Thursday, December 26, 2013

Norway vs Russia December 26 2013

Russia stormed out to a 5-0 lead after 15 minutes and coasted to a 11-0 win over Norway in the first game for both teams at the 2014 U20 World Championship.

The second line of Vyacheslav Osnovin-Alexander Barabanov-Damir Zhafyarov accounted for three of those goals.

As well, goalie Andrei Vasilevski tied two all-time U20 records in this opening game. Merely by playing in it he tied 14 goalies for most career U20 tournaments with three. And, his shutout put him in more exclusive company. Only Slovakia’s Jaroslav Halak has as many career shutouts as Vasilevki (four).

"We just tried to play the game as if the score was close the whole time or as if we were playing Canada or Sweden," said Mikhail Grigorenko, who finished with a goal and two assists. The 12th overall draft choice in 2012 had played only sparingly with the Buffalo Sabres and was loaned to the Russian team for the tournament.

"I wasn't playing much there, and it's always an honour to play for your country," he added.

Osnovin opened the scoring at 5:03 when he took a quick feed from Barabanov behind the net. Just 83 seconds later defenceman Nikita Zadorov ripped a wrist shot past goalie Henrik Haukeland, and eleven seconds after that Zhafyarov converted a two-on-one with Osnovin. Zhafyarov also finished with a goal and three points.

The Russian defence combined for three goals and five assists in the game.

Two goals later in the period put the game well out of reach, but credit goes to the impressive Malmo crowd which showed its appreciation by giving the Norwegians a nice round of applause any time they came up with a decent shift or chance on goal (which, unfortunately, wasn’t that often).

The Russians added another fiver in the middle period on a variety of plays. There was Vadim Khlopotov’s shot from the slot off a nice pass from Bogdan Yakimov, Anton Slepyshev’s superb one-timer on the power play, and Zadorov’s clear shot after skating into a scoring position.

Slepyshev added his second of the game for the only goal of the final period.

Recap for Germany vs Canada December 26, 2013

Canada started its road to redemption on a positive note, beating Germany 7-2 in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship opener at Malmö Isstadion on Thursday.

After finishing fourth at the 2013 tournament, despite a stacked lineup due to the NHL lockout, the always-favoured Canadians are under pressure to win this year. Their last gold medal came on home ice in 2009 in Ottawa. Prior to 2013, the last time they failed to medal was in 1998, when they came eighth.

Anthony Mantha led the way with three goals for Canada, while Sam Reinhart added a goal and an assist. Josh Anderson, Bo Horvat and Nic Petan had singles, and Jonathan Drouin recorded three assists. Derrick Pouliot and Connor McDavid had two helpers apiece.

Dorian Saeftel and Janik Moser scored for Germany. The Germans are hoping to avoid relegation. They finished ninth last year, and the last time they bettered that result was 1996 (eighth).

Jake Paterson, who was Canada’s third-string goalie and did not play in 2013, recorded his first career World Junior victory. Germany’s Marvin Cüpper, returning between the pipes for the second straight year, took the loss.

As expected, it was a robustly played affair with the workmanlike Germans, whose skill level couldn’t match Canada’s. There is still room for coach Brent Sutter's squad to improve.

There were thunderous pre-game chants of “Go Canada Go!” from the hundreds of red-clad Canadian fans in attendance. But they were temporarily silenced when Germany drew first blood at 1:34. After a faceoff win in the Canadian end, Saeftel’s shot along the ice fooled Paterson.

At 6:21, the Canadians made it 1-1 after a spectacular Matt Dumba rush. Dumba’s backhand attempt glanced off Cüpper’s pads and Anderson was there to put the rebound high past the goalie.

During the game’s opening power play for Canada, Dumba’s aggressive rushing nearly set up the 16-year-old phenom McDavid on another close-in chance. Dumba, who has played 13 games for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild this season, often appeared to have a step on his competition.

At 10:41, Canada made it 2-0 on its second man advantage, with Mantha whipping home a rebound past the prone German netminder.

Captain Leon Draisaitl got behind the Canadian defence a couple of minutes later but couldn’t outwit Paterson in close.

Canada looked defensively suspect at times, enabling the Germans to get the equalizer at 15:59. A completely unguarded Moser took a cross-ice pass from Dominik Kahun and put it into the open net on Paterson’s stick side.

Mantha restored Canada’s one-goal lead with 2:24 left in the opening frame, cutting around the net and scoring on a backhanded wraparound.

The Germans abandoned Cüpper to the wolves on the fourth Canadian goal. The German goalie made multiple stops before Sam Reinhart sent a neat pass through the crease to Horvat, who lifted the puck home to make it 4-2 at 18:29.

Canada picked up its physical game in the second period, with Curtis Lazar running over German defenceman Jonas Noske.

The gap on the scoreboard increased as well. Sam Reinhart broke in alone on Cüpper and got three cracks at it before shoving the puck over the goal line at 6:45 for a 5-2 lead. McDavid recorded his first World Junior point with the second assist.

A sweet power play feed from Drouin gave Mantha his hat trick goal. He whacked it home at Cüpper’s left post with 8:32 remaining in the middle frame. (No hats, however, were thrown on the ice.)

Just past the halfway mark of the third period, Petan put home a loose puck to make it 7-2 after McDavid nearly scored after coming around the net. McDavid is the first 16-year-old to represent Canada at this tournament since Sidney Crosby (2004).

In 2013, the Canadians opened similarly with a 9-3 romp over Germany. The last time Canada didn’t win its first game was at the 1999 tournament in Manitoba, a 0-0 tie with Slovakia.

Germany’s next game is against Slovakia on Friday, while Canada faces the Czech Republic on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ryan nets winning goal for Senators against Jets

New addition Bobby Ryan had a goal and an assist to help the Ottawa Senators defeat the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Ryan, acquired in one of the biggest trades of the offseason just hours after captain Daniel Alfredsson signed with the new division rival Detroit Red Wings, skated on a line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, which is where he figures to start the season.

Michalek also had a goal and an assist, and Spezza added an assist on Michalek's goal. Defenseman Erik Karlsson had a pair of assists, and goaltender Robin Lehner made 17 saves in 40 minutes of work.

Matt Halischuk had the lone goal for the Jets. Michael Hutchinson, who joined the Winnipeg organization on a one-year contract in the offseason from Boston, stopped 29 of 32 shots in net.

Ryan nets winning goal for Senators against Jets

New addition Bobby Ryan had a goal and an assist to help the Ottawa Senators defeat the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Ryan, acquired in one of the biggest trades of the offseason just hours after captain Daniel Alfredsson signed with the new division rival Detroit Red Wings, skated on a line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, which is where he figures to start the season.

Michalek also had a goal and an assist, and Spezza added an assist on Michalek's goal. Defenseman Erik Karlsson had a pair of assists, and goaltender Robin Lehner made 17 saves in 40 minutes of work.

Matt Halischuk had the lone goal for the Jets. Michael Hutchinson, who joined the Winnipeg organization on a one-year contract in the offseason from Boston, stopped 29 of 32 shots in net.

Grigorenko's SO goal lifts Sabres over Canadiens

Mikhail Grigorenko's shootout goal lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens in the preseason opener for both teams on Sunday night.

Grigorenko beat Zachary Fucale with a backhand on Buffalo's second attempt in the tiebreaker.

The Sabres, who never led, erased four one-goal deficits. Colton Gillies got the Sabres even at 4 with 4:24 left in regulation.

Zemgus Girgensons scored two goals in the second for Buffalo, making it 3-3 at 11:51 on the first shot faced by Fucale. Jamie McBain also scored for the Sabres.

Michael Bournival scored twice for the Canadiens. Martin St-Pierre netted Montreal's second power-play goal at 12:59 into the third to give the Canadiens a 4-3 lead.

Erik Nystrom added a power-play goal for Montreal.

SABRES OVERCOME PENALTY TROUBLE IN PRESEASON OPENER

The Buffalo Sabres didn’t make it easy on themselves, but they got the job done.

The Sabres prevailed in the shootout, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 inside a packed Bell Centre on Sunday in their preseason opener. Zemgus Girgensons scored twice in the game and Mikhail Grigorenko netted the decisive goal on a nifty backhand in the shootout.

Defenseman Jamie McBain and camp invitee Colton Gillies also scored for Buffalo.

Matt Hackett was the winning goaltender, taking over midway through the game for starter Jhonas Enroth. Hackett stopped 11 of 12 shots in 35:23. Enroth made 10 saves on 13 shots.

Michael Bournival tallied twice for Montreal. The Canadiens also received goals from Erik Nystrom and Martin St-Pierre.

Before they could reach the shootout however, the Sabres had to successfully kill off two penalties in the third and in the overtime period.

Buffalo didn’t hold a lead in the game until the very end and fought back from four one-goal deficits.

“We kind of knew they were going to come out hard here in an exhibition game with the crowd they did. I thought we got better as the game went on,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston said. “But I liked a lot of our younger players and the poise that they had in an environment like this for the first time.”

Though the Sabres got into penalty trouble, particularly late in the game and in overtime, they killed off four of Montreal’s six power plays.

“We had a lot of kills and a lot of double odd-man situations which made it tough, but I think we hung in there,” Sabres forward Steve Ott said. “Obviously there’s always room for improvement. That was our first real test.”

While Rolston and the coaching staff would rather not find themselves in so many shorthanded situations, developing players like Girgensons relished the opportunity to be on the ice during a crucial penalty kill.

“I think it’s really good for the team to be put in such tough situations before the real season because it still matters how we play here, but it’s a lot about learning and getting prepared for the regular season,” Girgensons said. “So I think it’s good putting us in those tough situations. It helps us down the road.”

Girgensons’ first goal came on the penalty kill 0:58 into the second period to tie the game at one. He scored again with 8:09 left in the period to make it 3-3, beating Furcale with a wrist shot from the off wing.

“He changed really the game, the momentum of getting the shorthanded goal and then getting the second goal he had on the short side,” Rolston said. “…I thought [Girgensons] was one of our best players tonight.”

The Sabres lineup Sunday featured heavily touted prospects like Grigorenko, Girgensons, Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, Johan Larsson and Mark Pysyk mixed with veterans like Ott, Drew Stafford, Patrick Kaleta, Cody McCormick, Henrik Tallinder and Mike Weber.

Ott was impressed with the grit some of the younger players showed in the game. Ristolainen in particular blocked a hard shot early in the third period.

“The sacrifice is there. The compete is there and those are aspects you can’t teach,” Ott said. “When young guys are doing that and sacrificing themselves, it just shows they want to be on this team. Obviously, it bodes well throughout our lineup and the stable of young prospects that we have. ”

Ott served as captain for the game. Rolston said he will continue to rotate the “C” throughout the season before naming a full-time captain. Tallinder and Stafford served as the alternates.

Stars Open Preseason with 6-5 Shootout Loss to Blues

It was a mixed bag for the Dallas Stars in their first game of the preseason. There was plenty of offensive firepower, but keeping the puck out of their net was a different story. The end result was a 6-5 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center Sunday night.

“I thought from the standpoint of making plays and creating good opportunities against what I thought was a pretty good defense they dressed, that part was good,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We had some breakdowns that cost us. We’d like to clean that up. Our young defense probably hurt us a little bit. But I really liked what our forwards did. They did a really nice job of creating some opportunities.”

Leading the way among the Dallas forwards was 18-year-old Valeri Nichushkin, who scored two goals and registered a game-high nine shots on goal in his first taste of NHL action.

“I was waiting for that all summer, so I was very excited,” Nichushkin said through a translator, which in this case was Stars defenseman Sergei Gonchar.

It was an impressive showing for the 18-year-old Nichushkin, Dallas first round pick (10th overall) in this summer’s NHL Draft.

“He was able to push through and skate well in the game,” Ruff said. “He was responsible for creating a number of really good opportunities, and he obviously scored a couple. You look at his all-around game and he is trying to pay attention to where he is supposed to be defending. He’s got a lot on his plate, and I thought it was a good effort from him.”

Tyler Seguin and Erik Cole each had a goal and an assist for the Stars. Defenseman Kevin Connauton also scored.

It didn’t take long for the Stars to get on the board in Sunday night’s game. They went on a power play 19 seconds into the contest and cashed in to take the early lead. After taking a pass from Seguin, Alex Chiasson sent the puck from the goal line to the slot, where Cole banged it past Blues goaltender Jake Allen 1:17 into the game.

The Stars made it a 2-0 game when Connauton’s snap shot from the left point got past Allen to give the Stars a 2-0 lead at 3:59 of the first.

The Blues bounced back to tie on a couple of goals by Maxim Lapierre, who tipped in a Ryan Reaves shot at 8:48 of the first and then scored a power play goal five minutes later, knocking the puck past Stars goaltender Dan Ellis during a scramble in the Dallas crease.

The Stars took the lead back 5:53 into the second period with their second power play goal of the night. Seguin finished off some slick passing by the Stars, scoring from the left circle to make it a 3-2 game.

“There was a lot of passing going on,” Seguin said. “Just a couple of good passes and when I got the puck back on my stick there wasn’t a goalie in the net anymore.”

The Blues drew even at 13:32 of the second period when the Stars turned over the puck and Sebastian Wannstrom slipped a shot from the bottom of the left circle past Stars goaltender Jack Campbell, who had taken over in net just a few minutes earlier.

Nichushkin scored his first goal of the night with 27.3 seconds left in the second, getting to a puck in the slot and beating Allen with a wrist shot to put the Stars up 4-3.

“It was very emotional,” Nichushkin said of scoring that first goal. “This is really happening”

After Campbell and Allen traded slick saves early in the third period, the Blues drew even at the 4:40 mark on a goal by Adam Cracknell.

Nichushkin put the Stars ahead again, stealing a puck at the defensive blue line, breaking in alone on the St. Louis net and beating Allen with a forehand to backhand move to put the Stars up 5-4 with 12:56 left in the game.

Once again the Blues answered, getting a goal by Reaves four minutes later to tie the game at 5-5.

After a scoreless overtime, St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko scored the lone goal of the shootout. Jamie Benn, Seguin and Nichushkin all failed to beat Allen.

Blues 6 Stars 5 OT

Vladimir Tarasenko scored the lone shootout goal and Jake Allen was able to turn away all three Dallas Stars shooters in the shootout of the St. Louis Blues' 6-5 win Sunday night at American Airlines Center.

Maxim Lapierre scored twice for the Blues, Ryan Reaves added a goal and an assist and Sergey Andronov had two assists as the line combined for six points in the game. Allen play the entire game in goal for St. Louis, making 33 saves.

"Three years ago, I think I scored 15 or 16 goals." said Lapierre, who scored 15 goals for Montreal in 2008-09. "I know when my confidence level is high, I can chip in goals offensively, but the main goal stays the same. That's to be physical and be good on draws defensively and on the PK. When I go to the rink for a game, I'm focused on these things. If the goals come, they come. It doesn't really matter to me."

Valeri Nichushkin, who was the 10th overall pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, looked impressive in his NHL debut playing on a line with Shawn Horcoff and Cody Eakin. He scored twice for the Stars, who saw Dan Ellis and Jack Campbell split time in goal. Also, the Stars saw the debut of Tyler Seguin in the game.

After an inauspicious start from the Blues where the Stars got goals from Erik Cole (power play) and Kevin Connauton less than four minutes into the game on four shots, Lapierre came back to get two for the visitors to tie it after one.

Lapierre, a free agent pickup by the Blues this summer, deflected a Reaves shot past Dan Ellis 8:48 into the period, then scored a power play goal 14 minutes in to make it 2-2.

Cole had given the Stars a 1-0 lead with a one-timer from the slot just 1:17 in, beating Allen high blocker side. Connauton's goal was a wrister from the blue line after taking a faceoff from Eakin 3:59 into the first.

The Stars reclaimed the lead on Tyler Seguin's power play goal, with Cole picking up his second assist of the game 5:53 into the second period.

The Blues again equalized on Sebastian Wannstrom's goal from a sharp angle, as he beat Jack Campbell from the low left circle with a wrister short side 13:32 into the second to make it 3-3.

But Nichushkin re-established Dallas' lead when he was able to collect a rebound and beat Allen in the slot with 27.3 seconds left in the second for a 4-3 Stars lead.

Adam Cracknell tied the game for the third time when Keith Aucoin collected a rebound in the slot and his shot deflected off Cracknell past Campbell 4:40 into the third period to make it 4-4.

Nichushkin picked up the puck after the Blues' Ian Cole lost it at the blue line. He beat Allen on the breakaway by sliding a backhand in at 7:04 of the third for a 5-4 Stars lead.

But the Blues would not go away again, as Reaves tipped Andronov's shot that beat Campbell from the top of the right circle through a crowd in front of the netminder at 11:03 of the third to tie the game 5-5.

"That was kind of the off-season plan, trying on getting a little offense and chip in whenever I can," Reaves said. "Obviously you keep the physical game up. I thought we started off pretty physical, but Lappy had two ... I don't know, I think our line had six points. That's going to be a big part of our team is the fourth line trying to contribute."

Tarasenko beat Campbell on the Blues' first shootout attempt, and Allen was able to stop Seguin and Nichushkin on the final two Dallas tries after Jamie Benm hit the left post on Dallas' first attempt.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was pleased with the first game, despite the ups and downs. he was especially pleased with the Lapierre, Reaves, Andronov combination.

"I just think you get a chance to prove yourself in these types of games," Hitchcock said. "You have a little bit of success, you get confidence. This was a real good evaluation for what we need to work on the next two days. We found out a lot in the scrimmage this morning and then a lot more tonight. So now we know what we've got to work on Monday and Tuesday and that'll give us a really good view of working on some things and getting ready. We got some real good evaluation on what guys were good at and what they need to work on."

Kadri and Raymond lift Maple Leafs over Flyers

Defenseman Paul Ranger scored the winner in his first competitive NHL game since stepping away from the sport in October 2009 as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario, in the first preseason tilt for both teams.

Ranger, who played more than 24 minutes per game in 2007-08 and 2008-09 as a young defenseman for the Tampa Bay Lightning, returned to hockey last season with the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League and signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Leafs for this season.

Toronto let a three-goal lead slip away before Ranger's goal. The Maples Leafs had scored three times in four shots on Philadelphia starting goalie Steve Mason to open up the advantage. Nazem Kadri, Troy Bodie and Mason Raymond scored in quick succession for Toronto. Raymond is in camp on a tryout contract after scoring 10 goals and 22 points for the Vancouver Canucks last season.

It was the second straight competitive game in which Toronto has yielded a three-goal lead, though obviously this one had far less at stake. Brayden Schenn, Doug Clarkson (Dave Clarkson's younger brother) and Nick Cousins scored for the Flyers. Mason finished with 12 saves on 15 shots, while Toronto starter turned aside 14 of 17 shots.

Leafs Hang On To Beat Flyers

Nazem Kadri and Mason Raymond each had a goal and an assist Sunday as the Toronto Maple Leafs opened the NHL pre-season schedule with a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Kadri, who signed a new two-year deal on the eve of training camp, is expected to produce, while Raymond is with the Leafs on a tryout basis after 374 games with the Vancouver Canucks.

Performing in his hometown, it was Kadri opening the offence as the Leafs scored three in 3:05 for an early 3-0 advantage.

Kadri, who also starred in the Budweiser Gardens for the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights, began a two-on-one rush inside his own blue-line. Kadri used a drag move to awkwardly put Philadelphia defenceman Hal Gill out of position before snapping the puck past Steve Mason.

Troy Bodie, who split his AHL time between Portland and Norfolk last year and was inked as a free agent by Toronto in July, made it 2-0 by beating Mason in close. Bodie received his pass on the doorstep from 2013 first-round pick Frederik Gauthier.

The third Toronto goal displayed the speed of Raymond as he scored short-handed on a breakaway after stealing the puck at his own blue-line and out-raced Philadelphia's Erik Gustafsson down the right wing.

Philadelphia rebounded quickly with three goals from Doug Clarkson in the first period and Brayden Schenn and Nick Cousins early in second.

The Cousins goal was started by a Gill point shot that went wide of Leafs goaltender James Reimer's net and bounded out the other side for Cousins to flip in a backhand.

After netminder changes by both clubs, Toronto's Paul Ranger welcomed Anthony Stolarz by converting a rebound on a give-and-go effort by Kadri and David Broll.

The final period was scoreless.

In 28 minutes of work, Reimer stopped 14 of 17, while counterpart Mason stopped 12 of 15. Maple Leafs' Christopher Gibson didn't allow a goal in 32 minutes and was credited with 13 saves, while the Flyers' Anthony Stolarz was beaten in his first minute, but settled down to make 14 saves on 15 shots.

Six former or current London Knights dressed including Kadri, Dave Bolland and Ryan Rupert for Toronto, and Mason, Stolarz and Zac Rinaldo for the Flyers.

Blue Jackets 5 Penguins 4 OT

Ryan Murray donned an NHL sweater for the first time tonight, and to celebrate, he scored the game-winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Not a bad way to start, right?

It was an eventful game at Nationwide Arena with both teams trading the lead and trying to establish some flow in their first exhibition games of the season. The Blue Jackets, on the strength of two quick third-period goals from Mark Letestu and Cam Atkinson, took a 4-3 lead into down the stretch only to see the Penguins answer right back - setting the stage for a frenetic overtime period.

And it was finished off by a smart, heady play by the 19-year-old kid on defense. RJ Umberger beat out Evgeni Malkin for a loose puck at the Columbus blue line, started an odd-man rush with Letestu going to the net and found Murray joining the rush in the final 30 seconds of sudden death.

One look, one shot, top shelf, ballgame. The Blue Jackets, as coach Todd Richards put it, "found a way to win" despite not having their best stuff in the first 40 minutes of the game. They were out-shot 26-12 by the Penguins over the first two periods but managed a pair of goals out of it, and got back to their preferred style in the third period.

They directed more pucks at the net, used their speed and defended much better in the final stanza and got a strong performance in goal from Curtis McElhinney. Pittsburgh opened the scoring just 47 seconds into the game on a James Neal goal, but after that, McElhinney held the fort before giving way to Oscar Dansk for the third period.

Sure, it's one game and an exhibition at that, but there were some highlights contained within it. Murray's game winner, two spirited scraps from James Wisniewski (Murray's defense partner) and newcomer Ilari Melart, and some persistence against a pretty good team.

Murray scores late in OT to lift Jackets over Pens

Top prospect Ryan Murray scored with 21.2 seconds left in overtime to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets past the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-4, in the preseason opener for both teams Sunday at Nationwide Arena.

Murray, the second pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, missed most of the 2012-13 season because of a shoulder injury he sustained playing in the Western Hockey League last November. The defenseman played more than 23 minutes in the contest, and could begin the 2013-14 season with the Blue Jackets.

Recent addition Chuck Kobasew scored twice for the Penguins, including at 13:05 of the third period to knot the score at 4-4. Kobasew joined the Penguins for the start of training camp on a tryout contract, but there are potential openings among the bottom-six forwards in Pittsburgh.

James Neal welcomed Columbus to the Eastern Conference and the new Metropolitan Division with a goal 47 seconds into the first period. A pair of Columbus power-play goals wrapped around Kobasew's first of the evening made it a 2-2 game after 20 minutes. Artem Anisimov and James Wisniewski had the goals for the Blue Jackets.

Dustin Jeffrey, another forward fighting for a bottom-six slot with the Penguins, scored 4:19 into the third on the power play, but ex-Penguins forward Mark Letestu and Cam Atkinson tallied 30 seconds apart to push Columbus into the lead.

Marc-Andre Fleury started in net for the Penguins and allowed two goals on 14 shots in two periods of work. Curtis McElhinney, signed in the offseason to likely backup Vezina Tropy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, also played for two periods and stopped 24 of 26 shots.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Flames rally to win 6-5 in shootout

It looked like it would be a double dose of the Edmonton Oilers triumphing over the Calgary Flames in the Split Squad Battle of Alberta on Saturday night but a late charge by the Calgary road squad resulted in a 6-5 shootout victory for the Flames.

The Oilers had a 5-2 lead with nine minutes to play in the third period but then Calgary found some spark and came all the way back to tie the game at 5-5 with three goals in just over four minutes.

"There are some habits that we need to correct, and we'll be on them as quick as possible," said Oilers Associate Coach Keith Acton, noting particularly the players' shift lengths and their contribution to the Calgary comeback.

Action did like what he saw from a lot of his troops tonight.

"Davidson and Nurse played well on defence. I thought Andrew Ference did as well. We did some good things. I thougth we went to the net really well. Jesse (Joensuu) did well going on the net," Acton continued. "Five goals should be enough to win a game."

Lance Bouma's goal was followed just over a minute later by one from Josh Jooris and then T.J. Galiardi hammered home a power play marker with 4:51 to play to tie it up.

It didn't take the Oilers long at all to do some damage as Taylor Hall fired a shot from the top of the left circle that barely made it over the line -- or perhaps didn't, depending on what angle you were looking at -- after Flames netminder Kari Rammo got a piece of it.

Moments later Ben Street fired a shot from the side boards that eluded a screened Dubnyk and suddenly the game was even at 1-1. Ironically, just over a minute into the game and the match-up at Rexall Place had more goals scored in it than the contest going on three hours south despite that one starting an hour earlier.

The first penalty of the game went to Calgary's Lance Bouma, but the Oilers were unable to convert on the man advantage.

Marco Roy took a minor penalty with just over eight minutes to play in the opening frame to put the Flames up a man for the first time on the night. However, that power play was short-lived as Sven Baertschi took a hooking penalty less than a minute later.

With Baertschi still in the box, Ryan Smyth picked up the puck after Denis Grebeshkov pushed it towards the net. Smyth backhanded it in to put the Oilers back in the lead at 2-1.

That one-goal lead turned into a two-goal lead with 58 seconds to play in the opening frame. Kyle Platzer poked his stick into a scramble and knocked the puck over Rammo to increase the Oilers lead to 3-1.

After one period, shots on goal were 13-8 in favour of Edmonton.

The Oilers opened the second period much the same way as the first, with a lot of energy and it led to another early goal.

Off the rush, the Oilers start hacking away at the puck with Rammo doing acrobatics keeping the puck out of the net. The play started with Nail Yakupov's shot from the left circle and a rebound point-blank by Jesse Joensuu. Mark Arcobello then swooped in to put home the third rebound and make it a 4-1 game.

Near the midway point of the middle frame, Jiri Hudler fed Dennis Wideman at the top of the right circle and he made no mistake, rifling a shot blocker-side past Dubnyk to draw the Flames within two.

The Oilers responded a minute later. Joensuu shoveled the puck from behind the net, wrapping it past Reto Berra, who recently replaced Rammo in the goal.

The Oilers announced that Ales Hemsky had left the game due to illness. Nail Yakupov moved up onto a line with Hall and Smyth. Marco Roy moved into Yakupov's spot with Arcobello and Linus Omark.

Calgary outshot Edmonton 14-8 in the middle frame and had a 22-21 edge in shots over 40 minutes overall.

Oilers Road Squad Triumphs

A 2-0 Oilers lead turned into a tied game late in the third period but a Martin Marincin goal with under five minutes to play sealed a 3-2 victory for Edmonton, stifling a Flames comeback, on the road in Calgary.

The Oilers took the lead at 3:41 of the opening period, on the power play, when Ryan Jones deflected a Jeff Petry point shot in past Joey MacDonald. Defenceman Taylor Fedun was credited with the second assist.

“We did a little entry, put it back to (Fedun) cross-ice and he went to (Petry),” said Jones. “Petry was just walking across the line and I was just trying to do my best to stay in the goalie’s eyes and when (Petry) shot, it was just a matter of trying to put my stick on the puck and I deflected it down a little bit and it just went in.

“When you hang around the front of the net, good things happen.”

Two of the bigger names on the ice for the Oilers, Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner, nearly connected on a goal in the second period.

Eberle and Gagner had a two-on-one rush on goaltender Joni Ortio with just under eight minutes remaining in the second. Gagner found an open Eberle but the All Star forward shot the puck wide.

“He made a great play,” said Eberle of Gagner’s pass. “Actually, we had one before that too. We just couldn’t handle it. But, a lot of chances… That’s positive when you get into a game like this, your first one, you’ve got to get your legs under you and try to get as many opportunities as you can. That’s what happened.”

Edmonton traded former first round pick, Magnus Paajarvi, to the St. Louis Blues for forward David Perron in the offseason and he showed a reason why with his score in the middle frame.

Perron was checked in the corner and fell to the ice. He battled to get back on his feet and darted to the faceoff dot where Fedun found the forward with a perfect pass. Perron fired a shot past the Flames netminder to give Edmonton the 2-0 lead.

Boyd Gordon was awarded the second assist on the score.

The Flames scored their first at 2:43 of the third period. A shot deflected off the skate of a turned Philip Larsen and right to the Flames 22nd overall pick in 2013, Emile Poirier. The winger fired the puck past Richard Bachman and the Flames drew within one.

Mike Cammalleri tied the game at 6:31 when Matt Stajan pounced on a misplayed puck by Bachman. Stajan spun around quickly and centered the puck to a streaking Cammalleri who buried it.

The Oilers took the lead again when Eberle took the puck end to end and fired a steep angle shot on net. Ryan Hamilton swiped at the rebound and centered it out in front to Marincin who went hard to the net and finished the play, giving Edmonton the 3-2 lead with less than five minutes to go in the game.

Marincin’s goal proved to be the game winner as the Oilers survive a rally by the Flames to take the exhibition game, 3-2. The Oilers return to pre-season action on Tuesday in Winnipeg, against the Jets.

Hartley finds positives in setback to Oilers in Calgary

It didn't put a tick in the win column, but it was a victory nonetheless.

Knotted at 2-2 late in the third period, Martin Marincin's goal 4:52 remaining in the third period may have given the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory, but being able to evaluate how his young roster responded in the first game of preseason action was a win for Bob Hartley.

"I was pleased," Hartley said. "I can't fault the effort. The first two goals, there was some kids mistake but that's why we played them. We want to put them in those kinds of situations and if they do well, if they do bad…I shouldn't even say bad. If they make a mistake this is a game of mistakes.

"I felt those kids recuperated real well and they put it behind them and kept going."

Marincin tapped in a pass from Ryan Hamilton after Joni Ortio, on for the back-end of the 60-minute tilt, couldn't corral Jordan Eberle's initial shot. Edmonton's goal came a shift after Emile Poirier just about added his second of the night to give Calgary their first lead of the game, letting traffic funnel to the net before ringing the puck off the post.

Calgary's contingent -- playing opposite their split squad in Edmonton -- trailed by two after two periods, but Poirier put the Flames on the board early in the third.

Shane O'Brien's point shot was blocked but the rebound skirted over to the 22nd pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Poirier one-timed the puck behind Oilers netminder Richard Backman just 2:43 into the frame to cut the lead to 2-1.

"I think I just went to the net," Poirier said. "It was the right time and it's an unbelievable feeling. First game and (I) scored."

It wasn't just his goal that caught the coach's eye.

"Poirier, especially the second half of the game," Hartley said. "I felt his speed really generated some good scoring chances for us, gave us the rebound goal."

Veteran Mike Cammalleri squared the game after some hustle from Matt Stajan.

Outracing the Edmonton defence to a dump in deep in the Oilers zone, Stajan pivoted and fired a pass squarely onto the stick of Cammalleri, who promptly deposited it behind Bachman at 6:31.

Marincin's late goal put the game out of reach, but Hartley wasn't disappointed with the end result.

Still, the game had plenty of value for Hartley.

"I put some kids with some veterans," he said. "I want to make sure I see my veterans react to playing with younger players. I want to see the younger players react against key position. We played some kids against (Jordan) Eberle and for me, that's what I wanted to see."

Though the Flames had the game's first scoring chances, it was the Oilers who found the back of the net first.

With Ryan Culkin in the penalty box for interference, Ryan Jones deflected a Jeff Petry point shot behind starter Joey MacDonald to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead just 3:41 into the game.

Mark Giordano almost drew Calgary even at Jones' expense. With the Oilers' forward in the penalty box for cross checking, Giordano walked in from the slot and beat Jason Labarbara but not the post at 8:40.

The chance came just minutes after Sean Monahan was denied his first of the season. Taking a cross-ice pass at the top of the crease from Curtis Glencross, Monahan's tap-in was denied by the Edmonton goalie.

Not to be outdone, MacDonald flashed the glove to deny Ty Bilcke his first of the exhibition series at the eight minute mark of the second period. After winning a footrace to the puck, Derek Nesbitt found Bilcke in the slot, but the Flames goaltender was equal to the task for his best save of the night.

With goaltenders splitting action, MacDonald was relieved by Ortio with 8:52 remaining in the middle frame after stopping eight of nine shots. Labarbara stopped all 12 shots he faced before being relieved by Bachman.

It didn't take long for Ortio to be tested.

Edmonton forward David Perron walked off the boards and snapped a shot from the right dot that beat the Flames goaltender short side just 2:05 into Ortio's shift and two minutes after John Ramage's penalty for holding had expired.

Flames overcome three-goal deficit for shootout win in Edmonton

Roman Horak capped off a third period three-goal rally in the shootout to hand the Flames a 6-5 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Saturday.

It was the second and final game of the night between the two clubs who participated in pre-season split-squad games in each of their respective buildings.

Things looked bleak for the Calgary group in Edmonton, facing a 5-2 deficit with less than nine minutes remaining before Lance Bouma cued the comeback with his first goal in a Flames jersey in over a year. Josh Jooris continued to turn heads finding the twine twice in the final seven minutes to even the score 5-5.

Goaltending prospect Reto Berra stood tall in the shootout, denying Linus Omark and Taylor Hall, while Sven Baertschi and Horak capitalized to give the Flames the win.

Karri Ramo started the match in goal for the Flames and turned aside 13 Edmonton shots while Berra stopped all but one of the 14 shots he faced.

Ben Street and Dennis Wideman capped off the scoring for Calgary who will embark on a two-game pre-season road trip to play a pair of natural site contests in Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan.

Capitals defeat Jets in shootout at Hockeyville

Two former Belleville Bulls goaltenders put on a show for their hometown fans Saturday night.

Philipp Grubauer, who relieved Braden Holtby midway through the second period, made 25 saves through overtime then went 4-for-4 in the shootout to lead the Washington Capitals to an entertaining 4-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets in the Kraft Hockeyville game at Yardmen Arena.

"I was looking forward to it all summer," said Grubauer, who played for the Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League from 2008-10. "It was pretty amazing to play here again."

Edward Pasquale, a Bulls goalie from 2006-08, went the distance and stopped 36 of 39 shots for the Jets. The only goal in the shootout came in the fourth round, when Capitals defenseman Mike Green scored on a wrist shot for the game-winner.

"They played well," Green said of the goaltenders. "It made for a good game. It was a lot of fun. We didn't know what to expect, and the city welcomed us with open arms. We had a lot of fun today. The people were excited for us to be here, especially the kids. They don't get to see a lot of NHL players come through here."

Evander Kane scored twice, and Scott Kosmachuk had a goal for Winnipeg, which was the designated home team. Jack Hillen, Stanislav Galiev and Troy Brouwer scored for Washington on a night the hockey-crazed fans of Stirling-Rawdon likely won't ever forget.

"It was fun," Kane said. "They've got the big ice surface out here. I didn't play in the OHL, but it was good. I enjoyed it. It's nice for the fans to see some NHL hockey when they don't maybe get that opportunity every day."

Galiev, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom came up empty in the shootout for Washington before Green scored.

"I thought it was great," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "Huge for the League to try and do stuff like this, to give something back to the smaller towns and bring the big guys in there. It obviously doesn't get to happen. [We're] a long way from Air Canada Centre, but it's great for the fans to see Ovi. They got to see him in a shootout, a perfect setup."

Kane struck first 4:33 into the second period. Aiming to find chemistry with linemates Devin Setoguchi and Mark Scheifele, Kane, who was named first star of the game, beat a screened Holtby off a feed from Setoguchi.

"It was good to get our first game under our belts and read and react on how we all play," Kane said. "I thought me and [Devin] established some pretty good chemistry and [Scheifele] did a good job of just kind of distributing the puck. It's only one game and we'll try to build from here."

The Capitals received a scare 6:42 into the game when Ovechkin was down on the ice after a high stick to the face from Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot. Ovechkin lay in pain for about 30 seconds before heading to the dressing room, but he quickly returned. Chiarot received a four-minute penalty.

Oates said Ovechkin received a few stitches near his lip. Ovechkin did not speak with the media after the game, although he did tweet a picture of his face (@ovi8) and wrote, "Just had a plastic surgery)))hahahaah."

"It was a pretty scary one," Oates said.

Green said, "I was up the ice, so I didn't see it until I saw the replay. Geez, he got lucky. But Ovi always seems to come out of it like … he looks mangled, but he's always OK. I guess that's why they call him the Russian machine."

Winnipeg led 2-0 after a goal by Kosmachuk at 6:08. The third-round pick (No. 70) in 2012 took a pass from Nik Petan and beat Holtby on a wraparound.

Grubauer replaced Holtby with 9:47 remaining in the second period after the Capitals starter stopped 17 of 19 shots.

Washington tied the game with goals 1:25 apart later in the period. Hillen cut the deficit in half when his quick shot from the left point beat Pasquale at 13:07, before Galiev redirected Nate Schmidt's feed past Pasquale.

It was a frustrating 85 seconds in what was otherwise a tremendous performance by the Winnipeg goaltender.

"I thought Eddie Pasquale was our best player tonight," Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian said. "He made some real great saves back there for us."

Grubauer preserved the tie with 2:40 left in the second, when he stretched out his left pad to rob Kane's backhand attempt on a breakaway.

"Obviously for him, a bit of an extra [special] feeling," Oates said of his goaltender. "Playing here, I'm very happy for him that he got the win. I think the fans got it all … they got a shootout, they saw a little bit of everything tonight."

Kane scored his second 7:14 into the third period. Moments after Grubauer robbed Setoguchi with a dazzling stick save, Kane beat Grubauer with a wrister from the left circle to give the Jets a 3-2 lead.

Later, with Scheifele in the penalty box for tripping, the Capitals put on a pretty passing display that culminated with a power-play goal for Brouwer, who one-timed Marcus Johansson's feed from behind the net past Pasquale to make it 3-3.

The game went to a shootout following a scoreless overtime, and Grubauer again stood tall and received some help. Setoguchi drilled a shot off the post in the opening round, and Scheifele fired wide in Round 3, but Grubauer denied Kane in the second round and Petan in the fourth to set up Green's game-winner.

"It's always different if you come off the bench in the second half, but you're pro athletes and you've got to make sure you're ready for the game," Grubauer said. "It doesn't matter if you come in the last period, second period. Rebound-wise, I thought I was all right, but I still have to work on a couple of things. I'm looking forward to practice."

Caps take preseason opener in shootout 4-3

Mike Green’s shootout goal enabled the Washington Capitals to come away with a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night in the Kraft Hockeyville game, the first preseason contest for both teams in 2013.



After a scoreless first frame, the Jets scored twice in less than two minutes against Caps starting goaltender Braden Holtby in the second period. Washington bounced back to draw even at 2-2 later in the frame, scoring two goals of its own in less than two minutes.



The Jets regained the lead at 3-2 in the third, but Troy Brouwer’s power play goal set the stage for Green’s shootout heroics.



Jets star Evander Kane started the scoring for Winnipeg at 4:33 of the second frame. With Washington in the midst of a line change, rookie Jets defenseman Julian Melchiori alertly and sharply sent the puck from his own blueline on the left side of the ice to right wing Devin Setoguchi along the right wing wall near the far blueline. Setoguchi gained the zone, then left the puck for Kane, who launched a perfectly placed wrist shot through a three-man screen in front of Caps goalie Braden Holtby. The puck nestled high into the far (left) corner of the cage to give the Jets a 1-0 lead.



Winnipeg wasted little time in doubling its lead. Caps defenseman Karl Alzner had the puck on his backhand in the corner to Holtby’s left. As Jets winger Scott Kosmachuk pressured him from behind, Alzner tried to push the puck around the back of the net but it was picked off by rookie pivot Nic Petan, who gave it to Kosmachuk. Taking advantage of the new, smaller nets the NHL has introduced this season, Kosmachuk quickly wrapped the disc around the smaller cage and tucked it behind Holtby on the goaltender’s right side.



Kosmachuk’s goal came 95 seconds after Kane had staked the Jets to their original advantage and it gave the Jets a 2-0 lead at 6:08 of the second.



Roughly seven minutes later, Washington halved the Winnipeg lead. Troy Brouwer carried the puck down the right side. Soon after entering the zone, he fed a trailing Nathan Walker in the high slot. Walker let go a shot from there, and Pasquale made the stop. But a juicy rebound caromed out toward the left point and Caps blueliner Jack Hillen, like an outfielder charging a ground ball, rushed in to meet the puck and wristed it over Pasquale’s shoulder.



“That’s kind of a set play where you’ve got the middle guy driving and then the far guy comes up the middle,” noted Walker. “He just found me open and it was a good pass.”



“I was keeping my gap tight,” said Hillen, “and sometimes pucks bounce out to you and you’re able to put them in. When you’re shooting from the point, you’re just trying to miss the first couple of guys because there are so many layers to get it through. Most times you’re not aiming to score, you’re just trying to get it on net. That’s really the goal, to get it on net.”



Washington seemed to draw some energy from the Hillen goal. The Caps kept buzzing the Winnipeg end. The Jets tried to clear the zone, but their clearing bid found its way to Caps defenseman Nate Schmidt at the left point. Schmidt spotted Stanislav Galiev with time and space near the right post and fed the winger with a perfect pass. Galiev, who had been firing shots from the left side all night prior to this, was left with an easy tap-in from the right side to make it a 2-2 game.



“Right before that,” explained Schmidt, “I had a chance to make almost the same play. But I missed it. When Connor [Carrick] passed it back over at the blueline, I saw Gally come out of the corner. I just tried to suck that d-man out as far as I could. Stan stared right at me and just let me know that he was there at the back door. All he had to do was just tap her in.”



The Jets struck for two goals in a span of 95 seconds earlier in the period, but it took Washington only 85 seconds in which to tally twice later in the frame.



Winnipeg regained its lead just ahead of the eight-minute mark of the third period. Caps goalie Philipp Grubauer made a desperate paddle stop on Setoguchi, but Jets center Mark Scheifele retrieved the puck behind the Washington net. He quickly fed it to Kane in front, and the Jets winger was able to net his second of the night before Grubauer was fully recovered and in place from making the stop on Setoguchi.



A mere 66 seconds after Kane’s second goal of the game, Caps center Nicklas Backstrom drew a tripping call on Scheifele to put the Capitals on the power play. After Green kept the puck in at the right point, a series of quick passes culminated with Brouwer firing a one-timer from the slot past Pasquale to make it a 3-3 game.



The Capitals killed off an Aaron Volpatti slashing minor without incident late in regulation, and the Jets managed to kill off a tripping call on rookied blueliner Josh Morrissey during the overtime.



Green was the only one of eight shooters – four on each side – to score in the shootout.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Indiana Rolls Past Indiana St In Opener 73-35

Indiana's Nate Sudfeld threw four touchdown passes, and Tevin Coleman rushed for 169 yards and two more TDs in Thursday night's record-breaking 73-35 victory over Indiana State.

The Hoosiers (1-0) scored 45 points in the first half, their highest total since the school started keeping records in 1949, and broke the Memorial Stadium scoring record by topping the 69 points Nebraska scored in 1978. The 73 points are the second-most in school history and 10 touchdowns scored are the most in school history.

They made it look easy, too. The Hoosiers used only 3 minutes, 57 seconds to score six first-half touchdowns. Ted Bolser caught two TD passes to extend his own school record for tight ends, and Shane Wynn added three more with TD catches of 43 and 3 yards and a 58-yard punt return.

Shakir Bell ran 18 times for 113 yards for Indiana State (0-1) but left late in the first half with a separated right shoulder that could keep him out a couple of weeks.

Indiana delivered on its promise Thursday night. They were better than last year.

The Hoosiers showed how much they've improved during the offseason by dominating overmatched Indiana State in the record-breaking season-opener.

Tre Roberson and Sudfeld each threw touchdown passes, while Shane Wynn scored three touchdowns and Ted Bolser scored twice, and the Hoosiers' defense forced two turnovers and constantly harassed the Indiana State quarterbacks. And that was just in the first 30 minutes.

Indiana (1-0) produced its highest first-half point total (45) since the school started keeping track in 1949, broke the Memorial Stadium scoring record (69) by Nebraska in 1978 and would have broken the school's all-time scoring record (76) if the Hoosiers hadn't taken a knee four straight times inside the Indiana State 20 in the closing minutes.

While most analysts figured Indiana's explosive offense would score points by the dozens, few expected the Hoosiers to make it look this easy. They consumed only 3 minutes, 57 seconds on six first-half touchdowns.

And they dominated this game in every possible facet.

Wynn caught a 43-yard TD pass from Roberson and scored on a 58-yard punt return, Indiana's first since Tracy Porter seven years ago. He added a 3-yard TD catch in the third quarter, his only other catch of the night.

Bolser extended his school record for TD receptions by a tight end with scoring catches of 12 and 9 yards.

Tevin Coleman broke free for a 34-yard TD run on fourth-and-1, and finished with 14 carries, 169 yards and two scores.

After allowing Indiana State to tie the score at 7 in the first quarter, Indiana stopped the Sycamores nine straight times -- enough to give ticket-holders at the game a discount at a local watering hole. Half of the 28 points weren't even the fault of the defense. Indiana State scored on a fumble return just before the half ended and an interception return just after it.

Shakir Bell led the Sycamores with 18 carries for 113 yards before leaving late in the first half with a separated right shoulder. The two-time Walter Payton finalist is expected to miss a couple of weeks.

Minnesota Races Past UNLV 51-23 in Season Opener

Minnesota's Marcus Jones returned the second half kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and the Gophers pulled away for a 51-23 victory over UNLV on Thursday, the 23rd loss in a row on the road for the Rebels.

Minnesota, which scored twice on special teams, turned a tight game into a romp without any scoring by the offense for the first 23-plus minutes after the intermission. Ra'Shede Hageman blocked a field goal that Martez Shabazz picked up and raced for a 78-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun scored on an 89-yard interception return in the fourth.

UNLV's Tim Cornett rushed 20 times for 80 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown run to cap a commanding opening drive for the Rebels. Shaquille Murray-Lawrence gained 108 yards on four carries for UNLV, which last won away from Las Vegas was Oct. 24, 2009, at New Mexico.

Philip Nelson ran for two touchdowns for Minnesota, including a 48-yard sprint in the second quarter. His best throw of the night was to freshman tight end Maxx Williams at the edge of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds left in the first half. That score gave the Gophers the lead for good.

Nelson, though, was off the mark a lot. He went 10 for 22 for 99 yards and an interception and also fumbled on second-and-goal at the 1-yard line late in the second quarter. He recovered, but after an overthrow left the Gophers settling for a field goal. Backup Mitch Leidner relieved him late and ran for a score of his own.

For the most part, the Rebels had the better sophomore quarterback. Nick Sherry, who finished 35 for 50 for 226 yards, threw across his body on fourth down for a 34-yard touchdown pass to Devante Davis that put UNLV ahead 13-10 with 5:04 left in the first half. He added a short scoring toss in the closing minutes.

But Sherry, who was picked off three times by the Gophers last year, threw two interceptions in the fourth, the first of which went right to Boddy-Calhoun, one of two new starting cornerbacks for Minnesota.

Taking the Gophers to triple overtime in a 30-27 loss last season in the opener in Las Vegas certainly gave the Rebels some confidence, even though they won only two games in 2012, their third year under coach Bobby Hauck. Their strong start here didn't last, though, after a kickoff-time temperature of 92 degrees that felt more like Nevada than Minnesota in late August. Six misting fans on each sideline helped keep the players cool, and a strong student-section showing yielded a crowd of 44,208.

The last time the Gophers scored this many points was 63 in 2006 for a win over Indiana at the Metrodome.

Roland Johnson also blocked an extra point for Minnesota on a tough night for UNLV kicker Nolan Kohorst, who also missed a 49-yard field goal. Kohorst made a 32-yarder after Sherry's throw to the near corner of the end zone went in and out of the hands of Jerry Rice Jr., the son of the Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver.

One negative for the Gophers was running back Donnell Kirkwood, who limped off with an injury to his right ankle after totaling only 30 yards on 11 carries.

UCF Charges Past Akron for Huge Season-Opening Win

The UCF football team ushered in a new era in the American Athletic Conference by rewriting the record books Thursday night in its 38-7 win over Akron.

History was made in just 58 seconds.

After a shaky start recovering a fumble in their own territory on the first play of the game, the Knights quickly recovered. They shattered open the game when quarterback Blake Bortles found sophomore receiver Breshad Perriman down the Knights' sideline. Perriman took one cut to the left, juking two Zips defenders, and sprinted the remainder of the 91 yards to the house for a 7-0 lead.

The pass broke the UCF school record for the longest play from scrimmage and longest pass play. Prior to Thursday, the longest pass in UCF history belonged to Darin Slack's 87-yard touchdown strike to Bernard Ford on Oct. 24, 1987. Perriman finished the night with a career-high 113 yards receiving in the game.

Basically, it was a defining moment.

"It was a great start. I didn't believe that play was going to come to me," Perriman said. "Every time I touch the ball I want to score. Honestly, I thought somebody was going to tackle me from behind. I feel I motivated everybody else to come out and play to their full potential."

The Knights put up impressive numbers in front of more than 35,000 in attendance. UCF nearly doubled Akron's total offensive yards (476 to 250) thanks to a career night from Bortles with his 314 passing yards and three touchdowns.

The defense was solid, allowing the Zips just 145 yards through the first three quarters and held them scoreless until 42 seconds remained in the game. Junior linebacker Terrance Plummer led the defensive charge with 10 tackles, three for loss.

"Everybody talks about the offense, and the offense is a big part of UCF. Defense is also a big part," Plummer said. "I think tonight was a statement that we had to come out and do everything right and play hard."

After the explosive 91-yard score, UCF closed out the first quarter with a 19-yard touchdown reception across the middle by junior receiver Rannell Hall to cap a 91-yard, 12-play drive.

The second quarter lulled until Bortles pulled off a flash of magic with seven minutes remaining. While UCF's quarterback evaded a defender, the ball popped out of his hands. He quickly recovered, grabbing the ball out of the air, scrambling, eluding more defenders and slinging it across his body while on the run to a darting J.J. Worton for a 39-yard touchdown. That score increased UCF's lead to 21-0.

"That's what separates quarterbacks who can make plays from those who can't," UCF head coach George O'Leary said of Bortles' save. "I thought he was on top of his game."

UCF wasn't done yet. Junior Shawn Moffitt capped the first half with a 32-yard field goal to send the Knights into the locker room with a 24-0 advantage.

The night continued to drag for the Zips as UCF running back Storm Johnson helped up the score another 7 points after taking the handoff and bouncing outside for a 9-yard scamper with 9:38 remaining in the third.

The Knights' defense set up the offense for another score when junior linebacker Troy Gray snatched his first career interception and returned it to the Akron 48-yard line. Bortles aired it out to Josh Reese, threading the pass to the redshirt junior inside the red zone. With the play, Bortles became the first Knight to breach 300 yards passing in four years.

Once again, Johnson piled on to the lopsided score, plowing in a 1-yard touchdown for a 38-0 lead.

Fifty-eight of the 66 Knights who dressed for the game made an appearance on the field. The Zips finally got points on the board when Nick Hirschman connected with Imani Davis on an 11-yard pass with less than a minute remaining in the game.

"I thought the kids went out and showed a lot of consistency," O'Leary said. "Overall, we played a lot of players and they had the opportunity to get in there and see where they are at. It was a good, solid win in the kicking game, offense and defense. Obviously we have some work to do in some areas, but overall I was pleased."

UCF travels to FIU on Sept. 6 for an 8 p.m. kickoff, set to air on CBS Sports Network.

Rutgers Football Falls to Fresno State in Opener 52-51

In its season-opener, the Rutgers football team dropped a hard-fought overtime game at Fresno State, 52-51, on Thursday night in Bulldog Stadium.

The Scarlet Knights were led by sophomore RB Paul James (Glassboro, N.J.), who had a career day with 182 yards on the ground. Nova threw for 348 yards and five touchdowns. Junior WR Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) to led the squad with 10 receptions and posted 105 yards receiving, while sophomore WR Leonte Carroo (Edison, N.J.) hauled in three touchdowns and amassed a team-high 124 receiving yards. Defensively, redshirt freshman linebacker Steve Longa (Saddle Brook, N.J.) led the team with nine tackles.

The Bulldogs got on the board first with a 10-play, 74-yard drive capped by a three-yard touchdown run by RB Josh Quezada.

The Scarlet Knights answered quickly with the help of true freshman Janarion Grant (Trilby, Fla.), who scampered 100 yards to pay dirt on his first-ever collegiate touch on the ensuing kickoff. The extra point by sophomore PK Kyle Federico (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) tied the game, 7-7, with 11:53 remaining in the opening quarter.

After holding Fresno State to a three-and-out, Rutgers took over possession. In a drive highlighted by a 28-yard pass and catch from Nova to Coleman, the Scarlet Knights posted three points as Federico nailed a 48-yarder field goal to give RU a 10-7 lead with 7:31 on the clock in the first.

Early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs drove the ball to the Rutgers 8-yard line before redshirt freshman DB Ian Thomas (Baltimore, Md.) intercepted Fresno State QB Derek Carr in the end zone.

The Scarlet Knights capitalized on the turnover with just two plays as Nova hit Carroo for a 69-yard scoring strike. RU took a 17-7 lead with 14:30 remaining in the half.

Rutgers held Fresno State to another three-and-out and forced the Bulldogs to punt. The Scarlet Knights took over at their own 42-yard line. With the help of another Nova-to-Coleman big play, this time for 23 yards through the air, RU got into field goal position and Federico put one through the posts from 29 yards out.

After recovering an RU muffed punt, Fresno State went 41 yards on nine plays and found the end zone at the 4:17 mark in the second quarter to cut Rutgers’ lead to 20-14.

The Bulldogs closed the half with an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to score with one second remaining on the clock to take a 21-20 lead into the break.

In its second possession of the second half, the Scarlet Knights regained the lead. A 65-yard run by James got Rutgers down to the Fresno State 5-yard line and set up an 18-yard field goal by Federico to give RU a 23-21 advantage with 9:48 on the clock in the third.

Fresno State got the ball back and drove 75 yards on 10 plays, ending with a touchdown pass from Carr to WR Josh Harper for an 11-yard score. FSU regained the lead, 28-23, with 7:43 left in the third stanza.

Late in the third, James was again the highlight for the Scarlet Knights. He tallied 69 yards, including a 55-yard burst, which led to a one-yard touchdown pass from Nova to Coleman. Rutgers went for the two point conversion, and was successful as Nova rushed in on a quarterback draw to give the Scarlet Knights a 31-28 lead with 40 seconds on the board in the third.

The Bulldogs scored first in the fourth, going 40 yards on three plays, finding the end zone to take a 35-31 lead with 11:08 to go in the game.

With 7:51 on the clock, Rutgers senior DB Lew Toler (New Castle, Del.) recovered a fumble by Fresno State RB Marteze Waller at the Bulldogs’ 33-yard line. Later, Rutgers had a fourth-and-three play from the Bulldogs’ 13-yard line. The Scarlet Knights elected to go for it, and Nova found Carroo in the corner of the end zone to give RU a 38-35 lead with 5:32 remaining.

The Bulldogs responded with a 47-yard field goal by Colin McGuire on the next possession with 3:48 on the clock, tying the game at 38-38.

With 1:18 remaining, Nova found Carroo for the third time in the corner of the end zone for a 30-yard score with 1:18 on the clock. The Bulldogs answered, tying the game at 45-45 with 38 seconds left.

RU drove down the field late, but missed the game-winning field goal wide right to send it to overtime.

On the first play of overtime, Fresno State’s Carr found WR Greg Watson for a touchdown, taking the 52-45 lead. RU answered as Nova found Coleman in the end zone for the second time on the night, leaving the score at 52-51. The Scarlet Knights attempted the two-point conversion, but were unsuccessful.

The Scarlet Knights are back in action in their home-opener against Norfolk State on Sept. 7 at noon in High Point Solutions Stadium. The first 5,000 children inside the stadium receive a free pencil pouch.

Connecticut falls to Towson in Season Opener, 33-18

Towson running back Terrance West ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns and the Tigers defeated the Univeristy of Connecticut football team by a 33-18 score before a crowd of 30,689 at Rentschler Field on Thursday night. It was Towson's first win against an opponent from the bowl subdivision.

"I'm sure in the eyes of some, this will be considered very, very big," said Towson coach Rob Ambrose. "But we've played good competition before. We've played well but couldn't get a win. In the history of this, I suppose one day people will one day look back at this as very large thing. But the family in this locker room, we have goals. And for us to reach our goals we had to win."

Towson put up 393 yards of total offesne while holding UConn to just 287. Quarterback Peter Athens threw for 192 yards and another score and running back Sterlin Phifer caught a 23-yard touchdown and ran for another. West carried the ball a career-high 36 times, and broke the 100-yard mark for the 12th time in his career. The junior's two fourth-quarter scores put the game away.

UConn junior wide receiver Shakim Phillips (Paterson, N.J.) had two touchdown catches for Connecticut and redshirt junior wide receiver Geremy Davis (Lawrenceville, Ga.) caught five balls for 100 yards in the losing effort.

The Huskies, who are coming off back-to-back 5-7 seasons, had not lost to an FCS team since 2001, when they were making the transition from Division I-AA to Division I.

"I think they know this is one game and we didn't play well as a team in any area," said UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni. "I think there is some leadership in the locker room and from that regard, I think we'll be fine."

The Tigers were up 13-10 at halftime and trailed just once, at 7-0. The Huskies were held scoreless in the second half of this one until junior quarterback Chandler Whitmer (Newnana, Ga.) hit Phillips with a 21-yard touchdown pass with 3:29 left in the game that cut the deficit to 26-18.

But on UConn's next opportunity, freshman Brian Lemelle (Harrisburg, Pa.) fumbled a punt. West, who now has 46 career touchdowns, then put the finishing touches on the upset, scoring from 5 yards out with 16 seconds left in the game.

Connecticut took an early lead after a 92-yard drive that was set up with a diving interception by redshirt freshman safety Obi Melifonwu (South Grafton, Mass.). The redshirt freshman was pressed into a starting role when Andrew Adams (Fayetteville, Ga.) went down in camp with a shoulder injury. Nine plays after the pick, Whitmer found Phillips breaking toward the left corner for a 31-yard catch-and-run.

Towson answered in just four plays. Phifer swung out of the backfield on a delay pattern and Athens found him wide open for a 23-yard touchdown. Phifer scored again in the second quarter on a five-yard run. That came two plays after Jon Desir tipped and intercepted a Whitmer pass at the UConn 29-yard line, a ball that ended up between Desir's legs.

The Huskies put together an 11-play drive and a had a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line after a 22-yard run by McCombs, but had to settle for a 22-yard field goal and went into the half trailing 13-10.

Towson controlled the second half. Athens took the Tigers on a 13-play 95-yard drive in the third quarter, finishing it himself. His dive from a yard gave the Tigers a 19-10 lead. Leon Kinnard, a transfer from UConn, made the big play of the drive, catching a 39-yard pass that set Towson up at the UConn 25-yard line.

Connecticut drove into Towson territory, but fumbled on fourth-and-1 at the 33-yard line, giving Towson the ball back.

The Tigers then drove 62 yards in 10 plays, with West going in from 6 yards out. The junior, who carried the ball a career-high 36 times, ran 1,051 yards as a sophomore, after rushing for almost 1,300 yards and scoring 29 touchdowns as a freshman.

UConn's Whitmer completed 15 of 27 passes for 199 yards and the two touchdowns. Husky juniro running back Lyle McCombs (Staten Island, N.Y.) had 76 yards rushing on 17 carries.

UConn fell to 9-3 in season openers since making the jump to the FBS in 2002, including 9-2 at Rentschler Field.

"You can't hang your head," said Whitmer. "You've gotta stay positive and come back to work on Saturday and get ready to go. The next game is up. This one is over."

Friday, August 30, 2013

Tar Heels Fall To No. 6 Gamecocks, 27-10

Mike Davis rushed for 115 yards and a 75-yard third-quarter touchdown as No. 6 South Carolina topped North Carolina, 27-10, Thursday night at Williams-Brice Stadium. Shaq Roland scored on a 65-yard catch on the first drive of the game to give the Gamecocks a lead they would never relinquish.
Bryn Renner completed 26 of 43 passes for 194 yards and a score for the Tar Heels, and Romar Morris rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries in his first career start.

After Connor Shaw hit Roland down the middle for the opening score on the third play from scrimmage, Elliott Fry made a 39-yard field goal and Dylan Thompson connected with Kane Whitehurst for a 29-yard score to make it 17-0 before the end of the first quarter.

But Renner and the Tar Heels responded, as the senior quarterback engineered a 16-play, 70-yard drive that culminated in a 4-yard touchdown pass to Quinshad Davis. Davis, playing in his home state for the first time in his career, caught four balls for 39 yards and a score.

Fry tacked on another field goal with 1:32 left in the half to make it 20-7 at the break before the Tar Heels put together another long drive to open the third.

Carolina converted a pair of fourth downs, including a 4th-and-11, in a 17-play, 67-yard drive, but Renner couldn't connect with A.J. Blue on 3rd-and-goal and Thomas Moore made a 20-yard field goal to pull the Tar Heels within 10.

The momentum of a second long drive was short-lived, however, as Davis found a seam and raced down the sideline for the longest rushing play against UNC in five years.

James Hurst and the Tar Heel offensive line largely neutralized Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina's much-ballyhooed defensive line star. Clowney finished with three tackles and no sacks.

The game was delayed for one hour and 44 minutes with 8:20 left in the fourth quarter due to lightning in the area.

Carolina returns to action next Saturday, Sept. 7, as the Tar Heels host Middle Tennessee at 12:30 in the 2013 home opener.

Defense Leads Deacs in 31-7 Win over Presbyterian

Wake Forest opened the 2013 season with a performance not seen since 1944 by holding Presbyterian to just two first downs and defeating the Blue Hose 31-7 on Thursday night at BB&T Field.

Presbyterian (0-1) forced a three-and-out on the Demon Deacons' (1-0) first drive of the game and answered with a 66-yard run down to the Wake Forest four-yard line on its first play from scrimmage by Demarcus Rouse. The Blue Hose punched it in three plays later on a one-yard pass by Tamyn Garrick to Kris Hurley, but the Deacs did not allow Presbyterian to move the chains again until the 14:22 mark of the fourth quarter.

The Wake Forest defense also forced six Presbyterian turnovers on the night. Brandon Chubb, Mike Olson and Kevin Johnson all intercepted a pass, and Chubb ran his back 29 yards for a touchdown. The Blue Hose also lost three fumbles, with Olson and Nikita Whitlock each forcing a fumble and Josh Banks, James Looney and Justin Jackson each recovering one.

In between Presbyterian first downs, redshirt freshman Jonathan Williams recorded more receiving yards than any other Demon Deacon in school history in their collegiate debut. Williams caught five passes for 143 yards, including a 53-yard reception, a 42-yard reception and a 33-yard reception.

Orville Reynolds also caught five passes for 30 yards, while Tanner Price went 14-for-25 for 219 yards and a touchdown pass to Spencer Bishop. Price also ran the ball 14 times for 31 yard and a touchdown.

True freshman John Armstrong led the team on the ground with six carries for 38 yards, while seven other Demon Deacons ran the ball for at least 10 yards.

After Presbyterian went up 7-0, the Deacs cut into the deficit on a 31-yard field goal by Chad Hedlund with 2:16 remaining in the first quarter. Price and Bishop connected on a 20-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes into the second quarter, and Price ran one in from three yard at the 3:18 mark to give Wake Forest a 17-7 lead at halftime.

Chubb's 29-yard interception return put Wake Forest up 24-7 with 11:33 on the clock in the third quarter, and Josh Wilhite scored on a 21-yard run on his first-career carry with 12:46 remaining in the game.

Under head coach Jim Grobe, Wake Forest had never played more than three true freshman in a season, but the Demon Deacons saw nine true freshman play in the season opener, including John Armstrong, Cory Helms, Marquel Lee, Deonte Davis, Brad Watson, James Looney, Josh T. Harris, Jalen Latter and Charles Argenzio.

Wake Forest will be on the road next week when it begins ACC play on Friday night at Boston College at 8 p.m.

Presbyterian 7, Wake Forest 0 (11:18, 1st Quarter)
Starting on its own 30-yard line, Presbyterian running back Demarcus Rouse broke off a 66-yard run on the first play from scrimmage to the Wake Forest four-yard line. After two rush attempts by Seth Moreland down to the Wake Forest one-yard line, quarterback Tamyn Garrick completed a touchdown pass to Kris Hurley. Brett Wilson added the extra point following the touchdown, giving Presbyterian the early 7-0 advantage.

Presbyterian 7, Wake Forest 3 (2:56, 1st Quarter)
After a Presbyterian punt, Wake Forest took over at its own 49-yard line to begin the drive. After a Deandre Martin run for five yards, quarterback Tanner Price scrambled from one side of the field to the other, gaining 15-yards and the first down. On Blue Hose' 29-yard line, Price hit Orville Reynolds for an eight-yard gain out to the 21-yard line. After a couple of plays from Reynolds and two runs from Dominique Gibson, Chad Hedlund added a 31-yard field goal to put Wake Forest on the board.

Wake Forest 10, Presbyterian 7 (13:42, 2nd Quarter)
Following an interception from Mike Olson, the Deacs took over at the Presbyterian 34-yard line with 48 seconds left in the first quarter. After a penalty backed Wake Forest up to the 40-yard line, Price hit Jared Crump for an 11-yard gain. John Armstrong put up seven yards on a rush before Price completed a 20-yard pass to a wide-open Spencer Bishop for his first career touchdown. An extra point from Hedlund made it 10-7 in favor of Wake Forest.

Wake Forest 17, Presbyterian 7 (3:18, 2nd Quarter)
Price capped off a five play, 64-yard drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown to put Wake Forest up 17-7. With 5:54 left in the second quarter, Price completed a 53-yard pass to Jonathan Williams putting the Deacs on the Presbyterian 11-yard line. After Josh Harris gained eight yards on the ground in three rushes, Price ran in for the touchdown which was followed by a Hedlund extra point.

Wake Forest 24, Presbyterian 7 (11:33, 3rd Quarter)
Brandon Chubb intercepted Garrick for a touchdown at the Presbyterian 29-yard line with 11:33 left in the third quarter.

Wake Forest 31, Presbyterian 7 (12:46, 4th Quarter)
Joshua Wilhite made the most of his first collegiate carry by scampering down the sideline for a 21-yard touchdown following a Presbyterian fumble. Hedlund tacked on the extra point to put the Deacs up 31-7.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CFL Recap Week 5

Scores and Standings

Edmonton vs Montreal:
Brandon Whitaker ran for 162 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries and the Montreal defence held off a dramatic late surge by the Eskimos to defeat Edmonton 32-27.

Whitaker added another 40 yards in the air in his most convincing performance since returning from an injury that forced him to miss the second half of last season.

It wasn't all good news for the versatile tailback however, as he left with just over a minute left in the contest with an injury.

Kicking off Week 5 in the CFL were two teams who were visibly looking for consistency, especially on offence. The Als came out on fire a week before, putting up 24 first-quarter points in Calgary only to add only three in the second half. An opposite story for the Eskimos, who were slow out of the gate in BC but pulled to within 10 only when the game was all but out of reach.
Calvillo and the Als got on the board first when, given a short field, helped set up a 32-yard Sean Whyte field goal.

The Eskimos answered with a 19-yarder of their own off the foot of Grant Shaw on the ensuing possession – made possible by a 44-yard over-the-shoulder catch by veteran slotback Fred Stamps.

Tied at six, Calvillo and the Als offence put together their first touchdown drive since the first quarter of the aforementioned Calgary game. Beforehand however, it was Shea Emry coming up big for Montreal, jumping a Mike Reilly pass over the middle and setting the Als up deep in Edmonton territory. The veteran linebacker took a taunting penalty after the play and pushed Montreal back to the 18 yard line.

After taking a loss, Calvillo connected with SJ Green twice – first for a 24-yard gain to set up the Als at the two-yard line and then following a penalty, completed the drive by hitting no.19 in the back of the endzone on a wheel route for a 6-yard touchdown and a 10-3 lead.

The Eskimos had been moving the ball in waves in the first quarter, having challenges in the intermediate passing game but finding success when stretching the field. That didn`t stop head coach Kavis Reed from making a brief change behind centre however, putting backup Jonathan Crompton in the game with 11:58 left in the first half.

Reilly was pulled after completing 4 of 9 passes for 84 yards in only one quarter of work. He would re-enter the game with just over four minutes left in the half but not before both teams traded field goals.

After an incompletion on his first pass, Crompton also fell victim to Emry’s impact after the linebacker picked off his second pass of the game to set up a 31-yarder for Whyte.

The Esks forced a turnover of their own when they made Noel Devine put the ball on the carpet on a punt return but could only muster an 18-yard field goal. Third stringer Kerry Joseph, along with Crompton shared that short possession before Reilly returned.

Meanwhile, the Alouettes offence began to find its traction as Calvillo led an 8-play, 61-yard march capped off by a handoff to Brandon Whitaker who darted through the middle of the Eskimo defence untouched for a 13-yard touchdown with 45 seconds remaining in the half.

The Alouettes took a 20-6 lead into halftime.

Reilly remained at the helm as the second half began but it was one of his go-to receivers that got the Eskimos back in the game on special teams.

Cary Koch fielded a punt – in place of cornerback Joe Burnett who was a late scratch – turned up field and raced 81 yards for the touchdownand closed the gap to 20-13 in the process.

The Alouettes answered back with a 23-yard Whyte field goal but getting within range was all Whitaker. The man many call “two-way” carried the ball 4 times for 60 yards on the drive, including a 25-yard rush off tackle.

After Whyte added another field goal (from 24 yards out), the Eskimos seemed to catch fire, scoring two touchdowns in 59 seconds to take their first lead of the game.

First, Reilly engineered a 75-yard march, finished off by a 19-yard Calvin McCarty touchdown run which saw him sidestep a defender on his way to pay dirt.

The Esks forced an Als fumble two plays later and Edmonton wasted no time capitalizing.

Reilly through a strike down the sidelines to Koch who hauled in a 24-yard touchdown reception to give the Green and Gold a 27-26 lead.

The Esks got a stop and made Whyte to punt the ball, which he did with near-perfection, forcing the Esks to scrimmage from their own 2 yard line. After a two-and-out, Reed and the Eskimos elected to punt it out of the endzone but only got a kick that netted 24 yards. Whyte added an 18-yarder to re-take the lead for the Alouettes, 29-27.

Poised to put the game away, Whitaker was jarred on a hit with 1:29 left while heading for the goal line and headed to the locker room with an injury. Whyte added a chip-shot field goal to put the Als up by five and the Eskimos got the ball back with a minute remaining.

Reilly did everything he could to put the Esks in contention to win the game, engineering a brilliant 75-yard drive. With time running out, Reilly handed the ball off to running back John White on the game’s final play on the Montreal one yard line but he was stuffed, preserving the 32-27 win for the Alouettes.

Calgary vs Winnipeg
Bo Levi Mitchell did everything required of him and more in his first career CFL start, completing 29 of his 33 passes for 376 yards and 3 touchdowns, leading the Stampeders to a 37-24 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday night.
With Kevin Glenn and Drew Tate sidelined with injuries, Mitchell made sure the Stamps offence didn't miss a beat, as they garnered a total of 489 yards, 175 of them coming from Jon Cornish, who was dominant in the win as well.
It was a night of firsts for Winnipeg too, as in addition to Mitchell, Justin Goltz was also making his inaugural CFL start.
Both pivots saw action in Week 4, with Mitchell helping the Stamps complete a dramatic 24-point comeback over the Alouettes, throwing two touchdowns in limited action, while Goltz held his own in a loss to the Argonauts, completing 13 of 15 passes for 170 yards.

Goltz was named starter due to an injury to Buck Pierce.

As expected with a pair of young pivots leading their respective teams, it took some time for both offences to find their rhythm.

But with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter, Mitchell struck first.

Already leading 1-0 thanks to a punt single by Rob Maver, Mitchell embarked on his second possession of the game and wasted no time moving the Stamps into Winnipeg territory.

After Cornish earned two yards on a run up the middle, Mitchell went deep to rookie Tim Hawthorne for a massive 55-yard gain.

The grab brought the Stamps inside Winnipeg’s 30-yard line with a fresh set of downs.

And Mitchell wasn’t done there. Following another small gain by Cornish, the 23-year-old QB connected with Greg Carr in the corner of the endzone for a 27-yard score, increasing Calgary’s lead to 8 in the process.

To that point in the game, Mitchell was a perfect 7-7 for 118 yards a touchdown.

Not to be outdone, Goltz wasted little time getting his Bombers back in the game.

And thanks to a pair of strong plays by Canadian receivers Jade Etienne and Rory Kohlert, he was able to do just that. First, Goltz hooked up with Kohlert for a massive 40-yard gain that saw the receiver break a tackle and romp down the sideline before being taken down by a facemask tackle by Calgary’s Chris Randle.

The penalty brought the Bombers to the Stamps’ 11-yard line with a fresh set of downs.

Following a 6-yard run by Chad Simpson, Goltz found Etienne for a 5-yard score, bringing the Bombers within one of Calgary’s lead.

With the second quarter underway, the Bombers offence went back to work. Taking over with excellent field position as a result of a shanked 23-yard punt by Maver, Goltz, Simpson and the rest of Winnipeg’s offence were within striking distance of taking the lead.

It was then that Goltz sent the crowd at Investors Group Field into an absolute frenzy.

After Simpson and Terrence Edwards brought the drive to Calgary’s 7-yard line with gains of 15 and 11 respectively, Goltz threw to Etienne again, finding the receiver for his second touchdown of the game to give the Bombers a 14-8 lead.

Soon after, the Stamps would begin to claw their way back into the game, using the foot of Rene Paredes as their vehicle.

The Concordia product first split the uprights from 37 yards out to bring the Stamps within three of Winnipeg’s lead. The kick was also his 30th-straight successful field goal, tying Paul McCallum’s mark.

With less than two minutes to go in the half, Paredes would enter the record books, as he split the uprights from 19 yards out for his 31st-straight successful field goal attempt, tying the game in the process.

Then, with no time remaining on the clock, Paredes would extend his own record and give the Stamps a 17-14 lead, as he booted a 26-yard field goal as time expired.

While Paredes made waves at the tail-end of the first half, it was Cornish who stole the spotlight to start the second, as the tailback powered his way forward for gains of 14, 14, 9 and 8 before Mitchell connected with Canadian receiver Anthony Parker for his first career major.

The Bombers had a chance to cut into Calgary’s 10-point lead midway through the quarter, but a failed gamble on third down saw them walk away with nothing.

On the play, the Bombers were facing third-and-two from the Stampeders’ 36-yard line when Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke opted to go for it rather than attempt a field goal.

Goltz lined up in the shotgun and rolled out to his right, but was sacked for a one-yard loss by Keon Raymond.

The call proved to be a costly one for the Bombers, as the Stampeders managed to increase their lead on their ensuing possession, with Paredes splitting the uprights from 32 yards out.

Calgary, however, wasn’t satisfied with stopping there.

After Justin Palardy brought the Bombers back within 10 of the Stamps’ lead, Mitchell – appearing poised and in total control – hooked up with Marquay McDaniel for a 10-yard score.

The drive capped off a five-play, 37-yard drive that was made possible because of a 61-yard punt return by Raymond.
The Bombers would end their night with Simpson crossing the plane for a three-yard score. However, it was a classic case of too little, too late, as the Calgary held on for a 37-24 win.
In a losing effort, Goltz completed just 19 of his 35 passes for 194 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His main target was Regina native Kohlert, who hauled in 5 passes for 79 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Raymond put together a very Raymond-like performance, registering a pair of sacks and two tackles.
Next week, the Stamps will head into their bye, while the Bombers will hit the road and travel to BC to take on Travis Lulay and the Lions.
Saskatchewan vs Hamilton
Drew Willy threw three touchdown passes, while Kory Sheets reached 100 yards for the fifth straight game to pace the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 32-20 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday night at a rainy Alumni Stadium in Guelph.
Replacing the injured Darian Durant to make just his third career start, Willy answered the bell in a big way with 269 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone.
Chris Getzlaf and Weston Dressler each caught second-quarter touchdown passes, while Geroy Simon had his first touchdown in a Riders uniform as Saskatchewan continues its perfect start to the season.
Seven days removed from being shutout for the first time in seven years last weekend against the Riders, the Ticats offence came out of the gate buzzing in front of the home faithful.

First, dynamic rookie running back Lindsey Lamar dashed for an 18-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, before Henry Burris made a splash on his first completion of the game with a 51-yard catch-and-run by Bakari Grant.
The Ticats’ opening drive stalled deep in Rider territory, but Luca Congi’s 16-yard field goal gave Hamilton an important 3-0 lead early in the first quarter.

Following a quick two-and-out on the Riders’ first possession, the Ticats went back to work promptly. After converting a second down play with his legs, Burris found Onrea Jones, back from injury this week, for a 30-yard gain to the Saskatchewan 17-yard-line.

This time the Ticat offence made sure to finish, as Burris hit Lamar in the middle of the field, and the running back fought through defenders at the goal line for the touchdown to put Hamilton in front 10-0.

The Roughriders capped off the first quarter on a 17-yard field goal from Chris Milo after their longest drive stalled deep in Ticat territory, making it 10-3 through 15 minutes.

Early in the second quarter the Green and White added two more points, as an accurate punt by Ricky Schmitt followed by a two-and-out forced Hamilton to concede a safety.

On the ensuing drive the Riders added more and in a big way. First, Willy found Dressler for a 24-yard completion into scoring range, before finishing the drive off on the very next play with a 30-yard over-the-shoulder touchdown pass to Simon.

It was Simon’s first score wearing Green and White, and it gave the Riders their first lead of the game, 12-10.
On the ensuing kickoff, the shifty Lamar was hit hard and stayed on the turf, forced to leave the game under the care of the medical staff.

The Ticats offence, meanwhile, hemmed deep in its own end, looked to rebound from a couple of two-and-outs with a big drive of its own. C.J. Gable, the replacement for Lamar, started it off with a key catch on second down to extend the drive.

An illegal block on Hamilton slowed progress, but wasn’t enough to stall the drive as Burris built on a 30-yard completion to Greg Ellingson with a 39-yard strike to the rookie receiver to put the ‘Cats back in the end zone, putting Hamilton back out in front 17-12.

Not to be out-done, however, was the kid making just his third CFL start on the other sideline. Willy opened the drive with consecutive completions to Simon and Getzlaf before Sheets rumbled off runs of 20 and 17 yards for his greatest burst of the game.

Then Willy struck again, finding Getzlaf for an 18-yard catch-and-run, capping off a seven-play, 76-yard drive in just 2:52.

Just when you thought the 26-year-old was already having an outstanding first half, he added insult to injury for the Ticats after quickly getting the ball back in his hands.

On a second-and-long play, Willy found Simon for a 35-yard completion, before striking to Dressler for a 24-yard touchdown pass to add to the Riders’ lead. That stood to give the Roughriders a 26-17 lead at the half.
In the second half, the rainy conditions began to finally play a role as the offences slowed down and the turnovers began. Two Henry Burris fumbles led to Milo field goals, while a boot by Congi to start the third quarter cut the deficit for the Ticats to 32-20.
The Ticats would get a golden opportunity to make it a one-score game on their ensuing possession, marching all the way inside the Saskatchewan five-yard-line after Burris completed four of five passes on the drive. But a physical Rider front-seven rose to the occasion, stuffing Burris at the one-yard-line and forcing a turnover on downs.
Hamilton again threatened late, but fell short on a chance to cut into the deficit as the Riders buckled down and allowed just three points in the final 30 minutes of the game.
Sheets finished the game with 140 yards on 25 carries, asserting his dominance as the league's leading rusher and leaving him on pace for more than 2,500 yards over the span of an 18-game season.
On the defensive side of the ball, Tearrius George deserves as much credit as anyone for the way he disrupted Burris, on the way to a three-sack performance.
Burris, meanwhile, enjoyed a bounce-back game in a losing effort for the Ticats, throwing for 395 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Roughriders head into their bye week with a league-best 5-0 record, while the Ticats are set to travel to Edmonton in a duel with the Eskimos next weekend at Commonwealth Stadium.
BC vs Toronto
If Ricky Ray needs an extra week or two to recover from his lower-body injury, the Toronto Argonauts appear able to wait.
Making his first CFL start, backup pivot Zach Collaros completed 21 of his 25 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Boatmen to a 38-12 win over the Lions at Rogers Centre on Tuesday night.

With both Ray and tailback Chad Kackert sidelined with injuries, the Argos were forced to insert backups Collaros and Curtis Steele into the lineup in their place.
Steele finished with 111 total yards on 17 touches for two touchdowns in his regular season debut.
While the two ended up keeping the Argos' offence afloat, they didn’t get off to the start they would have preferred.

Facing a stingy Lions defensive corps, the two would run into trouble on their first possession, by way of running into each other, as Collaros fumbled the ball as a result of Steele’s shoulder knocking it out of his hands.

The Lions would recover and set up on Toronto’s 42 yard line with a fresh set of downs.

Things went from bad to worse for the Boatmen as Travis Lulay proceeded to find receiver Nick Moore for a 36-yard gain which brought BC to Toronto’s 3-yard line.

However, the Argos defence bent but didn’t break. With their backs against the wall, they kept the Lions out of the endzone, forcing them to settle for a 10-yard field goal by Paul McCallum.

Undeterred by his earlier fumble, Collaros walked onto the field for his second possession of the game, looking to even the score.

Things looked promising for the 25-year-old thanks to a 15-yard facemask penalty by Dante Marsh on a 5-yard run by Steele.

After hitting John Chiles for a 7-yard gain two plays later on second down, the Argos seemed primed to tie the game with a 41-yard field goal.
However, Noel Prefontaine’s attempt sailed wide, keeping the Argos down by the 3 with 5:50 left in the opening frame.

But Collaros was given another shot to get the home team on the board, this time thanks to his defence.

Having already sacked Lulay twice on the night, the Argos continued to put pressure on the pivot, this time forcing him to move out of the pocket and rush his pass, which was ultimately intercepted by Marcus Ball and returned for a 9-yard gain.

Collaros then led his offence on a eight-play, 44-yard drive that was capped off with a 22-yard touchdown strike to Jason Barnes in the endzone.

On the play, Collaros evaded Adam Bighill and threw it into double coverage to Barnes who managed to over-power both JR Larose and Josh Bell for the grab.

The drive lasted 3:12 and stretched into the early parts of the second quarter.

The Lions would pull within one on their next possession thanks to McCallum’s second field goal of the night, this time connecting from 17 yards out.

Clinging to that one-point lead, Collaros returned for his next possession looking to keep momentum in Toronto’s favour.
After throwing an incompletion to Andre Durie on his first play, Collaros was perfect on his next five, connecting with Spencer Watt, Durie, Zander Robinson and Steele, before finding Robinson a second time for a one-yard touchdown pass.

The Western University product’s first career major gave the Double Blue a 14-6 lead into the half.

The third quarter saw the Argos continue to add to their lead, with Collaros once again leading the charge.

After McCallum connected on his third field goal of the game to pull the Lions within five of Toronto’s lead, Collaros put together another strong drive, one that again ended with a major score.

But it didn’t come without adversity, as Collaros found Durie for a 58-yard completion, only to see it get called back due to a holding call on tackle Wayne Smith.

Moments after the referee picked up his flag, however, Collaros hooked up with Watt for a 34-yard gain down the sideline, entering BC territory in the process.

Three plays later, Collaros found receiver John Chiles streaking mid-strike in the endzone for a 25-yard touchdown, increasing Toronto’s lead to 12.

BC would respond on their next possession, with McCallum chipping in his fourth field goal of the game from 10 yards out.

However, the Argos would answer right back with a field goal of their own, as Prefontaine made up for his earlier miss with a 20-yard connection.

On the drive, Collaros was good on six of his seven passes for 59 yards, two of which found Chad Owens.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Lions ran into some more trouble offensively. Already on the run because an oncoming Argos blitz, Lulay was caught by Jalil Carter, who forced the ball from his hands and onto the turf, where it was recovered by Janzen Jackson who appeared to have a clear cut lane to the endzone, but fumbled the ball himself on the one yard line.
After a pileup ensued, Argos safety Matt Black came up with the loose ball, givng the Boatmen possession on BC's one-yard line.
Two plays later, the Argos would put the game out of reach, as Steele leaped over the pile for the score, giving the Argos a 30-12 lead with 2:24 left in the game.
With less than one minute to go in the game, Steele would rip up the middle for his second touchdown of the game, sealing a 38-12 win for the Argos in the process.
Next week, the Argos head into the bye for a week off, while the Lions return home for a Monday night matchup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.