Saturday, February 17, 2018

DEREK KOLBABA WINS ROUND 1 IN ST. LOUIS

Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington) won Round 1 on the opening night of The 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast, St. Louis Invitational, presented by Express Employment Professionals, at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Kolbaba, who entered the event as the No. 11 ranked bull rider in the world, rode Cyclone (Blake Sharp/ Sharp Farms & Cattle/ Rio Rojo Cattle Co, LLC) for 87.5 points. For the round, the young gun netted 100 PBR (Professional Bull Riders) world points and $3,580. It also shifted him to No. 9 in the world standings. He is just 820 points behind current world leader Dener Barbosa(Paulo De Faria, Brazil).
Oklahoma native Brennon Eldred (Sulphur, Oklahoma) delivered an 86.5-point ride for second place in the round aboard Constant Sorrow (Blake Sharp/ Sharp Farms & Cattle). For the ride, Eldred earned 60 points toward the world standings along with a $2,750 paycheck.
Paulo Ferreira Lima (Bezerros, Brazil) and Keyshawn Whitehorse(McCracken Springs, Utah) tied for third place in front of the near capacity crowd at Scottrade Center Saturday night after recording identical 86.25-point scores. Lima recorded his first qualified ride of the 2018 season when he reached 8 seconds aboard Bezerk (BMC Bucking Bulls/Jenkins Cattle Co.), while Whitehorse rode Tractor Tippin (Jo-Z Bucking Bulls/ K-C). The pair each took home 45 world points and $1,650 for the finish.
Rounding out the Top 5 Saturday night, Luciano De Castro (Guzolandia, Brazil) turned in an 85.5-point trip aboard Springer Mountain (Dakota Rodeo /Chad Berger/ Clay Struve) to maintain his hold at No. 12 in the world standings. For his effort, Castro gained 30 world points and pocketed $850.
The best bull riders in the world will return to Scottrade Center on Sunday, February 18 for Round 2 of the St. Louis Invitational.
25th PBR: Unleash The Beast
St. Louis Invitational
Scottrade Center - St. Louis, MO
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Round 4-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Derek Kolbaba, 87.5-0-0-87.50-100 Points.
2. Brennon Eldred, 86.5-0-0-86.50-60 Points.
3. Keyshawn Whitehorse, 86.25-0-0-86.25-45 Points.
(tie). Paulo Ferreira Lima, 86.25-0-0-86.25-45 Points.
5. Luciano De Castro, 85.5-0-0-85.50-30 Points.
6. Tanner Byrne, 83-0-0-83.00-15 Points.
7. Lindomar Lino, 82.75-0-0-82.75-5 Points.
8. Ramon de Lima, 82.5-0-0-82.50
(tie). Ueberson Duarte, 82.5-0-0-82.50
10. Guilherme Marchi, 61.25-0-0-61.25
Dener Barbosa, 0-0-0-0.00
Claudio Montanha Jr., 0-0-0-0.00
Stetson Lawrence, 0-0-0-0.00
Cody Nance, 0-0-0-0.00
Kaique Pacheco, 0-0-0-0.00
Eduardo Aparecido, 0-0-0-0.00
Marco Antonio Eguchi, 0-0-0-0.00
Cody Teel, 0-0-0-0.00
Jess Lockwood, 0-0-0-0.00
Brady Oleson, 0-0-0-0.00
Chase Robbins, 0-0-0-0.00
Tye Chandler, 0-0-0-0.00
J.B. Mauney, 0-0-0-0.00
Cody Campbell, 0-0-0-0.00
Emilio Resende, 0-0-0-0.00
Rubens Barbosa, 0-0-0-0.00
Silvano Alves, 0-0-0-0.00
Edgar Durazo, 0-0-0-0.00
Alex Marcilio, 0-0-0-0.00
Colten Jesse, 0-0-0-0.00
Wallace Vieira de Oliveira, 0-0-0-0.00
Bryan Titman, 0-0-0-0.00
Juan Carlos Contreras, 0-0-0-0.00
Mason Lowe, 0-0-0-0.00
Stormy Wing, 0-0-0-0.00

ELDRED GAINING CONFIDENCE WITH INJURED GROIN

Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the St. Louis Invitational, presented by Express Employment Professionals, Saturday night at the Scottrade Center.
Eldred gaining confidence with his injured groin
Brennon Eldred had a nice little jolt to his step when he walked into the Scottrade Center shortly after 5 p.m. despite the fact that he had bucked off his last four bulls and had begun the year 4-for-14.
Eldred has been battling a right groin injury for the last three months since partially tearing it during the PBR Global Cup and the nagging injury had begun to affect his mental confidence.
However, when Eldred arrived for Round 1 he said he felt like he was ready to turn to things around and knew he just had to trust himself and his groin.
Talking is one thing though. Following through is another.
Eldred did that by riding Constant Sorrow for 86.5 points to finish Round 1 in second place behind Derek Kolbaba (87.5 points on Cyclone) for 60 world points.
“That was big for me,” Eldred said. “I had been struggling here lately and I just finally am starting to feel good and confident in myself and my body. I feel like everything is starting to fall into place.
“That bull was really good. He went a couple and turned back to the right into my hand. He had me working and about halfway he switched it up and went back left. It felt really good to get tapped off and finish strong.”
Things got a little hairy following the ride as Eldred was stepped on by Constant Sorrow before Matador Jerky Bullfighter Cooper Waln took a horn to the face, shattering his glasses in the process.
“He just stepped on me once and I was a lot better off than Cooper,” Eldred said. “My hat is off to that guy. He saved my ass.”
Dr. Tandy Freeman had to stitch up Waln, who is filling in for Jesse Byrne this week, just below his right eye during sections 3 and 4 before Waln returned for the final 10 rides of the night.
Eldred will look to win his first career event on Championship Sunday and will attempt to get things started when he takes on Rising Sun (4-5, PBR UTB) in Round 2.
Kolbaba cracks Top 10 of the world standings with round win
Derek Kolbaba woke up on Saturday morning and looked outside his hotel room at Lumiere Place in downtown St. Louis and was happy to see remnants of home.
The St. Louis area had some snow showers on Saturday and Kolbaba could sit back and enjoy the fluffy snowflakes falling as if he was back in Walla Walla, Washington, not having to worry about any travel delays due to weather.
It was only a week ago that Kolbaba missed Round 1 of the Caterpillar Classic after mechanical issues with his scheduled aircraft prevented him from making it in time to Kansas City.
Kolbaba still finished in fourth place in Kansas City, but he ould only wonder what could have been if not for his travel issues.
Therefore, the 21-year-old made sure to make the most of his opportunity of arriving a day before the St. Louis Invitational by winning Round 1 with 87.5 points on Cyclone.
“I wasn’t going to miss it this time,” Kolbaba said. “Heck, I am just having fun. I feel like I know what the heck is going on. I have been here before and know you have to capitalize on that. A lot of it is just dumbing it down a little bit. You take it one bull at a time. Stick to the basics and let everything just kind of flow.”
Kolbaba’s second round win moves him up to ninth in the world standings after entering The Gateway City ranked 11th.
He takes on Uncle Si (6-0, PBR UTB) in Round 2 on Sunday.
This is the first time Kolbaba has been ranked inside the Top 10 since finishing runner-up to Jess Lockwood in the 2017 world title race.
Kolbaba trails world leader Dener Barbosa by 820 points. Barbosa (4.94 seconds on Little Bob) and No. 2 Claudio Montanha Jr. (6.76 seconds vs. Speckled Hat) both bucked off in Round 1.
“It fires me up,” Kolbaba said. “Last year I took the good with the bad. It was good because I made a lot of good rides and it helped me with my confidence. It was bad because you finish up second, it is going to put a fire in you. However many events we are into it nowadays, it time to start gunning for that top spot and finish it off.”
Rounding out the Top 5 in Round 1 behind Kolbaba and Eldred was Keyshawn Whitehorse (86.25 points on Tractor Tippin), Paulo Lima(86.25 points on Bezerk) and Luciano de Castro (85.5 points on SpringerMountain).
Ueberson Duarte gets first career ride
Ueberson Duarte never, ever expected to find himself competing on the PBR 25th: Unleash The Beast and picking up the first qualified ride of his career – 82.5 points on High Roller – on Saturday night.
“There are no words for this,” Duarte said. “I just want to say thank you everybody to give me the opportunity to be here and just have fun. I wasn’t nervous. I was just calm and relaxed. I just want to enjoy every ride.”
At 31 years old, Duarte is not your standard Brazilian bull rider either.
The Itambacuri, Brazil, native actually never got on a bull in his home country. Instead, it wasn’t until he moved to Danbury, Connecticut, in the mid-2000s that he decided to get on a bull. He eventually moved to Texas a few years later.
A week after winning the Youngstown, Ohio, Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event, the No. 38 ranked rider in the world standings will attempt to get a ride aboard Acting Crazy (14-5, PBR UTB) on Championship Sunday and pursue a full-time spot on Unleash The Beast.
St. Louis is only Duarte’s third event at any level this year after breaking his left foot and right ankle at an open bull riding event last November in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
“This is a dream come true,” Duarte said. “I just want to ride. When you put your life in God’s hands you can do anything. He has something better for us. You make a plan and his plan is always better than what we try to plan.”
LOCKWOOD RETURNS FROM TORN MCL/LEME TO MISS ST. LOUIS (2-14-18)
2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood learned this week that his left knee injury was worse than originally thought, but that still isn’t going to keep him from riding this weekend at the St. Louis Invitational, presented by Express Employment Professionals.
Lockwood confirmed Wednesday that he will be riding in Round 1 against Cut The Cord (22-5, PBR UTB) at the Scottrade Center after learning he has a torn MCL in his left knee. The 20-year-old originally believed the injury to be a partial tear.
“I saw Tandy (Freeman) Monday,” Lockwood said. “It is torn worse than he thought, but I am getting a brace tomorrow and as long as I wear it, I can ride.”
Lockwood missed last weekend’s event in Kansas City, and he has been rehabbing at the Fit-N-Wise Rehabiliation and Performance Center in Decatur, Texas, with Cliff Cooper.
The third-year pro says he can’t do any further damage to the knee and doesn’t believe he is rushing back to competition to fast.
Lockwood missed seven events in 2017 because of injuries.
The Volborg, Montana, is ranked 19th in the world standings and is 6-for-17 (35.29 percent) with two Top-10 finishes.
2017 World Finals event winner Jose Vitor Leme has also been rehabbing at Fit-N-Wise, but he will not be competing in St. Louis.
Leme said he is going to miss this weekend after injuring his groin and lower back attempting to ride Cochise (1.5 seconds) during the championship round in Kansas City.
Cochise fell on Leme at the end of the buckoff.
“He knocked me down and eventually fell on top of me, hurting my back,” Leme said with the help of Miriaham Garcia translating. “It's not a very worrying injury, but I'm still in pain and I'm not feeling my best to compete.”
“I'm already undergoing treatment at the Fit-N-Wise Sports Medicine physical therapy clinic to be 100 percent ready for the upcoming Arlington event.”
2016 World Champion Cooper Davis will miss another week as he continues to deal with an injury to the ring finger on his right riding hand. The 23-year-old has yet to see a hand specialist, but he returns from a mini vacation in Jamaica later this week.
Meanwhile, veterans Fabiano Vieira (sprained left knee) and Joao Ricardo Vieira (sprained left riding hand) are also going to be out this weekend because of injuries.
Both expect to be back in time for Iron Cowboy.
“My knee is better, but I will only compete next week because my brace is not ready yet,” Fabiano Vieira said.
Joao Ricardo Vieira is a two-time Iron Cowboy champion and wants to make sure he is as healthy as possible for the upcoming PBR major event.
“I am resting for Iron Cowboy,” Joao said. “I hurt my hand in Kansas City, but it is better today. Not serious. Just sore.”
Also not competing in St. Louis is Ryan Dirteater (fractured ribs), Gage Gay (reconstructive knee surgery), Dakota Buttar (flu), Matt Triplett (reconstructive shoulder surgery), Chase Outlaw (reconstructive shoulder surgery) and Shane Proctor (personal decision).
There will be seven alternate riders competing in St. Louis – No. 36 Tanner Byrne, No. 37 Edgar Durazo, No. 38 Colten Jesse, No. 38 Wallace de Oliveira, No. 38 Bryan TitmanUeberson Duarte and No. 38 Alex Marcilio.
Titman is set to make his season debut and is in that four-way tie for 38th in the world standings courtesy of his Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour victory in Greenville, South Carolina, last weekend.
The 29-year-old rode Breaking Bad (84 points) and Bugle Boy (86 points) to earn the win. The two rides were his first of 2018 following five consecutive buckoffs to begin the season.
Titman has drawn Lightning Before (0-1, PBR UTB) for Round 1, and this will be the East Bernard, Texas, bull rider’s first premier series event since the 2015 Last Cowboy Standing PBR Major.
Duarte, who is 6-foot-2, is making his premier series debut after winning the Youngstown, Ohio, Velocity Tour eventafter going 2-for-3. The 31-year-old rode Otis for 87 points to clinch the victory.
He has only competed in two event this year after breaking his left foot and right ankle at an open bull riding event last November in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
The Itambacuri, Brazil, bull rider has drawn High Roller (1-0, PBR UTB) for Round 1.
World leader Dener Barbosa takes a 419.7-point lead atop the world standings into the seventh PBR 25th: Unleash The Beast event and will faceLittle Bob (2-0, PBR UTB) on Saturday night. 
No. 124 Stormy Wing and No. 124 Mason Lowe remain in the draw based on their 2017 world standings finish. Wing has five exemptions remaining, while Lowe has two.

Tyler Reddick wins with .000 margin of victory in five overtimes at Daytona

In a day race that ended under the lights, with the closest margin of victory in NASCAR history, Tyler Reddick finished Saturday’s PowerShares QQQ 300 less than three inches ahead of JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler.
In the last of five overtimes, after a stoppage of 5 minutes, 27 seconds, and on the 23rd extra lap, Reddick made a move to the outside off Turn 4 and won a drag race with Sadler to the stripe after their cars bumped side-to-side coming to the finish line.
The margin of victory was listed officially as .000 seconds because NASCAR timing and scoring doesn’t measure beyond thousandths of a second.
Reddick restarted in the lead on Lap 142, after Dylan Lupton cut a tire and nosed hard into the backstretch wall to cause the record 12th caution of the event. Sadler got a run to the inside on the final lap and edged ahead of Reddick, who regained the advantage just before the flag stand.
“This feels amazing,” said Reddick, who picked up his second NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in his first start since joining JRM. “This is a hell of a way to start the year off with JR Motorsports.
“Ryan Reed and Ryan Truex, those guys were giving me good pushes as I was really struggling on some of those restarts to get going. I was holding back there on the last restart and (Reed) gave me one last really good push to get back up to Elliott.
“I don’t even know how close it was at the line, but it was real close.”
With the victory, the 22-year-old Reddick is all but assured of earning a spot in the NASCAR Xfinity postseason Playoffs.
Sadler’s spin on the backstretch on Lap 118 of a scheduled 120, after contact from JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, brought out the eighth caution and started the sequence of events that saw the season opener extended through five overtimes.
Though Sadler was disappointed with the runner-up finish, it could have been much worse. The driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet spun twice and drew a black flag for locking bumpers with teammate Chase Elliott and pushing Elliott down the backstretch. Elliott also was penalized as the recipient of the push.
“Congratulations to him (Reddick),” Sadler said. “He’s my teammate, so it’s great on one hand to have a JR Motorsports car in Victory Lane, but it’s definitely tough to finish second. I think that’s three seconds in a row for me on superspeedway races, so we’ve got to figure out how to be leading one of these things.
“We had a pretty wild day. We spun out twice, got black flagged for something–I’m not real sure what yet.  I think I was running 32nd on the first green-white-checkered attempt, and we had a chance to win the race. So perseverance and never give up and just kind of stay after it. That’s the kind of motto of my race team, and it kind of showed again today. 
The 18-car backstretch wreck on Lap 122 that ended the first overtime eliminated a handful of cars that had run up front all day. The Chevy of Kyle Larson and the Ford of Joey Logano, who combined to lead 89 of the first 121 laps, both were casualties, as was Justin Allgaier, one of the favorites for the series championship.
That was just the beginning of the overtime chaos. Third-place finisher Ryan Reed, winner of this race in 2015 and 2017, had the lead for the second overtime restart on Lap 130, but Spencer Gallagher spun off the bumper of Ross Chastain to end the attempt.
Ryan Truex inherited the top spot for the third overtime attempt, but surrendered the lead to Reddick, who came within 100 feet of the white flag (and an official race) before the 11th caution forced another try.
The fourth attempt was cut short when Lupton slammed the backstretch wall.
Behind Reddick, Sadler and Reed, Kaz Grala rolled home in fourth place, followed by Garrett Smithley, who recorded a career-best fifth. Gallagher, Truex, Daniel Suarez, Chastain and Brandon Jones completed the top 10.

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?
DRIVERS
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.