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Mitch's Sports: Shiffrin Misses Medal In Her Signature Race; Jacobellis Also Falls Just Short

One of the pleasures of watching sports is seeing the unexpected unfold, but that same unpredictability can also be a source  of disappointment.

It was certainly the latter for Burke Mountain Academy alum Mikaela Shiffrin, who won a gold medal in the giant slalom two days ago in South Korea, and was expected to do the same in her signature event, the slalom, which she's dominated in world cup competition.

But Shiffrin didn't just fail to snag the gold medal in yesterday's slalom, she didn't reach the podium at all, finishing in fourth place, ending hopes that she'd make Olympic history again by becoming the first skier to repeat as a gold medalist in the slalom. Shiffrin did become the youngest to grab gold in the event when she came in first four years ago as an 18-year old, but she couldn't make up the time after a slower than expected first run in the slalom at Pyeonchang.

There was also a big let-down for Stratton, Vermont's Lindsey Jacobellis, who was vying for a medal in the snowboardcross race on Friday, but she finished an agonizing .03 seconds behind the bronze third place winner from France.

Jacobellis got off to a strong start but got passed by the eventual winner, Italy's Michela Moioli on a curve halfway down the course, and fell out of medal contention when she found herself isolated on the course, unable to draft behind other boarders and slingshot past them.

Jacobellis is now 32 years old and is still one of the best known and most accomplished snowboard competitors in the world, but she's still haunted by her performance 12 years ago in the Olympics when she started celebrating her apparent victory too early on the course, grabbing her board for a trick near the final jump of the competition, falling and coming in second rather than snagging what looked like a sure gold medal.    

In other Olympic news, in downhill skiing races today, in the men's Super-G, Starksboro's Ryan Cochran-Siegle finished in 14th, the highest finish for an American. Lake Placid's Andrew Weibrecht came in 27th in that race.

In Cross Country, the men's 15 K individual, UVM alum Scott Patterson came in 21st.

In the biathlon yesterday, in the men's 20 K individual, Tim Burke came in 41st, and despite having the third starting position, UVM grad Lowell Bailey finished 51st.

In men's hockey, team USA rebounded from a disappointing 3-2 overtime loss to Slovenia to beat Slovakia 2-1, with both US goals scored by Harvard forward Ryan Donato, son of former Boston Bruins forward Ted Donato.

To men's college hoops, and it wasn't easy, but a strong second half turned in by the UVM men's basketball team kept their wining streak alive, now at 15 games after the Catamounts beat UNH 71-58 at Patrick Gym last night.

Senior Cam Ward scored 14 points and added seven rebounds and perhaps more importantly, his leadership, when he used a time-out to deliver a let's-get-going speech to his teammates, who were trailing by a point with about 11 minutes to go in the game.  Ward's words seemed to light a fire under the Catamounts, who took control over the game after that, eventually went on a 14-0 run, and ran their winning streak dating back to last year against America East foes to a stunning 31 games.

Elsewhere in men's hoops, Rutland's Kendrick Mills scored a game high 24 points but it wasn't enough for the Lyndon State Hornets to complete a comeback against Colby-Sawyer, falling 84-74 in New Hampshire.

The Johnson State Badgers got another double digit performance from Marqwon Wynn, who scored 20 points, but the Badgers fell to New England College 78-62.

In women's college basketball Makayla Farrara reached two milestones in the Spartan's 71-48 rout of Norwich last night. Playing in front of the home crowd at Glenbrook Gym, Farrara scored point number 1,000 for her collegiate career and also poured in a career- best 30 points in the victory, improving Castleton's impressive record this season to 20-4 as they look to wrap up the regular season Saturday against Green Mountain College. Emily Oliver led the Cadets with 12 points in the losing effort.

Elsewhere in women's hoops Colby-Sawyer 75 topped Lyndon State 75-45, and New England College defeated Johnson State 90-46.

To the NHL, and the NY Rangers threw everything they could against NY Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak last night, 50 shots in fact, but Halak turned away all of them in a 3-0 shut-out win in Brooklyn. The win moves the Isles to within one point of Columbus for the second available wild card playoff berth in the eastern conference, with every game til now and the end of the season taking on the feel of a playoff contest just to get into the playoffs. The Rangers, meanwhile, are spinning their wheels, now winless in their last 5 games and even though they're just three points behind the Islanders and in last place in their division, they'll have to make some decisions soon about whether it's too pollyanna to expect a climb into playoff contention, and whether making some coveted players available to contenders is the best course of action before the end of the month trading deadline.

Another team probably heading toward the sell now mode is the Montreal Canadiens, now on a four game losing skid after a 5-2 loss to the not-very-good Arizona Coyotes in the desert last night. The Habs trailed 3-0 in the third period before scoring two quick goals in a two minute span and it looked like maybe they'd be able to at least force overtime but the Coyotes got the message and tacked on two more to pull away. Brendan Gallagher and Daniel Carr scored for the Habs in the loss. Gallagher leads the Canadiens in goals with 21 but even he may be made available to teams looking to add depth and scoring at the deadline.

 

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