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Women’s Hockey Prepares For Big Matchup Against Rival Canada & More From Team USA This Weekend

By Paul D. Bowker | April 05, 2019, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

As you settle into your weekend, Team USA athletes are getting ready to compete all around the world. Keep track of some of the biggest events and how to follow them on Team USA This Weekend.


Fight Begins For Fifth Straight Women’s Ice Hockey World Championship
Hannah Brandt competes at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang on Feb. 22, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. 

 

It won’t take long for the drama to surface in the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Espoo, Finland.

The U.S. women’s ice hockey team will take on longtime rival Canada in the preliminary round of the tournament on Saturday. Team USA, which is seeking its fifth consecutive world title, is also heading into the tournament as the defending Olympic champion.

“Being able to win the last few world championships, the gold medal at the Olympics, is huge, it gives us a lot of confidence, but at the same time, it does put a target on our backs,” said Hannah Brandt, one of 14 Olympic gold medalists who are back on this year’s world team.

The U.S. and Canada have played for the title in all 18 previous world championship tournaments. Team USA is stacked with 17 Olympians.

Among those joining Brandt in their title quest are team captain Kendall Coyle Schofield, a two-time Olympic medalist who displayed her fast-skating skills in a competition during NHL All-Star Weekend, along with three-time Olympic teammates Hilary Knight and Kacey Bellamy, who are alternate captains.

After facing Canada, Team USA finishes out the preliminary round with games against Switzerland on Sunday and Russia on Tuesday. The playoff round begins April 11.

Follow along on social: USA Hockey on Instagram, #WomensWorlds on Twitter and Hilary Knight on Twitter


Team Shuster Battles For A Worlds Playoff Spot
Team Shuster talk in a huddle at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang on Feb. 16, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. 

 

The race is on to secure a playoff spot in the world men’s curling championship for four-time Olympian John Shuster and his team in Lethbridge, Ontario.

The U.S. men are attempting to win a world title just one year after Team Shuster won the first American gold medal in curling at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

Team Shuster finishes up round-robin play on Friday against Sweden and Norway. The playoff round is Saturday and the medal round is set for Sunday.

Joining Shuster on the world team are 2018 Olympic teammates Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner, along with 2010 Olympian Chris Plys. Korey Dropkin is the alternate.

The U.S. won six of its first eight matches in the tournament, including four consecutive victories over South Korea, Germany, Scotland and Russia. The top six teams after the completion of round-robin play on Friday advance to the playoff round.

TV: 11 a.m. ET Friday, 4 and 9 p.m. ET Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. ET Sunday, Olympic Channel; 9 p.m. ET Friday, midnight and 10:30 p.m. ET Sunday, NBCSN

Webcast: 11 and 9 p.m. ET Friday, 4 and 9 p.m. ET Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. ET Sunday, olympicchannel.com

Follow along on social: USA Curling on Twitter, John Shuster on Twitter and Matt Hamilton on Instagram


USA Men’s Eagles Sevens Looks To Further Secure Hold On First Place
Brett Thompson runs with the ball at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens on Dec. 8, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

The USA Men’s Eagles Sevens squad is on track to secure a berth in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with five medal finishes in six stops so far this season on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. 

The U.S. is ranked first in the series with 113 points, leading New Zealand by seven points. A top-four finish at the end of the season would secure an Olympic berth.

Next up is this weekend’s Hong Kong Sevens tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

“We are where we want to be at this point in the season, which is in control of our own destiny in trying to achieve automatic Olympic qualification and breaking new ground finishing in the top four,” Eagles coach Mike Friday said. “We set high standards for ourselves on and off the pitch and are always working hard for one another.”

The Eagles face No. 11 Spain, No. 13 Wales and No. 5 England in the preliminary round in Hong Kong. The championship match is Sunday.

Madison Hughes, a 2016 Olympian, leads the Eagles with 198 points. Other players on the roster for this week include 2016 Olympian Carlin Isles, who has a team-leading 32 tries, along with Olympic teammates Ben Pinkelman and Folau Niua.

Follow along on social: USA Rugby on Twitter, World Rugby Sevens on Twitter and Carlin Isles on Instagram


Surfing – Championship Tour openers
The top women’s and men’s surfers in the world are on the Gold Coast of Australia for the season-opening World Surf League Championship Tour events. Defending champion Lakey Peterson, who finished second on the tour in 2018, is among the U.S. women competing in the event. Joining her are Caroline Marks, Courtney Conlogue and  Sage Erickson for the U.S., and Carissa Moore, Coco Ho and Malia Manuel for Hawaii. The U.S. men’s surfers include Conner Coffin, Kolohe Andino and Griffin Colapinto, plus Hawaiians John John Florence, Seth Moniz, Ezekiel Lau and Sebastian Zietz. Eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater lost in the second round. The competition is expected to continue into next week.


Diving – Calgary Grand Prix
Bridget O’Neil, a bronze medalist at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, is among 11 U.S. divers competing this week in a FINA Grand Prix meet in Calgary, Alberta. O’Neil and Emma Ivory-Ganja are competing in the women’s 3-meter individual. Among those joining them is 2018 junior world team member Jacob Fielding in the men’s 3-meter individual, men’s 3-meter synchro with junior world team member Lyle Yost and 10-meter synchro with Jacob Siler. Greg Duncan is also competing in the men’s 3-meter.

Women’s Soccer – USA vs. Belgium friendly
The U.S. women’s soccer team, which is preparing for its run toward the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, faces Belgium in an international friendly on Sunday at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. The U.S., which is ranked No. 1 in the world, went against sixth-ranked Australia on Thursday in Commerce City, Colorado. The U.S. roster includes three-time Olympian Carli Lloyd, and two-time Olympians Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan. World Cup play begins on June 11 in France for the U.S. A three-game send-off series begins May 12 in Santa Clara, California.


Women’s Golf – ANA Inspiration
2016 Olympians Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller are all playing in the first women’s golf major of the year, the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California. The tournament is being played at Mission Hills Country Club, a par-72 layout measuring 6,763 yards. The winner on Sunday gets $3 million. The tournament consists of four individual stroke-play rounds and has gone to a playoff in three of the last five years. Lewis, who tied for fourth place at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, is seeking her third win in a major. Thompson, who tied for 19th place in Rio, has 10 career LPGA victories and one win in a major. 

TV: Noon and 7 p.m. ET Friday, 5 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, Golf Channel


Gymnastics – Tokyo All-Around World Cup
Sam Mikulak, a two-time Olympian, and Morgan Hurd, the 2017 world all-around champion, will compete in Sunday’s all-around world cup event in Tokyo. The competition is the final stop in this year’s all-around world cup series. The U.S. leads the women’s all-around standings and is in third place on the men’s side.

TV: 10:30 a.m. and noon ET Sunday, Olympic Channel; 9 p.m. ET Sunday, NBCSN

Webcast: 10:30 p.m. ET Saturday, 1 a.m. ET Sunday, olympicchannel.com


Equestrian – FEI Jumping World Cup Final
Four-time Olympian Beezie Madden leads a five-person U.S. jumping team into this week’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. Madden, a four-time Olympic medalist and the only U.S. rider to win two world cup finals in jumping, is the defending champion in jumping. Also competing are Georgina Bloomberg, Devin Ryan, Kelli Cruciotti and Eve Jobs. Laura Graves, a 2016 Olympian, is among three U.S. riders in the dressage world cup final also taking place in Gothenburg.


Shooting – Shotgun World Cup
The second world cup of the season in shotgun begins Friday in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Competition begins Sunday with the first day of women’s trap. The event, which goes through April 16, features competition in women’s and men’s trap, mixed team trap and women’s and men’s skeet. Among the expected U.S. trap shooters are 2008 Olympic gold medalist Glenn Eller and Championship of the Americas bronze medalist Ashley Carroll.


Climbing – World Cup opener
National bouldering champions Ashima Shiraishi and Sean Bailey are among 10 American climbers competing in this week’s IFSC bouldering season opener in Meiringen, Switzerland. The competition is Friday and Saturday. Joining Shiraishi on the women’s side are Alex Johnson, Kyra Condie, Brooke Raboutou and Margo Hayes. On the men’s side, Nathaniel Coleman, Rudolph Ruana, Zach Galla and Dylan Barks will join Bailey.

TV: 7 p.m. ET Saturday, Olympic Channel

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.