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Blue Jackets start fast en route to demolishing Chicago, 8-3

Columbus, Ohio–The Columbus Blue Jackets have rarely had a so-called easy game this season. But Thursday night’s Central Division clash against the Chicago Blackhawks would definitely qualify as one.

Columbus scored in every period, 2 in the first, 4 in the second and 2 in the third to completely baffle the number 1 team in the Western Conference. It’s baffling because the Jackets came into the game 0-2-2 against Chicago this season.

The Jackets came out of the locker room with much aggressiveness as they scored in the first :32 seconds of the game as Mike Commodore, not known as scorer, shot the puck off a tough angle and past Chicago’s shaky goaltender Cristobal Huet, for a quick 1-0 lead.

Chicago, a little perturbed about being behind to a team that they should handle easily, tried to get a fight started as RW Adam Burish got tangled up in the corner with Derek Dorsett of the Blue Jackets. The officials gave Dorsett a roughing penalty on the play. Then defenseman Brent Seabrook got tangled up with Dorsett later in the period, but nothing came of it.

Samuel Pahlsson had 2 assists (CBJ)

Columbus went up 2-0 as Rick Nash had an open shot, but got the puck to Kristian Huselius who also was open, and he put it past Huet to make it 2-0 at the 12:08 mark of the first period. It was Huselius’ 3rd goal against Chicago and 22nd of the season.

The Blackhawks did come alive towards the end of the first period but it was clear, that they did not come out of the locker room ready to match the Blue Jackets intensity.

In the second period, Chicago started to show why they’re the number 1 team in the Western Conference with 99 points. They came out of the locker room with an urgency and it paid off as RW Kris Versteeg scored off a rush at the 2:15 mark to cut the lead down to 2-1 Columbus.

Everybody in Nationwide Arena started buzzing after that goal, because they’ve seen it happen over and over all season, that the Jackets will dominate the first period and come out flat in the second and fall behind in the game. They’ve seen it happen against the Blackhawks before, but on this night the Blue jackets were not going to be denied or stopped in beating the Blackhawks.

Columbus continued to take advantage of gaps in the Chicago defense and scored another goal to answer Versteeg’s tally. Kristian Huselius, who has seen consistency and a rebirth in his game since Claude Noel took over for Ken Hitchcock as the coach, scored on a rebound shot at the 4:58 mark and it was 3-1. Huselius scored his 4th goal of the season versus Chicago and 23rd on the season.

Mike Commodore scored :32 into game (CBJ)

Then, all 14,573 in attendance saw something that they rarely see in a hockey game, a penalty shot. Jakub Voracek, one of the up-and -coming stars on the Blue Jackets team, was off-to-the-races with the puck, moving in 1-on-1 against the goalie when one of the Blackhawks defenseman took him off his skates. So that meant a penalty shot for Voracek going one-on-one against Cristobal Huet who was already having a bad night in goal.

Voracek drove towards the goal, and got Huet out of position and put the puck into the low right side of the net and shockingly it was 4-1 Columbus. The last time Columbus had a home penalty shot goal,  prior to last night was on March 19, 2001 vs. Nashville, when David Vyborny beat  Tomas Vokoun at 18:01 of the third period in a 2-1 loss.  The scoring wasn’t over by any stretch of the imagination.

Antione Vermette was about to get into scoring column. He took a Chicago mistake and went streaking in on goalie Cristobal Huet and he scored unassisted at the 14:17 mark and it was 5-1 and the rout was continuing. By now, Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville had seen enough of  Huet and decided to give Antti Niemi a shot at cooling down the Jackets for the rest of the second period anyway.

It was to no avail as center Andrew Murray picked up a loose puck and shoveled it past Niemi making the score 6-1. The Blue Jackets amazingly had scored 4 goals against one of the NHL’s best teams and best defenses in  the second period to open up daylight at 6-1.

The Blackhawks came out in the third period and scored a couple of goals but the Blue Jackets did the same with Antione Vermette scoring his second of the night and 25th of the season and Mike Blunden his first of the campaign.

The Blue Jackets by far, had played their best game of the season and left fans and media wondering where were all of these goals, inspirational, physical and emotional play back in December and January when the team basically fell out of playoff contention.

Maybe it was a glimpse of what we’ll see in 2010-2011.

SOUNDS FROM THE POSTGAME LOCKER ROOM (to listen to an audio file, simply click on the number)

44 648 Adam Burish Chicago Rw Chicago was mistake prone all game long

44 651 Adam Burish On goalie Cristobal Huet taking the heat for another bad game

44 654 Antione Vermette Columbus Finally an easy game for a change

44 656 Antione Vermette Scoring in the first 32 seconds of the game got them rolling

44 657 Antione Vermette A career high 25th goal tonight feels good in a win

44 659 Antione Vermette Was he surprised that they embarrassed Cristobal Huet in goal

GAME NOTES

* The Blue Jackets are 19-11-7 at home.

* Columbus is 30-32-12 for 72 points on the season.

* Are 25-24-7 vs. Chicago.

* Are 15-10-4 vs. Chicago at Nationwide Arena.

* The CBJ are 20-12-5 when scoring the first goal of the sesason.

* Columbus is 13-7-5 when leading after the first period.

* 23-6-4 when leading after the second period.

* The eight goals scored by Columbus matches a club single game record overall and is most the club has scored at home.

The club record of eight goals was set March 7, 2009 at Detroit, a game Columbus won 8-2.

The previous high for goals scored at home was seven, set February 8, 2006 against Los Angeles in a 7-4 victory.

* The five-goal margin of victory matches a club record at home.

The record had been set four times previously (February 26, 2009 vs. Calgary, 5-0–most recent).

* The 11 combined goals between the clubs also matches a home franchise record.

The record had been set three times previously (December 28, 2006 vs. Detroit, a 7-4 loss–most recent).

* The Blackhawks currently sit atop the Central Division with 99 points, ten points clear of second-place Nashville with two games in hand.

* Chicago has not won a division title since finishing in first place in the Norris Division in 1992-93 season.

* The Blackhawks have occupied first place in the Central Division since November 9. The last time Chicago did not own at least a share of first place in the division was on November 8 when they were in second (8-5-2) behind first place Columbus (9-5-2). That was when the Blue Jackets were playing well.

* Chicago has won 11 of its last 14 games against Central Division opponents, and owns a 14-6-0 mark against division rivals overall. Washington (17-3-1) in the Southeast Division is the only NHL team with a better record within their division.

Ready boys fall short in state championship semi-final

Bishop Ready (megasportsnews.com)

Sam Miller’s two free throws with 1.8  seconds left lifted Orrville to a 50-48 win over Columbus Bishop Ready in the semi-final round of the Division III state championship. Miller grabbed an offensive rebound, and after a Ready timeout, calmly samk the winning free throws to break the 10th and last tie of the game. The game was tied five times in the last five minutes.

Orrville’s aggressive defense put the clamps on Ready’s Joe Graessle, holding him to 16 points on 6-of-20 shooting. Graessle was coming off games of 30 and 37 in the regional tournament. He scored seven points in the 4th quarter, helping to rally Ready from a 35-25   3rd quarter deficit to a 42-37 lead midway in the 4th quarter. His assist to Eddy Bahen tied the game at 48 with 18 seconds left, seemingly setting up overtime, until Miller’s heroics.

Miller was a perfect four-for-four from the field, and four-for-five from the line for his 12 points. Ready took a timeout after his free throws, but Zach Wasson, another main cog in Orrville’s defense, broke up their desperation heave to Graessle. Wasson, who had 6 points in the last 3 minutes, and Jacob Bolyard, led Orrville with 13 points. Bolyard’s deep 3 with 3:25 left, tied it at 42, stemming Ready’s 17-2 run.

Bishop Ready (megasportsnews.com)

Ready broke loose for 21 points in the 4th quarter–they had only 27 through 3 quarters–thanks to Orrville foul trouble. Orrville’s Max Pirman scored only one point in the game, but hounded Graessle before going to the bench with his 4th foul with 3:23 left in the 3rd quarter.

Graessle’s teammates hit 13 of their 22 shots–Cody Culbertson had 11 points–but the Silver Knights of first year head coach Don Worstell fell short of advancing to the championship game for the first time since 2002.

Baseball Crusaders hang tough with #3 Wooster but drop 6-1 decision

info courtesy of Capital Sports Information

The Capital Crusaders played number 3 Wooster tough, but fell short 6-1 in a non-conference game at Art Murray Field in Wooster, Ohio. The loss was the fifth straight for Capital which fell to 4-8 on the season.

The middle of the order tallied all seven hits for the Crusaders as junior Zack Byers (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Hartley HS), the freshman duo of Brandon Natalie (Bexley, Ohio/Westerville North HS) and Jake Thurman (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North HS) had two hits apiece while senior John Rowan (Painesville,Ohio/Harvey HS) also singled in the ninth.

Byers was 2-for-3 with a hit by pitch and a run scored.  Natalie followed with a 2-for-4 effort of his own including a ninth-inning RBI while Thurman was also 2-4 with a walk.

Wooster leadoff batter Matthew Johnson victimized Capital in the first four innings to help the Fighting Scots to a 3-0 lead. He led off the first and third innings each with a home run and after Wooster College loaded the bases with two outs, Johnson drew a walk to give them the 3-0 advantage.

There were 175 fans in attendance for the 2 hour 30 minute game.

LINE SCORE                 R     H     E

Capital University          1       7      1

College of Wooster         6       9       0

Capital is scheduled to host Wittenberg in a single game at Clowson Field on Thursday at 5 p.m.

Otterbein Cardinals baseball rolls to third win in a row

info courtesy of Otterbein Sports Information

Otterbein won its third game in a row beating the Muskies at Muskingum, 7-6 on Wednesday.  Leading the way was John Quimby (Pittsburgh/New Allegheny) and Wes Meadows (Marion/Ridgedale) who hit back-to-back homers in the top of the ninth inning to give reliever John LaCorte (Whitehall/New Albany) the win, he’s now 3-0 on the season. There were 156 fans in attendance at Mose Morehead Field in New Concord, Ohio.

John LaCorte Otterbein (OC photo)

John Quimby Otterbein (OC photo)

Wes Meadows Otterbein (OC photo)

In previous games, the Cardinals defeated University of Pittsburgh-Bradford, 9-6 and Wittenberg, 6-2.

LINE SCORE               R        H         E

Otterbein                           7        9          1

Muskingum                       6        11        2

Former Columbus Clippers manager moves onto new challenge

compiled from wire and staff reports

Torey Lovullo, the 2009 Columbus Clippers field manager will move on in 2010 to a new challenge, but it will be in familiar territory-the International league for the Pawtucket Red Sox, Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

Lovullo, who was considered for the managerial opening for the 2010 Cleveland Indians, will be taking the reins from Ron Johnson, who was promoted to Boston as the first base coach for Manager Terry Francona.

The 44-year-old Lovullo, who played for Francona in 1999 with the Philadelphia Phillies, is excited about this opportunity in the Red Sox chain. “I am looking forward to bringing along players for a team that is focused on playing in the World Series every year and having the chance to develop relationships with this organization”, said Lovullo, who remains close to Francona and considers Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell as one of the best in the business for young pitchers to learn from.

Torey Lovullo (clippers photo)

Lovullo played on back-to-back International  League Governors Cup teams in 1991 and 1992 for the Columbus Clippers. This is part of the background that the 1987 UCLA All-American brings to the Boston organization.

In addition to Terry Francona, the California native considers former big league skipper Buck Showalter as a prime influence on his career. “Buck always had a strong feeling for detail in his preparation and that has carried over to my approach to doing things in baseball, the way I go about my business,” noted Lovullo who will be starting his fifth year as a Triple-A field manager and first with Pawtucket.

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