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Canadian Gagnon triumphs in World Cup super combined

Marie-Michele Gagnon ended a 30-year drought for Canadian women in World Cup combined events by winning a super-combined competition Sunday in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria.

Gagnon was 1.37 seconds off the lead in 16th place after the super-giant slalom but went ahead of the field after posting the second-fastest time in the slalom segment.

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“It’s really exciting, a magical moment,” said the 24-year-old Gagnon, who wasn’t born when Gerry Sorensen won in France in 1984 for the previous World Cup combined victory by a Canadian woman.

Gagnon finished in an overall 2 minutes, 5.55 seconds to beat second-place Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria by 0.32 seconds. German Maria Hoefl-Riesch, the Olympic and world super-combined champion, finished third and Austrian Nicole Hosp, who led the competition after the Super-G phase, placed fourth.

“I just tried to do my best and it looks like the pieces of the puzzle have come together,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon had a disappointing 2012-13 season.

“I was trying too hard,” she said. “This year, I just try my best. I know I have done all the work in training.”

Hoefl-Riesch regained the lead in the overall World Cup standings one day after she lost it to Austrian Anna Fenninger in Saturday’s downhill. Hoefl-Riesch has 731 points and Fenninger, who was eighth in the super combined, is second with 709.

Hirscher captures men’s slalom

Marcel Hirscher won a World Cup slalom in Adelboden, Switzerland, to take the lead in the overall and discipline standings.

Austrian Hirscher, the two-time defending overall World Cup champion, had a two-run time of 1 minute, 49.75 seconds. He beat second-place Andre Myhrer of Sweden by 0.29 seconds.

With 100 race points for the victory, Hirscher leads second-place Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway by 23 points in the overall standings. Svindal is a speed specialist who typically skips slalom races.

Hirscher, 24, has 22 career World Cup victories, including 12 in slalom.

Takanashi’s stock is soaring

Japanese teenager Sara Takanashi won her second consecutive women’s ski jump World Cup event in Sapporo, Japan, continuing her dominance ahead of the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Takanashi, 17, also won Saturday’s event in Sapporo and is expected to be favored to win the gold medal when women’s ski jumping makes its Olympic debut next month in Sochi. She has won six of seven World Cup events this season.


Winnipeg Jets fire coach Noel

Claude Noel has been fired as coach by the Winnipeg Jets and replaced by Paul Maurice.

Noel, 58, was fired amid a five-game losing streak that dropped the Jets to 19-23-5 and 10 points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Noel, hired after the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg before the 2011-12 season, went 80-79-18 with the Jets.

“All of us should be embarrassed that we’re at the point we have to change the coach,” Jets forward Olli Jokinen said.

Maurice, 46, has a record of 460-457-167 in 14 seasons as an NHL coach and guided the Carolina Hurricanes to the playoffs four times.

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, asked if he did enough to give Noel a realistic chance to succeed, replied, “If I’m being honest, I would say no.”

Jets assistant coach Perry Pearn also was fired.

Ducks shut out Red Wings

Andrew Cogliano scored a second-period goal and Jonas Hiller made 22 saves as the Anaheim Ducks beat the visiting Detroit Red Wings 1-0.

The league-leading Ducks have won 17 of their last 18 games. They improved to 19-0-2 at home.

Hiller has 14 consecutive victories, tying for second on the all-time list for a season. The record of 17 was set by Boston’s Gilles Gilbert in the 1975-76 season.


Manchester City leads league

Manchester City took the lead in the English Premier League with a 2-0 victory at Newcastle, extending its unbeaten streak in all competitions to 15 matches.

After 21 matches, Manchester City has 47 points for a one-point lead over Chelsea. Arsenal, which plays at Aston Villa on Monday, has 45 points after 20 matches and would move into first place with a victory.


• Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, 47, has accepted a similar position on coach Bobby Petrino’s football staff at Louisville. Grantham was earning $850,000 per year at Georgia. ESPN reported he will make $1 million per year in his five-year deal with Louisville.

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