Friday, November 17, 2017

U.S. shuts out Sweden, advances to title game vs. Canada at Four Nations Cup


WESLEY CHAPEL — Forward Hilary Knight has been a member of the U.S. women’s hockey team since she was 17, which means she has won enough medals and trophies to fill a good-sized room and suffered enough heartbreaking losses in tournament finals to not take any of those titles for granted.

Her assessment of this year’s team?

"We’re playing with a different type of intensity," Knight, 28, said. "We’re playing with a different type of vision, and it’s that much more powerful than it’s ever been."

The United States has changed its style of play since the 2014 Olympics — where it lost the gold-medal game to Canada in overtime — stressing a quicker-tempo, puck-possession game.

That has been on display this week during the Four Nations Cup at Florida Hospital Center Ice, where the United States won all three of its round-robin games, including 5-0 Friday against Sweden to advance to Sunday’s championship game against Canada at Amalie Arena.

But that’s only part of the story. The play on the ice is powerful, and so is the determination off it — not only to win gold in February at the Olympics, but to be a part of the U.S. team.

All it took was threatening to boycott the world championships in May over equal pay and support from USA Hockey for the team to truly become one clinched fist.

"We lived through some real-life team-building with the boycott last spring," Knight said. "In the fabric of our team, what we’re trying to achieve, it’s something bigger than ourselves."

The women wanted "a living wage," captain Meghan Duggan said at the time.

They also sought other forms of compensation to put them on equal footing with the U.S. men’s team, such as business-class airfare for flights lasting more than three hours, nanny support and day care.

Team members had received $3,000 per month during the sixth months before the Olympics, and that’s if they were deemed a core member. Some received $700 month.

USA Hockey was not pleased by the demands. It even threatened to use replacement players in the world championships in Michigan, some in high school. But the women remained united. It helped that the NHL and NFL players unions supported their cause.

Eventually, a deal was reached. Compensation was set at $70,000 per player, with bonuses for gold ($20,000) and silver ($15,000) medals.

"Kudos to them," Canadian forward Natalie Spooner said.

Now, U.S. forward Amanda Kessel said, the Americans are more united.

"A hundred percent. You never really get tested to how strong your team is. That showed it," she said. "It’s a tough thing to go through, and the way we were able to stick together, it wouldn’t have happened if we had a few people straying."

On Monday, the day before the Four Nations Cup began, Duggan talked about the change in culture among the team. The new style of play has been an easy buy-in because everyone on the team knows what they are playing for, and that is for each other as much as their country.

It was like that in the past, but perhaps not at the level it is heading into the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"(The boycott) just amplified everything," defenseman Emily Pfalzer said. "I think we stayed united through everything. It really brought our team together. Nobody cares who scores, who’s on the score sheet. We just want to win the game."

Coyne paces USA

Kendall Coyne scored twice in the United States’ 5-0 victory against Sweden. Kacey Bellamy, Hannah Brandt and Gigi Marvin also scored. Goalie Nicole Hensley stopped all nine shots she faced during her first start of the tournament.

CANADA BLANKS FINLAND: Canada got goals from four players in a 4-0 win against Finland in the final game of round-robin play: Brianne Jenner, Marie-Philip Poulin, Jennifer Wakefield and Sarah Nurse.

Goalie Genevieve Lacasse recorded her second shutout of the tournament for Canada (2-1). She stopped eight shots against Finland (1-2) after stopping nine in a 9-0 win Tuesday against Sweden.

Finland plays Sweden (0-3) for third place at noon Sunday at Amalie Arena.

Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

TAMPA — The NFL is investigating an allegation that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in March 2016.Winston called the allegations "false" and contested the unnamed female driver’s assertion that he was her only p...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

TAMPA — The Bucs will play Sunday against the Dolphins without Vernon Hargreaves, who has been their nickel defensive back the past two games.Hargreaves, the 2016 first-round pick out of Florida and a former Wharton High standout, has been ruled out ...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations in a statement:"Th...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Captain’s Corner: Snook bite remains aggressive

We are in the midst of prefrontal conditions, so there should be good fishing today. Bait seems to have moved on the last full moon and judging by the amount of bait fry that has filtered onto the flats, it spawned also. Load up the wells with the sm...
Updated: 2 hours ago
USF freshman receiver Kevaughn Dingle arrested

USF freshman receiver Kevaughn Dingle arrested

USF freshman WR Kevaughn Dingle was arrested by campus police late Friday morning on a felony sexual-battery charge.An 18-year-old from Miami being redshirted this season, Dingle remains in jail on no bond, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff's ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

TAMPA — A local TV crew set up shop in front of Brayden Point’s locker stall the other day, waiting for the Lightning forward to be ready.Then, captain Steven Stamkos walked into the room for his scrum. It didn’t take long for the TV crew to change c...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Tampa Bay Times has listened to a voicemail Jameis Winston received from Uber relating to the March 2016 incident in Arizona.The NFL is investigating the allegations that Winston grabbed a female Uber driver's crotch in 2016.In the call, someone...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Updated: 5 hours ago

Jameis Winston says groping allegations are ‘false’

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston denied allegations by an Arizona Uber driver that he groped her in 2016. The NFL confirmed it is investigating the incident.Winston released a statement on his Twitter account saying the driver was 'confused,' by the n...
Updated: 6 hours ago