US beats Russia in Sochi Paralympics hockey final

ROB HARRIS AP Sports Writer Published:

SOCHI, Russia -- Lining up on the Sochi ice to receive their gold medals, the American ice sledge hockey team anticipated abuse from the Russian crowd.

It never came. Just cheers and applause.

However serious the Ukraine-related tensions between the U.S. and Russia are in the backdrop of these Winter Paralympics, they weren't evident in the Shayba Arena on Saturday.

Not even after Russia was denied the ice sledge hockey gold in the final by the Americans, who sent no official delegation to Sochi in a protest against Moscow's takeover of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.

"When they announced us as the gold medal I was really surprised that the crowd cheered," U.S. forward Josh Sweeney said.

It was Sweeney's goal in the second period that retained the Paralympic title for the U.S., ensuring it was "The Star-Spangled Banner" playing later in the near-7,000 capacity arena as the team embraced on the ice.

"We all came together and trusted each other, and that's what got it done at the end," defenseman Taylor Chase said.

The U.S. match-winning moment came in the 25th minute after Sweeney intercepted a mistake by defenseman Alexei Lysov. The former U.S. Marine swept forward before raising the puck past goaltender Vladimir Kamantcev.

"I got it from that defender and I was a little surprised to be able to have a breakaway in the gold medal match," Sweeney said. "I just got fortunate."

It briefly silenced the home crowd's chants just days after they were celebrating a preliminary round victory over the U.S.

Sweeney's team succeeded where the U.S. men fell short in the Sochi Olympics last month. The men didn't make the podium, although the women's team was second.

• Hockey

Wings recall Tootoo: The Detroit Red Wings have recalled right wing Jordin Tootoo from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL.

The team announced the move Saturday.

Tootoo has played 10 games with Detroit this season. He's played 38 with the Griffins, scoring four goals with 10 assists for the AHL team.

Jackets making moves: The Columbus Blue Jackets activated defenseman Fedor Tyutin off injured reserve Friday and reassigned defenseman Cody Goloubef to their American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Mass.

The club also signed its third first-round pick from last year's draft, forward Marko Dano.

Tyutin has missed the last nine games with an ankle injury which occurred while playing for Russia at the Olympics.

• Basketball

Pistons star injured: Detroit center Andre Drummond left the Pistons' game Saturday night against Indiana because of a neck injury.

Drummond fell to the ground with 6:32 remaining in the first quarter, after he appeared to be hit in the head inadvertently by Roy Hibbert of the Pacers during a scramble near the basket.

Drummond entered the game averaging 13.3 points and 12.9 rebounds on the season. He was shooting 62 percent from the field.

Akron ladies to Big Dance: Rachel Tecca scored 30 points and dominated inside, leading Akron to the NCAA tournament for the first time with a 79-68 win over Ball State in the Mid-American Conference championship Saturday.

Tecca, who scored 20 in the first half, added 12 rebounds for the third-seeded Zips (23-9), who started the season 4-4 but have won 16 of 17 and will enter the NCAAs as one of the nation's hottest teams.

Purdue starter to transfer: Purdue starting point guard Ronnie Johnson has decided to transfer.

The 6-foot Indianapolis native appeared in 66 games, starting 59. He averaged 10.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in his two-year career. This past season, Johnson averaged 10.8 points, shot 41.8 percent from the field and 30.4 percent on 3-pointers. Johnson's older brother, Terone, was a senior this season and is graduating.

Hartman out for IU: Indiana forward Colin Hartman injured his right knee during a workout Saturday and is out indefinitely.

Hartman has played sparingly this season. The Indianapolis native has appeared in just 16 games, averaging 4.5 minutes, 0.7 points and 0.9 rebounds.

• Elsewhere

Boston prospect arrested: Boston Red Sox minor league catcher Jon Denney has been arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license.

A report issued by the Lee County Sheriff's Office says Denney, who was arrested Thursday at 4:06 a.m., "became belligerent" and began to curse at officers. The 19-year-old Denney faces a March 31 trial date.

Langer keeps lead: Bernhard Langer maintained a two-stroke lead Saturday in the Champions Tour's Toshiba Classic, making four birdies in a late five-hole stretch for a 5-under 66.

Langer, the 2008 winner, had a 13-under 129 total at Newport Beach Country Club. The 56-year-old German won the season-opening event in Hawaii in January for his 19th victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Federer reaches final: Roger Federer beat Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-3, 6-1 on Saturday to reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open, a title the former top-ranked player has won four times.

Federer was coolly efficient on a hot day in the desert, firing seven aces and connecting on 72 percent of his first serves in the match that lasted barely an hour.

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