MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP:Wild losing streak now at six and counting
ST. PAUL - The St. Louis Blues continued their recent dominance of the Wild with a 2-1 win at the Xcel Energy Center.
Warroad's T.J. Oshie scored the game's first goal to put the Blues on top to stay. St. Louis left winger Jaden Schwartz scored a goal and added an assist. It's the sixth straight game in which Schwartz has scored a goal. The Blues have at least a point in each of their past seven road games and have won eight of their last 11 to improve to 27-7-5. Goalie Brian Elliott stopped 24 out of 25 shots, allowing a lone goal to Minnesota's Ryan Suter with nine seconds to play in the game. Josh Harding had 21 saves. The Wild dropped to 20-17-5 with a sixth straight loss. Minnesota hosts Buffalo tomorrow night.
Team USA lost to Canada 3-2 yesterday in the final preliminary round game of the World Juniors going on in Malmo, Sweden. The Americans finished second in the pool and will play in the quarterfinals tomorrow against Russia at 5 a.m. Gopher freshman Hudson Fasching of Burnsville assisted on one of the U.S. goals yesterday. Minnesota head coach Don Lucia is leading Team USA, with assistance from St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko. Gopher defenseman Brady Skjei of Lakeville and Minnesota State-Mankato standout Zach Stepan of Hastings are also on Team USA.
USA Hockey is getting set to unveil its final rosters for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia. The women's roster will be revealed during the second intermission of the NHL's Winter Classic between Detroit and Toronto at Michigan Stadium. All 21 members of the women's team will be in attendance. The men's roster will be announced after the New Year's Day Winter Classic game ends. Wild players Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are among those being considered for roster spots.
The search is on for a new head coach for the Minnesota Vikings. The team fired Leslie Frazier from the position yesterday. General manager Rick Spielman says the search for a new bench boss is already underway and he is hoping to fill the spot no later than January 25th. Spielman admits he hasn't been able to find the team a franchise quarterback in his time as general manager and that will be his eventual goal. He says the immediate need, however, is getting a new coach in place first.
The Minnesota Timberwolves continue their three-game homestand tonight when they ring in the new year against New Orleans. They are 15-16 with losses in three of the past five games. Yesterday, the NBA acknowledged that officials missed a foul against Dallas forward Shawn Marion, who was guarding the Wolves' Kevin Love with one second left to play in a 100-98 loss to Dallas on Monday. A foul call in that situation would have given Minnesota a chance to tie the game. Tonight's game is set for 7 p.m.
Both the University of Minnesota men's and women's basketball teams are set to open Big Ten Conference play this week. Richard Pitino's team hosts Michigan on Thursday at Williams Arena at 6 p.m. The Gopher men are 11-2 on the season. Pam Borton's team opens league play on Saturday at home against Michigan State at 2 p.m. The Gopher women are 11-3 on the year. Tickets for both games are still available.
The Big Ten men's basketball season opened yesterday for eight teams. The Golden Gophers wait until tomorrow to open league play. Here are results and upcoming schedule of this week's conference-opening men's basketball games in the Big Ten:
#3 Ohio State 78, Purdue 69 (final)
#5 Michigan State 79, Penn State 63 (final)
#23 Iowa 67, Nebraska 57 (final)
Illinois 83, Indiana 80 (overtime-final)
Michigan at Minnesota, 6pm
#4 Wisconsin at Northwestern, 6pm
Former men's basketball coach Johnny Orr has died at the age of 86. Orr spent the final 14 years of his nearly three-decade career as a Division One head coach with Iowa State. He led Iowa State to a school-record six NCAA Tournament appearances and retired in 1994 as the Cyclones' all-time winningest coach with a 218-and-200 record. Before that, he coached Michigan for 12 years from 1968-1980 Orr led the Wolverines to the national title game in 1976. He also coached three years at Massachusetts. He finished with a 466-346 record and 10 NCAA appearances in his 29-year career.