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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: U.S. women's hockey team takes tough loss to Canada

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SOCHI, Russia - The Canadian women's hockey team won its 18th straight game in the Olympics, beating the United States 3-2 this morning.  

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Former University of Wisconsin player Hilary Knight along with Anne Schleper scored the only goals for the Americans.  Former Wisconsin goal-tender Jessie Vetter had 28 saves.  Ex-Badger Brianna Decker had an assist, as the U.S. ended its preliminary round at 2-1 while the Canadians remained perfect at 3-0.  Former Wisconsin star Meaghan Mikkelson-Reid did not figure in the scoring for her native Canada.  The same was true for Madison area native Amanda Kessel and ex-Badger Meghan Duggan.  The U.S. women will be off until Monday, when they play in the semi-finals as the Number-two seed in the medal round.  They'll find out their opponent after the quarter-finals on Saturday.  

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Shani Davis lost his chance at Olympic history this morning, when he finished a surprising eighth in the one-thousand meter speed-skating event.  The 31-year-old Davis was trying to become the first male speed-skater to win gold in the same event in three straight Olympics.  Instead, it was Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands who won the thousand-meters in a new track-record time of one-minute eight-and-39-hundredths seconds.  Davis came in at 1:09.12.  Brian Hansen of the U.S. was right behind in ninth at 1:09.21.  Both Davis and Hansen spend a lot of time in Milwaukee, as they train at the Pettit National Ice Center.  Davis had owned the one-thousand, winning in both 2006 at Torino and 2010 at Vancouver.  Davis was the top American finisher, in a race in which the U.S. was expected to shine.  Both he and Hansen hope to redeem themselves in the 1500-meter on Saturday.

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The U.S. Olympic women's curling rink is now 0-4, after losing to China this morning 7-4.  Both Wisconsin players were above-average with their accuracy.  Erika Brown of Madison had a 79-percent rate, raising her total average for the Sochi Games to 66-percent.  Debbie McCormick of Rio had a 76-percent accuracy rate against the Chinese.  She raised her overall rate for these Olympics to 70-percent.  UW-Oshkosh grad Allison Pottinger has not seen any action as the U.S. alternate.  The Americans will continue round-robin play tomorrow against Japan.

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University of Wisconsin men's hockey goal-tender Joel Rumpel was named the Big Ten's First Star-of-the-Week for his performance against Minnesota.  The senior pushed aside 59 shots in a pair of 2-to-1 Wisconsin upsets over the Gophers -- who later dropped from Number-One to Number-two in the U.S. College Online poll.  Rumpel had 31 saves in Thursday night's home victory, and 28 on Friday, as the Badgers moved back into the Top-10 with a Number-eight ranking.  Rumpel now leads the Big Ten with a .794 winning percentage, a one-point-nine goals-against average, and a .933 save percentage for the season.  Penn State goal-tender Matthew Skoff was named the Big Ten's Second-Star for the week, and Michigan State forward Greg Wolfe was the Third-Star.
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Former Milwaukee Braves-and-Brewers' legend Hank Aaron will be honored on April 8th in Atlanta.  The Braves will hold a pre-game ceremony on the 40th anniversary of "Hammerin' Hank's" 715th career home run -- a Major League record that was later eclipsed by Barry Bonds.  Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run mark on April 8th of 1974 at the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, eight years after the team moved from Milwaukee to Georgia.  Aaron finished his career with 755 blasts, playing his final two seasons back in Milwaukee with the Brewers.  The Braves' players will wear a commemorative patch on their right sleeves throughout the season.  It will be shaped like home plate with the number 715, an anniversary banner, and Aaron's autograph.  Last summer, the Brewers gave fans a bobble-head which honored the 50th anniversary of Aaron's 1963 season with the Milwaukee Braves.  He belted 44 homers that year with 130 RBI's, a .319 batting average, a .977 on-base plus slugging percentage, and 31 stolen bases.  Aaron celebrated his 80th birthday last Wednesday.

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