Saturday, February 17, 2018

2018 team preview: Furniture Row Racing

Furniture Row Racing
Manufacturer: Toyota
Engine: Toyota Racing Development
Drivers Martin Truex Jr., No. 78
Crew chief: Cole Pearn
2017 standings: 1st
What’s new: As conventional wisdom would hold, no major changes for the No. 78 group that claimed its first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship last season. The biggest shift inside the Denver, Colorado shop is the restructuring to a single-car effort after the No. 77 team ceased operations after the season. Furniture Row’s close technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing continues, so the No. 78 won’t completely go it alone this year.
What to watch: Martin Truex Jr. insists there’s no pressure returning as the defending premier-series champ, but it will be compelling to see if Truex, Pearn and Co. can replicate the sensational eight-win campaign of 2017. Topping his own results will be one facet; seeing if the rest of the field can catch up will be the other.
Key question(s): The No. 78 team’s sharp focus on making the most of stage racing’s benefits was a key component of Truex’s title run. With one season of the format under everyone’s belt, will Furniture Row’s competitors learn from the lessons of 2017 and make a dent in their playoff-point surplus?
Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/Five-Hour Energy Toyota: Truex and Furniture Row have fought through adversity in recent years away from the track, but in terms of pure on-track performance, the upward trend has been palpable.

And now with a major career goal crossed off, it’s a far looser Truex who enters 2018 as the standard-bearer. “For me, I feel really good about where we’re at,” Truex says. “I feel really confident. But I’m really relaxed, as well. It’s like, you know, the ultimate goal in racing is to win that first championship in the Cup Series. That’s as high as you can get in stock car racing. To know we’ve done that, it’s just like, ‘Aah.’ No pressure now, let’s just go win more races, see where it all shakes out.”

Jeglic snatches victory

A shootout winner from Ziga Jeglic maintains Slovenia's Olympic hoodoo over Slovakia and gives the Group B outsider its second victory in Korea.

Ziga Jeglic loves the Olympics. His two goals for Slovenia against Russia four years ago announced the then Ingolstadt player as one of the stars of his country's program. And, today, his shootout winner secured Slovenia its second victory here in Korea, edging Slovakia after a 2-2 tie.
"It's another very special moment for me," he said after the game. "I was really happy to be the last shooter, and I was specially eager to score against Slovakia because I played there for three years with Slovan.
"It was pretty much the move I've used for the past couple of seasons. I just tried to get some speed, maybe stop a little bit, feint and get a shot up. Sometimes, it comes off!"
Oddly, this was Slovenia's second victory over Slovakia in two Olympic meetings, even though it has never defeated this opponent in IIHF World Championship action. More significantly, it took the Kari Savolainen's men to second in Group B - an impressive achievement ahead of the Americans and Slovaks, but the four-point haul will not be enough to secure a bye to the quarter-final as best runner-up.
Captain Jan Mursak reflected on his country's apparent Olympic hoodoo over Slovakia. "We know that they’re more of a hockey country than we are," he said. "They have more hockey players, more pro teams than we do. And we are quite close to each other, so it's a bit of a rivalry now.
"But they have a good team. It’s always nice to play against them. Certainly for us it’s nice to play because it’s kind of even and we can still play our hockey. Against the Russians yesterday it was harder to play our hockey when the other team was so much better."
The first period was short on incidents of note, but Slovenia quickly ensured that the second would be more memorable. Just 60 seconds in, Blaz Gregorc opened the scoring with a power play goal, smashing home a slap shot from the centre point as Miha Verlic put up a screen in front of Branislav Konrad.
Slovakia took another penalty immediately, but almost snatched a shorthanded goal on Lukas Cingel’s menacing breakaway. However, when Slovenia got a 5-on-3 advantage, it was able to exploit Slovakian indiscipline once again with Anze Kuralt doubling the lead. Mursak, a player at the heart of most of the good things in the Slovene offence here in Korea, was in business again. He picked up his second assist of the night when he cracked the puck into the danger zone and Anze Kuralt got away from Michal Kristof between the hash marks to redirect past Konrad.
Four years ago in Sochi, Slovenia’s 3-1 victory over Slovakia kickstarted a Cinderella run to the quarter-finals for the tiny former Yugoslav republic; now, with news from Gangneung suggesting that the OAR was on the way to victory over the USA, Slovenia was on course for second place in Group B and – perhaps – the start of a new fairytale.
"Last time we were in the Olympics for the first time," Jeglic said. "With all the NHL players it was an even tougher tournament for us. Now we're surprising people a little bit again, we're playing a real team game, we try to be very close together, be very vocal on the bench. I think our teamwork is the reason why we win."
But Slovakia was not about to abandon its dream of topping the group and claiming a bye to the last eight. Andrej Kudrna singlehandedly re-injected some energy into the Slovak offence, twice testing Gasper Kroselj after a surge down the right flank. Then he had the puck in the net after a Ladislav Nagy rush, but the whistle had gone before he let his shot go.
Slovakia did get back in contention with a power play goal of its own in the 36th minute. Peter Ceresnak, whose howitzer blew Russia away in the opening game, launched another missile from the blue line. This time Milos Bubela, playing his first international tournament since the World Juniors in 2012, got the tip to take the puck past Kroselj and halve the arrears.
Then, early in the third, Slovakia tied it up with yet another blast from the blue line. This time it was Marcel Hascak who circled deep to collect a Dominik Granak feed and fire off another rocket through heavy traffic in front of Groselj. The goalie saw the puck late and could not get a glove in the way.
Tomas Surovy reflected on how close his team had come to clinching top spot in the group, and booking a couple of days off before the quarter-final. "The Slovenians jumped out to a 2-0 lead and we came back to tie, but we needed another goal to win and take first place," he said. "It didn't happen. There's nothing we can do about it now. We'll see what kind of opponent we get in the next round, and we'll be ready for it."
Both teams had chances to win it in the closing minutes, with Slovakia coming closest on a late power play. Not surprisingly, the tactic was to line up another mighty shot from the blue line; Michal Cajkovsky obliged, but Groselj got behind it and the defence scrambled the puck away from the marauding Tomas Starosta as the game went into overtime.
The extras were breathless, the 3-on-3 format encouraging plenty of movement. Slovakia came closest to a winner, with Marek Daloga testing Groselj and Hascak almost teeing up Martin Bakos in the final seconds, but the action headed inexorably to a shootout.

OAR tops USA, 4-0

The Olympic Athletes from Russia used their superior playmaking to defeat a determined U.S. team in an emotional and intense game tonight in Gangneung.

The fighting spirit of the Americans was impressive, but OAR talent was simply too much.
Coupled with Slovakia’s overtime loss to Slovenia at Kwandong, the win puts OAR on top of Group B with six points, giving them a bye to the quarter-finals.
"It's good for us because when you play that extra game it takes a lot of energy out of you," said Ilya Kovalchuk.
Slovenia, United States, and Slovakia finish in a tie for second with four points, and none of those teams will earn the fourth bye, meaning they'll all play in the qualifying round on Tuesday.
Kovalchuk and Nikolai Prokhorkin each scored twice and Vasili Koshechkin was perfect and excellent in the Athletes' goal, stopping all 22 shots that came his way.
"We came out strong, we scored the first goal, and then our goalie made some great saves and I think our PK was special tonight," Kovalchuk said.
It was a game that featured countless scrums after whistles in the first two periods as players from both teams jostled, pushed, and shoved. Fans from both countries created a thrilling and taught energy with shouts of "Russ-i-a!" and "USA!".
The first period captured the very essence of the two nations. The OAR were the more skilled team in every aspect of speed and playmaking, but the Americans fought tenaciously and never gave up. Although shots favoured the OAR 13-11, the discrepancy seemed greater. Yet for all of that, it was only a 1-0 game.
That goal was a beautiful three-way passing play by Alexander Barbanov behind the net to Sergei Mozyakin at the faceoff dot to Prokhorkin at the crease who tipped the pass in at 7:21.
The Olympic Athletes could have—should have?—been up by more, and yet a long shot by Ryan Donato late in the period pinged off the crossbar. Two inches lower and it would have been a 1-1 game after 20 minutes.
Although the Athletes failed to score on a power play early in the second they got a second goal all the same soon after. Prokhorkin wired a log shot over the glove of Ryan Zapolski at 2:14, and the pressure continued.
And again the Americans had a great scoring chance, this time a clear break by captain Brian Gionta, but again they failed to cash in. It was a night of what if as much as not happening.
Broc Little made the play of the period for the U.S. hustling down ice to negate an icing and then creating a couple of good scoring chances, but Koshechkin was equal to the task.
And then the dagger. Kovalchuk moved the puck around in the U.S. end as time wound down, dished off to Sergei Andronov, and set up at the faceoff dot to await the return pass. He smoked a shot under the arm of Zapolski with just 0.2 seconds remaining in the period to make it 3-0.
Kovalchuk started the third as he ended the second. Taking a pass in full flight, he skated down the left side and snapped a wicked wrister over Zapolski’s glove just 28 seconds in to make it 4-0.
Little had another great shift and created a clear break in on Koshechkin, only to be stoned again by the goalie.
In the end, the OAR were the superior team, and for their efforts earn an extra game off. For the United States, elimination starts on Tuesday. 

The Swiss overwhelm Korea

Switzerland calmly trounced the Koreans for their first win, increasing their offensive output in each period, and handing the hosts another loss.
Switzerland was unfazed by a roaring pro-Korea crowd, smoothly emerging as 8-0 winners on Saturday at Gangneung Hockey Centre. The effort matched the Swiss women’s team, who won by the same score against the Koreans.
Jonas Hiller, rarely tested, made 25 saves for the shutout. Pius Suter stood out with three goals.
"We didn't make too many mistakes and definitely were able to take advantage of our skill set and play most of the time in their zone," said Hiller.
For a short time, it was possible to see how it could have been more positive for Korea. Not necessarily for them to win, but to compete again.
Starting goaltender Matt Dalton was Korea’s best player in their first game, a 2-1 loss to the Czechs, and early in the second Korean outing, with several difficult saves, he threatened to again stand and defy expectation.     
"I felt like the first period for sure I kept us in it and made some good saves," said Dalton, "But these guys are good they just keep coming."
The Swiss would eventually break through and score, Denis Hollenstein whacked in a rebound at 10:23 of the first period, a chance created by a speedy wraparound by Gaetan Haas.
The Swiss pressure then intensified, but only briefly. Tristan Scherwey took a tripping penalty at 14:19 which interrupted his team’s flow but the home country would not score. 
Late in the first period a spree of heavy hits by Korean defenceman Bryan Young were appreciated by the home crowd and noted by the referees. 
Young would take an interference penalty with 42 seconds left in the opening frame, but nothing would come of that, either. 
Shots on goal at the end of the first 20 minutes were 15-7 in favour of Switzerland, and they held the 1-0 lead.
The Swiss took a 2-0 lead following a clear but then confused set of circumstances at 7:36 of the second period.
Dalton bobbled a Felicien du Bois shot and the puck rolled on its edge across the goal line.  
The Korean netminder desperately reached back with his blocker to obscure the puck, and the goal was waved off initially. But a video review overturned the call on the ice and doubled the Swiss lead. 
That Swiss strike quieted the pro-Korea crowd.
Later in the second period, Pius Suter pushed the lead to 3-0 with a shifty play behind the net.
The Zurich Lion embarked on a wraparound but then curled back and stuffed the puck behind Dalton at 15:55.
It was 3-0 Switzerland after 40 minutes.
A triplet of early third period Swiss goals would pull the curtains tightly shut, with Thomas Rufenacht and Suter chasing Dalton to his team’s bench. The Korean starter allowed five goals on 27 shots.
Reto Schaeppi, Suter, and Enzo Corvi scored on Sungje Park in his short Olympic debut.
"When it's 8-0, you can't complain. It's good for our confidence. Last game wasn't that great, but tonight was," said Suter, reflecting on a 5-1 opening loss to Canada.
"Now we have to keep going."
On Sunday, the Swiss meet the Czechs and the Koreans will collide with Canada. 

Finns bid Swedes goodbye

Some things don't change. Riikka Valila, the 1998 Olympic scoring leader, had two goals as Finland beat Sweden 7-2 to advance to the semi-finals versus the U.S.

Valila is the Jaromir Jagr of women’s hockey, the oldest player ever to score at the Olympics at age 44. With four goals in Korea and 12 in her Olympic career, the Jyvaskyla-born forward’s legend continues to grow.

Asked if she was having as much fun as in 1998, Valila said: "For sure I am. Maybe I am enjoying it even more!"
All the big guns were firing for Finnish coach Pasi Mustonen in this quarter-final romp. Susanna Tapani and Michelle Karvinen chipped in a goal and an assist apiece, and Petra Nieminen, Emma Nuutinen and Sanni Hakala added singles. Noora Tulus had two assists.

Finland will face a monster challenge against the Americans. The U.S., the four-time defending World Champion, won gold at the 1998 Olympics and has earned three silvers (2002, 2010, 2014) and one bronze (2006) since then. Finland has lost six straight Olympic games to the U.S., and has only one win and one tie in 17 tries at the Women’s Worlds.

"I definitely think we can win," said Karvinen. "We improved a lot over the last couple of years, but even the last game. We just have to keep really disciplined, rely on our systems but also vary the play because we need to move the puck forward. We need to trust each other as a team and then we have a chance to win. I'm not buying this idea that Canada and the USA are already playing for gold. We are fighting to the end."
Goalie Noora Raty, who has played every game for Finland, had a relatively easy evening. Her teammates outshot Sweden 31-21 and chased starter Sara Grahn from the Swedish cage in front of 3,803 spectators at the Kwandong Hockey Centre.

"I’m proud of how my team played in front of me and created offense," said Raty. "I don’t know the last time we scored seven on the Swedish team. I’m really happy how we played the whole 60 minutes."

It was the fifth meeting between the two Nordic rivals in Olympic history, and the most lopsided Finnish win since the very first encounter, 6-0 on 8 February, 1998 in Nagano. Finland's record versus Sweden improved to three wins and two losses.

"It's as big a rivalry for us as it is in the men's," said Nuutinen. "We play so many exhibition games over the season, and there's always that little bit extra motivation when we play against Sweden."
Emma Nordin and Rebecca Stenberg replied for Sweden. It was a disappointing outcome for the Swedes, who beat Japan 2-1 and Korea 8-0 before losing 2-1 to the Swiss in the preliminary round.

"We were down 3-0 after the first period," said Nordin. "We let them come out. They did a good job. They came out very hard and pressed us down, but I think we should have been able to do a better job with the rebounds. They had a lot of speed to our net, and our goalies took the first puck, but we let them in too easily for the rebounds."
The Suomi women are going for their third Olympic medal after bagging bronze in 1998 and 2010. They own the most bronze medals (12) in IIHF Women’s World Championship history. Finland came fifth at the 2014 Olympics, and this is a refreshing change.

"The disappointment was so big in Sochi, I have no words for that," said Nuutinen. "This was a big win. We had the same game against Sweden in Sochi and we lost, so it feels good right now."
Finland opened the scoring at 6:12. Captain Jenni Hiirikoski sent the puck up to a rushing Venla Hovi, who battled past Emmy Alasalmi and got it to Nieminen. The 18-year-old phenom deked out Grahn and slid home a backhander.

"We knew if we could get on the board first and then build the lead, we should be in pretty good shape," said Raty.
At 11:32, it was 2-0. After the Swedes failed to clear the puck under pressure from Tapani and Karvinen, Isa Rahunen took a long shot that deflected in off Valila’s face mask. Valila is known as a heady player, but this was a bit unorthodox. Nonetheless, she was happy to take the goal, and laughed about it on the bench.
Tapani put Finland up 3-0 on the power play with 2:16 left in the first. Showing good patience, she accepted a cross-ice pass from Tulus, outwaited the outstretched stick of Swedish defender Johanna Fallman, and sent a wrister through Grahn’s pads.

"I guess the third goal was the toughest for us to take," said Swedish captain Emilia Ramboldt. "We just couldn't get back from that."
After outshooting the Swedes 11-3 in the opening stanza, the Finns were full value for the lead.
Looking to change the momentum, Sweden replaced Grahn with Sarah Berglind to start the second period. It was a tough spot for the 22-year-old MODO Ornskoldsvik netminder, who had never played at a higher level than the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship before. 
Karvinen made it 4-0 at 7:14, circling to the centre point for a slapper that beat Berglind low to the glove side. Swedish coach Leif Boork challenged it for goalie interference, but video review showed that Minnamari Tuominen did not touch Berglind, and Karvinen had her third goal of these Winter Games.
Nordin broke Raty’s shutout bid at 8:53, coming down left wing and squeezing a quick one under the Finnish goalie’s left pad from a bad angle.
The Finns had an answer just 36 seconds later. Karvinen cruised into the Swedish zone, took a pass from Tapani, and put one off the post, and Valila banged the rebound into the gaping cage.

"I am really enjoying playing with these girls," said Valila. "They are so skillful. They are just amazing players."
Sweden got a little life with 0:48 left in the middle frame when Nylen Persson hit Stenberg with a shorthanded breakaway pass and she whipped one over Raty’s glove to make it 5-2.

In the third period, Nuutinen ballooned Finland's lead to 6-2 at 4:35. She got a pass from Noora Tulus on the rush and then scored on her second attempt after Fallman blocked the first one.

After that, nothing would burst Finland's balloon. Hakala, a 20-year-old Olympic rookie from Jyvaskyla who plays with Valila in Sweden's HV71, celebrated her first goal at 17:47 to round out the scoring.

"Our teamwork was the best thing about today," said Karvinen. "We really helped each other, we put each other in good spots and made it easy. Getting seven goals is never a bad thing, going into the semis."

Sweden’s last Olympic women’s hockey medal was silver in Turin 2006. The Damkronorna fell 4-1 to Canada in the final after their stunning 3-2 semi-final win over the Americans, backstopped by Kim Martin as Maria Rooth got two goals in regulation time plus the shootout clincher.

The Swedes’ last Women’s Worlds medal was bronze in 2007 with a 1-0 win over Finland on Rooth’s second-period goal. And the drought will continue at least until the 2019 Women's Worlds in Finland.

Czechs win in SO, 3-2

The Czechs rallied twice to force overtime, then won the shootout, 2-1, on goals by Petr Koukal and Jan Kovar. Wojtek Wolski got the lone Canadian goal.

Canada scored early and led, 2-1, after the first period, but couldn't put the Czechs away. The win gives the Czechs five points in Group A, one more than Canada.
"We knew before the tournament there weren't going to be any easy games," Czech Michal Jordan, one of the scorers in regulation noted. "The first day results showed that, and it's good that we can win those close games like today."
Both teams finish their round robin tomorrow. Canada plays hosts Korea while the Czechs play the Swiss. The top team will gain a bye to the quarter-finals.
"Both teams played hard, and it was a good game for us," noted Canada's coach Willie Desjardins. "We've got to get better. We know that from the game, but I thought it was a good game by both teams. Now we just move ahead. This one's gone, so we don't worry about it at all; we just move ahead to the next one."
As in its first game, Canada got just the start it wanted, scoring early on the power play. Linden Vey made a clever pass through the Czech box in front of Francouz where Mason Raymond redirected the pass past the goalie at 1:13.
Moments later Scrivens solidified the lead with a nice save off Dominik Kubalik from in close, but the Czechs had the better of play for long stretches, pressuring Canada with impressive tenacity.
They were rewarded at 6:52 when Kubalik swatted a loose puck in after it hopped over the stick of defenceman Chris Lee as he tried to clear it. The Czechs continues to force play in the Canadian end, exposing some weak play by Canada.
Still, Canada got the go-ahead goal at 13:30 started by a great rush from Derek Roy. He danced his way into the Czech end, and although he was checked off the puck it ended up on the stick of Maxim Noreau. He fired a point shot that hit traffic in front, but Rene Bourque was there to put the rebound in.
The Czechs tied the game a second time just 25 seconds into the middle period. This time it was Michal Jordan who got to a loose puck in front and wired a high shot over the shoulder of Scrivens.
There were plentyof defensive errors all the way around, but neither team could capitalize. The Czechs had the best chance of the third when Lukas Radil found himself alone in the slot. His quick shot was stopped nicely by Scrivens, though, keeping it a 2-2 game with overtime looming.
Canada had a great chance of its ownto win in regulation when the Czechs took a late penalty for too many men, but the ensuing power play proved fruitless.
With a minute to go, Jiri Sekac wired a shot off the crossbar, and after that it was three-on-three overtime for the first time in Olympic history.
Mat Robinson had the best chance in the extra period. He first broke up a two-on-one for the Czechs, then bolted up ice, took a pass, and went in alone on goal. Unfortunately, he lost the puck as he made the move, negating a sensational shift.
That set the stage for the first shootout of these Olympics.

Shokh tactics

After struggling in the group stage, the OAR came to life in the quarter-final. An emphatic scoring display shattered the Swiss, with Anna Shokhina starring.

The Olympic Athletes of Russia finally found their scoring touch, putting six goals past the previously undefeated Swiss to advance to the semi-finals for the first time at an Olympic Games.
In an absorbing spectacle, decorated by classy goals from Anna Shokhina and Alina Muller, the OAR picked up a first win of the Games at just the right time, shooting down the 2014 bronze medallist 6-2 and keeping alive its dream of first-ever Olympic hardware.
The OAR came into the game on the back of three Group A losses with an aggregate score of 15-1. More worryingly, it took Alexei Chistyakov’s girls 230 minutes of game time to record their only goal in a toothless group stage performace.
Switzerland, by contrast, was flawless in Group B, securing top spot with a 2-1 success over Sweden after comfortable victories over Japan and Korea. And the language of the two teams was very different after their final group-stage outings. While the Swiss talked of momentum and confidence, the Russians pondered a misfiring forward line and looked to the QF with hope rather than expectation.
Enter Shokhina. Even before she opened the scoring in the eighth minute, she'd been playing a role backstage to lift the team.
"After the last game, everyone was so serious, so we just tried to lift the mood," she said. "We just tried to turn up the music in the locker room, get people dancing, so nobody would worry about this game."
And, unexpectedly, Shokhina was able to lead the Swiss defence a merry dance with an impressive opening goal. Switzerland was enjoying a five-on-three power play at the time, but Lara Stalder got ambushed on the red line and Shokhina was clean through on Florence Schelling’s net. After so many wasted Russian chances, this one was converted with finesse: skating across the face of goal to force Schelling into a move, Shokhina wrapped it up by going top shelf in a move with hints of Connor McDavid’s flair.
"Maybe it was a bit of a gamble, but I just watched what the goalie was doing and tried to beat her," Shokhina said of her goal.
For Stalder, it was a tough blow to take. "It was my mistake, I blame myself for that," she said. "But I think we came back really well. We just weren't efficient enough at taking our chances."
The Swiss hit back hard: Nadezhda Morozova made a point blank save when Evelina Raselli looked to redirect a Stalder feed; seconds later it took a blocker to deny a Stalder blast. The next victim was Lisa Ruedi, with the Swiss youngster denied her first Olympic goal by another fast-moving blocker.
Morozova kept her goal intact until the first intermission, but had no answer to the latest piece of Muller magic early in the second. The Swiss forward, so predatory in the group phase, began her latest masterclass behind her own net. An exchange of passes with Christine Meier got her halfway up the ice, and then things really started smoking. A surge of acceleration took her into OAR territory, great hands left Yekaterina Nikolayeva floundering on defence and a high backhand finish finally beat Morozova. Muller moved on to seven goals in Korea, just two behind the record of nine in any one Olympic women’s tournament. That record is jointly held by Meghan Agosta (Canada) and Stephanie Marty (Switzerland), who both hit a purple patch in 2010.
Now the Swiss were poised to take control of the game. Sara Benz shot a chance narrowly wide, Phoebe Staenz was denied by a well-timed poke check from Nina Pirogova, and the Russians were left relying on the counter-attack, where Valeria Pavlova tested Schelling. Finally, the pressure told – and Stalder made up for her first-period slip by shooting Switzerland in front. It was another high-quality finish, a wrist shot from between the hashmarks tucked tight inside the angle of post and bar to give Morozova no chance of reaching it.
That lead was short lived. Viktoria Kulishova tied it up barely two minutes later, converting the rebound after Yekaterina Smolina’s shot was padded away by Schelling. And the OAR went into the second intermission with the lead after a power play goal from Liana Ganeyeva. The defender’s point shot took a deflection off a Swiss stick and wrong-footed Schelling to make it 3-2.
For team captain Olga Sosina, this was a vital passage of play. "When we tied the score at 2-2, that was the key moment," she said. "Kulishova, one of our young girls, tied it up and that really inspired us to go on and get the next, really vital goal."
Switzerland began the third period at a high tempo, but after Morozova denied Staenz from close range and Muller hit the post after intercepting a stray pass, it was OAR that extended its lead. Sabrina Zollinger’s wayward clearance went straight to Shokhina, who advanced on Schelling’s net with Yelena Dergachyova and released an astute feed to set up her unmarked team-mate for the goal.
The Swiss refused to give up – even when short-handed, Stalder and Muller found a way to carve through the Russian defence – but found Morozova in obdurate form. And when Shokhina converted the same power play seconds later, it was game over. The 20-year-old, a star on the Tornado roster that dominates Russia’s Women’s Hockey League, played an incisive pass to Dergachyova on the post and collected a threaded return feed to tap into net. Captain Olga Sosina completed the scoring with an empty-net goal.
The defeat ended Switzerland's hopes of repeating its 2014 medal success, and left Muller close to tears. "We made a big goal of winning a medal here," she said. "We started well, we kept fighting, even when we were 1-0 behind we didn't stop fighting. I'm proud of my team, but it's hard."

Sauter grabs third Daytona victory in Camping World Truck Series

In a race that produced seven cautions for 35 laps and left 21 trucks running at the finish, Johnny Sauter held off Justin Haley by .098 seconds at Daytona International Speedway to win Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250, the season-opener for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Sauter grabbed the lead from pole winner David Gilliland on Lap 92 of 100 and stayed out front the rest of the way. The victory was Sauter’s third at Daytona and 18th of his career.
The 2016 series champion dedicated the win to his crew chief Joe Shear, whose wife, Chandra Shear, passed away in December. The race performance of both driver and crew was impeccable.
“I felt like we executed flawlessly,” Sauter said. “I don’t even remember the pass for the lead. We had good track position and we lost it a couple times. I’m just so thankful to be driving this truck. This is best group of guys I’ve ever been around, and it’s great to start the season off like this.
“I just felt comfortable today and I don’t even know why. I didn’t have one nerve. I just felt like this was our day.”
As he watched Sauter close in on the victory, Shear was overcome with emotion.
“This is very, very, very special,” Shear said. “I don’t know if a lot of people know, but I lost my wife in December. She’s looking down on us. She was in love with racing just as much as I was.
“She was looking over us and helped us to this win. And I’m so grateful to be in the position that I’m at and have these people around me. This means so much. I’ll never forget this one.”
Haley had the lead for a restart on Lap 87 but surrendered it to Gilliland on Lap 91. One lap later, Sauter surged past Gilliland into the top spot. A lap after that, Gilliland slapped the outside wall on the approach to Turn 1 and brought his car to pit road, finishing 21st, four laps down.
“Those final laps were crazy,” Haley said. “I finally got shuffled back a little bit there on the last lap, and there wasn’t that much energy on the high side.”
Veteran Joe Nemechek came home third, followed by Ben Rhodes and Scott Lagasse Jr., who took the white flag in second place but couldn’t mount a charge against Sauter on the final lap. Rhodes’ No. 41 Ford failed post-race inspection after measuring too low, however. That typically is an L1 penalty.
John Hunter Nemechek wasn’t as fortunate. After leading for a restart on Lap 70, he picked up a tire rub trying to block a run from Ben Rhodes on the outside, and on Lap 73, his right rear tire exploded, ripping apart the entire wheel well and triggering a seven-truck accident that knocked Brett Moffitt, Stewart Friesen and Myatt Snider out of the race.
Grant Enfinger finished sixth, ahead of Spencer Davis, Dalton Sergeant, Jordan Anderson and Justin Fontaine. Two-time series champion Matt Crafton was part of a five-truck wreck on Lap 82 and ran 19th in his heavily damaged No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford.