Please visit our kind sponsors
Wilkes-Barre -The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have spent much of this calendar year trying to make up for the head start that they allowed the Binghamton Senators.
Saturday night was no different.
The Penguins used 41 minutes of relentless pressure to make up for two brief letdowns and come back from a three-goal deficit to manage a 4-4 American Hockey League tie.
With the tie, the Penguins maintained a lead over the Senators in the race for the AHL East Division's fifth and final playoff berth. Less than a month ago, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was six points behind
Binghamton in that race.
After Sunday's games in which the Penguins rallied to beat Hershey, 5-4, and the Senators beat Albany, 5-4, in overtime, Norfolk and Wilkes-Barre were tied for third with 71 points, Hershey was fifth with 70 and Binghamton was sixth with 69.
Since February 15, the Penguins are 9-4-3-0 while the Senators are 5-8-3-0. Saturday's game - or at least the last 41 minutes - showed why.
The Penguins racked up a ridiculous 36-4 shot advantage after falling behind, 4-1.
"We worked very hard to get that point," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said after Shane Endicott's power-play goal with 2:46 left in regulation lifted the Penguins into the tie.
The Penguins put the puck in their own empty net to fall behind, 1-0, in the first period. The Senators put them in further trouble by scoring three goals on five shots in the first 3:49 of the second period.
Therrien pulled goalie Andy Chiodo after that outburst, but the Penguins made sure that it made little difference who they had in net.
Relief goalie Nick Boucher saw just one shot in his first 23-plus minutes as the Penguins took over the game.
"You have to give the guys credit for the way they battled to make the comeback," Therrien said. "I like the way they responded."
The Penguins did not make things easy on themselves.
They gave the Senators a goal with 1:27 into the game.
Chiodo headed to the bench with a delayed penalty coming against Binghamton.
The Penguins carried the puck into the Senators zone, but Toby Petersen's attempt to pass the puck back to the point got away from Rob Scuderi. The Penguins could only watch as the puck slid the length of the ice into the empty net.
Charlie Stephens, the last Binghamton player to touch the puck, was credited with the goal.
"That's the first time I saw a goal like that live," Therrien said. "I kind of knew then it was going to be a tough night.
"Those things don't happen too often. They got some bounces."
The Penguins, however, bounced back.
They peppered goalie Billy Thompson with 12 shots in the first 10 minutes after Julien Vauclair, Stephens and David Hymovitz strung together goals for the 4-1 lead.
Patrick Boileau finally broke through on the power play with 1:09 left in the second period.
The Penguins kept digging away at the two-goal deficit, twice killing third-period penalties without allowing a single shot.
Marquis Mathieu's score with 6:12 left brought the Penguins within a goal and put them in position to tie on their only power-play chance of the third period.
Tomas Surovy tied the game in the first period with his 10th goal in 18 AHL games.
The meeting was the first between the two teams since the NHL trade deadline and AHL playoff roster deadline.
The Penguins appeared to get much more help from Pittsburgh, their parent club and the worst team in the NHL. Unlike Pittsburgh, Ottawa is a contender for the Stanley Cup playoffs and made moves with that priority in mind.
Binghamton lost Alexandre Giroux, the team's second-leading scorer and plus-minus leader, in a deadline trade.
The Penguins received help from six players who were on Pittsburgh's roster, including defenseman Brooks Orpik and left wing Konstantin Koltsov, who have spent the entire season in the NHL.
Binghamton's playoff roster features goalies Ray Emery and Billy Thompson and skaters Steve Bancroft, Mike Brown, Denis Hamel, Andy Hedlund, Jody Hull, David Hymovitz, John Jakopin, Chris Kelly, Josh Langfeld, Brian McGrattan, Arpad Mihaly, Serge Payer, Cory Pecker, Jan Platil, Christoph Schubert, Peter Smrek, Charlie Stephens, Brad Tapper, Julien Vauclair and Antoine Vermette.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's playoff roster is goalies Sebastien Caron and Andy Chiodo and skaters Colby Armstrong, Kris Beech, Patrick Boileau, Shane Endicott, David Koci, Konstantin Koltsov, Tom Kostopoulos, Pauli Levokari, Ross Lupaschuk, Marquis Mathieu, Eric Meloche, Matt Murley, Alain Nasreddine, Brooks Orpik, Michel Ouellet, Toby Petersen, Rob Scuderi, Reid Simpson, Tomas Surovy and Ryan Tobler.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Collin Lunger of Elk Lake finished 20th in the Class AA 500 freestyle at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Swimming and Diving Championships at Penn State Saturday.
Lunger, the only county representative at the state meet, was one of 23 swimmers to qualify for the PIAA championships in the distance event. His time of 5:07.60 was not good enough to advance to the finals, but it did beat out three other swimmers.
Bishop Hoban's Caroline Byron captured District 2's only gold medal when she won the Class AA 50 freestyle.
Byron led the Lady Argents to the district's top team finish, beating out Scranton Prep, 91-88, for third place. Oakland Catholic won with 159 points.
The Scranton Prep boys finished sixth in the state in Class AA with 55 points, well behind champion Hershey, which had 174.
In PIAA basketball, Bishop O'Reilly is the only District 2 team to advance to the state semifinals.
Bishop O'Reilly won twice in Class A boys, beating Girard College, 71-61, then Northeast Bradford, 62-39.
North Pocono's girls were the last Lackawanna League team in action. The Lady Trojans reached the state quarterfinals Saturday before suffering their first loss of the season, 50-34, to three-time defending champion Allentown Central Catholic.
The Hanover Area (AAA) and Northwest (AA) boys and Wilkes-Barre Meyers (AA) girls had also reached the quarterfinals before being eliminated.
Montrose graduate Courtney Parvin helped Springfield College to a strong finish, but the Pride fell short of a return to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III tournament when it lost to Clark, 68-59, in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference Tournament championship game.
Springfield had shared first place with Clark by going 11-3 in the conference.
After losing in the NEWMAC final, Springfield defeated Norwich, 60-44, in the ECAC New England Division Tournament final. Springfield started 9-8 but won nine of its last 12 to finish 18-11 overall.
Parvin played in all 29 games, including 28 starts. She was fourth on the team in minutes played, scoring (8.2 per game) and rebounding (4.3). Springfield packed six players between 6.1 and 10.9 points per game.
Parvin shot 89-for-249 (35.7 percent) from the floor, 14-for-43 (32.6) on 3-pointers, and 47-for-63 (74.6) on free throws. The 5-foot-10 sophomore was third on the team in assists (38) and tied for fourth in steals (27).
THE WEEK AHEAD
There are no Susquehanna County players involved in March Madness, but you do not have to look far to find regional connections to college basketball's Division I tournament.
Gerry McNamara, a graduate of Bishop Hannan in Scranton, is trying to lead Syracuse to a successful defense of its national title. McNamara, who helped end Susquehanna's longest postseason basketball run by leading Bishop Hannan to a victory in the 1999 state Class A semifinals, had six 3-pointers in the first half of last season's national championship game.
Syracuse (21-7) opens Thursday at 3 p.m. in Denver as the fifth seed in the Phoenix Regional. The Orangemen play Brigham Young (21-8) with the winner advancing to face either Maryland or Texas-El Paso.
Manhattan has made the tournament for the second straight season under former Binghamton North and Binghamton High School point guard Bobby Gonzalez. The Jaspers (24-5) are the 12th seed in the East Rutherford Region and will get the tournament started Thursday at 12:20 against Florida (20-10). A win would put Manhattan against either Wake Forest or Virginia Commonwealth and increase the likelihood that Gonzalez makes a big move up in the coaching ranks this summer.
The women's tournament includes Amber Jacobs, a senior from Abington Heights at Boston College.
Jacobs hit two game-winning shots to get BC into last season's Sweet 16.
Boston College (25-6) is the third seed in the Mideast after upsetting Connecticut on the way to the Big East Tournament title. It faces Eastern Michigan (22-7) Saturday in Columbus.
In professional hockey, three inductees will be added to the Binghamton Hockey Hall of Fame during ceremonies Friday night at the Broome County Arena in conjunction with the Binghamton Senators game against the Albany River Rats.
Carolina Hurricanes coach Peter Lavoilette, former AHL Rookie of the Year Bob Sullivan and former trainer Jon Smith will be inducted.
Lavoilette played 115 games for the Binghamton Rangers during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
The 1988 U.S. Olympian went on to win an AHL Coach of the Year award for leading the Providence Bruins to the 1999 Calder Cup title and since moved on to coach in the NHL with the New York Islanders and the Hurricanes.
Sullivan set an AHL record by scoring in 28 straight games on his way to the Dudley "Red" Garrett Award as the AHL's top rookie with the Binghamton Whalers in the 1981-82 season. He had 47 goals and 90 points in the first of his three seasons with the Whalers and was named first-team, all-star at left wing.
Smith was an athletic trainer for the Whalers and Rangers from 1982 to 1994. He currently serves as the associate director of athletics at Broome Community College.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
DALE JR. Goes From Zero To Hero
Hampton, GA After winning the Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt Jr.s. No. 8 team was flat, and after posting a 35th place finish last week at Las Vegas, Junior needed a boost.
He got it Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway by winning the Nextel Cup Golden Corral 500 before a huge crowd of supporters.
"Man, we went from zero to hero," said Earnhardt Jr. "That was awesome. We had the good race car at the end, and thats what counted."
Earnhardt had run up front for most of the 325 lap race, but his last pit stop during lap 301 was the pivotal stop in the race.
When he came in he was leading. Back on the track he trailed Jeremy Mayfields red No. 19 Dodge by little over one second. But five laps later, Earnhardt Jr. blew by Mayfield to regain the lead.
From that point on he was on fast cruise control, as he was able to increase his lead over the rest of the field on every lap.
Mayfield and his Ray Evernham team mate, Kasey Kahne were the second and third-place finishers.
"We worked hard today and just came up a little short," said Mayfield. "We didnt make any mistakes today, but it seems like the 8 car got a little better as the race went on."
It was Kahnes third top-5 finish of the season.
"We got too tight there at the end," said Kahne. "We were loose all day long. It was a long race, but we got too tight there at the end and couldnt get back to the front."
Jimmie Johnson came in fourth in the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet.
"I dont know if we had the car to win it, but we were just an adjustment or two away," said Johnson.
"We had been fighting a loose car all day and there at the end we got too tight. We were just chasing our tail all day long."
Polesitter Ryan Newman was the fifth place finisher.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2. Jeremy Mayfield, 3. Kasey Kahne, 4. Jimmie Johnson, 5. Ryan Newman, 6. Matt Kenseth, 7. Tony Stewart, 8. Greg Biffle, 9. Dale Jarrett, 10. Jeff Gordon
Top-10 points leaders after 4 of 36 races: 1. Kenseth-673, 2. Stewart-591, 3. Earnhardt Jr.-583, 4. Kahne-550, 6. J. Gordon-543, 7. Busch-527, 8. Mayfield-514, 9. Sadler-481, 10. Johnson-480.
MARLIN Rocks At Mobile Four Nextel Cup drivers, Sterling Marlin, Bill Elliott, Greg Biffle and Kerry Earnhardt jumped on a private plane after Saturdays last practice for the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta and traveled to Mobile, Alabama for two, 10-lap exhibition races and an autograph session.
Marlin passed Elliott for the lead at the beginning of the final lap, and went on to win by six car-lengths.
"That was a fun race," said Marlin. "I had a real good race car. I was just waiting for the right time to make a move. I hope everybody had a good time because I did."
After arriving at the track in a stretch limousine the four drivers spent 45 minutes signing autographs for the sponsors of the race, "Driven To Rock." Then they spent another 90 minutes doing the same for local fans.
"Tracks like this are where it started for a lot of us," said Elliott. "Without places like this, NASCAR wouldnt be as popular as it is today. Its important that we get out and visit local tracks and let the fans know were thankful for their support."
Fans showed up with all types of items for the drivers to sign. One person had parked his full size red pickup truck next to the pit gate with a sign that read, "Bill Elliott, Sign My Truck."
"If there was nobody in the stands, we wouldnt have a place to work," said Marlin. "You cant say enough about what speedways like this mean to racing."
HAMILTON Gets By Skinner For Truck Win, Hampton, GA Bobby Hamilton passed Mike Skinner in the final turn of the EasyCareVehicle service Contracts 200, then held on for his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck series win of the season.
Skinners No. 42 Toyota bumped Hamiltons No. 4 Dodge as they roared down the front straightway towards the checkered flag.
Skinner wound up sliding sideways across the finish line, but managed to stay ahead of rookie, Polesitter, David Reutimann. Defending series champion Travis Kvapil was fourth.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Bobby Hamilton, 2. Mike Skinner, 3. David Reutimann, 4. Travis Kvapil, 5. Matt Crafton, 6. Shane Hmiel, 7. Carl Edwards, 8. Ted Musgrave, 9. Chad Chaffin, 10. Ken Schrader.
Top-10 points leaders after 2 of 25 races: 1. Kvapil-340, 2. Edwards-336, 3. Hamilton-320, 4. Reutimann-313, 5. Setzer-285, 6. Hmiel-276, 7. Cook-269, 8. Skinner-264, 9. Chaffin-262, 10. Clanton-261.
The NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch teams are at Darlington, South Carolina. The Craftsman Trucks do not race again until the Kroger 250 at Martinsville, VA, April 17.
Saturday, March 20, Busch Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200, race 4 of 34, 147 laps/200 miles, 12:30 p.m. TV: FX Channel.
Sunday, March 21, Nextel Cup Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, race 5 of 36, 293 laps/400 miles, 1 p.m.; TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: How many Nextel Cup teams does Robert Yates Racing field?
Last Weeks Question: How many bonus points does a Nextel Cup driver get for leading the most laps?
Answer. A driver receives five bonus points for leading the most laps.
If you would like to read additional racing stories by Gerald Hodges/the Racing Reporter, go to www.race500.com.
Registration for Blue Ridge Triplets Junior Football will be held at the Mountain View Elementary lobby March 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Registration will also be held at the Blue Ridge High School lobby on April 2, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and April 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
All ages six years old by May 1 to 14 years old after February 1 are encouraged to come out and sign up for the 2004 season.
Registration fee is $25.00 per child, $40.00 per family. A late sign-up fee of $10.00 will be added after June 30. Please bring a copy of the childs birth certificate and a recent photo.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe