Ivanie Blondin claims speed skating title

A World Cup triumph caps this year’s speed-skating season for Ivanie Blondin. The 24-year-old Orléans member of Canada’s speed-skating team rushed to a first-class podium finish in the World Cup finals for overall performance in the mass- start event, March 22, in Erfurt, Germany.

Blondin finished the last race of the sea- son for the 3000-metre long track with eighth in themass-start. But it locked up theWorld Cup title for her when her overall season performance in the discipline was factored in. During later sports media interviews, she expressed satisfaction with her season’s efforts with just the one regret. “I would have preferred to have a real competition with Irene Schouten (Nether- lands), but it didn’t happen because of her fall, which happened right in front of me,” Blondin toldmedia. “After that, I toldmyself that I just needed to stay on my skates and not take any chances. I was going for the season title and I did it. I even was part of the last sprint at the end. I’m quite happy about the results.” Blondin was 10 points ahead of Schouten in the long-track season totals when the last

race began. She picked up another 36 points with her final efforts, giving her a season-end total of 466 points to secure the season title in her event. Schouten’s tumble during the last mass-start race in Germany pushed her back to a 16 th place finish in the race itself and 12 points for a season-end 2 nd place total of 432. Martina Sábliková of the Czech Republic was third overall with 405 points. Blondin finishes the long-track speed skating season with six medals for Canada, about a third of the national team’s medal collection for the 2014-2015 year. For Blon- din, that includes two gold, three silver, and a bronze. She noted that it’s been the best season for her with several trips to the podium. It’s also been an excellent speed skating season for Canada with four more medals by the national team compared to the 2013-2014 season.

Benoît Pouliot looks back at NHL highlights

His team may not make it to the Stanley Cup finals, but Benoît Pouliot is far from disappointed with his current season in the NHL. His family and friends back in Alfred can attest that Pouliot is doing okay in his pro- fessional hockey career. During a recent interviewwith sports media, the Edmonton Oilers’ forward noted that he’s feeling very good about his game despite the fact that his teamhas had a disastrous run in the league this season, finishing around 28 th -place in the standings prior to the playoffs. Pouliot has scored 16 goals for the Oilers this season out of 46 games when he’s gotten onto the ice.That’s one goal better thanwhat the right winger did during the 80 games he played with the New York Rangers in the previous season when that team was the Eastern Conference champion. Pouliot’s Oilers goal total is also just one shy of his personal best back in 2010. The Alfred nativemight have even scored himself a new career goal-shooting high this season with the Oilers if he hadn’t gotten sidelined on a number of games because of foot injuries. Now that he’s off the injury list, he’s thinking he may do better next season, with a little help from his teammates. Vilardi named player of the year Gabriel Vilardi is the Ontario East Minor Hockey League Player of the Year. Vilardi played this sea- son for the Canadian International Hockey Aca- demy’s (CIHA) Minor Midget team in the OEMHL. Standing six-foot-one, the 15-year-old centre from Kingston is seen as a potential “high pick” candidate in this spring’s Ontario Hockey League (OHL) spring draft. Vilardi was among seven players from across Ontario listed for player-of- the-year award nominations announced by the OHL. During 21 games over the 2014-2015 season, Vilardi scored 18 goals and achieved a 39-point total. He also scored five goals and earned himself 12 points during six games as a member of Ontario’s gold-medal-winning team at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C. – Gregg Chamberlain RUSC soccer draft The Rockland United Soccer Club (RUSC) is looking to expand its adult house league this season. The club is opened to signups for players from outside of the Clarence-Rockland area if they can make the drive to Cheney for the regular season of scheduled games. Interested soccer players for the RUSC adult house league must be at least 18 years and able to play Tuesday eve- nings at Parc Cheney off of Russell Road in the village of Cheney. Online registration at www.rusc- The RUSC will provide team pinnies for matches. – Gregg Chamberlain

Ivanie Blondin celebrates a personal-best season on the international speed-skating scene.

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