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Archive for March 20th, 2017

NHL Morning Skate Report for Monday, March 20, 2017: Blackhawks, Blue Jackets clinch playoff spots; Jagr hits 1,700th game milestone

Home Team in Caps
Columbus 4, NEW JERSEY 1
PITTSBURGH 4, Florida 0
WINNIPEG 5, Minnesota 4
CHICAGO 6, Colorado 3
PHILADELPHIA 4, Carolina 3 (OT)
MONTREAL 4, Ottawa 1
CALGARY 5, Los Angeles 2

The Blackhawks scored five unanswered goals in the third period – including three in a span of 34 seconds – to become the first Western Conference team to clinch a berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, their ninth consecutive postseason appearance and 62nd in franchise history.

* Elias notes that Chicago’s three markers in 34 seconds were the third-fastest trio of goals scored in franchise history, behind 21 seconds (March 23, 1952 at NYR) and 30 seconds (Oct. 15, 1983 at TOR).

* The Blackhawks (47-20-5, 99 points) extended their win streak to five games and increased their lead to seven points atop the Western Conference and Central Division standings. Chicago also moved within a point of reaching the 100-point plateau for the fourth straight season.

Jonathan Toews (2-0—2) has reached the 20-goal mark in each of his first 10 NHL seasons. Elias notes that Toews became the sixth player in Blackhawks history to reach the 20-goal mark in 10 or more seasons, joining Stan Mikita (14), Bobby Hull (13), Steve Larmer (11), Denis Savard (10) and Patrick Kane (10).

* Elias adds that Toews also joined Savard (1980-81 to 1989-90) and Kane (2007-08 to 2016-17) as the only players in franchise history to score 20 or more goals in each of their first 10 NHL seasons.

Lukas Sedlak (SHG) and Brandon Dubinsky each scored penalty shot goals to help the Blue Jackets clinch a berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, their third postseason appearance in franchise history (also 2009 and 2014).

* At 47-18-6 (100 points), the Blue Jackets reached the 100-point mark for the first time in the franchise’s 17-year history and extended their club record for wins in a season.

* Elias notes that Columbus became the third team in NHL history to score two penalty shot goals in a game, joining Vancouver (Feb. 11, 1982 at DET) and San Jose (Dec. 30, 2009 vs. WSH).

Boone Jenner (2-0—2) scored his second shorthanded goal of the season (third career). The Blue Jackets matched a franchise record with two shorthanded goals in a game, achieved Feb. 24, 2007 at NYR and March 22, 2011 at COL.

Sergei Bobrovsky (35 saves) improved to 7-0-0 in March (1.14 GAA, .963 SV%, 3 SO) and registered his League-leading 39th win of the season.

Sidney Crosby (3-0—3) tallied three consecutive goals to record the 10th hat trick of his NHL career and Marc-Andre Fleury (21 saves) posted his 44th career shutout as the Penguins (45-17-9, 99 points) moved to 7-1-1 in their last nine games.

* Elias notes that Crosby registered the third natural hat trick of his NHL career (all w/ PIT), two shy of the franchise record held by Mario Lemieux (5).

* Crosby (40-40—80) became the first player to reach 40 goals this season and moved into a tie with Connor McDavid (25-55—80) for the most points. Crosby reached the 40-goal mark for the second time in his NHL career (51 in 2009-10).

Jake Guentzel (0-3—3) and Conor Sheary (0-3—3) collected helpers on all three of Crosby’s goals to establish single-game career highs for assists.

* MUST SEE: Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist combined for a highlight-reel goal when they opened the scoring. Kessel flipped the puck over the Florida net to Hornqvist, who then batted it out of midair to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.

The Canadiens (41-23-8, 90 points) and Flames (41-27-4, 86 points) each secured victories to gain ground in their respective playoff races:

Jordie Benn scored the game-winning goal to help the Canadiens sweep their home-and-home set with the Senators (39-24-8, 86 points) and open a four-point lead atop the Atlantic Division. Montreal improved to 2-1-1 against Ottawa this season (OTT: 2-1-1) and will conclude their five-game season series on Saturday at Bell Centre.

Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan each collected 1-2—3 as the Flames moved to 13-1-1 in their last 15 games and reclaimed sole possession of third place in the Pacific Division. Brian Elliott (19 saves) earned his 11th consecutive victory (1.70 GAA, .942 SV%, 2 SO) to tie the longest win streak by a goaltender in franchise history set by Mike Vernon from Jan. 17 – Feb. 27, 1989.

Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr skated in the 1,700th game of his NHL career. Jagr – who recently passed Gordie Howe for the most points by an NHL player after turning 40 years of age – became the fourth player in NHL history to skate in 1,700 career regular-season games, joining Howe (1,767), Mark Messier (1,756) and Ron Francis (1,731).

Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling (22 saves) extended his personal win streak to six games (1.51 GAA, .951 SV%) . . . Travis Konecny tied the game in the final minute of regulation and Brayden Schenn scored 38 seconds into overtime to guide the Flyers to victory . . . Winnipeg surrendered a 4-0 lead, but Josh Morrissey scored the go-ahead goal at 12:43 of the third period to lift the Jets to a 5-4 win . . . Jets captain Blake Wheeler collected two assists to reach the 500-point milestone (194-306—500) . . . Wild forward Eric Staal skated in the 1,000th game of his NHL career . . . Jack Johnson (700) and Torrey Mitchell (600) also skated in milestone games . . . Elias Lindholm (3-5—8 in 7 GP) and Artemi Panarin (4-4—8 in 6 GP) each extended point streaks . . . Canadiens forward Paul Byron (1-1—2) reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career.

All Times Eastern
Boston @ Toronto, 7:30 p.m., TVAS, TSN4, NESN
Buffalo @ Detroit, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, FS-D
Arizona @ Nashville, 8 p.m., FS-TN, FS-A
San Jose @ Dallas, 8:30 p.m., FS-SW, CSN-CA
Los Angeles @ Edmonton, 9 p.m., SNW, FS-W
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Playoff-bound Blue Jackets get ready for Maple Leafs, Capitals, Flyers this week

Juan Pablo Montoya aiming for a win in 2017 IndyCar Grand Prix

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Press Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, March 20, 2017 – Add Juan Pablo Montoya to the list of drivers trying to make history by achieving the first “May double” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Montoya will aim for his third Indianapolis 500 victory on May 28 in a Team Penske entry, and team owner Roger Penske recently confirmed Montoya also will compete in the fourth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix on May 12-13 on the IMS road course.

“It’s always great to race in Indy,” Montoya said. “There’s a lot of focus on the 500 and that’s understandable, but the Grand Prix has come a long way in a short time. The course is fast but still challenging. The fan support continues to grow. More people need to discover it because all of the races have been very competitive with passing and lead changes.

“For me, I’ll be excited to get in an Indy car again for the month of May.”

No driver has swept both Verizon IndyCar Series races in May at IMS since the INDYCAR Grand Prix debuted in 2014.

Montoya earned his second Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil victory in 2015 after finishing third earlier that month in the INDYCAR Grand Prix. That is his best finish in three career starts in the INDYCAR Grand Prix.

Team Penske has dominated the INDYCAR Grand Prix, with victories by Will Power in 2015 and Simon Pagenaud in 2016. Pagenaud also won the inaugural event in 2014 when driving for Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports.

Past Verizon IndyCar Series champions Ryan Hunter-Reay and Power have come closest to achieving the “May double” at IMS.

Hunter-Reay finished second behind Pagenaud in the inaugural INDYCAR Grand Prix in 2014 before winning “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” later that month for Andretti Autosport. Power won the INDYCAR Grand Prix and finished second to Team Penske teammate Montoya in the Indianapolis 500 in 2015.

Visit to purchase tickets for the INDYCAR Grand Prix on May 12-13, for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and for more information on the entire Month of May schedule at IMS. Kids 15 and under are free to all 2017 racing events at IMS when accompanied by an adult General Admission ticket-holder.





OSU Men’s coach Pete Hanson’s 1,000th Volleyball match ends with dramatic win over Illinois


Ohio State improves to 21-1 overall and 10-0 in MIVA play


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ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – Head coach Pete Hanson’s 1,000th career match extended into a 16-14 fifth set as the Scarlet & Gray battled back from an 11-8 deficit to escape Illinois with victory in hand (25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 14-25, 16-14). No. 2 Ohio State (21-1) maintains its stronghold of the top spot in the MIVA standings at 10-0 while handing second-place and seventh-ranked Lewis its third conference loss (17-6, 10-3 MIVA). The Buckeyes are in pursuit of their league-best 26th regular season championship.

Pete Hanson

(file photo)


Hanson picked up his 666th triumph (666-334; .666). The four-time National Coach of the Year upped his MIVA career mark to 290-90 (.763) as well.



• Ohio State has recorded 20 straight wins in true road matches (last loss in an opponent’s home gym came in 2015)

• The Buckeyes are also riding a 25-match winning streak versus MIVA opponents


The reigning National Player of the Year, Nicolas Szerszen, delivered 18 kills and a total of 20.5 points. He was one of two Buckeyes to record a double-double, adding 11 digs to his kills sum. Fellow pin hitter Miles Johnson posted 13 kills and 10 digs. Maxime Hervoir found some success from the outside as well, bouncing a dozen kills.


Set 1: Ohio State swung an even .400 (12-2-25) in the opening frame, receiving multiple kills from four different players in an evenly-distributed attack set up by Christy Blough. The Buckeyes also stuffed Lewis three times, limiting the Flyers to a .238 offensive clip. A 13-13 ledger represented the 10th tied score of the set right before an 8-3 OSU run pushed the Buckeyes ahead for good in an eventual 25-22 winner.


Set 2: Lewis made a valiant comeback effort in the second, storming back from down 21-15 to pull even at 22-all. Ohio State halted the rally, however, grabbing three of the next four points to secure a 25-23 triumph entering intermission.


Set 3: Set number three mirrored the second, seeing a 22-22 tie ultimately converted into a 25-23 final score. And like a mirror, the result was flipped and the Flyers remained alive as set victors.


Set 4: The flood gates would open up midway through the fourth. Lewis burst through a 7-7 stalemate by rattling off 13 of the subsequent 15 points, building a commanding 20-9 edge. A fifth set was needed after the Flyers capped off the 25-14 equalizer.


Set 5: Trailing 11-8 in the deciding set, Hanson called a timeout to regroup. Three consecutive Buckeye kills would follow, sitting all-square at 11-11. The score was even again at 12-12, 13-13 and 14-14 before back-to-back attacking blunders committed by the Flyers gave Ohio State a thrilling triumph.


St. John Arena is the place to be next week, site of two home conference matches. Ohio State welcomes in Fort Wayne Thursday (March 23) and Ball State on Saturday (March 25).



Saturday’s qualifying recap from NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series in Florida


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Steven Jackson held on for his first career No. 1 qualifying position in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Jerry Bickel Race Cars, Inc., is the first of 12 events on the season. His qualifying pass of 5.781-seconds at 251.58 mph on Friday secured the No. 1 position.


Jackson, in his Jerry Bickel Race Cars built Camaro, was unable to parlay the No. 1 qualifying position into success in eliminations as he was defeated by Eric Latino in the first round. Latino posted a winning time of 5.779 at 256.45 to Jackson’s losing run of 6.664 at 146.30. Latino will face Troy Coughlin in his Chevy Corvette when eliminations continue on Sunday.


Also in eliminations, Rickie Smith the defending event winner and 2016 NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series champion was ousted by Michael Biehle in his ’13 Ford Mustang. Smith’s IDG ’15 Camaro lost traction early in the run and Biehle was able to get the round win.


“It feels good. I mean, every round I win feels good, no matter who it is,” Biehle said. “Obviously it feels great when you’re able to take somebody out that’s as great as Rickie. He’s got a lot of seat time and he does an awesome job with his car and his whole program. It just feels good to still be here.”


Biehle will match up with Danny Rowe; Mike Janis will race Steven Whiteley; and Mike Castellana will compete against Kevin Rivenbark on Sunday.

Pro Mod Series eliminations will resume on Sunday at approximately 12:30.




GAINESVILLE, Fla. — First round results from the 48th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The race is the first of 12 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.



ROUND ONE — Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.807, 252.24 def. Steve Matusek, Chevy Camaro, 5.825, 252.38; Kevin Rivenbark, Corvette, 5.857, 245.76 def. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.837, 247.38; Danny Rowe, Corvette, 5.840, 246.57 def. Shannon Jenkins, Ford Mustang, 7.360, 135.88; Steven Whiteley, Cadillac CTS-V, 5.799, 252.19 def. Todd Tutterow, Camaro, 5.865, 247.16; Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.901, 247.16 def. Jim Whiteley, Chevy Chevelle, 5.903, 248.75; Michael Biehle, Mustang, 5.843, 253.90 def. Rickie Smith, Camaro, 7.948, 121.62; Mike Castellana, Camaro, 5.897, 249.72 def. Sidnei Frigo, Corvette, 5.786, 256.36; Eric Latino, Camaro, 5.779, 256.45 def. Steve Jackson, Camaro, 6.664, 146.30;


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Final order after 3 rounds of qualifying in Pro Modified at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The race is the first of 12 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.


Psn—Num-Driver, Home Town, Car Type—————Qual-ET–Qual-Spd


1  280 Steve Jackson, Evans GA, ’17 Camaro             5.781  251.58

2  288 Sidnei Frigo, Sao Paulo BZ, ’16 Corvette        5.795  256.70

3    1 Rickie Smith, King NC, ’17 Camaro               5.798  252.05

4 1456 Mike Janis, Lancaster NY,  ’16 Camaro           5.803  248.25

5 5200 Steven Whiteley, Grand Junction CO,  ’14 CTS-V  5.805  251.58

6    8 Danny Rowe, Laguna Hills CA,  ’15 Corvette      5.815  252.14

7    7 Khalid alBalooshi, Ajman UA, ’17 Camaro         5.820  249.49

8    5 Steve Matusek, Olathe KS, ’68 Camaro            5.821  253.85

9    2 Troy Coughlin, Delaware OH,  ’15 Corvette       5.828  253.33

10  205 Kevin Rivenbark, Wallace NC, ’15 Corvette       5.836  246.17

11   77 Shannon Jenkins, Tuscaloosa AL, ’16 Mustang     5.838  249.35

12  202 Todd Tutterow, Yadkinville NC,  ’69 Camaro      5.845  248.39

13 5087 Jim Whiteley, Grand Junction CO,  ’69 Chevelle  5.848  215.75

14    4 Michael Biehle, North Vernon IN, ’67 Mustang    5.854  250.64

15   44 Mike Castellana, Oyster Bay NY, ’17 Camaro      5.855  250.64

16 1938 Eric Latino, Port Perry ON, ’69 Camaro          5.855  235.76


———— Not Qualified ————


17  213 Chip King, Roxboro NC, ’69 Daytona              5.856  248.89

18  303 Dan Stevenson, Bolingbrook IL,  ’16 Camaro      5.881  250.18

19 220F Kevin Fiscus, Jacksonville FL, ’10 Mustang      5.882  248.25

20    3 Bob Rahaim, Grosse Pointe MI,  ’15 Corvette     5.888  246.62

21 1262 Chuck Little, Atkinson NH,  ’63 Corvette        5.939  236.55

22 5012 Kenny Lang, Grande Pointe MB,  ’69 Camaro       5.953  243.63

23 2105 Doug Winters, Pleasant Garden NC, ’69 Chevelle  5.985  243.50

24  701 Clint Satterfield, Albuquerque NM,  ’68 Firebi  6.026  245.05

25 275T Ruben Tetsoshvili, Wesley Chapel FL,  ’17 Cama  6.203  243.33

26 1518 Pete Farber, Baldwinville MA, ’69 Daytona       6.313  170.13  170.13

27 6718 Shane Molinari, Battle Ground WA,  ’68 Firebird 6.625  166.95  166.95





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