Board Topics: Weiler never got to see the Ticats play at their new
SOCHI, Russia -- Greg Westlake scored the games only goal while Corbin Watson made seven saves for his second straight shutout Tuesday as Canada defeated the Czech Republic 1-0 in sledge hockey at the Sochi Paralympics. Lou Brock . Westlake broke the scoreless tie at 7:33 of the second period, ripping a shot upstairs from in tight for his second goal of the tournament. Canada had a number of chances to extend the lead but was forced to hang on late as the Czechs made one final push in the dying seconds. "Theyre a big team. Theyre physical," said Westlake. "Theyve got a lot of men on their team. "Its a lot of cycling against the Czechs. They have a big goalie so you have to pick your spots. If youre not shooting the puck well its going to be a low-scoring game." Canada has surrendered just one goal on 18 shots through three round-robin victories while outscoring its opponents 15-1. "It was a fun game to play and it was a necessary game to play because we get better and we needed a team to push us going into the medal round," said Westlake. Czech goalie Michal Vapenka stopped 17 shots in defeat as his team was eliminated from the competition. "We had some scoring chances, there was just no finish," said Canadian head coach Mike Mondin. "The kid in net is a good goalie. "Hes a big guy so theyre trying to go high and we shot a lot of them over the net." Canada clinched first place in its pool and will take on the United States in one of Thursdays semifinals. The Americans, who won gold four years ago in Vancouver, dropped a hard-fought 2-1 decision to the host Russians earlier Tuesday to finish second in their group. Russia will meet Norway in the other semifinal. Canada won Paralympic gold back in 2006 but had a disappointing fourth-place finish in 2010. Elsewhere on Tuesday, biathlete Mark Arendz battled pouring rain and dense fog to win a bronze medal in the mens 12.5-kilometre standing category. Its the second medal of the Games for the native of Hartsville, P.E.I., who captured silver earlier in the week. He finished in 30 minutes 31 seconds. Russias Azat Karachurin won gold in 29:30.0 while Norways Nils-Erik Ulset captured silver. "To get a medal is awesome and that was the goal," said Arendz. "There were mistakes out there both in shooting and on the course so it was not a perfect race, but any time you are on the podium I have to be happy because this is strong field." Arendzs medal was Canadas seventh so far in the competition (one goal, two silver, four bronze). Host Russia continues to lead with a whopping 34 medals, 23 ahead of second-place Ukraine. Canada and the United States are tied in third. Arendz, who shot 19-of-20, said the poor visibility made the race extra challenging. "It was the same conditions for everyone," he said. "I wasnt perfect in shooting so I know there are still mistakes that need to be cleaned up." In para-alpine skiing, Braydon Luscombe of Duncan, B.C., was the top-placing Canadian, finishing second in the standing division with a time of 52.17 seconds. Josh Dueck of Kimberley, B.C., placed fifth in the sitting category in 59.93 seconds. Standing athlete Kirk Schornstein of Spruce Grove, Alta., was 17th and Mac Marcouxopf Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and guide Robin Femy of Mont-Tremblant, Que., did not finish their run in the visually impaired category. Sit-skiers Caleb Brousseau of Terrace, B.C., Calgarys Kurt Oatway and standing athlete Matt Hallat of Coquitlam, B.C., also did not finish. In the womens slalom, standing skier Calgarys Alexandra Starker was the top-placing Canadian in 1:06.59. Torontos Erin Latimer was eighth. In wheelchair curling, Canada improved to 5-1 and moved into a first-place tie with Russia with an 8-5 victory over China. Ramon Urias . The club says Fridays surgery was successful. Holiday, a former Eastern Conference All-Star acquired from Philadelphia last summer, has not played because of the shin injury since Jan. Nelson Briles . On Thursday theyll learn even more. Despite the cloud of uncertainty that has followed them around from the moment general manager Masai Ujiri was brought in to put his stamp on the franchise, the Raptors have surpassed all pre-season expectations.HAMILTON - Saskatchewan will have a new quarterback but Orlondo Steinauer is expecting the same old Roughriders. The Riders will face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday afternoon without veteran Darian Durant under centre. He suffered a season-ending elbow injury in last weekends 30-24 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, meaning backup Tino Sunseri will start at Tim Hortons Field. Catch the game on TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, and TSN5 starting at 1pm et/10am pt. The loss of a starting quarterback can be catastrophic to an offence but Saskatchewan boasts the CFLs top rushing attack (150.6 yards per game). And thats exactly what Steinauer, Hamiltons defensive co-ordinator, is preparing his unit to face. "Theyre going to be who they are," he said. "Theyre going to come out and establish the run. "Theyre going to take their shots to the end zone. Theyre not a conservative passing-game team. Theyre going to attack us and theyre going to do what they do. What they have going for them is theyre (the defending Grey Cup) champions, right? They have enough people in that locker room that have won where Im sure theyre just looking at this as a small obstacle." Sunseri has seen limited action this year, completing 13-of-25 passes for 152 yards and a TD. Durant led the Riders to their season-opening 31-10 win over Hamilton in a rematch of the 2013 Grey Cup game, which saw the Riders beat the Ticats 45-23 at Mosaic Stadium on Nov. 24. But Hamilton has more to worry about than the absence of Durant. Ticats starter Zach Collaros was sacked 10 times in the season opener while Saskatchewan running back Anthony Allen ran for 158 yards and scored two TDs (one rush, one catch) in that game. "We made a lot of changes up front (offensively) and were playing pretty well up front," Hamilton head coach Kent Austin said when asked about the season opener. "I think for the most part weve shored that situation up." Collaros suffered a concussion in Hamiltons second game of the season, a 28-24 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos on July 4 that forced him to miss five contests. But Collaros feels hes come a loong way since the first meeting with Saskatchewan. Roger Maris. "I think overall Ive got a better understanding (of the offence) and I know for myself I feel more comfortable," said Collaros, who will play just his third game since his return. "Im able to react a little more because Im not thinking as much . . . I think weve gotten better as a unit." Saskatchewan (8-2) has won seven straight to stand second in the West Division behind the Calgary Stampeders (9-1). Hamilton (2-7) is third in the East Division, just two points behind the Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes. A second-place finish is imperative in the East as its very likely the fourth-place finisher in the West will cross over and secure the third and final Eastern playoff spot. Hamilton surrendered 31 second-half points last weekend en route to a 38-31 road loss in Montreal. Austin said time of possession will be key against the Roughriders. "Theyre going to try to control the line of scrimmage," said Austin. "Get our offence off the field and then try to wear you down with their offence . . . Its not just their offence running the football effectively (that wears down a team). "Its their defence getting offences off the field so theres fewer possessions. What happens is your defence gets worn out over the course of the game and it starts to show up later in the game. So weve got to do a good job offensively of staying on the football field." With Durant injured the Riders signed Keith Price, a former University of Washington star who was released by the NFLs Seattle Seahawks. The football community in Hamilton is mourning the loss of Paul Weiler, who served as Pigskin Pete from 1976 to 2006. He died Wednesday at the age of 80. Weiler never got to see the Ticats play at their new stadium but missed only one game during his tenure leading the Ticats faithful into their traditional "Oskee-Wee-Wee" chant. Note to readers: This is a corrected version of an earlier story. The Roughriders will play the Tiger-Cats on Sunday afternoon, not Saturday night as previously stated. ' ' '