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The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Binghamton Senators gave themselves significant obstacles to overcome as they approached the American Hockey League All-Star break.
The Penguins overcame those obstacles to remain the top team in the entire league. The Senators could not handle their trouble and as a result remained in last place in the East Division.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (34-6-3-2) fell behind by two goals in each of the last four games, including three games where it gave up the first two goals of the game. The Penguins still managed to go 2-1-0-1 in that stretch.
"Our starts haven't been great," rookie forward Ryan Stone said.
Binghamton's aggressiveness and physical play has gotten out of hand as the team tries to turn its season around. In a five-game losing streak heading into the all-star break, the Senators were penalized for 255 minutes compared to 126 for their opponents. The Senators gave up nine power-play goals and a penalty-shot goal in the process while being outscored, 22-9.
The Penguins won the last two games before the all-star break. In Saturday night's 4-3 shootout win over Norfolk, the Penguins fell behind 2-0 while being outshot, 16-6, in the first period then tied the game while outshooting the Admirals, 15-8, in the second.
Sunday's 3-2 victory over the Senators featured a similar turnaround.
Binghamton held a 10-6 edge in shots while taking the 2-0 lead in the first period. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had a 15-2 advantage to tie the game in the second.
"For some reason, I don't think we came out prepared again," Mullen said. "They played well in the first period and we let them.
"It's something we'll have to remind the guys of when we come back."
Binghamton reached the break with a 17-24-2-2 record.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Matt Hussey's goal with 1:36 remaining Sunday gave the Penguins their 3-2 victory over the Senators.
The line of Hussey, Stone and Rico Fata accounted for two of the Penguins' three goals for the second straight game. Stone and Fata dug the puck out in the right corner and Fata fed a pass through the crease to Hussey as he raced to the left post.
"Stone did a good job forechecking and it was a nice play by Fata," Hussey said. "Fata attacked the net and I found the open space. I didn't even get much on (the puck), but it was an open net."
Charlie Stephens and Cory Pecker scored for Binghamton in the first period.
Fata started a comeback at 3:59 and Noah Welch added a power-play goal at 10:17 of the second period.
Dany Sabourin made 22 saves in the win.
In boys' basketball, Mountain View suffered its first loss of any kind when it fell to Dunmore, 64-45, in a crossover game.
The first-half champion Eagles then opened second-half play Division III of the Lackawanna League with a 73-50 victory over Susquehanna.
In girls' basketball, Montrose opened the second half by remaining unbeaten in Lackawanna League Division III play with a 51-24 victory over Elk Lake.
The Lady Meteors opened a 21-4 lead at halftime. Amanda Lass had 10 points and three blocked shots. Jessica Franklin had 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, Chelsey Parvin had seven assists and Brittany Ely had five steals in the win.
Courtney Parvin, a senior forward from Montrose, became the 10th player in Springfield College women's basketball history to score 1,000 points in her career.
Following the milestone, Parvin was named New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference Player of the Week. During the week for which she was honored, Parvin averaged 20.7 points and 7.3 rebounds for three games while making half (5-for-10) of her 3-point attempts. Parvin scored a career-high 26 points in a 79-68 win at Clark.
With Parvin leading the way, Springfield is alone in first place in the NEWMAC with a 6-0 record. The Pride is 12-5 overall.
Parvin leads the team and is fourth in the league in scoring at 14.3 points per game. She is eighth in the league in field goal percentage (42.9), tied for eighth in free throw percentage (71.7) and 15th in rebounds (6.3).
THE WEEK AHEAD
The District 2 Dual Meet wrestling tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
Elk Lake will be the top county team, but Group A power West Scranton is among the teams competing in Class AA again this season. West Scranton beat Lake-Lehman in last season's championship match. Elk Lake and Susquehanna were each eliminated in the first round of the eight-team tournament.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
TOYOTA May Kick Start American Teams – From a driver’s perspective, the 2006 Nextel Cup season will mark the end of an era.
Teams and American car manufacturers are also facing numerous concerns.
What’s causing all the fuss is Toyota’s entry into the Cup series, and NASCAR’s “car of tomorrow.”
Jack Roush during preseason Daytona testing.
Beginning with the 2007 Daytona 500, Toyota plans to have three Nextel Cup teams, and NASCAR’s “car of tomorrow,” will make its debut one month later at Bristol.
Gone will be the dominance of the three American companies that have for so long provided cars for the sport. Japanese car maker, Toyota will put its Camry model in the starting lineup with Chevrolets, Fords, and Dodges.
With the introduction of the new, boxier, less aerodynamic Cup car in 2007, it means Toyota will be at the same starting point as all the other established American teams.
While Toyota has a wallet full of cash to fund its factory teams, American car manufacturer’s budgets have been slashed due to slow car sales and high production costs.
“They’ve (Toyota) got a lot of money, and they can buy up all the best drivers and best teams, and the best of everything,” said Doug Yates, who’s team will run the Ford Fusion. “They could put the series out of business if they want to. So NASCAR needs to balance the playing field.”
However, not everyone in racing thinks their emergence into NASCAR’s major touring series is a bad thing.
Bruton Smith owns several tracks where Nextel Cup races are held including Lowe’s Motor Speedway, as well as some Toyota dealerships.
“Toyota will add greatly to the sport,” he said. “A lot of people working in this sport will be making more money next year because Toyota is coming in.
“Toyota has enough money to buy General Motors and Ford. They have more money than God.”
Jack Roush, who has five Cup teams is able to see the good and bad, but says NASCAR needs to be sure they maintain a system of checks and balances among all teams.
“Like it or not Toyota is a very important part of our economy today,” Roush said. “We’ve got a lot of dealer investment dollars out there and we’ve got a lot of our population that works in Toyota plants around the country. So they have every right to be here.
“Based on the way that they have dealt with the other series that they’ve been in and what’s happened to the series after they arrived and what happened to the series after they’ve left, NASCAR will have to think about what they allow them to do here in terms of changing the order of things technologically or the way we staff and the other things that we do.
“They have a way of carrying a different level of investment than would otherwise be justified based on the business aspects of the business, and we’re yet to see how that will unfold.
“I welcome their being involved because I think they’ll be good for the sport. I think they’ll be great for the fans and the enthusiasm, I think, will sell more tickets to our race tracks.”
The Japanese car maker’s three teams could have up to seven drivers, depending on sponsorship in 2007.
They include Bill Davis Racing (two teams), Michael Waltrip (two teams), and Team Red Bull, a startup team.
While no details have been announced about Red Bull, there is speculation that Toyota will attempt to recruit top drivers, like Kevin Harvick, whose contract expires at the end of this season, and turn them over to Red Bull.
From a business standpoint, Toyota’s entry is big news, but what’s to prevent Nissan, Honda, BMW, and others from doing the same?
Safety, cost reduction, and improvements will highlight the new race vehicle. Teams will use the newly-designed “car of tomorrow” for 16 events next season, beginning with the spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway – currently the fifth event on the Cup Series schedule.
Aside from Bristol events, teams will use it in 2007 events at Phoenix International Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Dover International Speedway and New Hampshire International Speedway.
With the exception of the 2.66-mile Talladega track and the two road courses, all tracks where the new car will debut in 2007 are short tracks.
In 2008, it will be implemented at 26 events, and the following year, used exclusively at all events.
“We went to the race track four times with the car of the future,” continued Roush. “We’ve cut it up and changed it three times and we invested $300,000 in it and bought our own tires and rented the race track at Talladega and did all the other things, so I don’t know exactly how that’s helping me.
“But we’ve had just about all the cost containment the teams can afford so far and I don’t thing we’ve got a car yet that will race on a mile and a half race track. I guess we’re gonna put the mile and a half race tracks to the end and say if we get it working on road races and short tracks, then we’ll have to make it work on two-mile tracks and speedways.
“But they’re moving it out three years, which will be in the interest of limiting the cost. At least the teams won’t have to absorb it all in one year, and to have that kind of a rollout is something we’d asked for and it certainly is in the interest of the teams.
“We’re not gonna wait for this car of the future. They’re gonna continue to be made safer and whether or not the car of the future was necessary to incorporate the changes they want is the decision I didn’t make and I didn’t have the prerogative to make that or I probably would have made a different decision. But we’re on our way. We’re on schedule. We’ll comply with whatever the requirements are and we’ll race them.”
Racing Trivia Question: Who will be Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s teammate this season?
Last Week’s Question: How many Cup teams will Richard Childress have this year? Answer. Three, they are (07) Clint bowyer, (29) Kevin Harvick, and (31) Jeff Burton.
You may read additional stories by the Racing Reporter at www.race500.com. His e-mail address is: email@example.com.
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