Sports briefs – April 15

Garry Nunn scored 1:56 into overtime to lift the Vancouver Giants to a 1-0 win over the Spokane Chiefs in Game 7 of their WHL Western Conference semifinal on Tuesday.

WHL playoffs: Giants win in OT

Giants 1 Chiefs 0

VANCOUVER — Garry Nunn scored 1:56 into overtime to lift the Vancouver Giants to a 1-0 win over the Spokane Chiefs in Game 7 of their WHL Western Conference semifinal on Tuesday.

Vancouver netminder Tyson Sexsmith made 29 saves for the win, while Dustin Tokarski made 40 stops in taking the loss.

Spokane finished 0-for-3 on the power play. Vancouver was 0-for-1.

The WHL’s Western Conference final get underway Saturday with the Giants hosting the Kelowna Rockets.

Lacrosse league tournament starts Friday

The Central Lacrosse League will host the Eye Opener tournament Friday to Sunday.

Friday’s games will be played at the Collicutt Centre — starting at 6 p.m. — which along with Kin City will also be a tournament site Saturday and Sunday.

The five-division boys’ and girls’ tournament — minitykes, tykes, novice, bantam and midget — will feature players five to 16 years of age with teams from Red Deer, Olds, Ponoka, Lacombe, Blackfalds, Innisfail, Hobbema, Three Hills, Didsbury and Drumheller.

The tournament will also include 50/50 draws, raffles and silent auctions. Up for grabs are 8×10 photos of Red Deer Rebels players and current and former NHL players Wayne Gretzky, Curtis Glencross, Cam Ward, Dwayne Roloson and Brian Boucher, plus three autographed Calgary Flames Jerseys.

Beckett is shocked by suspension

NEW YORK — Boston right-hander Josh Beckett was stunned Tuesday after receiving a six-game suspension from Major League Baseball, which determined he intentionally threw a pitch near the head of the Los Angeles Angels’ Bobby Abreu last week.

Beckett, who immediately appealed the ruling, also was fined an undisclosed amount and cited for “aggressive actions.”

“We were pretty shocked,” Beckett said before the Red Sox’s game against the Athletics in Oakland, Calif.

Beckett insists the throw’s direction was unintentional.

U-18 hockey: Canada earns berth in semifinal

Canada 4 Sweden 2

FARGO, N.D. — Tuesday’s win was worth plenty to Canada at the world under-18 hockey championship.

Joey Hishon of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack scored twice, including the game winner, as the Canadians earned a berth in the semifinal with a 4-2 win over Sweden.

The victory cemented top spot in Pool A for Canada (4-0), while the Swedes (3-1) finished second.

Canadian head coach Mike Johnston said the victory was a significant one.

“It’s certainly important in a tournament like this,” said Johnston, who coaches the WHL’s Portland Winter Hawks.

“This gives us an extra day off, which means extra time to practise.

“You look at the other side, too, and we would have had to play Finland, the U.S. or Russia in the quarters. That’s a tough matchup for anybody.”

Byron Froese of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips had a first-period goal and Brett Connolly of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars added an empty-netter as the Canadians put together a solid effort against a star-studded Swedish team.

John McFarland of the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves added a pair of assists.

Johnston credited his players with executing the team’s game plan to perfection.

“We really did,” said Johnston.

“We had set matchups we wanted, and we got them. Our players responded — we knew the Swedes would come out strong, and we played well against them.”

Despite the spotless record, Johnston knows his team has some work to do — particularly on special teams, an area of concern for the Canadian team the past two games.

“I think the key thing is special teams,” said Johnston.

“We’re going to continue to work on that. Our power play will be better … with any new group, special teams is about building cohesion and getting in sync.”

Canada broke a scoreless deadlock late in the first period, with Froese and Hishon scoring 36 seconds apart to build a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes.

Gabriel Landeskog cut the lead in half just 3:30 into the second period, but Hishon restored the two-goal cushion a minute-and-a-half later.