December 20 - On the penultimate day of action at the 26th Winter Universiade here, Canada's women's ice hockey team claimed their third consecutive title with an emphatic victory over Russia.
The Canadians came into the tournament as favourite to retain the title they won at Harbin 2009 and Erzurum 2011 and they duly delivered.
The Maple Leafs put on a superb showing rattling five unanswered goals past the Russians with Jenna Marie Smith grabbing two to add to Jessica Pinkerton's opening strike in the first period.
Canadian dominance was further enhanced by strikes from Katia Clement-Heydra and Laura Brooker to send the vociferous and sizeable red and white clad supports inside the arena into raptures.
"It was a great match for our nation and we are proud to win the Winter Universiade title for the third time in a row," said victorious Canadian captain, Kim Deschenes.
"I will party all night long with my team-mates.
"During these two weeks, they have made this adventure an unforgettable experience.
"I hope to return again to Trentino in the future, it is such a beautiful region."
In the women's bronze match earlier in the day, the United States saw off the challenge of Japan 3-1.
Canada has the chance to do the hockey double tomorrow after the men overcame Russia in their semi-final but it was a much closer 2-1 affair.
They will face Kazakhstan, who surprisingly beat the United States 5-1 in the other semi-final.
Meanwhile, on the ice in Baselga di Pine, the curling finals were decided and it was joy for Sweden and Russia.
Sweden took the men's crown following a 9-5 win over Great Britain with the team of Markus Eriksson, Oskar Eriksson, Kristian Lindstroem and Christoffer Sundgren picking up the gold medal after only one defeat throughout the tournament.
The British team of Cameron Smith, Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead and Kyle Waddell had to be content with the silver prize.
"I would like to dedicate this gold medal to Sweden and to the supporters who came to cheer for us today at this ice rink," said Eriksson, the skip.
"We are a young team who is trying to gain some experience at international level.
"This is our first victory in a high-level tournament and we hope to continue in this direction, but in the meantime we would like to really enjoy this fantastic gold medal."
Prior to the men's final, Russia's much fancied women's team delivered on high expectations by clinching the gold medal 8-4 against South Korea to end the tournament with 11 wins from 11 matches.
Margarita Fomina, Ekaterina Galkina, Viktoriia Moiseeva, Alexandra Saitova and Anna Sidorova are widely tipped to form the backbone of the Russian squad at Sochi 2014.
"This is a great result, a [much-awaited] medal, but always hard to get," said the team's skip Fomina.
"We played well every game and at the end we won.
"Now we hope to do well at the Olympics in Sochi, but this Winter Universiade was an important opportunity to grow and reinforce our team spirit.
"This has been a great event; we could meet many other athletes from different nations, cultures and languages."
South Korea and China continue to rack up the medals in short track speed skating as two more individual golds went their way today.
South Koreans Noh Jinkyu and Um Cheon-Ho battled it out for top spot in the men's 1,000 metres with Jinkyu eventually taking the gold ahead of his compatriot while third place went to Canadian Guillaume Bastille.
Guo Yihan took China's third women's short track gold in the women's event as she powered her way to an impressive victory over South Korea's Lee Eun-Byul and compatriot Tao Jiaying who took the minor medals.
In the short track relay events, once again it was South Korea taking the glory, this time through Hwang Hyunsun, Lee Eunbyul, Lee Soyoun and Song Jaewon in the women's 3,000m race, finishing ahead of Russia and Hungary.
The Magyars were not to be denied in the men's 5,000m race after they secured the gold medal in fine style, as the team of Bence Beres, Csaba Burjan, Viktor Knoch and Bence Olah overcame Canada and Russia.
Away from the ice, Lago di Tesero witnessed victories for the Ukraine's Dmytro Pidruchnyi in the men's 15 kilometre biathlon mass start race, while the women's 12.5km title went to the Czech Republic's Jitka Landova.
Russia's Oxana Usatova also triumphed as she took her second cross-country gold medal of the Games, finishing ahead of Norwegian duo Marte Monrad-Hansen and Astrid Oeyre Slind in the women's 15km competition.
In Predazzo, 19-year-old Krzysztof Biegun of Poland was crowned the champion in the HS 134 men's ski jumping competition while Serbian Nevena Ignjatovic took the women's giant slalom gold medal ahead of Switzerland's Margaux Givel of Switzerland and the Czech Republic's Martina Dubovska.
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