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Mitch's Sports Report: Back-Up Khudobin Shines In Bruins Win; UVM Falls To Gamecocks

The University of Vermont mens' basketball team went out on the road to South Carolina last night and ran into a team that had won six in a row to start their season and made it seven with a 68-50 win over the Catamounts.

P.J. Dozier scored a career high 21 for the 20th ranked Gamecocks in a game that South Carolina put away early in the second half with a 13-1 run. The UVM offense was held in check all night, with only Anthony Lamb hitting double figures in points with 14, as UVM drops to 6-3 on the season.

To the NHL, and after losing four out of their last five games, the Boston Bruins needed a win, and they needed to rest their starting goaltender Tuukka Rask. With a little bit of luck, they were able to achieve both goals in a 2-1 overtime shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Boston last night.

Trailing 1-0 on a goal by Boston native Noah Hanifin, with friends and family in attendance going wild despite his wearing the opposing team's uniform, the Bruins tied the game with just 28 seconds to go in regulation when a shot by defenseman Torey Krug found its way through a tangle of skates and was kicked into the net by a Carolina defender. There were no goals in overtime but in the shootout round Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak scored for Boston, the latter faking backhand and then sliding across the crease for a forehand to slip the puck past Cam Ward for the game-winning goal. But the real star of the night for the Bruins was backup netminder Anton Khudobin, who made 29 saves on the night, stopped 'Canes sniper Jeff Skinner on Carolina's final shootout round, and also turned away Skinner earlier in the second period when the forward raced in all alone for a breakaway that could have extended the Carolina lead to two goals. Instead, the Bruins get a much-needed two points and move on to face the Sabres in Buffalo tomorrow afternoon.

When they do, they'll be facing a Sabres team suddenly revived by the return of former Boston University star Jack Eichel, who's been out most of the season but in the two games since returning, has scored three goals and added two assists in two straight Buffalo victories, including last night's 4-3 win over the NY Rangers. Eichel scored twice in the third period to give Buffalo the victory at Madison Square Garden and the bruins will have their hands full trying to contain the young talent tomorrow afternoon in Buffalo. The Sabres are just a far more dangerous team when Eichel is on the ice.

In Monday Night Football the Dallas Cowboys have now set a franchise record for consecutive wins, now at eleven and counting, after edging the Minnesota Vikings 17-15 last night in the land of 10,000 Lakes. Dez Bryant had 84 receiving yards including the game winning fourth quarter touchdown thrown by rookie sensation Dak Prescott. Ezekiel Elliot rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown. The Vikings scored a late TD of their own with just 25 seconds left in regulation when Sam Bradford hit Jerick McKinnon in the end zone to pull within two, but the two-point conversion failed and the Vikings were none too happy about that because the refs seemed to ignore a pretty clear hit to the face that Bradford suffered on the play, but the Cowboys will take it, and are odds-on favorites to win the Superbowl with their winning streak now at eleven games and counting and Prescott channeling his inner 2001 Tom Brady.

Another reason the Cowboys are a safe bet for the Vince Lombardi trophy is that one of the teams with the best chance of stopping them has lost one of their best players to a season-ending injury. The New England Patriots can spin this any way they want, and coach Bill Belichick will no doubt talk about moving on and getting ready to play the Rams on Sunday, but the news that all-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski will undergo back surgery and is not expected to return this season is of the devastating variety. Without Gronk the Pats are still a very good team, but with him the are a great team, and there really is no replacing his presence on the field and especially on third down situations. Tom Brady has now lost his go-to option and a game-changing weapon. Bad, bad news for the Patriots.