Canada loses to Argentina, finishes seventh at World Rugby Sevens Series

video games.“It’s disappointing we couldn’t put on a bit more of a show for the fans, but for rugby in Canada, this is unbelievable,” said Jones. The off-field stuff is paying dividends as well because everyone’s happy.”Up 5-0 at halftime against Argentina on a Douglas try, Canada was unable to get another breakthrough in front of a roaring crowd at B.C. The program then recently saw its funding from the government-backed Own the Podium program slashed to zero.“They’re so disappointed,” said McGrath. The Canadian men’s rugby sevens team walked off the pitch as celebrated heroes after finishing ninth at their inaugural home tournament last year.A hiccup in the first match pushed them into the consolation round, but the squad rebounded to win five straight as part of a performance that buoyed both players and fans about the program’s future. 3 England upset South Africa 19-7 in Sunday’s Cup final, while No. rugby. There were so many wrapped up players that shouldn’t have played on a normal day.”No. 2 Fiji downed the sixth-ranked United States 28-24 for bronze.England also beat the Blitzboks in their own backyard in Capetown in December for the country’s only other Cup victory this season.“To come out with a result like that against them is very special,” said England captain Tom Mitchell. Place kept up the trend.The get-ups in Vancouver included cowboys riding inflated dinosaurs, bumble bees, carrots, Mounties, beavers, chickens, lumberjacks, professional wrestlers, Don Cherry lookalikes and characters from the Super Mario Bros. “We were 5-1 last year, but we’re a much better team this year. Lions not Whitecaps — this is Canadian rugby and there’s a lot of red out there.“This is for the kids out there as well because we need the grassroots to start growing. “Just unlucky we didn’t come away with it.”Canada opened the 10-stop series with consecutive 13th-place finishes before grabbing a fourth, another 13th and then a seventh last weekend in Las Vegas. It makes it a very special tournament to play at.”The sevens events are renowned for their festive atmospheres coupled with co-ordinated costumes, and the supporters at B.C. 14 Russia in convincing fashion before giving No. The next tournament is set for Hong Kong in early April followed by visits to Singapore, Paris and London.It has been a difficult 12 months for the Canadian men, who failed to build on the momentum of last year’s tournament and missed out on the Rio Olympics. “You sense it when you’re warming up, you sense it when you’re walking around. “It’s mostly just down to hard work, grit and determination from the boys.”One of the three English tries in the final was scored by Dan Norton, who tied Kenya’s Collins Injera to become co-leader for all-time try scorers in rugby sevens with 244.“It’s no surprise when he score tries anymore, but it shouldn’t take away from the fact that he is an unbelievable player,” said Mitchell. It’s when someone goes down that things get dicey.“The 13 players we have are the 13 players we have,” said the Englishman, who took the job in October. native. Place Stadium.Franco Sabato kicked the ball ahead to himself three minutes into the second half and touched down for a tied score after Javier Rojas failed on the conversion.Canada had a chance to get back on top, but the ball slipped out of Isaac Kaay’s hands as he looked primed to make a move towards the try line.The Canadians seemed to run out of gas from there, and Nicholas Menendez put things out of reach with an Argentine try that Rojas converted for a 12-5 lead.Canada felt hard done by on the sequence because neither the players or the referee on the pitch realized that Pat Kay was down injured in the lead up to the clinching points.“The boys put in a gutsy effort,” said Jones. Fast-forward to 2017 and a seventh-place showing at the Canada Sevens left the host country bitterly disappointed.Argentina beat a worn-down Canada 12-5 on Sunday at B.C. “I hope (the fans) take that with them rather than the battered and bloodied and bruised group that limped off at the end.“We appreciated every minute of support they gave us, and I hope they appreciated what we did.”Canada, which ranked 12th in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series entering the weekend, downed No. “But as I told them, last year and before Christmas we couldn’t buy a quarter-final finish. We showed that going toe-to-toe with New Zealand.“Damian’s done a lot of work with us. Now suddenly we’re in the quarter-finals and we’re desperately disappointed we aren’t going further.“It’s a step forward.”After attracting some 60,000 spectators to the inaugural two-day Canada Sevens in 2016, a combined crowd of 76,116 came through the turnstiles this weekend to watch rugby’s fast-paced, seven-on-seven incarnation that sees games come in quick succession.The rowdy fans were treated to 248 tries and 1,568 points over 45 action-packed games.“You sense it,” Mitchell said of the atmosphere. “To pack a house two days playing rugby … In five, 10 years those are the kids that are going to be playing.” Not Vancouver Canucks, not B.C. 4 New Zealand all it could handle in a 15-14 loss on Saturday.But the Canadians had just nine healthy players for the match against the All Blacks Sevens and then lost Adam Zaruba, who had five combined tries, to a concussion prior to Sunday’s 36-7 loss to top-ranked South Africa in the Cup quarter-finals.Justin Douglas (leg) and John Moonlight (knee) started against both South Africa and Argentina, but were nowhere near 100 per cent fit.McGrath, whose team moved up to 10th overall after its showing Vancouver, has said repeatedly the top end of his roster can compete with any country in the world. Simple stuff, but the team’s really gelling. “I’m squeezing blood out of the stones, really. 7 Scotland and No. “You kind of expect him to score these wonder tries now, and it’s nice to have him on your team when he’s doing that.”Despite finishing with a 2-3 record on home soil, Canadian captain Harry Jones said the program is miles ahead of where it was.“There’s a lot of disappointed guys,” said the West Vancouver, B.C. Place Stadium to send the home side packing from an event where it showed flashes of brilliance before getting cut down by a crippling lack of depth.“When we were fit and healthy on Day 1, I hope we gave a glimpse of what this group is capable of,” said Canadian head coach Damian McGrath.

Gushue beats Canada’s Koe, wins Brier in front of hometown St. John’s crowd

2-10 Olympic Trials in Ottawa if he reaches the podium at the world championship. “It probably makes it a little more disappointing.”After an opening blank, the local favourites took advantage after Canada second Brent Laing flashed a stone. Nichols was also in form with his shooting, delivering a nice double takeout to force Koe to settle for a blank in the third end.Koe rubbed a guard with his final throw but still scored one in the fourth. It’s just the matter that you won.”The raucous sellout crowd at Mile One Centre fell silent as Gushue settled into the hack for his last shot.The throw looked a little light at the start but his teammates delivered a killer sweep to get it just past the Canada stone for the victory.Gushue threw his broom in the air in celebration as the 6,471 spectators in attendance roared their approval.“I’ve been close so many times and we as a team have been close,” Gushue said. In the ninth, Gushue picked out a Canada stone to lay three, forcing Koe to draw for one.Earlier in the day, Manitoba’s Mike McEwen defeated Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs 7-5 in an extra end to win bronze.McEwen, who lost the semifinal to Koe on Saturday, used his final throw to hit the Northern Ontario stone off the button for the win.“As much as we were hurting pretty bad and weren’t playing for the colour of medal we wanted to be playing for, we still gave it our all and it mattered,” McEwen said.The afternoon showdown was a rematch of last year’s bronze-medal game.Jacobs defeated McEwen 7-6 in an extra end at the 2016 Brier in Ottawa. He also won in 2010 and 2014.“I’m proud of the guys, we fought back and made a game of it,” he said. When Brad Gushue was a youngster, he wrote his 10 goals in curling on a sheet of Bristol board.He had achieved nine of them at the start of the Tim Hortons Brier. Koe and his team of Laing, lead Ben Hebert and third Marc Kennedy defeated Gushue 9-5 in last year’s gold-medal game.This was the first time the Brier has been played in St. Koe has already locked up a spot at the Trials.Ottawa’s Rachel Homan won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts last month in St. It’s awesome.”This was Gushue’s 14th career Brier appearance and third trip to the final. With Newfoundland and Labrador sitting three, Koe took one opposition stone out with his last throw but Gushue followed with a draw for a 3-0 lead.The St. Brad Gushue calls hometown Brier win ‘incredible’ (The Canadian Press)

“I knew we had it,” Gushue said. Gushue had a draw for a pair in the fifth and his rink took a 5-1 lead into the break.The electric atmosphere in the building was muted somewhat after Koe’s triple takeout in the sixth end made it a one-point game. “To finally win it — and win it at home — you couldn’t ask for a better story. Catharines, Ont. Gushue attempted a double takeout in the seventh but a Canada stone caught just enough of the eight-foot for a steal.Koe forced Gushue to hit a takeout for a single in the eighth end. Gushue has been somewhat limited all season due to a hip/groin issue and lead Geoff Walker is nursing a shoulder injury.Nichols frequently helped Walker and second Brett Gallant with sweeping duties. The McEwen team gets $35,000 and the Jacobs rink receives $25,000.Gushue can secure a berth in the Dec. John’s side battled some injuries throughout the competition. A minimum of $30,000 will also be awarded for additional cresting and promotional appearances and Sport Canada will award funding of $144,000 over two years.Koe’s team earns $45,000 in prize money for winning silver. But anyway it turned out (well), it doesn’t matter.“Ten from years now you’re never going to know what shot you had to win. “I was somewhat celebrating from the hogline in because I felt it was going to be a little closer to the button. John’s since 1972. Gushue delivered when it counted Sunday night and can finally tick the national men’s curling championship off his list.Gushue came through with a draw just inside the top of the eight-foot ring with his final throw for a dramatic 7-6 win over Canada’s Kevin Koe. He’s the first Newfoundland skip to hoist the Brier Tankard since Jack MacDuff in 1976.“To stand here in our hometown, in our home province, as Brier champions is just unbelievable,” said vice-skip Mark Nichols.Gushue, who won Olympic gold in 2006, lost in last year’s final to Koe and fell to Ontario’s Glenn Howard in the 2007 final.The Newfoundland and Labrador team will represent Canada at the Ford world men’s curling championship next month in Edmonton.Koe, meanwhile, was looking for his fourth career Brier crown. Overall attendance for the 2017 event was 122,592.Gushue’s team receives a base payout of $71,000 in prize money, cresting and funding. Her team will represent Canada at the women’s world championship March 18-26 in Beijing.

Saskatchewan is not outperforming Alberta, when it comes to jobs

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Todd Hirsch

Special to The Globe and Mail

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Canadian Hadwin hangs on at Valspar Championship, earns Masters spot

70 in the world, and as many as five players are likely to withdraw.Jason Dufner birdied his last two holes for a 67 to tie for 11th and qualify for Match Play.David Hearn (70) of Brantford, Ont., tied for 18th at 4 under, Graham DeLaet (67) of Weyburn, Sask., finished 22nd at 3 under and Nick Taylor (74) of Abbotsford was 62nd at 5 over.Hadwin’s fiancee, Jessica Kippenberger, made the wedding date for March 24 because that’s when the venue was available. While still in college, he shot 60 at the Travelers Championship in 2011, was low amateur in the U.S. He finished at 14-under 270.His success earned praise from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.“Congratulations to Abbotsford’s ahadwingolf on winning the PGA’s #ValsparChampionship today, and all the best on your upcoming wedding!” said Trudeau.Jim Herman (68) and PGA Tour rookie Dominic Bozzelli (67) tied for third, two strokes behind Hadwin.Tony Finau closed with a 64 to finish alone in fifth, though that likely will narrowly keep him out of the Dell Match Play in two weeks. “And I caught him, and gave it to him in the end.”Hadwin is the third Canadian to qualify for the Masters, joining RSM Classic winner Mackenzie Hughes and 2003 champion Mike Weir. His 3-wood peeled off to the right and never had a chance, and Hadwin walked off the hole with a double bogey and a tie for the leadFrom the 18th fairway, Cantlay blinked first.The former No. 1 amateur in the world, playing for only the second time after missing two years with a back injury, leaked his approach into a bunker. Trailing by four shots with 10 holes to play, he ran off five birdies in a six-hole stretch that put enormous pressure on Hadwin.“I was just trying to catch him,” Cantlay said. “I just went there today and stuck to what I do best, just hit some quality golf shots and really made the game super easy outside of hole No. Hadwin checked the schedule and figured it worked out beautifully.“I looked at it as, ‘Hey, we picked the week of Puerto Rico,’ not we picked it the week of the WGC,” he said with a laugh.The honeymoon deposit was only for the hotel. Finau only moves to No. Instead, he’ll be preparing for Augusta National, the place he called the “greenest place on earth.”Even with a four-shot lead going into the final round, all he wanted was a chance over the final few holes.The trick Sunday was reminding himself he was right where he wanted to be.Hadwin twice holed big birdie putts on the back nine at Innisbrook as Cantlay was in close for birdies of his own, a 25-footer on the par-5 11th and then a 55-footer on the par-3 13th to keep a two-shot lead.But it all changed on the 16th, the start of a tough three-hole finish at the Copperhead Course. Canada’s Adam Hadwin is skipping his first World Golf Championship and asking for a refund for his honeymoon to Tahiti.He couldn’t be happier.Seven weeks after he shot a 59, and two weeks before his wedding, Hadwin added another eventful chapter to his amazing year.He threw away a two-shot lead with three holes to play by hitting a tee shot into the water, kept his wits and then closed with two strong pars for an even-par 71 to win the Valspar Championship by one shot over Patrick Cantlay for his first PGA Tour title Sunday. Open and didn’t finish out of the top 25 in his four PGA Tour starts that summer.A stress fracture in his back kept him out of golf for two years. I feel a little fortunate after that hole to be sitting here, but I’ll certainly take it, and I can’t wait for everything that comes with this win.”The victory moves him to No. Cantlay wondered if his back would ever allow him to regain his form. 51 in the world and makes him eligible for the Dell Match Play — except that he’s getting married that week.It also sends the 29-year-old Abbotsford, B.C., product to the Masters, meaning he will have to postpone that honeymoon to French Polynesia. He booked refundable airline tickets with the Masters in mind. 16. “I didn’t finish the deal.”Even in loss, it was a bright return for the UCLA star. Hadwin’s approach went just over the back against the collar of the fringe, leaving him a belly wedge down the grain that came off perfectly and settled 2 feet below the cup.Cantlay’s bunker shot was well short, and he missed the 15-foot par putt to force a playoff.He was 1 of 6 in sand saves for the week.The consolation prize for Cantlay was a runner-up finish that paid $680,400, more than enough for him to secure full status for the rest of the year.“It doesn’t really feel like much consolation at the moment,” Cantlay said. Then, he endured a far greater burden a year ago February when his best friend and caddie, Chris Roth, was struck and killed by a car as they were walking to a restaurant for dinner in California.He looked like he was never gone. “You’re never quite sure when you’re going to get the job done,” Hadwin said.

Kiss-Rusk leads McGill to women’s basketball championship

Kiss-Rusk was named both the Championship MVP and Player of the Game for McGill after her dominating performance.“She was the MVP of our team and she brought that with her to this situation so this was definitely a great opportunity for her,” said Thorne.Marika Guerin scored 14 points and Jennifer Silver added 10 with seven rebounds for McGill.Jane Gagne led Laval with 13 points.Earlier, the No. “They were looking to get an upset and they played very well. 1 Carleton Ravens defeated the Queen’s Gaels 53-43 to claim bronze in Victoria.It was a rematch of the OUA Final for the two teams after the Ravens downed the Gaels by a score of 49-41 in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,904 in Kingston, Ont.“It was a very tough environment out there,” said Carleton head coach Taffe Charles. Alex Kiss-Rusk had 15 points and 20 rebounds to lead the McGill Martlets past the Laval Rouge et Or 66-55 on Sunday to win the Canadian university women’s basketball championship.It’s the first time that two teams from Quebec had faced each other for the title.“Our slogan this year was ‘Together we rise’ and now we have risen to the top, with a U Sports national championship,” said Martlets head coach Ryan Thorne. But the Ravens found their offence again in the fourth quarter, putting up 19 points while holding the Gaels to seven.Catherine Traer was named Player of the Game for Carleton after scoring a game-high 18 points on 8-for-18 shooting to go with five rebounds and two assists. They tested us, they changed things up on us and they were a desperate team.”Carleton outscored Queen’s 18-8 in the first quarter before struggling with just 16 points through the second and third quarters.

Flames’ Mikael Backlund is an overnight success story, 10 years in the making

“But there were times when the city was hard on him. That’s why he’s one of the best right now.”Conroy, who was an accomplished two-way centre in his career and finished second to Michael Peca as the NHL’s 2002 Selke Award winner, said the Flames always projected Backlund as a 45- to 55-point scorer, who could play in every situation – even strength, power play, penalty killing, and was someone they could deploy against an opponent’s top line.Conroy believes the chemistry that developed between Backlund and Frolik helped spur both to greater heights. This year, the line became even stronger with Tkachuk there to add additional bite to the unit.“The one thing about Backs, he’s always had the right attitude,” Conroy said. 3, 1978.Consistency is something that was missing from Backlund’s game at the start of his NHL career, according to Flames assistant general manager Craig Conroy, who was a teammate of Backlund’s when he first turned pro in 2009 and has watched the full arc of his career.“Nowadays, you see young guys like Sean Monahan come in and score 30 goals right away and you forget that with some guys, it takes a little longer,” Conroy explained. He wants to do it for the coaches, for the fans, for his teammates.“Just the way he’s matured over the years, I hope he gets the Selke,” Conroy added. If he had a bad game, he let that slip into the next three games. Saturday’s victory was the Flames’ ninth in a row, the longest win streak since relocating to Calgary 37 years ago.Lots is going right for the Flames these days, including Brian Elliott’s strong play in goal – eight consecutive wins, a 12-1-1 record in his past 14 decisions dating to Jan. “Coming back for the short season, I knew I had to play well. Now, he just knows the league better. It just took him longer than the majority of the guys.“Now, what we saw in small glimpses, he’s figured out how to do it over 82 games.”Backlund has been the Flames’ leading scorer for most of the season, ahead of more established snipers such as Johnny Gaudreau and Monahan. Last year, whichever player rode shotgun on their line – Sam Bennett for a time, Joe Colborne in the second half – prospered by the association. I’d say to him, ‘Backs, don’t listen. 14 to Nov. “Now, you’re getting that push-back. The contract I signed that year was for one year, and it seemed like kind of a last chance for me. Right now, he’s playing with confidence and, when the game’s on the line, he wants to be the guy. Calgary Flames centre Mikael Backlund waited 10 years to become an overnight sensation, which is often the way in the NHL, where patience may be a virtue but is rarely exercised.Backlund’s latest virtuoso performance in a breakthrough season came Saturday night in Winnipeg, when he scored the game winner and set up the insurance goal in a 3-0 victory over the Jets. After a promising rookie season, Backlund struggled with injuries in his second year, which he labelled a “disaster.“When the lockout came, it really helped me out because after that tough year, when I was really struggling at the end, I got the excitement back, going back to Sweden and playing and getting my confidence back,” Backlund said. He and Frolik [have] been an amazing tandem for two years.”Whirlwind success stories both, only a decade in the making. Backs, you gotta toughen up.’ But you could tell, he took things hard – because he wants to do well for everybody. 3 unit on the team’s depth chart, it has been the team’s best trio from start to finish, in no small part because of Backlund’s strong, even-keeled play.On Monday, the Flames play the Pittsburgh Penguins and it is pick-your-poison night for Backlund and his line. He’s just comfortable in knowing what it takes to have success in the NHL. There have been a few ups and downs and a couple more injuries, but I think last year and this year, my game’s gone to another level.”Backlund’s emergence as a genuine Selke Trophy candidate (for best defensive forward) is an important lesson in perseverance, individually and organizationally. Since then, every year it’s been pushing forward a bit. He was hard on himself. “With Backs, as a young player, he had great stretches – five games, eight games – and then it would be a real roller coaster for him.“Mentally, at times, he questioned what was going on. 26. In the NHL’s salary-cap world, there’s often too much rush, rush, rush when it comes to development – and when potential is not immediately met, or pretty soon after immediately, sometimes teams give up on players too soon.Martin Gélinas, a Flames assistant coach, said Backlund’s development into one of the top two-way forwards in the NHL has a lot to do with simple maturity.“He was always a good two-way player, but when he was younger and there was a little bit of push, you didn’t get the push-back from him,” Gélinas said. Now, when the game is on the line, he rises up – and that just comes with time and maturity. However, the one consistent element has been the play of Backlund and his line, Michael Frolik and Matthew Tkachuk.Nominally listed in most places as the No. “We’re Calgary, so it’s tough, but he works out, he takes care of himself, and he’s a true professional. Chosen by the Flames in the first round of the 2007 entry draft, 24th overall, Backlund’s NHL career was teetering in the balance as recently as the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. He’s physically stronger. They will get a chance to defend either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin as their primary checking assignment in what is probably the most anticipated game in the Stampede City in the past two years.Pittsburgh is pushing Washington for top spot in the overall NHL standings and Calgary has a chance to make the playoffs and maybe even earn home-ice advantage for the first round.If Calgary wins its 10th in a row on Monday, it would match the longest single-season win streak in franchise history, established by the Atlanta Flames from Oct. There were times, when he was young and first came over and he was so sensitive to the criticism.

Paul Byron’s two goals power Canadiens past Oilers

“At the start of the year is you asked us if we’d be in this spot. We have to relish it. “Another big duel of goaltenders, but we found ways to score goals in the end.”Byron picked the puck up in front and sent it under Talbot for his 17th of the season with 6:27 left in the third to tie it 1-1 for the Canadiens.Just over a minute later, it was 2-1 for Montreal as a puck went in off of defender Oscar Klefbom’s stick and was eventually credited to Pacioretty, after originally being announced for Alex Galchenyuk.Byron sealed the deal for the Canadiens, scoring an empty-net goal with just over a minute remaining before Pacioretty added another with Talbot on the bench, his 33nd.Both teams return to action on Tuesday, as the Oilers play the fifth game of an eight-game homestand against the Dallas Stars and the Habs return home to face the Chicago Blackhawks.Notes: It was the second and final meeting of the season between the two teams. We can’t worry about what other teams are doing. Carey Price, who returned from the flu after missing his team’s 5-0 loss in Calgary, made 24 saves for the win.“We get to go home with three wins out of four games on this trip with everything we’ve had to face,” said Montreal head coach Claude Julien. All four goals came in a six-minute span in the third period, undoing the Oilers’ early 1-0 lead. 5 in Montreal Montreal forward Alexander Radulov returned after missing the past three games with a lower-body injury, however centre Tomas Plekanec remained our with an upper-body injury. If we win, we’re going to get in. I’d take it after five years of not even being close. We can’t dwell on losses, we just have to keep moving forward,” he said. “We just stuck with it,” Byron said. It’s going to be intense coming down the stretch here, but it’s going to be a lot of fun. Our fate is in our own hands now.”Montreal had the bulk of its chances in the scoreless first period, putting 15 shots on Talbot compared six Oilers shots on Price.Lucic outmuscled Alexei Emelin for the puck and then beat Price with a long shot for his 15th of the season four minutes into the second.Talbot was forced to make several huge saves in the second period, as the shots favoured Montreal 26-16 through 40 minutes.The Oilers almost added to their lead midway through the third, but Price made a huge save on a point-blank shot by Patrick Maroon.“You can’t underestimate how important those saves are,” Julien said. “With the flu going around the team and everything else, we’re pretty happy with the road trip.”Milan Lucic responded for the Oilers (35-24-9), who have lost three straight. The Montreal Canadiens knew that if they kept getting shots on net, they’d break through the Edmonton Oilers.Paul Byron scored a pair of goals and added an assist as the Montreal Canadiens rallied for a 4-1 victory in Edmonton on Sunday. “It was a matter of time, and we got some great bounces at the end.”Max Pacioretty also scored a pair of goals for the Canadiens (39-22-8), who have won seven of their last eight games. Cam Talbot stopped 37 shots in net.Although the Oilers have slipped into a wild card spot in the playoff race, forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said it is not the time to get frustrated.“We’re still in the thick of things. Edmonton won the first contest 1-0 in a shootout on Feb.

Whitt calls on big leaguers to play after Canada eliminated from WBC

Posey, Yelich, Jones, Hosmer and Brandon Crawford finished with two hits apiece.“From this point on the tournament gets tougher and tougher,” Hosmer said. “Archer and Stro set the table, and I was just trying to follow suit.”The American relievers combined for five shutout innings after giving up nine runs in 9 1/3 innings in the first two games. Manager Ernie Whitt wishes more Canadian big leaguers were willing to play at the World Baseball Classic.Whitt spoke about his roster struggles shortly after being eliminated from the WBC following an 8-0 loss to the United States on Sunday.“For us to compete at this level, we have to have all of our professional players,” he said. It wasn’t easy.”The U.S. It was the first homer for the Americans in the tournament.Posey hit a solo homer in the seventh. team.The home team gave fans something to cheer about from the start. is trying for a WBC breakthrough after failing to reach the final in the three previous events.“We’re taking it real serious,” Arenado said. He struck out seven in four innings, and the only baserunners against him were Jonathan Malo and Peter Orr on consecutive two-out singles in the third.Duffy, Chris Archer and Marcus Stroman combined for 12 2/3 scoreless innings in their starts.“We feed off each other,” Duffy said. It’s not just a walk in the park.”The Dominicans also advanced to the second round in San Diego by beating Colombia 10-3 in 11 innings Sunday. starter to turn in a scoreless outing. Tyler Clippard retired all six batters he faced, striking out four.The crowd of 22,303 was smaller and more subdued than for the games involving the Dominican Republic, but there was some flag-waving and chanting for the U.S. “We’re representing our country. “It was important for us to get off to a good start.”After Adam Jones and Christian Yelich hit consecutive singles in the second, Arenado homered to make it 6-0. “The expectations for the USA are high, and it’s a thrill to get out of here. The Dominicans, who won the 2013 tournament, finished 3-0 in the first round.The Americans have perhaps their best roster ever, including strong pitching, and Danny Duffy became the third consecutive U.S. “We came here and took care of business, and we’re going to be ready for San Diego.” Canada starter Ryan Dempster, who came out of retirement to pitch in the WBC, recorded just one out and was charged with three runs.Eric Hosmer hit a two-run double in the first inning to put the Americans ahead, and another run scored on Posey’s groundout, easing the bitter aftertaste of the loss to the Dominicans.“That was such an emotional game and hard-fought game,” Hosmer said. “We can’t put our roster up against teams like the Dominican and the United States if we don’t have all of our big league players.”

The Canadians went 0-3 and have never advanced beyond the opening round.Nolan Arenado and Buster Posey homered and drove in three runs apiece to help Team USA shake off a deflating defeat and earn a berth in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.The Americans finished 2-1 in pool play and rebounded after blowing a five-run lead Saturday and losing to the Dominican Republic 7-5.“Good teams know how to turn the page,” manager Jim Leyland said.

Canadian doping investigator Richard McLaren hits back at critics

Doping investigator Richard McLaren has defended his report into orchestrated Russian doping from what he called “nitpicking.”Recent comments by sports bodies, including the IOC, refer to inadequate translations of Russian documents, and the likelihood some disciplinary cases will fail among athletes implicated in the investigation. “There were more facts by December. No facts were changed. “You can’t turn an examination of a system into a whole lot of individual cases.”Earlier at the WADA event, McLaren attended a speech by Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov.Kolobkov reiterated Russian denials that the doping program was state-controlled — a claim he said Monday that even McLaren had withdrawn.A description in McLaren’s interim report last July of a “state-dictated failsafe system” to cover up doping cases became an “institutionalized” conspiracy in his final report published in December.McLaren said he and Kolobkov had previously spoken about changing the language at Russia’s request because it implied a plot that implicated state president Vladimir Putin “and his inner circle.”“I decided that I would accept their view,” McLaren told the AP. No facts were proven to be wrong.” “It is not necessarily the view I would have or that others might have of what is ‘state-sponsored.“’Still, McLaren insisted the change of words should not undermine their impact.“The facts were the same,” he said. “If you can’t attack the base then let’s go and attack the periphery,” McLaren told The Associated Press in an interview on Monday.“Much of the comments that are being made are nitpicking about the small parts,” the Canadian lawyer said on the sidelines of a World Anti-Doping Agency conference. “The substance of the merits of what I had to deal with have not really been challenged.”McLaren detailed an orchestrated program of cheating that involved the Russian ministry of sport, FSB security service and national sports and anti-doping bodies, including to help the home team win medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and 2013 track and field world championships in Moscow.Issues raised in recent weeks over the quality of translations by McLaren’s Russian-speaking staff were “a complete red herring to obfuscate and disguise what is going on,” he said.McLaren said his task on being appointed by WADA last year was to verify claims by former Moscow laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov, who led the Sochi Olympic lab, and not to prove doping cases against more than 1,000 Russian athletes.“What is happening now is trying to turn the mandate into something it never was,” McLaren said.

Decorated marathon runner Ed Whitlock dies at 86

He would skip training runs for family commitments and didn’t like to run in the rain.“I don’t particularly enjoy this daily drudge, it’s something that has to be done if you want to run well,” Whitlock said in 2012. And I find for me the more running I do the better I’ll race. “I suppose it’s the sense of satisfaction to be able to keep going for one thing.“And to run well, for another (reason). “Got to have one sensible person in the family.”Whitlock himself professed no undying love for the solitary training that came with being a long-distance runner. 16 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.Alan Brookes, the race director of the Toronto event, called Whitlock a “legend.”“This is an enormous loss to Canada and the global running community,” said Brookes. He ran in his teens and then rediscovered the sport in his 40s when he volunteered to coach with a track club just outside Montreal. Decorated marathon runner Ed Whitlock, who famously smashed records well into his 70s and 80s, died Monday, just a week after his 86th birthday.Whitlock’s family said he died of prostate cancer in a Toronto hospital.“His wisdom, guidance and strength of character will be greatly missed by his wife Brenda, sons Neil and Clive, and sister Catherine,” Whitlock’s family said in a statement distributed by Canada Running Series, the organizer of the annual Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. “He will be deeply missed, but his indomitable spirit, his love of racing, his modesty and inspiration, and so many unforgettable Ed memories, will be with us always.”Whitlock grew up in London and moved to Canada following university. I suppose I’m results-oriented, I’m mainly running for certain times in races, setting records, that sort of thing is what gives me my satisfaction I guess. The British-born resident of Milton, Ont., became the first septuagenarian to run a marathon in under three hours when he posted a time of two hours 59 minutes 10 seconds at age 72 at the 2003 Scotiabank event.A year later he improved that record with a time of 2:54:49, a result that, if age-graded, is considered by many to be the fastest marathon ever run.Eventually he set world master’s marathon records for age 75-plus, 80-plus and, most recently, 85-plus with a time of 3:56:38 on Oct. “I never know how to respond to that. He said his biggest challenge was boredom. That’s the incentive.”The label “role model” never sat well.“I don’t look upon myself as that,” he said. I don’t know, what can one say?” “Somehow we thought Ed would just go on setting records forever. He often wondered how far he could have gone in the sport had he had proper coaching in his youth.He said neither of his two sons were serious runners and his wife Brenda had no interest in the sport.“No, she’s got more sense,” Whitlock said in a 2012 interview with The Canadian Press. We are especially saddened at Canada Running Series.”Brookes said Whitlock defined the Toronto marathon“He will always be a vital part of the identity and spirit of that race,” he said.Whitlock was known for his daily training sessions at Milton’s Evergreen Cemetery, where he would do laps around the grounds for hours.“We travelled many miles together,” said Brookes. There was no runner’s high when he was out in the cemetery.

Rielly scores in overtime to lift Maple Leafs over Hurricanes

Mitch Marner and James van Riemsdyk also scored for Toronto, and Frederik Andersen made 36 saves.Victor Rask and Teuvo Teravainen scored for Carolina, which has lost 11 of 15 games. Morgan Rielly scored 2:13 into overtime to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Saturday night.Rielly’s wrist shot past Cam Ward gave Toronto its third straight victory and moved them one point ahead of the idle New York Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Ward made 23 saves but couldn’t steer aside Rielly’s shot, which bounced off his left leg pad and angled into the back corner of the net.The Hurricanes led twice but couldn’t hold it either time.Rask opened the scoring when he corralled a rolling puck below the right faceoff dot and flipped it over Andersen’s left shoulder 8:59 into the first period.

Anderson sets Senators wins mark in victory over Avalanche

147 with Ottawa and passed Patrick Lalime for the top spot.Fredrik Claesson and Ryan Dzingel also had goals for the Senators.Calvin Pickard stopped 27 shots and Matt Nieto and Sven Andrighetto scored for the Avalanche, who were eliminated from the playoffs with the loss. Centre Kyle Turris missed his third straight game with a fractured finger.UP NEXTSenators: Host Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night. Anderson earned win No. Craig Anderson made 14 saves to set the franchise wins mark and the Ottawa Senators defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Saturday night for their sixth consecutive victory.Alex Burrows and Mike Hoffman each had a goal and an assist for Ottawa, which tied Montreal atop the Atlantic Division with 84 points. Goals by Claesson, Burrows and Hoffman in the second made it 3-1.Dzingel scored at 11:22 of the third to seal the win.The Avalanche were trying for their first three-game winning streak of the season, but couldn’t generate much offence after outshooting the Senators for most of the first period.They went the final 28:27 of the game with only two shots. Andrighetto ended a drought of 17:28 without a shot when he scored in the final minute.Ottawa outshot Colorado 20-6 in the final two periods.NOTES: Senators defenceman Mark Borowiecki missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury. It is the third straight year they’ve failed to reach the post-season after posting 52 wins and 112 points in 2013-14.Nieto gave Colorado a 1-0 lead with his fifth goal midway through the first period, but Ottawa gained control in the second. Second-leading scorer Mark Stone was out after suffering a lower-body injury against Arizona on Thursday.

Elliott perfect again as Flames down Jets 3-0; Calgary wins ninth in a row

Calgary returns home to host Pittsburgh on Monday. Calgary is now second in the Pacific Division. A Chiarot penalty in the second period, this time four minutes for a high stick on Sean Monahan, led to Frolik’s 15th at 12:09.The Flames only had two power-play goals in their 12 previous games.The Jets took two more high-sticking penalties in the middle period, but Hellebuyck was able withstand the heat.Winnipeg got its second power play of the game after Jets defencman Jacob Trouba and Calgary centre Sam Bennett had a late fight. Brian Elliott’s 31-save performance gave the Calgary goaltender his second straight shutout as the Flames defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 on Saturday to extend their win streak to nine games.Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik each scored on the power play as the victory also gave Calgary (38-26-4) points in 11 straight games. Anaheim, which is tied with the Flames with 80 points, drops to third in the division. The franchise record is 10 games in 1978.Alex Chiasson also scored, while Frolik added one assist and Dougie Hamilton, a game-time decision, had three helpers.Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26 of 29 shots for the Jets (30-33-6), who lost their third straight and wrapped up a six-game homestand (2-4-0).Winnipeg defenceman Ben Chiarot’s banishment to the penalty box led to Calgary’s first two goals. Edmonton moved from third to the first wild-card spot in the West.Calgary’s climb also dropped the idle Edmonton Oilers into the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 79 points.The nine victories also set a new record since the franchise moved from Atlanta in 1980. With Chiarot out for interference, Backlund scored his 21st goal of the season off a rebound at 14:06 of the first period. Elliott’s second shutout of the season, and 36th of his career, followed up Thursday’s 24 saves in a 5-0 win over Montreal on Thursday.The Flames also jumped in the NHL standings. Both were bloodied — Trouba along the side of his face and Bennett from his nose.Bennett also got dinged for an extra slashing penalty, which carried over into the third period.Chiasson upped Calgary’s lead to 3-0 with a high shot over Hellebuyck at 3:24 of the final period.Tempers flared soon after, when Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey sprayed snow on Elliott and the goalie retaliated by shoving Morrissey into the glass.Players from both sides started shoving each other, but Morrissey got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and Elliott for roughing.Winnipeg heads out for a three-game road trip, starting Monday in Nashville.

Heat sizzles as Raptors lose 15th of last 24 games

Dion Waiters scored 20 points, Tyler Johnson added 16 and the Miami Heat beat the Toronto Raptors 104-89 on Saturday night, improving to 21-4 over their last 25 games.Goran Dragic scored 15 and Hassan Whiteside added 12 points and 14 rebounds for Miami.Dragic played only 41 seconds in the second half, leaving after taking an elbow from Toronto’s Cory Joseph. Dragic eventually returned to the bench with an icepack over his right eye, which appeared to be swollen nearly shut. DeMar DeRozan scored 17 points for the Raptors, who have lost 15 of their last 24 games.

Kevin Koe to face Brad Gushue in Brier final

Jacobs got on the scoreboard with a deuce in the sixth end but that was all the offence he could muster.Jacobs, the reigning Olympic champion, will settle for an appearance in the bronze-medal game Sunday afternoon against McEwen.Even though there are ranking points and cash on the line, he admitted it would be “very difficult” to get up for the third-place game.“You come here to win the tankard,” Jacobs said. “We narrowly missed some good opportunities and you’ve got to take advantage of stuff like that if you want to win the Brier, not miss them. Canada’s Kevin Koe defeated Manitoba’s Mike McEwen 7-6 on Saturday night to earn a return ticket to the Tim Hortons Brier final.McEwen missed a double runback attempt to give Koe the single point in the extra end.The Koe win sets up a Sunday night showdown with local favourite Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador for the gold medal. I feel like we’ve finished in fourth place.” “We were already behind the eight ball at that point.”When play resumed, the teams blanked another end before Koe added a single in the fifth. Gushue is looking for his first career Brier title in 14 appearances.Koe forced an extra end in the semifinal with a clutch double takeout to score two.Earlier in the day, Koe defeated Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs 6-2 in the Page playoff 3-4 game at Mile One Centre.Koe scored a single in the eighth end and put the game out of reach with a deuce in the ninth. “We were the fourth (seed) leading into the playoffs. Gushue advanced straight to the final with a victory over McEwen in the Page playoff 1-2 game Friday night. The game was delayed for 66 minutes after the third end due to a power outage.“It had no effect on us,” Jacobs said. He shot 89 per cent on the day while Jacobs was well back at 74 per cent.“Just on the wrong side of the inch on a few of my shots,” Jacobs said. Brad Jacobs says he was unaffected by power outage at Brier (The Canadian Press)

Koe beat Gushue in last year’s final at Ottawa and went on to win the world championship. That’s how the game went for us.”Koe started the game with hammer and scored a pair of singles.