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For the first time in more than 30 years, Canada officially has a medal drought at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Canada dropped the bronze medal game to Russia by a score of 2-1 on Sunday, marking the first time it has failed to win a medal in back-to-back tournaments since the Program of Excellences inception in 1982. Russia stormed out to an early 2-0 lead over Canada on Sunday thanks to first period goals from Mikhail Grigorenko and Eduard Gimatov. It would provide the basis for a lead Russia would never surrender. Canada would get on the board mid-way through the third with defenceman Josh Morrissey giving the Canadian team some life, but it would not be enough as the Russians would beat Canada to claim bronze for a second straight year. Andrei Vasilevski turned away 28 of the 29 shots Canada threw at him on Sunday, improving his all-time World Junior record to 11-4 over the course of three tournaments. He was named Russias Player of the Game. Aaron Ekblad was named Canadas Player of the Game. Canadian goalkeeper Zach Fucale took over as starter after Canadas preliminary round loss to the Czech Republic and stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced in the semifinal. The Montreal Canadiens draft pick expressed disappointment with the result despite his strong play. "This is absolutely not about me," he told TSN in a post-game interview. "This is just about the team winning and we came here for a reason and we didnt get it done." Canada has now gone five tournaments without bringing home World Junior gold. Their last gold came in 2009 when they claimed their fifth consecutive tournament, winning on home ice in Ottawa. The loss sets Canada up for a tough group at the 2015 World Juniors that will be hosted in Toronto and Montreal. With the fourth-place finish, Canada is set to once again be drawn with the United States. They will also be joined by defending gold medalists Finland as well as Slovakia and Germany. "For guys coming back next year its good motivation," said forward Curtis Lazar, who finished third in team scoring with three goals and four assists in seven games. "Its Canada, you want to get back on top. Its a tough tournament to win, thats the bottom line," Lazar added. This Canadian team has 11 players that would be eligible to play in next years tournament, including Lazar. However, 17-year-olds Sam Reinhart and Aaron Ekblad are projected to go first and second in the 2014 NHL Draft and their availability for next years team would be questionable. It was a tough tournament for Canada, as the team surrendered the first goal in all but one of their games. But the bronze medal game saw a better overall effort for Canada than the one they put forth in the semifinal loss to Finland. "In this particular game you could make a case that Team Canada deserved a better fate but in the bigger picture of where they finished in the tournament I dont think you could say they deserved anything more than what they got, which is a fourth-place finish," TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie said. "In a difficult game to play, they had more emotion, they had more commitment and more chances to score and generated a lot more than they did in the semifinals against Finland, where they generated only three shots in the third period," McKenzie added. The tournament also saw head coach Brent Sutters perfect World Junior record shattered after Canada lost its preliminary round game to the Czech Republic 5-4 in a shootout. Sutter had gone 6-0 and won gold in both his previous coaching tenures in the 2005 tournament in Vancouver and Kelowna and the 2006 tournament in Grand Forks, North Dakota. McKenzie believes Canadas troubles may have less to do with Canadas on-ice personnel and more to do with the mental approach the team takes to the high-profile competition, especially the knockout games. "Its more along the lines of [being] terrified to lose than [they] are determined to win," McKenzie observed of three years worth of semifinal defeats. Fucale would also acknowledge the weight of high expectations after the defeat. "Here its all about results," said the 18-year-old. "Canada expects more, we expect more from ourselves and you know we didnt get it done." Stars Jerseys 2020 . They say things like "stress is when you dont know what youre doing" and "I wasnt hired to motivate players, I was hired to coach motivated players." They ring as true now as they did when Mularkey heard them the first time playing tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame coach 25 years ago. Dallas Stars Store . Old times for a defence that has looked just plain old recently? "No," safety Ryan Clark said. "We used to be much better than that. https://www.cheapstarsonline.com/ . For Sweed, a second round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008, this will be his second go around in the CFL after previously having spent time with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Stars Jerseys 2021 . Lineup news, Fantasy tips and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking. HEROES Blake Comeau – The Penguins winger had a hat trick in a 4-3 overtime win against Toronto. Dallas Stars Shirts . You can watch the game live on TSN and TSN GO at 3pm et/Noon pt. The Thunder reclaimed the home-court advantage LA took with a Game 1 win on Friday night with a 118-112 road win in Game 3.OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant often says hell do whatever his team needs. In the second half against Memphis, his mission was simply to score as often as possible. He had 30 of his 37 points after halftime to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Grizzlies 113-107 on Friday night. Durant made 10 of 15 shots and all eight of his free throws after halftime to help the Thunder hold off a furious rally. "I just told myself to be aggressive, to score," said Durant, the NBAs scoring leader. "Thats all I said to myself at half. I was frustrated with the shots I was taking. I felt that I wasnt disciplined. I worked my fundamentals. I just wanted to be aggressive to score. I think thats what my team needed." Russell Westbrook had 21 points and six assists in 28 minutes, Serge Ibaka had 16 points and nine rebounds and Reggie Jackson added 14 points for the Thunder, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Oklahoma City had dropped every game since Westbrook returned from his latest knee surgery -- and nearly lost again because Mike Miller scored all 19 of his points in the fourth quarter to rally Memphis. Westbrook wasnt worried about the fact that the Thunder almost squandered the 16-point lead they had heading into the fourth. "We won, thats what Im going to take from it," Westbrook said. "We lost three in a row. We just won." Marc Gasol had 17 points and Zach Randolph added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who had won five of six. Memphis ran into a team that was tired of losing. "Theyre extremely talented, but they were very focused, locked in," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "They played at a very, very high level, I thought tonight, as well as Ive seen them play against us in a long, long time." Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha left in the first half with a left calf strain and did not return. The Grizzlies made 26 of 40 shots in the second half, but couldnt stop Oklahoma City in the final minutes when the game got close. The Thunder offence broke out of a lull in the second quarter when Westbrook returned from a rest. He scored 10 points in the final 5:36 to help Oklahoma Citty take a 57-42 lead at the break despite getting just seven points from Durant on 2-for-9 shooting.dddddddddddd Randolph was held to 2-for-10 shooting in the first half, and the Grizzlies shot just 38 per cent. Durant got it going in the opening minutes of the third quarter with a 3-pointer and a dunk to help Oklahoma City take a 65-47 lead. Westbrook showed some of his old form when he froze Tayshaun Prince with a crossover dribble, then drained a mid-range jumper to give the Thunder a 70-55 edge. Durant scored 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting in the third quarter to help the Thunder take an 87-71 lead at the end of the period. Miller came off the bench and made three 3-pointers in the fourth to help the Grizzlies trim the deficit to 103-97 with 4:22 remaining. "In the fourth quarter, our bench was unbelievable," Prince said. "We (the starters) put them in a bad situation and they almost got us out of it." Memphis cut the margin to three before Durant made a baseline jumper on an assist from Westbrook with 1:24 to play, then a floater with 33 seconds remaining to seize control for good. "We cant afford to dig ourselves a hole like we did," Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said. "Theyre too good of a team, especially at home. They came out and they wanted to win this game from the very beginning." The Thunder finally resembled the team that has earned the top record in the Western Conference. They won for the first time since Feb. 13 and for the first time at home since Feb. 9 "It feels great," Durant said. "You never take it for granted. We learned a lesson after losing three in a row. Its tough to swallow, so its good to get a W." NOTES: Thunder centre Steven Adams played through flu-like symptoms. The 7-foot rookie from New Zealand started in place of Kendrick Perkins, who will miss about six weeks with a left groin strain. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said before the game that Adams might not play. ... Oklahoma City shot 50 per cent in the first quarter to lead 29-22 at the end of the period. ... Memphis Kosta Koufos committed four fouls in his first 5 minutes of play in the first half. ' ' '
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