Mitch's Sports: Amanda Pelkey Assists On First U.S. Goal In Win Over Finland; UVM Hoops Streak Ends
At the Winter Olympics, the US women's hockey team is one step closer to its goal of winning gold.
The US cruised past Finland 5-0 in the semifinals and will move on to the gold medal round to play the winner of Canada against the Olympic athletes from Russia. Gigi Marvin got the US on the board just over two minutes into the game, after Montpelier's own Amanda Pelkey won a puck battle along the boards and dished to Marvin for the only goal U.S. netminder Maddie Rooney would need to hold up the shut-out. The U.S. power play broke the game open with two goals just 34 seconds apart in the second period.
If it comes down to the U.S. and Canada, as expected, it'll be the third Winter Olympics in a row that the two countries have battled for the gold, with Canada having won the last two contests.
In the men's bracket, the U.S. lost to the Olympic athletes from Russia 4-0 on Saturday, but will have a shot at surviving in the tournament's playoff round with a date against Slovakia this evening, a team the US beat 2-1 earlier in group play. Today in other playoff action, the Czech Republic defeated Switzerland 4-1, Canada shut out host South Korea 4-0, and Sweden got by Finland 3-1.
In men's downhill ski results, Ryan Cochran-Siegle finished a surprising 11th in the giant slalom, rallying from the 21st position after the first run with the third-fastest time in the second run. 2-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety finished in 15th, so a remarkable good showing by Starksboro's Cochran-Siegle.
The results were not as positive for regional skiers in cross country, continuing a disappointing showing as the men finished 14th and last in the 4x10 relay, which included Andy Newell and Scott Patterson.
At Saturday's ski carnival action, Berkshire East for the Williams Carnival slalom races,
Dartmouth College maintained its lead and won both the women’s and men’s races finishing with 990 points in first place, a tally that includes both alpine and Nordic events. UVM took second with 910 points, and Middlebury College scored 756 for third place.
Individually, UVM's Paula Moltzan continues her amazing run, now 5-0 in EISA competition after winning the overall competition Saturday, and the winner of the men’s slalom was Dartmouth senior Brian McLaughlin.
In men's college hoops, it finally happened. The streak is over for the UVM Men's basketball team, which lost to Hartford at Patrick Gym 69-68 yesterday, snapping a number of remarkable runs, including the Catamount's 15 game winning streak, and its best in the nation 31 straight wins against in-conference opponents.
The Cats struggled all afternoon to contain Hartford guard Jason Dunne, who finished with 26 points. Senior Drew Urqhart led Vermont with 15 points, and while it's sad that the streaks have come to an end, it should eliminate that distraction as the Catamounts prepare for the playoffs and a shot at returning to the NCAA tournament as the far and away favorite to win the America East title.
In men's college hockey, Middlebury and Amherst skated to a 2-2 tie. it was a pretty good result for te Panthers, who are just 4-17-3 on the season, while Amherst sports an 11-8-5 record.
To the pros, and the NBA held its annual all-star game with a new format this year, featuring the game's two biggest stars heading up their own squads, so it was team LeBron, as in Cleveland's LeBron James against Team Stephan, Golden State's Steph Curry, and for a game in which defense is an afterthought, it was pretty entertaining, with Team LeBron coming out on top 148-145, leading a comeback charge in the fourth quarter to gain the win.
In the NHL the Toronto Maple Leafs got a goal from their superstar Auston Matthews with just 30 seconds left in the game, because that's what superstars do, and the Leafs beat the Red Wings 3-2 in Detroit. The win moves the Leafs to within one point of the Boston Bruins for second place in the Atlantic conference.
There's hope in Philadelphia that the Flyers might just have the kind of underdog mojo that propelled their beloved Eagles to a superbowl win this year. Last night against the NY Rangers Flyers starting goaltender Michal Neuvirth left with injury and was replaced by back-up Alex Lyon, who was making just his fourth professional start. Not quite the level of Nick Foles replacing Carson Wentz, but Lyon went on to get the win at Madison Square Garden in a 7-4 Flyers victory. If the playoff started today Philly would be in as the third place team in the Metropolitan division, and in the NHL playoffs, once you get in, anybody can win, as evidenced by the Nashville Predators making it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals after getting in as a wild card entry with fewer points than any other team.
Finally, a little more movement in the free agency freeze out in Major League Baseball. Former Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has been plucked by a normally low-spending club, the San Diego Padres, who signed him to an eight year, $144 Million contract, a surprise both in length of contract and, for the small market Padres, dollars.