Originally created 01/18/98

Canadian women defeat U.S. on ice



Karen Nystrom scored her second goal with 5:11 to play Friday night in Vancouver, British Columbia,, lifting Canada to a 2-1 exhibition victory over the United States before the largest crowd ever to watch a women's hockey game.

Organizers said the announced crowd of 14,944 was several thousand larger than the attendance for any previous women's hockey game.

It was the 10th meeting of the teams, who are preparing for the start of the Nagano Olympics in three weeks. Canada has beaten the U.S. team six times, with five of the wins by one goal.

The teams are overwhelming favorites to play for the gold medal when women will be playing the sport in the Olympics for the first time.

Canada (23-4 during its pre-Olympic tour) has never lost an international game to a team other than the United States. The Americans (22-6-1) have lost only to the Canadians during their exhibition tour.

Canada's Lesley Reddon had 26 saves, including a reach-back glove stop on Karyn Bye to keep it a 1-1 game with 6 1/2 minutes left. Tueting made 21 saves for the United States.

The teams will meet three more times before going to Nagano, Japan. They don't play in the Olympics until the preliminary round finale Feb. 14. Both begin Olympic play Feb. 8 -- Canada vs. Japan and the United States vs. China.

FIGURE SKATING:

Maria Butyrskaya of Russia put on the performance of her life Saturday in Milan, Italy, to move up from fifth place and win the women's European Figure Skating title.

With a graceful free skate, the five-time Russian champion finally broke her string of disappointing international performances and, in the process, gave her country a second straight sweep of the gold medals at the Europeans.

Butyrskaya took the title from two-time defending champion Irina Slutskaya, another Russian, who finished second. Germany's Tanja Szewczenko, who returned to competition in November after an 18-month layoff because of a viral illness, slid to third. She had led after the short program, but had trouble with her jumps Saturday.

"I can't believe it. I just thought I had nothing to lose," said Butyrskaya, whose best prior finish at the Europeans was a bronze in 1996. She was fourth last year, and fifth at the world championships in March.

WORLD CUP DOWNHILL:

Austrian Andreas Schifferer won his third World Cup downhill of the season Saturday in Wengen, Switzerland, ending teammate Hermann Maier's winning streak at five races.

Schifferer skied down the sun-drenched 2,315-meter classic Lauberhorn course in 2 minutes 28.32 seconds.

Once again, it was a French skier who prevented an Austrian sweep, with Jean-Luc Cretier taking second place in 2:29.29, ahead of Maier, who was third in 2:29.65.

France's Nicolas Burtin stopped the Austrian sweep in Friday's downhill, finishing second behind Maier and ahead of Schifferer, who was third.

It was Schifferer's fourth career victory, with the 23-year-old winning in a Super-G in Vail, Colo., last season.

While Maier failed to extend his winning streak, he did manage a top three finish for the 14th time in 17 races.

WOMEN'S DOWN HILL:

A Women's World Cup downhill race in Zauchensee, Austria, was postponed Saturday due to fierce wind and dense fog covering almost the entire course.

The downhill race was postponed until today, weather permitting. The World Cup Super-G event also is scheduled.

Germany's Katja Seizinger and Austria's Alexandra Meissnitzer are favorites to win the event.



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