves in Wednesday’s gold-medal game.

Nagy, who is the daughter of a well-known Hungarian husband and wife curling duo, was brilliant throughout the event. So too was the Newfoundland and Labrador skipper.

Young’s poise and confident demeanour shone in the most pressure-packed moments in the championship game.

Young and Nagy bolted out to an insurmountable 7-0 lead over a duo comprised of Russian and French curlers — despite their opponent’s late surge, Young and Nagy held on for a 9-5 victory to claim Youth Olympic gold.

The gold medal does not count in Canada’s overall medal tally, however, as the two were competing under the Olympic flag.

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Brown wins 2nd Canadian 100m title with photo finish win over De Grasse

Aaron Brown wanted to beat Andre De Grasse at his best.

And in a thrilling 100-metre final, that took officials peering at a photo finish a full five minutes to decide, he did.

Brown captured his second consecutive 100 title at the Canadian track and field championships on Friday, running 10.021 seconds to edge De Grasse by three-hundredths of a second.

Crystal Emmanuel won the women’s event in 11.17 seconds.

WATCH | Aaron Brown defends national 100m title:

Aaron Brown edged Andre De Grasse in a photo finish to capture his second consecutive 100-metre title at the Canadian track and field championships. 0:21

Brown beat De Grasse last year as well, a day before De Grasse suffered a second hamstring injury that ended his season.

“I knew from last year when I won, when [De Grasse] came back to form, I knew if I didn’t win this year that [win] would get nullified. So to speak within the media because they would say ‘Oh he was hurt. Your win last year was only because he was hurt,”‘ Brown said.

Brown was quicker out of the blocks, but De Grasse, a triple Olympic medallist, closed hard over the final 20 metres, bringing a Claude Robillard Stadium crowd — it included Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi and retired MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre — to its feet.

Then the wait was on to determine the winner. The runners didn’t take their eyes off the scoreboard until Brown’s name flashed at the top. The 27-year-old from Toronto erupted in screams, running down the track pumping his fists.

“Never [waited that long],” Brown laughed. “Oh my god. That was crazy. I guess that just comes with it, a heavy dose of drama at the end of a 100 metres.”

WATCH | Crystal Emmanuel captures another 100m title:

The 27-year-old continued her reign at the national track and field championships, taking home her 12th 100m title with a time of 11.17 seconds. 0:29

The close finish was the punctuation mark on a thrilling night of racing. Both sprinters dipped under the 10-second barrier in the 100 semifinals, setting up the sizzling final.

De Grasse, wearing custom-made white Pumas with blue Sonic the Hedgehog on the toes, cruised to a time of 9.98 to win a heat that was plagued by three false starts.

Brown, with a Nike swoosh shaved in his hair, then did him one better, tying his personal best of 9.96 two heats later.

“I saw in the first heat he ran .98 and I knew I had to respond,” Brown said. “I could see it, the narrative shifting, ‘Oh he’s back, Andre this and that,’ and I would get lost in the fold. So I said ‘No, not this year.’ I said ‘I’ve got to drop [a sub 10-second time] too.’ If that’s what he’s setting the bar at, I have to respond.”

They couldn’t replicate the fast times two hours later. Temperatures had dropped, and the wind — both sprinters benefited from tailwind in the semis — had died.

Brown and De Grasse are friends off the track. But they’ve built a fierce rivalry on it. And Friday’s race perhaps provided a preview of Canada’s 1-2 punch at the world championships in October in Doha.

“I want to prove I’m a contender on the world stage, I know he is, he’s already proved it with his medals. I know I’m capable of it, so that’s my next aim,” Brown said.

De Grasse, a 24-year-old from Markham, Ont., was hoping to regain his Canadian title after two hamstring injuries shelved the better part of the past two seasons. De Grasse owned the Canadian 100 title between 2015 and ’17.

De Grasse ‘just happy to be back’

Disappointed by Friday’s result?

“I’m not at all, I’m just happy to be back,” said De Grasse, whose time in the semis was his fastest since Rio. “Fighting injuries for the past two years, I’m just happy to be back here on the track, getting back to where I was running before, getting close to my personal best, I feel like I’m in good shape, I feel like I’m ready for the rest of the season.”

De Grasse had never waited so long for a result either.

“That was crazy to wait that long,” he said. “It’s weird, you wait that long and you don’t even know really know who won. How do you wait that long to come out with a result? But it’s OK, I’ll take my lessons and get better.”

Brown will look to repeat as the Canadian 200 champion, while De Grasse is only racing the 100 in Montreal.

Earlier in the night, Cristabel Nettey won the women’s long jump with a mark of 6.41 metres, while Brittany Crew won the women’s shot put with a throw of 18.65 metres.

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Canadian pockets $4M after 3rd-place finish at World Series of Poker

Nova Scotia’s Alex Livingston is walking away with $ 4 million US after finishing third at the 50th World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas.

Livingston, 32, of Halifax, was beaten at the final table by Germany’s Hossein Ensan, who pocketed the $ 10 million first-place prize. Italy’s Dario Sammartino was second and won $ 6 million.

Livingston is a former chess champion who studied economics at Tufts University outside Boston. He finished 13th in the 2013 World Series of Poker and now has $ 4.65 million in career earnings in the event.

The 11-day tournament began July 3 with a field of 8,569 — the second largest field in the 50-year history of the event.

Ensan, a 55-year-old native of Iran who immigrated to Germany 30 years ago, became the oldest world poker champion in 20 years when he won the 301st hand at the final table to finish off Sammartino after nearly eight hours of play.

“Unbelievable,” said Ensan, who now lives in Greven, Germany. He was making his first appearance in the Main Event with a previous total of $ 2.67 million in career earnings.


“I am so happy. I thank my fans at home in Germany, also in Iran and my fans, my buddies here. This is the best feeling in my life,” he said after claiming the winning hand when Sammartino pushed his chips all in early Wednesday at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Ensan, who also won a diamond-encrusted gold bracelet, entered the final night with a commanding lead holding 60 per cent of the chips in play among the three international finalists.

Sammartino took the lead briefly for the first time late Tuesday more than three hours into the final round — bringing his fans in “Super Dario” T-shirts to their feet — and Livingston was eliminated about 15 minutes later.

But Esan stormed back to take the lead about 90 minutes later and never looked back on his way to becoming the oldest champion since Noel Furlong won the title in 1999 at age 62. It was the first time in 27 years a native Iranian has won. Mansour Matloubi won in 1990 and Hamid Dastmalchi in 1992.

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Last-play Landry: Canada wins Japan 7s title in thrilling finish

A thrilling end to the Cup final at the HSBC women’s sevens will see an undefeated Canadian squad come home with the trophy.

Canadian captain Ghislaine Landry scored the winning try on the final play of the match and added the conversion to seal the 7-5 victory over England.

“The whole weekend has been such a grind and such a fight,” Landry said after the match. “That final was just the same so to finish it out with a win meant so much. That’s what all the training is for.


“We work so hard at home and to able to put it on show in a final and finish when time’s up is a testament to the work we are doing back home and I’m so proud of the girls.”


Canada went undefeated through the entire tournament, starting with pool match victories over Spain, China and Australia before beginning their string of playoff wins with a 17-14 result against Russia.

WATCH | Cup quarter-final: Canada vs. Russia

Watch Canada take on Russia at the World Rugby Sevens Series in Kitakyushu, Japan 25:14

Canada advanced to the Cup final after defeating the U.S. 24-12 in the semis.

Bianca Farella led Canada with two tries. Julia Greenshields also had a try, as did Landry, who also contributed a pair of conversions.

WATCH | Cup semifinal: Canada vs. U.S.A.:

Watch Canada take on the United States at the World Rugby Sevens Series in Kitakyushu, Japan 20:41

Canada finished 11th in Kitakyushu last year, one of its worst performances on the circuit. Coach John Tait said while it was nice to get back on top of a podium, the best is yet to come from his team.

“We haven’t been on the top of the podium for a while so it’s good to get that back, and that belief,” he said. “I don’t even think we hit our full stride this week. We played some good defence and some good turnover attack in patches.

“It’s pleasing when you can win ugly and still get a result. It gives us a lot of confidence going to our home tournament.”


With the result in Kitakyushu, the Canadian women now sit second in the overall HSBC World Rugby Women’s Seven Series standings as the series shifts to Langford, B.C.

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Canada's Sharpe, Karker finish 1-2 at World Cup ski halfpipe event

Canada's Cassie Sharpe and Rachael Karker finished first and second, respectively, at a freestyle skiing halfpipe World Cup event in Calgary on Saturday night.

Sharpe, the reigning Olympic champion from Comox, B.C., posted a first-run score of 91.5 points to secure the victory, while Karker's second-run mark of 86 was good enough for silver.

Japan's Kexin Zhang was third with 84.5.

WATCH | Sharpe soars to gold in Calgary

The reigning Olympic champion posted a first-run score of 91.50 points to win the women's ski halfpipe World Cup event from Calgary, Alberta. 1:33

Sharpe, who was born in Calgary and spent her early childhood in nearby Airdrie, went for the big score on her first pass with her trademark cork 1080 for her final trick.

"I was just really happy to land that first run," the 26-year-old said.

"I was super-nervous coming into it because I was a little bit complacent. I guess because it's my home mountain and I felt 'well, it's just like training pretty much.'

"But landing the first run when it was still running pretty quickly, it was probably my best opportunity to win."

With the silver, Karker — originally from Erin, Ont., — supplanted Zhang atop the overall women's standings with one World Cup remaining this season.

WATCH | Karker lands on World Cup podium

Karker nabbed a silver medal in the women's ski halfpipe thanks to her 2nd run score of 86.00. With the silver, Karker supplanted Kexin Zhang atop the overall women's standings. 1:35

"I didn't expect it to come together so soon," the 21-year-old said. "I haven't placed under fourth this season, which is insane because last year I made one final."

Karker is a former trampolinist who trained under Dave Ross at Skyriders, the home gym of Olympic champion Rosie MacLennan, in Richmond Hill, Ont.

"That definitely helped my air awareness in skiing," Karker said.

Bowman grabs bronze on home snow

Calgarian Noah Bowman placed third in the men's event on home snow with a first-run score of 85.5. American David Wise was first with 90, followed by New Zealand's Nico Porteous with 87.75.

WATCH | Bowman scores ski halfpipe bronze

Bowman followed up his 3rd-place finish at the World Championships by winning a bronze medal in the ski halfpipe World Cup event in his home town of Calgary, Alberta. 1:44

"World champs was huge for me," the 26-year-old said, alluding to the bronze he won at the world championships. "Some of the best skiing I've ever done and that got me feeling back in my element."

Canada's Brendan MacKay, Sascha Pedenko and Simon D'Artois placed fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. Porteous passed D'Artois in the overall World Cup men's standings with his first-place performance.

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CBC | Sports News

TFC cough up huge lead, still finish victorious over Galaxy

On a night when Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic conjured up yet another magical strike, Toronto FC celebrated just staying alive for another day.

Toronto survived a three-goal collapse and Jonathan Osorio's 75th-minute winner rescued the MLS champions, helping TFC to a desperately needed 5-3 win Saturday over Los Angeles. Jay Chapman added an insurance goal in stoppage time to cap a wild night.

"Everything was on the line and there was only one result that was going to work for us," said TFC captain Michael Bradley. "Not perfect by any means but at this point, we're not necessarily looking for perfect."

Watch Osorio score the game-winning goal in the 75th minute:

After coughing up a three-goal lead, Brampton, Ont., native Jonathan Osorio scored the game-winning goal in the 75th minute, as Toronto beat the L.A. Galaxy 5-3. 1:21

A tie might have sounded the death knell to Toronto's slim playoff hopes. But Osorio, as he has done all season, stepped up when needed and headed home a Marky Delgado cross for his 10th of the season.

But coupled with Montreal's 4-1 win over Philadelphia, Toronto (8-14-6) remains nine points out of the playoff picture with six games remaining.

Ibrahimovic scored career goal No. 500 to trigger a Galaxy rally that silenced the BMO Field crowd of 30,799 after Toronto raced into a 3-0 lead.

The 36-year-old Ibrahimovic has a flair for the dramatic and he did not disappoint in notching his 43rd-minute milestone goal.

Watch L.A. Galaxy's Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores 500th goal in style:

The Swedish striker's 500th career goal for club and country was the highlight of the L.A. Galaxy's 5-3 loss to Toronto. 1:01

The play started with Jonathan dos Santos chipping the ball into the box. The six-foot-five Ibrahimovic twirled to get an angle at the ball between two defenders, flicking his right leg up high — in a roundhouse kick more common in mixed martial arts than soccer — to deflect it past goalkeeper Alex Bono for his 17th of the season.

"That was a pretty unique finish," said Bono. "I've never had a goal scored on me like that before."

The stylish Swede joins Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo as the only active players with 500 goals for club and country.

"Instinct," Ibrahimovic said of the acrobatic goal. "I mean those things you don't plan. It's impossible to plan. The way it came, I just tried to get it on goal."

"I'm just happy for the Toronto fans that they got to see something they hadn't seen before," he added in typical Zlatan fashion.

Given the two teams had conceded 106 goals between them this season prior to Saturday, there was no shortage of offence on show. It was a wide-open affair that could have produced 10-plus goals with Toronto outshooting Los Angeles 17-10 (8-6 in shots on target).

Victor Vazquez, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco also scored for Toronto, which led 2-0 after 22 minutes and 3-0 after 36.

Ola Kamara and Rolf Feltscher also scored for Los Angeles (10-11-8), which beat Bono twice in five minutes early in the second half to tie it at 3-3.

The game saw 10 yellow cards issued, six to the Galaxy and four to Toronto.

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CBC | Soccer News