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  • 21 Mar
    导出博客文章RIO DE JANEIRO -- The United States again got off to a slow start in womens
    field hockey but regained its composure and knocked off a world power for its
    second straight win against a top-three team.On Monday, the United States
    defeated No. 3 Australia 2-1 as Michelle Vittese and Caitlin van Sickle scored
    for the Americans. The U.S. team defeated No. 2 Argentina 2-1 in its Olympic
    opener on Saturday.The Americans said their ability to bounce back has been
    consistent.I think thats just kind of our DNA, van Sickle said. We dont have the
    greatest start. Were always going to keep coming and keep coming after
    you.United States goalie Jackie Briggs had six saves and allowed just one goal
    on 15 shots. Australia couldnt convert any of its four penalty corners against
    her. The crowd chanted: Jackie! Jackie! after the match.The fifth-ranked
    Americans, who lead Pool B with six points, moved closer to qualifying for the
    quarterfinals. The top four teams in each six-team pool advance. The United
    States has the maximum point total two games into pool play and already has
    played the two highest-ranked teams. The Americans said that wont affect their
    focus as they prepare to play Japan on Wednesday.We literally focus on just one
    game at a time, van Sickle said. We dont necessarily look at the draw. Youve got
    to play every team in your pool, so it doesnt really matter.The Americans havent
    medaled since 1984, and Argentina and Australia have been good for years, while
    the United States is an emerging program. But the United States beat Australia
    for third place at the Champions Trophy event in June, fueling the teams
    confidence heading into the Rio de Janeiro Games.Its not the underdog, its not
    whatever, its just us, united as strong and resilient and gritty, Vittese
    said.The Americans dealt a major blow to Australia. The Hockeyroos dropped their
    opener to Britain 2-1 on Saturday and now have zero points with three pool play
    matches remaining. They play India next.Its managing the distractions in the
    [Olympic] Village, managing the distractions of the other results going on in
    the competition, Australias Georgie Parker said. Were going to be scouting
    really hard against India, preparing as well as we can, making sure we do that
    right recovery and everything will go smoothly from there, we hope.This one was
    especially rough for Australia because it was hit with two yellow cards and a
    green card in the third period alone, forcing the Hockeyroos to play
    shorthanded.We are a really physical side, and were very aggressive in going for
    the ball, so sometimes you do have some casualties along the way, Parker said. I
    guess its about managing to get the right balance of being aggressive at the
    ball with playing within the rules.The United States spent the early part of the
    match defending its goal as the aggressive Australian attack put the Americans
    on their heels. Briggs stopped four shots in the first period, and the match
    remained scoreless.Vittese scored on a penalty corner to put the United States
    up 1-0 in the second period. The Americans went up 2-0 in the third period when
    van Sickle scored on a penalty corner. There was a video referral because the
    pass near the goal was high, but it was not considered and the goal was
    upheld.Australia came back less than two minutes later with a goal by Kathryn
    Slattery.The Hockeyroos got another penalty corner with two minutes remaining in
    the fourth period, but Briggs deflected a shot high.We just took it moment by
    moment, Briggs said, tried to stay in the moment and not think about, `Oh,
    theres only so much time left and the score.
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    watch the game live on TSN at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt. The Flyers had won seven of
    eight before dropping their last two outings on consecutive days over the
    weekend. Philadelphia was handed a 6-3 loss by the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning
    on Saturday afternoon before dropping a 4-1 decision to the Rangers the
    following night in New York City.
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    Jason Zucker and Matt Cooke also scored for Minnesota, which has won five of
    six. Kuemper made five saves in the first, nine in the second, and nine in the
    third. The rookies best save came with 2:17 left in the third period when he
    denied former Wild forward Matt Cullen from just outside of the crease on the
    right side.
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    . Speaking Thursday on TSN 1050 Thursday, the Leafs GM also touched on the
    questions surrounding the teams leadership and the struggles of his big-name
    free-agent signing. “Its not from lack of effort from the coaching staff.
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    . Jason Zucker and Matt Cooke also scored for Minnesota, which has won five of
    six. Kuemper made five saves in the first, nine in the second, and nine in the
    third. The rookies best save came with 2:17 left in the third period when he
    denied former Wild forward Matt Cullen from just outside of the crease on the
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    . The 29-year-old from Port Colborne, Ont., has nothing but good
    things to say about former U.S. marine Liz (Girlrilla) Carmouche ahead of their
    co-main event Wednesday on the UFCs "Fight for the Troops" televised card in
    Fort Campbell, Ky. ?This could be a story about redemption.Or it could be a
    story about time running out on a generation of hockey players looking to
    shoulder their way into a discussion of the greatest American players of all
    time.Or both.But stripped down to its very core, this is a story about the very
    essence of what it means to become a team.Will Team USA coalesce into that
    rarest of things, something that is greater than the sum of its very disparate,
    rugged parts and emerge in a month as not necessarily the best players in the
    world but the best team in the world?History tells us that such things are
    possible.It was so in 1980, when a bunch of no-name American players beat the
    Russians en route to a gold medal. And it was so in 1996, when a brash group of
    American NHLers beat some of the greatest players in the history of the game to
    win the first-ever World Cup of Hockey.But history also tells us such
    transformations are difficult to achieve, and many teams fall in vain while
    waiting for that alchemy to take place.How will history judge the U.S. entry at
    the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which kicks off Sept. 17 in Toronto? Well, thats
    whats going to make the next month or so such compelling theater. Because there
    is something that tells us this is going to be one of two things: a
    face-smashing, bone-jarring success -- or a very ugly trip into chaos.Not a lot
    of people are going to be picking us to win many games against teams with these
    high-skilled players, so were going to have to really outwork and really earn
    every victory, New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh?said.McDonagh is one of 14
    Team USA players who also went to the Sochi Olympics in 2014 with high hopes,
    only to crumble late, failing to score a single goal in tournament-ending losses
    to Canada in the semifinals and to Finland in the bronze-medal game.What was to
    have been a steppingstone to greatness after the Americans earned a silver in
    Vancouver four years earlier, after losing in overtime in the gold-medal game to
    host Canada, ended with more than a little finger pointing and acrimony in
    Russia.I think the feeling in the locker room was we were all pretty embarrassed
    and upset about the result, McDonagh said. I dont think Ive heard anybody talk
    about that [bronze-medal] game, but you bring it up, you ask me, but I can
    remember that feeling, and if you asked anybody else, if they can remember that
    feeling, we definitely dont want to repeat that.McDonagh said he doesnt think
    what transpired in Sochi needs to be dredged up as motivation for this version
    of Team USA. But what happened there, the failure of the team to rally itself,
    to truly forge an identity that could carry it through the crucial moments of a
    tournament that was theirs for the taking, is a strong backstory to this World
    Cup team.I dont have a ton of regrets in my career, but to not have that group
    take advantage of that opportunity really still stings, and you want that back,
    Boston Bruins center David Backes?said. Backes was part of the silver-medal
    effort in Vancouver and was part of the leadership core in Sochi. Losing 1-0 to
    Canada in one of the fastest games youll ever see wasnt necessarily the defining
    moment for the 14 team, but not bouncing back was especially galling.To still
    have a chance against Finland to win a medal and to squander that, I think that
    really stings as well, Backes said.And so GM Dean Lombardi and his management
    team went off script to build the 16 version of Team USA.In all, nine players
    played on the 2010 silver-medal team, including Jack Johnson, Erik Johnson and
    Brandon Dubinsky, who werent in Sochi. The plan was simple: Bring in players who
    can bond immediately and who thrive in the dirty areas of the ice, who can win a
    street brawl in the tighter quarters of an NHL rink like the Air Canada Centre,
    and who will accept their roles without hesitation, without question.Zach
    Parise, the captain of the American team in Sochi, acknowledged there are lots
    of questions about the roster of the current U.S. squad.Im sure everyones got
    their opinions, Parise said recently. But I think its going to be a team thats
    hard to play against, and playing on an NHL rink with that style of team, I
    think that they did a lot research into that. I think you have guys that are
    very hard to play against. I think its going to be a good team.Throw into the
    equation the uncertainty over the future of NHL participation in the Olympics,
    and you add another layer of urgency for much of this team. Defenseman and
    two-time Olympian Ryan Suter is 31. His pal and Minnesota Wild teammate Parise
    is 32. Backes is 32, and?Ryan Kesler will turn 32 a couplee of days before
    training camp starts.ddddddddddddIf the NHL does not return to the Olympics, the
    World Cup represents the only best-on-best tournament available to the worlds
    best players. And given the International Olympic Committees stance that they
    will no longer pay for professional athletes travel, insurance and other
    expenses as they have since the NHL first started playing in the Olympics in
    1998, a return to the Winter Olympics seems doubtful.Given the emergence of a
    plethora of top-end young American talent in Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel,
    Brandon Saad and Johnny Gaudreau, all of whom will play on Team North America in
    the World Cup and would seem to be locks for a U.S. team down the road, its easy
    to suggest this is the last, best chance for this group of American players to
    lay claim to being the best in the world.The World Cups not going to erase what
    happened in Russia by any means, but at the same time it would be a better way
    to go out, Parise said. Not that were all riding off into the sunset right
    now.The topic of urgency and taking advantage of opportunities like the World
    Cup was a recurring theme for Team USA players, especially those who spent the
    offseason in Minnesota.You only get so many opportunities like this to make a
    name for yourself and make yourself on top of the world, so to speak, McDonagh
    said. And I think our group is really trying to take that to heart and
    understand that its a fine line between winning. But if you can get everybody on
    the same page and really pushing for one another and not worrying whos in
    certain situations and just go out there and play hard against your opponent and
    play hard for your country and that jersey, I think weve got the group to do it
    and do whatever we want to accomplish.Backes put it more succinctly.I think the
    way USA Hockey is trending, theres a lot of great players that are coming up,
    and you never know when someones going to kick you out of your spot, he
    said.This last-chance mentality is something management is counting on while
    helping this team focus on the here and now to come together in rapid fashion.I
    think if you look that far in advance, youre short-sighting what you have in
    front of you, and thats at the forefront for me, Backes said. Make each
    opportunity, make the most of it, and we wont have regrets and look in the
    mirror and say, I wish I would have, like perhaps what were doing with Sochi and
    the opportunities that we had there. Thats the way Im looking at it. Im grateful
    and humbled by another experience to represent my country at an elite level, and
    I take great pride in having that opportunity.In some ways, the story of the
    building of this U.S. team has been the story of who wasnt asked to take part.
    Former Olympians Justin Faulk, Kevin Shattenkirk, Phil Kessel and Paul Martin
    werent invited. Neither was dynamic young Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler
    Johnson. Or Kyle Okposo.They may be difficult to play against, but they may be
    lacking some speed and finish, one scout said of the roster. In a short
    tournament like this, goaltending will be key.And if the team flounders, the
    recriminations will be swift and strong. But not everyone is pessimistic about
    how things might unfold in Toronto.I think its a heck of a team, said longtime
    NHLer and national broadcast analyst Darren Pang.He noted that GM Lombardi has
    built two Stanley Cup winners for the Los Angeles Kings. He knows the types of
    players who will rise to the occasion in big games, in difficult times, and he
    knows players who will shrink away from those challenges, Pang said.You ever
    watch Dubinsky play in hard games, big games? asked Pang, who will provide
    analysis for ESPN during the tournament. Hes ferocious.He noted Justin
    Abdelkaders hard-nosed play at the World Championships a couple of years
    back.Theres some meat and potatoes in this group, Pang added.Hall of Famer Brett
    Hull, a member of the seminal 1996 U.S. World Cup of Hockey team, has a
    different take.Hull, who also is providing analysis for ESPN during the
    tournament, said recently, They put people in charge, and its their team. It
    really doesnt matter what I think or what anybody else thinks, its what they
    think, and they obviously think theyve picked a real strong team.If thats what
    theyre looking for and thats the style theyre going to play, then they probably
    picked the right guys.And so the journey begins for this group of players with
    so much to prove. And I wonder, when it ends, will we call them a team or
    something else? ' ' '