Canada cruises to victory over Austria in hockey

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SOCHI, Russia — After the final horn, Jeff Carter tried to give the game puck to Roberto Luongo in honor of the goalie’s latest Olympic shutout. Luongo handed it right back, claiming Carter’s hat trick was a bigger deal.

Canada forward Jeff Carter shoots and scores against Austria goaltender Bernhard Starkbaum in the second period.  JULIO CORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JULIO CORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Canada forward Jeff Carter shoots and scores against Austria goaltender Bernhard Starkbaum in the second period.

Carter and Luongo both realize Canada still has plenty of time to pick up more souvenirs in Sochi, and they’ve all got their eyes on something a bit shinier than a puck.

Carter scored three consecutive goals in the second period, Luongo made 23 saves, and Canada beat Austria 6-0 Friday to take a commanding position in preliminary-round play at the Olympic hockey tournament.

Shea Weber and Ryan Getzlaf each had a goal and an assist in the Canadians’ second win in two nights in Sochi. Their star-studded lineup rolled over undermanned Austria with 46 shots and relentless waves of offense, starting with Drew Doughty’s goal in the opening minutes before Carter’s natural hat trick in an 11:54 span.

Canada is still working on the fine points of defensive zone coverage and line combinations, but the big picture is fairly clear.

“Doesn’t matter who we face,” Doughty said. “We’re going to have the same confidence, the same swagger.

Luongo was tested several times in his first Olympic appearance since going 5-0 in Vancouver and winning the gold-medal overtime game four years ago. The Canucks goalie improved to 7-1 with two shutouts in Olympic play over his three trips to the games.

In other games Friday, Teemu Selanne, 43, became the oldest hockey player to score in Olympic history, helping Finland rout Norway 6-1.

Jaromir Jagr scored for the second time of the Sochi Games, on the eve of his 42nd birthday, to help the Czech Republic beat Latvia 4-2.

Daniel Alfredsson poked in a game-winning goal with 7:21 left as Sweden beat Switzerland 1-0.

CROSS-COUNTRY: After a season blighted by an ankle injury, Dario Cologna is finally having his day in the sun.

Wearing short sleeves and sunglasses in the spring-like weather, the Swiss skier won his second gold medal Friday with a dominant performance in the 15-kilometer classical-style race.

Cologna is a three-time overall World Cup winner, but had ankle surgery in November and only returned to competition in January.

“It’s amazing. I couldn’t believe the first gold medal, after being injured, and now the second,” Cologna said. “The first gold was emotional after coming back from injury, the second is unbelievable.”

Cologna also won the opening 30-kilometer skiathlon race on Sunday, but had a disappointing freestyle sprint where he fell twice in his quarterfinal and was knocked out. On Friday, no one could match his speed over the last half of the race and he beat silver-medalist Johan Olsson, of Sweden, by 28.5 seconds.

Another Swede, Daniel Richardsson, took bronze after his strong finish put him 0.2 seconds ahead of Iivo Niskanen, of Finland.

FREESTYLE SKIING: Lydia Lassila already has a gold medal sitting back home in Australia.

At these Olympics, she was looking for something better.

So, she raised her hand and took off down the biggest ramp on the aerials course Friday for a jump that would cement her as the sport’s foremost trailblazer regardless of whether it earned another gold or not.

She bounded off the ramp, flew six stories high and packed four twists inside of three flips. In a training run a day earlier, she had become the first woman to land that jump on snow. In the final, she bowed backward on the landing and her hands spiked against the landing hill.

The 32-year-old settled for a bronze medal but did her sport a favor – make that two favors.

She raised the bar for the next generation of jumpers, while clearing the way for another of the grand veterans of the game, Alla Tsuper of Belarus, to win the gold medal in her fifth and final try at the Games.

“I’m really happy with the bronze,” Lassila said. “I came into these Olympics wanting to get the most out of myself and wanting to push the sport. I wanted to lift barriers and inspire women to do harder tricks.”

Xu Mengtao also bobbled backward during her landing and settled for silver, giving the Chinese women their fifth Olympic medal.

BIATHLON: Darya Domracheva, of Belarus, earned her second gold medal of the games by winning the women’s 15-kilometer individual race.

Domracheva, who also won the 12.5K pursuit three days ago, missed one target before finishing in 43 minutes, 19.6 seconds. Selina Gasparin, of Switzerland, finished 1:15.7 behind to take silver. Nadezhda Skardino of Belarus got the bronze.

CURLING: China and Britain won close games in the men’s tournament to move into a three-way tie with Sweden atop the 10-country field.

China beat Norway 7-5, while Britain topped Denmark 8-6.

In the women’s tournament, China beat South Korea 11-3, Britain defeated Japan 12-3, Russia beat Switzerland 6-3, and Denmark topped the U.S. 9-2, all but eliminating the Americans from the playoffs.


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