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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Bruins rip Wild 4-1

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BOSTON  -- Boston's Jarome Iginla scored twice to lead the Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Wild at the Garden in Boston last night. 

Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith also lit the lamp for the B's, who have won nine in-a-row.  Tuukka Rask kicked aside 33 of the 34 shots he faced in the victory.  Jason Pominville scored the lone goal for Minnesota, which has lost five-of-six, but continues to hold playoff position in a Wild Card spot.  Darcy Kuemper allowed three goals on 28 shots in the setback.  Minnesota will play the New York Islanders tonight.

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St. Paul native Kyle Okposo of the New York Islanders has been named the NHL Second Star of the Week for his performance over the past seven days.  The former Gopher standout scored seven points in three games, helping his team to a pair of wins in those three contests.  Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was the league's First Star after recording a 2-0-1 record for the week, including a win over the Wild.  Antti Niemi of San Jose is the NHL Third Star.

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St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie, who played high school hockey at Warroad, didn't skate with the Blues team in last night's 3-1 win against the Jets.  The Olympic hero was instead with fiancee Lauren Cosgrove, a Minnesota native, as the couple welcomed their first child yesterday morning.  Lyla Gracie Oshie was born just before 10:00 a.m.

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University of Minnesota men's hockey standouts Mike Reilly and Adam Wilcox were named first-team all-Big Ten yesterday.  Teammate Kyle Rau was named to the second team, while Hudson Fasching, Sam Warning, Brady Skjei and Ben Marshall all earned all-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors.  Wilcox was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year.  Reilly was named Big Ten Defenseman of the Year.  Head coach Don Lucia earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.  Hudson Fashing was named to the Big Ten all-freshman team.  Reilly is from Chanhassen, Wilcox is from South St. Paul, Fasching is from Burnsville, Skjei is from Lakeville, Rau is from Eden Prairie, Marshall is from Mahtomedi, and Warning is from Chesterfield, Missouri.

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The bracket has been finalized for the inaugural Big Ten men's hockey postseason tournament.  Minnesota will hold the top-seed, while Wisconsin is the second seed.  The tournament begins on Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.  Here is the bracket schedule, including the team's tourney seed:

THURSDAY: No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 6 Penn State, 2 p.m.

THURSDAY: No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 5 Michigan State, 7 p.m.

FRIDAY:  Michigan/Penn State winner vs. No. 2 Wisconsin, 2 p.m.

FRIDAY:  Ohio State/Michigan State winner vs. No. 1 Minnesota, 7 p.m.

SATURDAY:  Championship Game, 7 p.m.

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The WCHA Final Five bracket has been released and second-seeded Minnesota State-Mankato will play on Friday in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Here is the bracket schedule, including the team's tourney seed:

FRIDAY:  No. 2 Minnesota State-Mankato vs. No. 3 Bowling Green, 1 p.m.

FRIDAY: No. 1 Ferris State vs. No. 6 Alaska-Anchorage 6 p.m.

SATURDAY: Championship Game 6 p.m.

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The first-ever NCHC Frozen Faceoff is scheduled to take place this weekend at the Target Center in Minneapolis.  There will be no Minnesota-based team playing in the event.  Here is the bracket schedule, including the team's tourney seed:

FRIDAY:  No. 2 Western Michigan vs. No. 3 Denver, 4 p.m.

FRIDAY:  No. 1 North Dakota vs. No. 4 Miami, 7:30 p.m.

SATURDAY:  Championship Game, 7:30 p.m.

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The 2014 NCAA Division I Frozen Four is scheduled for this weekend and the No. 1 University of Minnesota take the top seed into the semifinals in Hamden, Connecticut.  Here is the bracket schedule, including the team's tourney seed:

FRIDAY:  No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 4 Wisconsin, 4 p.m. 

FRIDAY:  No. 3 Clarkson vs. Mercyhurst, 7 p.m.

SUNDAY:  Championship Game, 2 p.m.

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The NCAA Division III women's hockey national semifinals are set for this weekend, leading into Saturday's national championship game.  St. Thomas of Minnesota is still alive in the field.  Here is the bracket schedule:

FRIDAY:  Plattsburgh State vs. St. Thomas, 2:30 p.m.

FRIDAY:  UW-River Falls vs. Norwich, 6 p.m.

SATURDAY:  Championship Game, 6 p.m.

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The University of Minnesota men's basketball team will host High Point in an opening round National Invitational Tournament game tonight at Williams Arena.  The Golden Gophers are 20-13 on the season, while the Panthers enter the game with a 16-14 mark.  This will be High Point's first-ever appearance in the NIT.  The Gophers played High Point in a regular season game at Williams Arena back in 2008.  The Gopher head coach at the time was Tubby Smith, who is a graduate of High Point.  Minnesota beat the Panthers 82-56 on December 28th, 2008.  High Point fired its coach at the end of that season and hired current coach Scott Cherry, a former North Carolina Tar Heels player, who is now in his fourth year on the job.  He led his team to the regular season Big South title, behind league player of the year John Brown.  Tomorrow's tipoff is set for 7:15 p.m. and tickets are only $20 apiece.

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Since the Golden Gopher men's basketball team is the top seed in the NIT, the region it is playing in is called the Minnesota region.  Here are matchups in the Minnesota region, includes team's seeding number:

No. 8 High Point at No. 1 Minnesota, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

No. 5 Utah at No. 4 St. Mary's, Tuesday, 10 p.m.

No. 6 Toledo at No. 3 Southern Mississippi, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

No. 7 Davidson at No. 2 Missouri, Tuesday, 8 p.m.

Minnesota/High Point winner vs. Utah/St. Mary's winner, TBD (March 20-24)

Toledo/Southern Miss winner vs. Davidson/Missouri winner, TBD (March 20-24)

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The University of Minnesota women's basketball team suffered the same fate as its male counterparts.  Both were bubble teams  and both got left out of the NCAA Tournament.  The Minnesota women were not chosen for the 64-team NCAA field when the brackets were announced last night.  Instead, the Gophers will host a first-round Women's National Invitational Tournament game tomorrow night at Williams Arena against UW-Green Bay.  Minnesota finished the season with a 20-12 record this season, including a win over Wisconsin and a loss to Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament two weeks ago. UW-Green Bay finished the season 22-9.  Gametime for tomorrow's contest will be announced later today.  Tickets are on sale now.

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Concordia-St. Paul earned its way to the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Elite Eight with a 70-67 win over Emporia State last night in Searcy, Arkansas.  The Golden Bears have now won nine straight games and are 17-2 in their last 19 contests.  Concordia-St. Paul was paced by Anika Whiting of Ashland, Wisconsin, who poured in 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor and 10-of-14 from the free throw line.  The D-II Women's Elite Eight will take place in Erie, Pennsylvania next week.  The Golden Bears will take on Nova Southeastern next Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.  Nova Southeastern is based in Florida and will enter next Tuesday's game with a 27-4 record.  Concordia-St. Paul is 28-8.  This is Concordia-St. Paul's first trip to the Elite Eight.

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The 2014 Minnesota Girl's High School State Basketball Tournament gets under way today and will run through Saturday at various locations in Minneapolis.  Two teams are back to defend their 2013 championships.  Last year's Class A title team Minneota returns and is the No. 1 seed in the division.  And, NRHEG returns to defend its Class 2A championship.  Class 3A Park Center of Brooklyn Park is making its first-ever state tourney appearance in girl's basketball.  Here is the opening round schedule of games in all four classes:

Class 4A (Tuesday):  Eastview vs. St. Paul Central, 10 a.m. (Target Center)

Class 4A (Tuesday):  Eden Prairie vs. Anoka, noon (Target Center)

Class 4A (Tuesday):  Centennial vs. Lakeville North, 2 p.m. (Target Center)

Class 4A (Tuesday):  Bloomington Kennedy vs. St. Michael-Albertville, 4 p.m. (Target Center)

Class 3A (Tuesday):  Park Center vs. Simley, 6 p.m. (Target Center)

Class 3A (Tuesday):  Minneapolis Washburn vs. Monticello, 8 p.m. (Target Center)

Class 3A (Wednesday):  Fergus Falls vs. Kasson-Mantorville, 10 a.m. (Mariucci Arena)

Class 3A (Wednesday):  Marshall vs. Chisago Lakes, noon (Mariucci Arena)

Class 2A (Wednesday):  NRHEG vs. Pequot Lakes, 2 p.m. (Mariucci Arena)

Class 2A (Wednesday):  Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted vs. Minnehaha Academy, 4p.m. (Mariucci Arena)

Class 2A (Wednesday):  Kenyon-Wanamingo vs. Redwood Valley, 6 p.m. (Mariucci Arena)

Class 2A (Wednesday):  New London-Spicer vs. Esko, 8 p.m. (Mariucci Arena)

Class 1A (Thursday):  Minneota vs. Browerville, 11 a.m. (Mariucci Arena)

Class 1A (Thursday):  Goodhue vs. Ada-Borup, 1 p.m. (Mariucci Arena)

Class 1A (Thursday):  Maranatha Christian vs. Mankato Loyola, 3 p.m.  (Mariucci Arena)

Class 1A (Thursday):  Mountain Iron-Buhl vs. Win-E-Mac, 5 p.m. (Mariucci Arena)

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The Minnesota Timberwolves begin a two-game Texas road trip tomorrow night in Dallas against the Mavericks.  Minnesota will then head to Houston to play the Rockets on Thursday.  The T'wolves have alternated wins and losses over their last seven games and are now 33-and-32 on the year.  Tomorrow's game begins at 7:30 p.m.

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Yesterday's Grapefruit League spring training game between the Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota was rained out.  The game will not be made up.  The Twins are back in action tonight hosting the Tampa Bay Rays in Fort Myers.  Vance Worley will get the start tonight for the Twins.

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Free agent defensive end Jared Allen will reportedly visit with the Dallas Cowboys this week.  The "Dallas Morning News" reports Allen is expected to meet with club officials in the coming days.  Allen posted 11-and-a-half sacks in 16 games last season with the Vikings.  He has recorded 128-and-a-half sacks in his first 10 seasons in the NFL with Minnesota and Kansas City.

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The Green Bay Packers have signed former Vikings defensive tackle Letroy Guion.  The 26-year-old spent his first six seasons with Minnesota.  Guion had 21 tackles and one sack in 13 games last season.  In other team news, the Pack has reportedly signed running back James Stark to a two-year deal, while former Green Bay wide receiver James Jones signed a three-year deal with the Oakland Raiders on Monday.

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A Chicago-based sports consultant believes Minneapolis will be hosting the Super Bowl in 2019.  Marc Ganis of SportsCorp tells the Indianapolis Star that he believes New Orleans will land the NFL title game in 2018.  Ganis believes Minneapolis will receive the 2019 Super Bowl as a thank-you by the NFL for building a new publicly-financed stadium for the Vikings  He adds the arrest of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay on suspicion of drunk driving will not hurt that city's chances to host another Super Bowl.

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The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is heading back to the west coast.  Drivers are off to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California this week for the Auto Club 400.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. has virtually locked up a Chase spot along with Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards.

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