U.S. Men’s Hockey victory a bright spot for Team USA

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Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 7_297376

GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 16: The United States celebrate after defeating Slovakia 2-1 during the Men’s Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B game at Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 16, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) —  Russia’s hockey players are looking a little more like the men’s gold medal favorites.

Minnesota Wild prospect Kirill Kaprizov scored a hat-trick .as the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” — as the IOC calls them — demolished Slovenia 8-2 on Friday.

For the Russians, it was a rebound from a surprise 3-2 loss to Slovakia on Wednesday. For Slovenia, a return to earth following its 3-2 overtime win against the United States.

It was the largest margin of victory in an Olympic men’s hockey tournament since Canada beat Austria 6-0 in 2014. The Russians will next play the U.S. on Saturday in a game likely to determine who finishes top of the Group B standings.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING:

Tongan cross-country skier Pita Taufatofua has finished the 15-kilometer individual race at the Pyeongchang Olympics — and he didn’t even hit a tree.

The 34-year-old Taufatofua, best known for participating in the last two Olympic opening ceremonies without a shirt, says he was pleased he didn’t fall on the course Friday, particularly in the final 100 meters in front of the grandstand.

As he was nearing the finish line, Taufatofua thought to himself, “Please God, not in front of everyone — don’t give me my first fall.”

Taufatofua finished 114th of 119 competitors. Two racers finished behind him, and three others either did not finish or were disqualified.

Race winner Dario Cologna of Switzerland says Taufatofua represents what the Olympics are all about.

WOMEN’S CURLING:

There’s been a rare bit of controversy at the Canada vs. Denmark women’s curling match over what’s known as a burned stone.

The moment happened in the fifth period of Friday’s game. A Danish player touched a stone in motion with her broom. That is a foul known as a burned stone.

When burned stones occur, the captain, or skip, of the opposing team has three choices. They can ignore the foul, put the stones in the position they think they should be in or remove the stone from play.

Canada’s skip Rachel Homan removed the stone from play. Canada went on to score four points, taking the lead.

Canada ended up losing the game. Homan later defended her decision to remove the stone, saying it’s “just the rules.”

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING:

Switzerland’s Dario Cologna has become the first cross-country skier to win three Olympic gold medals in the same event by capturing the 15-kilometer freestyle.

“Super Dario” as he’s known, also won this race in Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014.

His three-peat gives Switzerland its first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Cologna won the race in 33 minutes, 43.9 seconds, more than 18 seconds ahead of the Simen Hegstad Krueger from Norway. Krueger took second place to give the Norwegian men their first medal in this event since 2002.

Denis Spitsov of Russia finished in third place. It was Krueger’s second medal of these Winter Games. He also won a gold medal in the skiathlon.

CURLING:

At the Pyeongchang Olympics, Americans are embracing curling for its chess-like strategy and oddball factor. American curlers Matt and Becca Hamilton, siblings from Wisconsin, have been particularly popular with U.S. fans.

Americans in general are slowly growing to love curling. The number of U.S. curling clubs registered with the national organization USA Curling has nearly doubled since 2000.

While their Canadian neighbors have long revered the game of roaring rocks and feverish sweeping, Americans have generally derided the sport as a bit dull.

But that’s changing. Curling in the U.S. was once relegated to the upper midwest and small pockets of New England, it has expanded to many southern and western states. Even Hawaii has a curling club.

MEN’S FIGURE SKATING:

Figure skater Nathan Chen is at a loss for words trying to explain where his Olympic short program went awry, one that left the American medal contender fortunate just to qualify for the free skate.

In fact, Chen was at a loss for what to do next.

He says, “Things just didn’t click together.”

After crowd-pleasing performances from teammates Adam Rippon and Vincent Zhou, the 18-year-old Chen failed to cleanly land a single jump in his high-flying short program. The best hope for an American figure skating gold medal fell Friday on his opening quad flip, stepped out on a quad toe and triple axel, and never could work a missed combination back into his shaky program.

The result was a score of 82.27 points, which put him in 17th place.

MEN’S HOCKEY:

College players have led the United States to an important 2-1 victory over Slovakia in group play at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Ryan Donato scored two power-play goals and Troy Terry dominated with his speed.

Donato, who plays for his father Ted at Harvard, delivered the kind of offense USA Hockey wanted when it picked four NCAA players for its no-NHL Olympic roster.

Donato, Terry and American Hockey League scoring star Chris Bourque were all additions to the U.S. after the pre-Olympic Deutschland Cup in November, during which the U.S. struggled to score, particularly against Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco.

MEN’S FIGURE SKATING:

Defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan has won the Olympic men’s short program with a games-record 111.68 points.

Spain’s Javier Fernandez was second at 107.58. Hanyu’s countryman Shoma Uno was third at 104.17, followed by China’s Jin Boyang at 103.32.

Hanyu missed two months of training with an ankle injury and only recently returned to full practices. No matter, as he hit every element of a highly difficult program with precision and grace.

Two-time U.S. champion Nathan Chen, a pre-games favorite, missed on all his jumps, plummeting to 17th place with a tentative and passionless showing.

Fellow American Adam Rippon was seventh without attempting a quad in what was an intense jumping contest.

WOMEN’S SLALOM:

Frida Hansdotter of Sweden has held off American Mikaela Shiffrin and a tightly bunched field to win the Olympic slalom title at the Pyeongchang Games.

Shiffrin wound up fourth after medaling a day earlier in the giant slalom. She won the slalom title four years ago in Sochi at age 18.

Hansdotter was in second after the first run, then powered through the sun-splashed course on her final run to finish in a combined time of 1 minute, 38.63 seconds.

First-run leader Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was second and Katharina Gallhuber of Austria earned a surprise bronze.

WOMEN’S SNOWBOARDCROSS:

Italy’s Michela Moioli has won the gold medal in Olympic women’s snowboardcross. She overtook American Lindsey Jacobellis about halfway down the course, then beat the rest of the field to the finish line.

Jacobellis finished fourth, continuing her hard-luck career at the Olympics. The world’s most decorated rider, Jacobellis has failed to return to the podium since settling for silver after an ill-advised jump in 2006 while she was clear in the lead.

Julia Pereira de Sousa Mablieau of France took silver this time, and defending champion Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic got clipped from behind and skidded across the line for bronze.

Jacobellis had about a two-body-length lead on the field when Moioli overtook her on a curve. Samkova drafted behind and pushed Jacobellis out to the edge of the course and, from there, she couldn’t gain any ground.

MEN’S SUPER-G:

Matthias Mayer of Austria has won the Olympic men’s super-G, breaking Norway’s 16-year grip on the title.

Mayer won the speed race by 0.13 seconds ahead of Beat Feuz of Switzerland, who added the silver medal to his bronze from downhill on Thursday.

Defending champion Kjetil Jansrud of Norway was third, 0.18 behind Mayer. It’s Jansrud’s fifth career Olympic medal after getting downhill silver.

Norway had won the past four Olympic men’s super-G races, since the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

Aksel Lund Svindal, the 2010 Olympic champion in super-G, placed fifth the day after taking Mayer’s downhill title.

It’s been an interesting week for Mayer. He crashed into a course-side television cameraman Tuesday in the slalom leg of the combined event.

Low-ranked skiers in the 62-racer lineup are yet to start.

MEN’S SKELETON:

Happy new year, Yun Sungbin.

On a national holiday in Korea — the start of a lunar new year — Yun became a national hero, winning gold in the men’s skeleton event at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

His four-run time of 3 minutes, 20.55 seconds was 1.63 seconds ahead of silver medalist Nikita Tregubov of Russia. It was the biggest victory margin in Olympic skeleton, topping 1948, when Italy’s Nino Bibbia topped Jack Heaton of the U.S. by 1.4 seconds in a six-heat race.

Dom Parsons of Britain was third.

For the U.S., 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Matt Antoine was 11th and three-time Olympian John Daly was 16th.Grab the FREE WDTN News App for iPhone or Android. Stay up to date with all the local news, weather and sports as well as live newscasts and events as they happen. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all the latest news, weather and sports.

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