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Mitch's Sports: Dartmouth Skiers Surge To NCAA Lead; Bruins' Two Last Minute Goals Stun Panthers

It was a stunning day for the Big Green, and a senior from UVM grabbed individual glory at day two of competition in the NCAA ski championships as the venue shifted to Stowe Mountain for the giant slalom events.

It's been fourteen years since a skier from UVM women's alpine team took first place in the GS, but that drought is over after senior Laurence St. Germain took the individual title Thursday.

St. Germaine rode a strong second run to the first place overall finish, crossing the line a half second before the rest of the field on her second attempt, and with that win the Quebec native becomes the Catamount's first women's giant slalom champ since 2005.

Meanwhile the story of the day was Dartmouth College surging to take over first place among the field of 24 teams at the midway point of competition, the Big Green men putting three skiers into the top five finishers, including Tanguy Nef, who won the competition, before two other skiers finished in third and fourth place, and that GS performance by Dartmouth's men vaulted the Hanover college into first place over Utah, with Dartmouth now leading the Utes by seven points in the standings.

UVM is in third place, with Denver and Colorado rounding out the top five with two days of events still to go.

Back to the women's results, Dartmouth's Patricia Mangan came in third in the GS, UVM's Paula Moltzan finished fifth overall, and St. Germaine will be among the favorites to win the Slalom on the final day of competition Saturday. If she does, she'll be just the second Catamount on the women's team to win both the slalom and giant slalom since Einar Bohmer accomplished the dual feat in the early 1990's.

On the men's side, UVM's Patrick McConville was a top ten GS finisher yesterday, coming in eighth.

Other local schools are making fine showings as well, with St. Michael's getting off the schneide yesterday. The Purple Knights were at the bottom of the standings after day one of competition but are now in 16th place overall, after freshman Ben Throm cracked the top 25 in the men's giant slalom, finishing 24th, and Anna Willassen came in 25th on the women's side.

St. Mike's now sits in seventh place overall among the 12 eastern-based programs in the competition, which includes NCAA skiers from divisions one, two, and three.

And as the competition moves back today for Nordic events at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, there are two other regional schools sitting within the top ten among the field, with the University of New Hampshire in ninth place and Middlebury in the ten spot, with both schools placing men in the top ten of finishers in yesterday's giant slalom. Middlebury's Justin Alkier came in ninth and Patrick Kinney of UNH finished tenth in the GS.

Today's events will feature a morning race with the women's 15-kilometer classical followed by the men's 20K mass start at noon.

To the ice sheet indoors now, and it had to come to an end at some point. The Boston Bruins took a streak of seventeen games in which they've earned at least one point into last night's game against the Florida Panthers at the Garden, but the Panthers led 3-2 with just 35 seconds left to go, and so that point streak for Boston came to an end, right?

Not. So. Fast.  

The Bruins had other ideas, scoring not one, but two goals in those final 30 or so seconds, the game winner coming off the stick of Patrice Bergeron with just six seconds left on the clock and the Bruins win 4-3, a stunning result that pushes their consecutive point streak to a full eighteen games, and one left the Panthers with the look of utter deflation.

The Panthers are a team with some pretty good young players, including former Bruin Frank Vatrano, but they also have the unenviable distinction of leading the league in blown third period leads, none worse than the one they coughed up last night.

The remarkable comeback began with the Bruins tying the game on the power play when defenseman Matt Grzelcyk one-timed a slap shot from the blue line that found its way past Florida goalie Roberto Luongo with about 30 seconds to go.

And it looked for sure like the teams would go to overtime, with Florida earning at least a point for the regulation tie, but the Bruins charged into the Florida zone, and Brad Marchand dug out the puck from the boards and sent a perfect pass to Bergeron at the top of the left face off circle. Bergeron then sent a laser wrist shot through a screen and beat Luongo blocker side, top shelf, sending the Garden faithful into a frenzy of celebration.

The Bruins streak with at least a point now at 18 games is the longest since the 1940-41 season, and a lot of this streak it should be noted is happening without their top goal scorer David Pastrnak on the ice. Pasta is still recovering from surgery to repair a tendon in his thumb, and the only worry for Bruins fans right now is that the team might be peaking too early. Great as this point streak is, the team wants to be playing this well in the post-season, but all this winning now should secure them home ice advantage in round one, so it is significant in that sense.

The Montreal Canadiens struggled again against an opponent they've traditionally had trouble with, the San Jose Sharks, losing 5-2 at the Shark Tank in California last night. Tomas Hertl scored his career best 30th goals for the Sharks and Martin Jones made 37 saves in net for the win.

Artturi Lehkonen and Andrew Shaw scored for the Habs, who were fortunate to keep a two point edge over Columbus in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Blue Jackets getting shut out 3-0 by the Pittsburgh Penguins last night. The Pens pad their lead for that first wild card spot with the victory.

The Sharks haven't lost to the Canadiens at home since 1999.

Tonight at Gutterson Fieldhouse the UVM Catamounts men's hockey team will honor their graduating seniors on senior night, but it will be a bittersweet send-off as the Catamounts will be missing the NCAA playoffs this season after a 12-19-2 campaign.

Forwards Liam Coughlin, Craig Puffer and Conor O’Neil will skate for the Cats for the final time as UVM takes on the UMass-Lowell River Hawks.

Finally, in girl's high school division two basketball, second seeded Thetford will face underdog eight-seeded Oxbow for the state D-2 title after Thetford got by Windsor 55-48 last night and Oxbow upset fifth seeded Green Mountain 44-33.

 

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