Canadian women's pursuit team wins World Cup gold in Calgary
Canada's Connor Howe claims silver in men's 1,500 metres for 1st World Cup medal
Canada won gold in the women's team pursuit Saturday at the Olympic Oval while Connor Howe won his first individual long-track World Cup speed skating medal by taking silver in the men's 1,500 metres.
Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann, both from Ottawa, and Valerie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., finished first in a Canadian record time of two minutes 52.06 seconds.
"It's always exciting to do it at home," Weidemann said. "We were a little bit nervous to do it in front of the home crowd, but I'm really, really proud of these girls.
"We executed really well today and I think that's why we came away with the win."
It was the third straight World Cup team pursuit gold for the Canadian women. Japan finished second in 2:52.89 and China was well back in third in 2:58.42.
"It's comforting to have each other's backs going into the race," Blondin said. "I was more excited than anything and I knew what this team was capable of obviously. I also think we're capable of more.
"Every time we just get better and better and today was such a great race and it's just so satisfying."
Maltais added that they have a tremendous amount of confidence in each other, which is why they're having so much success.
"I would say that was definitely our most clean race today," she said. "That was the main focus. I think we kept it pretty simple. We knew how to skate together."
Earlier in the day, Howe, from nearby Canmore, Alta., finished second behind American Joey Mantia in a personal-best time of 1:42.42.
"It was really exciting, especially being the home rink," said Howe, who had his parents and some friends in the stands cheering him on. "It was a little bit more familiar and I'm confident here, so that helps here for sure."
The result moved Howe to third spot in the World Cup rankings to pre-qualify him to compete for Canada at the distance for the Beijing Olympics in February.
Howe led entering the last lap but lost some time and settled for second as Mantia took gold in 1:41.86.
"Sometimes on home ice, people can pop one off so I was a little nervous, but I came away with the gold so it was nice," said Mantia, who leads the World Cup standings ahead of China's Zhongyan Ning.
Norway's Allan Dahl Johansson won bronze in 1:43.27.
Angelina Golikova of Russia won gold in the women's 500 with a personal-best time of 36.66 seconds. Japan's Nao Kodaira was second in 36.76 and American Erin Jackson took bronze in 36.92.
Calgary's Kaylin Irvine was 16th and Winnipeg's Heather McLean was 17th. Golikova won bronze in the 500 a day earlier.
Kodaira wins women's 1,000; Maltais top Canadian
In the women's 1,000, Nao Kodaira of Japan won in 1:12.51 ahead of American Brittany Bowe (1:12.54) and Russia's Olga Fatkulina (1:13.15). Maltais was the top Canadian in 18th.
Dutch skater Albertus Hoolwerf won the men's mass start in 7:38.88. Belgium's Bart Swings was second (7:46.36) and Felix Rijhnen of Germany was third (7:46.49).
Jordan Belchos of Toronto was seventh and Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que., was eighth.
The three-day ISU event wraps up Sunday.
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