Colin Blackwell, of North Andover, and Conor Garland, of Scituate, scored two goals apiece Thursday, and the United States beat Slovakia, 6-1, to advance to the semifinal showdown with Canada in hockey’s world championship in Riga, Latvia. The Canadians, who lost their first three games in the tournament, stunned Russia, 2-1, on an overtime goal by Andrew Mangiapane. The other semifinal Saturday will pair defending champion Finland and Germany, which stunned Switzerland, 3-2, in a shootout. Finland defeated the Czech Republic, 1-0. US captain Brian Boyle, a former Boston College standout and NHL veteran from Hingham, and Sasha Chmelevski also scored and former LA Kings goalie Cal Peterson made 27 saves for the Americans, who won their seventh straight game in the tournament. The US, which was the top seed coming out of the preliminary round, got first-period goals from Boyle, Blackwell of the New York Rangers and Garland of the Arizona Coyotes, and was on its way. Peter Cehlarik put Slovakia on the board in the second period, but Blackwell scored his second goal of the game later in the period. Chmelevski and Garland closed the scoring in the third against goaltender Adam Huska, who faced 33 shots.
Hall of Fame to host three-on-three national championship
USA Basketball announced the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield will host the 3x3 nationals for men and women this month. “There isn’t a more fitting location,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball chief executive officer. Three-on-three games will be played on the Hall of Fame’s Jerry Colangelo Court of Dreams starting June 12. Teams will be seeded based on preliminary records, and knockout rounds will begin June 13. For the first time, 3x3 basketball will be featured in the Olympics in Tokyo this summer. The Springfield event will serve as the final evaluation of athletes for selection to the US women’s 3x3 Olympic team. WNBA standouts Skylar Diggins, Bria Hartley, Chiney Ogwumike, and Alyssa Thomas won the inaugural USA Basketball women’s 3x3 national championship. The US men won’t have a team at the Olympics, as they were eliminated from a qualifying tournament by the Netherlands Sunday.
James Madison softball upsets top-seeded Oklahoma at CWS
The James Madison softball team (40-2), making its first appearance in the NCAA Women’s College World Series, delivered one of the greatest upsets in the event’s 29-year history with a 4-3, extra-inning win against top-seeded Oklahoma (50-2) in the opener of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament in Oklahoma City. JMU redshirt senior pitcher Odicci Alexander improved to 17-1 (1.23 ERA) by limiting the Sooners’ prolific offense, which averaged more than 11 runs per game entering the tournament, to three runs on six hits while striking out nine over eight innings, while fellow senior Kate Gordon provided the go-ahead homer in the eighth. “That was fight, that was grit, that was heart, that was passion,” Alexander said during an on-field interview after getting Oklahoma cleanup hitter Jayda Coleman to fly out to left field for the final out . . . The Big East Conference eliminated its intraconference transfer policy, allowing athletes to transfer within the conference without losing a year of eligibility. The decision was made by the league’s board of directors and takes effect immediately and follows similar moves made by the ACC, Pac 12 and Big 12 conferences.
FI champion Lewis Hamilton offers support for Naomi Osaka
Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton called for more support for young athletes dealing with media duties after four-time Grand Slam champion tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew Monday from the French Open citing her mental health. Speaking ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Hamilton was critical of the French Open organizers. “The way they reacted was not good with the fine and someone talking about their personal mental health and then being fined for it, that wasn’t cool. I think they could have definitely handled it better, I’m sure. I hope they will take a deep dive into it and find a better way to navigate in the future,” Hamilton said . . . Detroit Lions defensive tackle Jashon Cornell was suspended by the NFL for the first three games of the season for violating the league’s policy and program on substances of abuse. Cornell, the 2020 seventh-round pick from Ohio State, can play in preseason games and participate in practices before the season but won’t be eligible to be on the roster until Sept. 27 . . . The Buffalo Bills agreed to sign first-round draft pick Greg Rousseau, 21, an edge rusher from the University of Miami, to a four-year contract . . . NFL running back Mark Ingram II, 31, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, has purchased a small stake in D.C. United, two people close to the deal said. A formal announcement is expected Friday.