Antelope Valley Press



US advances to world junior semifinals. Canada gets knocked out by Czech Republic

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Gabe Perreault scored twice and five other players had a goal as the U.S. routed Latvia 7-2 Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the IIHF world junior championsh­ip.

Perreault, the New York Rangers’ 2023 firstround pick, also had an assist as part of a dominant game by his line. Fellow 18-year-olds Will Smith, the No. 4 pick by San Jose, and Ryan Leonard, No. 8 to Washington, combined for three points.

The U.S. will next face Finland on Thursday with a spot in the gold medal game at stake.

The Americans’ victory came after tournament favorite Canada was knocked out in stunning fashion with a 3-2 quarterfin­al loss to the Czech Republic. St. Louis Blues prospect Jakub Stancl scored the go-ahead goal with 11.7 seconds left.

“It feels like the world’s ending a bit,” Canada captain Fraser Minten said. “Such an unbelievab­le opportunit­y for all of us in our careers. You never really know if you’re going to get another look representi­ng your country or playing on such a global stage.”

The Canadians carried the play for most of the final 40 minutes before Stancl fired a shot on goal in the dying seconds of regulation that deflected off the leg of Canada defenseman Oliver Bonk — the son of Czech-born former NHL forward Radek Bonk — and beat goaltender Mathis Rousseau.

“Felt like I gripped my stick a bit too tight,” said Matthew Poitras, whom the Boston Bruins loaned to Canada for the tournament. “I feel like I kind of let some of these guys down, let the country down.”

Canada had won each of the previous two world junior tournament­s and three of the past four. The only player back from the 2023 championsh­ip team, Owen Beck, said he and his teammates weren’t sure how they lost after erasing a two-goal deficit.

“Our heads are kind of just spinning right now,” Beck said. “It’s a horrible way to end things off here.”

Host Sweden beat Switzerlan­d 3-2 in overtime and will face the Czech Republic in the semifinals. Finland beat Slovakia 4-3 in OT to set up the matchup with the U.S.

NFL fines Panthers owner David Tepper $300,000 for tossing drink at Jaguars fans

The NFL has fined Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper $300,000 for tossing a drink at fans in Jacksonvil­le toward the end of a game on Sunday.

The league called Tepper’s conduct “unacceptab­le” in a statement

released Tuesday.

“All NFL personnel are expected to conduct themselves at all times in ways that respect our fans and favorably reflect on their team and the NFL,” the statement said.

Tepper’s reaction came after rookie quarterbac­k Bryce Young threw an intercepti­on with less than three minutes to play in a 26-0 loss to the Jaguars.

“I am deeply passionate about this team and regret my behavior on Sunday,” Tepper said in a statement. “I should have let NFL stadium security handle any issues that arose. I respect the NFL’s code of conduct and accept the League’s discipline for my behavior.”

It wasn’t clear whether Tepper was reacting to something said to him or another loss for the NFL’s worst team. The Panthers are 2-14 and won’t even have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft because it was traded to Chicago for the top pick used to select Young.

Littler, 16, reaches final of world darts championsh­ip in one of the sport’s most unlikely stories

Luke Littler reached the final of the world darts championsh­ip at the age of 16 on Tuesday, extending one of the most unlikely stories in the history of the sport.

Littler, an unseeded player from Runcorn in northwest England who started throwing darts as a toddler, beat 2018 champion Rob Cross 6-2 to get into Wednesday’s title match against Luke Humphries.

“I was happy winning one game but I could go all the way,” said Littler, a tournament debutant. “My target was to still be here after Christmas and now here I am in the final.”

The winner of the final will earn 500,000 pounds ($630,000) and Littler, who has already guaranteed himself 200,000 pounds ($250,000), said he’ll stick to his daily routine before the match.

“In the morning I’ll go for my ham and cheese omelette, then later a pizza and then practice on the board,” the teenager said.

Littler, the world youth champion, has made front-page headlines with his amazing run at Alexandra Palace that also included eliminatin­g multiple former world champion Raymond van Barneveld, his idol. It started on Dec. 20, when he beat Christian Kist in the first round to be the youngest player to win a match at the tournament and got serenaded with chants of “You’ve got school in the morning” by the boisterous fans.

Littler’s new-found celebrity status has led to him and his family receiving compliment­ary tickets to watch Premier League matches at Arsenal and Tottenham.

Against Cross, he lost the first set for the first time this tournament but finished with an average of more than 106.

Humphries, the No. 3 seed, beat Scott Williams 6-0 in the second semifinal match and will be competing in his first world final.

“I’m probably going to have to play the game of my life … to stand a chance tomorrow,” Humphries said of the match against Littler.

Ex-NBA G League player, former girlfriend to face charges together in woman’s killing in Vegas

LAS VEGAS — A prosecutor said Tuesday that separate murder, kidnapping and conspiracy cases will be combined so a former NBA developmen­tal league player and his ex-girlfriend can be tried together in the killing of a woman whose body was found last month in southern Nevada.

Chance Comanche, 27, a Los Angeles native who played for the Stockton Kings before his Dec. 15 arrest in Sacramento, California, made an initial court appearance Tuesday. He stood in shackles and responded, “Yes, ma’am,” to a judge’s questions about whether he understood the charges against him.

Comanche’s defense attorney, Gary Guymon, did not immediatel­y seek bail and declined to comment following the brief court appearance. But he said Comanche intends to plead not guilty during hearings to come.

Comanche’s’ former girlfriend, Sakari Harnden, 19, also is jailed in Las Vegas pending a separate hearing Wednesday on a theft charge related to the disappeara­nce and death of Marayna Rodgers, 23, of Lynnwood, Washington.

Prosecutor Kennedy Holthus told Judge Diana Sullivan on Tuesday that Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson intends to combine all the cases against Comanche and Harnden. Sullivan said Comanche will remain jailed without bail and set his next court date for Feb. 8.

Police in Las Vegas said Rodgers, a medical assistant, was strangled early Dec. 6 and her remains were later found in a roadside ditch in suburban Henderson.

Comanche, a 6-foot-10 power forward and center, was dropped following his arrest by the Stockton Kings, the NBA G League affiliate of the Sacramento Kings. He tallied 16 points and six rebounds when the team played the G League Henderson Ignite on Dec. 5.

Red Sox pay Braves $17 million for Chris Sale this year. He costs Atlanta $500,000

ATLANTA — The Boston Red Sox will pay the Braves $17 million in equal installmen­ts of $8.5 million on April 1 and July 1 as part of last weekend’s trade that sent left-hander Chris Sale to Atlanta.

Sale’s cost to Atlanta this year in effect will be $500,000. The 34-year-old has a $27.5 million salary, but that includes $10 million deferred until June 30, 2039.

Sale is entering the final guaranteed season of a $160 million, six-year contract he signed with the Red Sox.

Infielder Vaughn Grissom was sent to Boston as part of the trade announced Saturday.

Acquired by Boston from the Chicago White Sox in December 2016, Sale made nine trips to the disabled and injured lists with the Red Sox, mostly due to shoulder and elbow ailments. He had Tommy John surgery on March 30, 2020, and returned to a big league mound on Aug. 14, 2021.

He was 6-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 20 starts and 102 2/3 innings last season.

Chicago Bulls hopeful injured guard Zach LaVine can return to the lineup on Friday

PHILADELPH­IA — Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine could return to the lineup as early as Friday’s game against Charlotte if there are no setbacks in his recovery from a sore right foot.

LaVine has not played since Nov. 28 and is testing out his foot this week in a rehab stint with the G League’s Windy City Bulls. A two-time All-Star, LaVine averaged 21 points in 18 games this season. The Bulls entered Tuesday’s game in Philadelph­ia with a 10-5 record this season without LaVine — they were just 15-19 overall.

Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Tuesday he was encouraged by LaVine’s health reports following two days of practice with Windy City. LaVine was scheduled to practice at least one more time this week with the G League team.

“The part that we’re most concerned about is when he started having to do all that cutting, how he responded,” Donovan said. “He responded well. So now we’ve gotten through that and now he’s ramping up. I just don’t know from the medical staff how many days they want to see him because he’s been out (17) games. What do they feel is an adequate enough time for him to get his legs back under him? Do they feel that he’s got at least enough physical contact that they would feel comfortabl­e with him going back into playing?”

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