Mitch's Sports: Stratton Ski School's Jesse Diggins Makes Olympic History; U.S. Men Out In Hockey
History has been made at the Olympics with Stratton Mountain school's Jesse Diggins winning an Olympic gold medal along with Dartmouth College alum Kikkan Randall, the first medal ever at the winter Games for American women in cross country skiing.
Diggins and Randall took gold in the team sprint freestyle final, beating runner-up Sweden by .19 seconds down the stretch. Norway took the bronze, and Randall and Diggins join Bill Koch as the only American skiers to win Olympic medals in the sport. Koch’s silver came 42 years ago in Austria.
The results not as good for the U.S. men's Olympic hockey team, who will not get to the podium this year after a 3-2 shoot-out loss to the Czech Republic. The U.S. trailed 2-1 to the heavily favored Czech team before scoring late in the third to tie it, but the Czech Republic won the game in the shootout, with the U.S. failing to score a goal so they're out, while the Czech Republic moves on.
But tonight at 11pm all eyes are on the gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada, with the Americans looking to avenge losses in the last two Olympics to their long time rivals.
In the NHL last night, the Boston Bruins trailed the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 before scoring three unanswered goals in the third period, including the game winner with just over a minute left in regulation, to come away with a 3-2 win.
The Bruins started the comeback with a wrap around attempt by Noel Acciari that glanced off the skate of an Oiler defender and into the net. The equalizer came off the stick of defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who jumped into the play and collected a rebound to put past Cam Talbot when he was out of his crease. Then, with just 64 seconds left, rookie Danton Heinen sent a beautiful pass out front to veteran David Krejci, who netted his 11th goal of the season for the game winner. Back-up Anton Khudobin got the win in net, and the Bruins move on to the next leg of their Canadian trip to skate against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were 1-0 winners against the Florida Panthers, the lone goal of the game scored by Toronto's James van Riemsdyk.
One other note about the Bruins, they've traded for NY Rangers defenseman Nick Holden, sending Rob O'Gara, who played nine games with the big club but has mostly been with the Baby B's in Providence, to New York along with a third round draft pick. Holden has three goals for the Rangers this season. It's a minor deal for Bruins GM Don Sweeney, who may not be done dealing yet to try and fortify the Bruins as they prepare for the post-season.
In Philadelphia, Jakub Voracek scored the tying goal with 1:25 left in regulation and then got the game-winner in overtime to lift the Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
In men's college hoops the St. Michael's Purple Knights found themselves tied with regionally ranked Merrimack with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but couldn't quite pull off the upset win, closing their season with an 81-70 loss.
Levi Holmes III completed his junior season in style, scoring a game high 22 points in the loss, his 19th 20-point outing of the year, and with the the fourth-most total points for a season ever recorded by a Purple Knight, who Finnish the season with a 7-19 record overall.
The St. Mike's women also fell to their Merrimack counterparts 69-64, with senior Leah Spencer pouring in a game high 23 points, making her last game as a Purple Knight one to remember. The St. Michael's women finish the year with a record of 8-18.
And in the NAC quarterfinal playoffs, Maine Maritime beat Lyndon State 57-37 despite another great game by Mikayla Hodge, who led all scorers with 17 points and made it a double double by collecting 14 rebounds. Maine Maritime will move on to face Castleton in the semi-finals Friday night.
Back to the men's hardcourt, the Castleton Spartans played a thriller in the quarterfinals of the North Atlantic Conference Tournament, taking Colby-Swayer to double overtime before falling 99-95 at Coffin Field House. It was a great night for offense, with three Spartans recording double doubles, including a career best 23 points and 14 rebounds by Tondi Mushandu. Jordan Nelson added 15 points and a career-high 11 assists, and Richard Walker also posted career-best numbers with 13 points and 11 rebounds before yielding to the Chargers in the second overtime period. Castleton ends their season with a 12-14 record while Colby Sawyer moves on to play New England College in the tournament.
And in some hot stove baseball news, the New York Yankees acquired infielder Brandon Drury in a three-team trade that also saw the Tampa Bay Rays send outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rays get second baseman prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees, and pitcher Anthony Banda and two players to be named from the Diamondbacks in return.