MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Cassel to start Sunday against Philadelphia
Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel will again be under center when Minnesota hosts the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at the Metrodome. Head coach Leslie Frazier named Cassel the starter for the second straight week, with fellow quarterback Christian Ponder suffering from a concussion. Ponder has been cleared to play and will be the back-up Q-B. Josh Freeman will be the No. 3 signal-caller for Minnesota. Cassel was 17-of-38 for 265 yards and two touchdowns last Sunday against Baltimore. He has passed for 1,122 yards, seven TD's and four interceptions in six games this season, including three starts. The team is scheduled to practice this afternoon at Winter Park. Sunday's game kicks off at noon.
Minnesota's Kevin Love recorded game-highs of 26 points and 15 rebounds as the Timberwolves used a big second half to top the 76ers 106-99 at Target Center. Minnesota erased a 13-point halftime deficit, outscoring Philly 58-38 after the break. Ricky Rubio added 21 points, seven assists and five boards for the T'wolves, who have won two in-a-row to even their record at 11-and-11. Nikola Pekovic posted 20 points and 10 boards in the victory. Spencer Hawes and Tony Wroten scored 20 points apiece for the Sixers, who have lost four straight and 12 of their last 14 overall. Minnesota trailed by 19 points at one point in the first half. The Wolves are at San Antonio tomorrow night.
Anaheim's Alex Grant and Corey Perry both hit the back of the net in the second period to lift the Ducks to a 2-1 win over the Wild at the Honda Center in California last night. It was Perry's 21st goal of the season. Jonas Hiller turned away 23 Minnesota shots as Anaheim won for the fourth time in-a-row. Jason Pominville scored on a power play in the third period for Minnesota. Josh Harding allowed both goals on 31 shots. The Wild have dropped two of their last three. Minnesota skates against San Jose tonight at 9:30 p.m.
The Minnesota Wild have assigned top prospect Matt Dumba (DUM-buh) to the Canadian National Junior Team in order to participate in the World Junior Championships in Sweden later this month. The 19-year-old Dumba has played in 13 games with the Wild this season. Dumba was the seventh overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
The 2018 NCAA men's college hockey "Frozen Four" will be played at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The University of Minnesota will serve as the host institution for the eighth time. In addition, the 2016 NCAA West Regional will be held at the X. The 2015 and 2018 women's college hockey "Frozen Four" will be contested at the University of Minnesota's Ridder Arena. The NCAA made the announcement yesterday as part of a massive awarding of multiple championship venues in multiple sports across the country.
Three Golden Gopher women's hockey players have earned weekly honors from the WCHA. Minnesota defenseman Milica McMillen of St. Paul is this week's WCHA Defensive Player of the Week. She tallied a career-best five points in two wins over Ohio State. Her teammate Dani Cameranesi of Plymouth is the league's Rookie of the Week. Cameranesi recorded four points in the series sweep of the Buckeyes. And, Gopher forward Rachael Bona of Coon Rapids is the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week after turning in six points in the two wins in Columbus. Bona shares her weekly citation with Wisconsin forward Madison Packer. The Golden Gophers remain the top-ranked women's hockey team in the country.
Home plate collisions in Major League Baseball are a thing of the past. The MLB Rules Committee has voted to ban collisions at home plate beginning in 2014. Players are expected to approve the measure, but if they don't baseball can still implement the rule without their approval starting in 2015. The rule has yet to be formally defined or drafted but base runners will be required to slide into home plate and not initiate contact with catchers. The change comes over injury concern. Giants All-Star catcher Buster Posey suffered a broken leg on a play at the plate in 2011 and missed most of the season. Concussions have also been an issue for catchers. The Twins are moving All-Star Joe Mauer to first base this season in an effort to keep him healthy and extend his career.