South Portland’s Gillies backstops U.S. to victory in first round of junior title tourney

South Portland native and Providence College goaltender Jon Gillies stopped 23 shots to help the United States open its world junior title defense with a 5-1 victory over the Czech Republic on Thursday in Malmo, Sweden.

In the other Group A game, Canada blitzed Germany, 7-2.

The U.S. will play Slovakia on Saturday, Germany on Sunday, and finish group play Tuesday against Canada.

In Group B, Sweden beat Switzerland 5-3 and Russia routed Norway, 11-0.


MUBADALA CHAMPIONSHIP: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray lost his comeback match from a three-month injury layoff in the opening round, losing 7-5, 6-3 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 1:12 at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Tsonga will meet Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the exhibition event Friday, and Rafael Nadal will take on a Spanish compatriot, David Ferrer, in the other semifinal.


FOOTBALL: Michigan State suspended senior Max Bullough, a third-team All-America linebacker, for unspecified violations of team rules,.

Bullough will be ineligible to play in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 against Stanford at Pasadena, Calif.


PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal is back on top of the league with the season about to reach its halfway point as Coach Arsene Wenger looks to win the trophy for the first time in a decade.

Liverpool’s stay atop the standings lasted less than a week. Arsenal came from behind to win 3-1 at West Ham behind Theo Walcott’s two goals, and Liverpool was beaten 2-1 at Manchester City.


BLAIR DIES: Paul Blair, the eight-time Gold Glove center fielder who helped the Baltimore Orioles win World Series titles in 1966 and 1970, died in a Baltimore hospital. He was 69.

Blair was with the Orioles from 1964-76. He then played for the New York Yankees, winning World Series in 1977 and 1978, and the Cincinnati Reds.


BOYS’ HOCKEY: Brandon Peters scored a hat trick and Isac Nordstrom added two goals as Falmouth defeated visiting Biddeford, 6-3.

Peters scored the first two of Falmouth’s three first-period goals, and got the winner short-handed 3:19 into the third when the Yachtsmen (4-2) scored three more.

Nordstrom scored an unassisted short-handed goal and a power-play goal in the third, while Brandon Boehm scored in the first period.

Kerry Crepeau, Nick Lemieux and Brady Crepeau scored for Biddeford (2-4).

– From staff and news services

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