LAKE LOUISE, Alta. - Tina Mazes gamble paid off handsomely. The Slovenian won the season-opening womens World Cup downhill Friday at the Lake Louise Ski Resort.The Olympic gold medallist in both downhill and giant slalom this year was fastest in the second training run. She decided to skip the third and final training session Thursday.Its a risky decision to make, Maze said. I was really nervous, I must say.It was a long, long day yesterday and today to start. Waiting is sometimes tough. I think it was a good decision and Im ready for the next two races.Another downhill is scheduled for Saturday with a super-G to follow Sunday.Maze claimed her 25th career World Cup victory Friday and her second this season to take the early lead in the overall standings. The 31-year-old also won a slalom last month in Levi, Finland.Her victory Friday was her first in Lake Louise.I came here with this wish to win once in Lake Louise, Maze said.Her time Friday was one minute 50.98 seconds in falling snow over the 3,097-metre course. Runner-up Anna Fenninger of Austria was almost half a second back in 1:51.43 while Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was third in 1:51.52.U.S. ski star Lindsey Vonn was eighth in her first race in almost a year. The woman with 14 career wins in Lake Louise has undergone two knee surgeries in as many years. Vonn had been hoping for a top-five result Friday.I think Im ready to go faster now, Vonn said. For the first day back, I think it was a very solid result and Im definitely happy with it. Every race Im going to build more and more confidence.Although they were held off the podium Friday, the U.S. put four skiers in the top 10. Edmonton-born Laurenne Ross was fourth, Julia Mancuso finished seventh and Stacey Cook placed ninth.Last year was so rough for us that it really couldnt get a whole lot worse, so were excited to have a little more confidence than we had at the beginning of last season, Ross said.It feels good to know we can compete with the top girls, so I have a feeling this season is going to be a lot more positive for us.Larisa Yurkiw of Owen Sound, Ont., was the lone Canadian entrant and finished 22nd. She hadnt cracked the top 30 in training.I had a lot of work to do after the training runs, she said. They were not where Id hoped they would be. Coming into the race, I knew I had to make some big gains.I have to use my mature side and know that today was good, but Im still striving for that podium throughout this season.Yurkiw underwent a pair of off-season knee surgeries, which delayed her return to snow in the fall.Im a little low on mileage so I think my reactions are not quite there yet, she said.Maze tied for first with Dominique Gisin of Switzerland in the womens Olympic downhill and also won giant slalom gold in Sochi, Russia.Maze captured the overall womens World Cup title in 2013 for her results across all four disciplines of downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom. Winning each race, no matter where you are is really important, but as it is the first downhill ... its pretty amazing for me to be able to win here and to find right away this sliding feeling in downhill as Ive been in slalom and GS, Maze said.Fenninger was quickest in the third and final training run. While shes finished as high as second in super-G in Lake Louise, a silver medal in downhill was her best result at the ski resort west of Calgary.Its a pretty good start, the Austrian said. My run was good and Im happy.The first two days (of training) I had some problems with my boots and I did some tests. It was pretty important to be fast in the last (training).Weirather was second in a downhill and in super-G last year in Lake Louise. After three sunny days of training, she found the reduced visibility for Fridays race challenging.It wasnt easy because it snowed in the night, Weirather said. It was kind of aggressive so you felt a little sketchy. Your skis were always holding on and you couldnt see that much. It was tougher than the training runs.After winning the mens downhill and super-G in Lake Louise last weekend, Kjetil Jansrud of Norway kept his streak alive by capturing Fridays downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo. 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Louis Cardinals for the National League Wild Card, are in the drivers seat as they open the final series of the regular season, but they face a large task in the form of the Philadelphia Phillies.TAMPA, Fla. -- When the Tampa Bay Lightning defence left Dale Weise alone in front of the net for his Game 1 overtime winner, it was clear they didnt know he was once considered an offensive superstar. In the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens forward is a fourth-line grinder, but in a previous job he was no stranger to scoring goals. During last years lockout, Weise had 22 goals and 26 assists in 19 games for the Tilburg Trappers in the Netherlands. "Has anybody scored at that clip anywhere?" Weise said, leading to answers like Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky. "Yeah, thats about it." Weise was the only NHL player to ever appear in the Eredivisie, the countrys top hockey league, earning the nickname "Dutch Gretzky" back in North America. That made the 25-year-old a star in the Netherlands, with people lining up for his autograph and Weise being unable to go to the grocery store without drawing attention. "It was awesome," Weise said Friday. "It meant a lot that I made that big of an impact on people in such a short time. "I gained as much from them as they did from me. There were great people there." Weises experience in the Netherlands mightve prepared him for some of the spotlight he got for being the playoff overtime hero. But he got a new cell number a couple of months ago so the onslaught of text messages wasnt as substantial as it mightve been. The goal itself was something Weise had scored countless times before, just fooling around in practice. In doing it for real, the Winnipeg native channelled a Hockey Hall of Famer. "I knew I was wide open and I saw it coming to me and my eyes got real big," Weise said. "I knew I wasnt going to miss frrom there.dddddddddddd "I got down on one leg, the old Brett Hull, and I just ripped it." Fans in Tilburg saw it plenty of times, too. Weise was a fan favourite there, in part because of his dominant play but also because he became part of the community. "The way it works is a lot of guys on the team had jobs in the morning, so they would go do that and then wed practise in the afternoon," Weise recalled. "I had nothing to do, so they had a lot of childrens camps, so I pretty much went there every day. "My wife would go to the gym and it was right by the rink so Id just go and hang out with the kids. It was awesome. They loved it. It was a great experience." Life in the NHL is much different. Hockey for most players in the Netherlands was a hobby, he said, while this is the biggest stage. Weise, who grew up a Montreal fan and "probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway," said he didnt take any time consider his place in franchise history. "I went home and kind of forget about it," he said. Itll take some time to forget about Weise, even as the series progresses through Game 2 on Friday night and beyond. But whats most memorable for him is not just one goal but how getting traded from the Vancouver Canucks to Montreal gave him another opportunity. "I just feel like my career got rejuvenated," he said. "The coaches here believe in me, theyve had nothing but good things to say about me and look at the amount we were playing in overtime. "Its a coach that has some trust in me and that just instills confidence in me. I just feel like every game I play with this team I continue to build confidence and get better." ' ' '