MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Gopher men's hockey to play for the National Title
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Golden Gopher senior forward Justin Holl of Tonka Bay scored a short-handed goal with under one-second to play to lift Minnesota past rival North Dakota 2-1 in a Frozen Four semifinal game last night in Philadelphia. The two teams were facing off with under ten-seconds to play in the North Dakota zone, with North Dakota on the power play. The Gophers won the faceoff and quickly skated up ice, leading to the Holl goal with six-tenths of a second remaining. Gopher junior Sam Warning scored the other Minnesota goal, while sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox of South St. Paul made 36 saves. North Dakota goaltender Zane Gothberg of Thief River Falls was brilliant in defeat, stopping 26 of 28 shots. The heart-stopping Gopher victory pushes Minnesota into the national championship game tomorrow night against No. 3 Union. Union beat second-ranked Boston College 5-4 last night in the first semifinal game. Tomorrow's game is set for 6:30 p.m.
ST. PAUL -- (SportsNetwork.com) - Kyle Brodziak scored two goals to help the Minnesota Wild end a nine-game losing streak against the St. Louis Blues with a 4-2 win at Xcel Energy Center.
Nino Niederreiter added a goal and one assist for the Wild, who are streaking into the playoffs. Minnesota, which had previously clinched the Western Conference's first wild card spot, has won four straight and picked up at least a point in its last seven games (6-0-1).
John Curry, the fifth goalie to start a game for the Wild this season, made 43 saves in his debut with the club.
"He's a gamer and a battler. He showed that tonight. Obviously, very pleased for him. It was a long road back for him," Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo said about Curry.
While Minnesota is rolling, St. Louis saw its losing streak grow to a season- worst four straight. The Blues were leapfrogged by Colorado for first place in the Central Division. Both teams have 111 points, but the Avalanche have more non-shootout wins.
Ryan Miller was pulled in the third period after allowing four goals on just 13 shots.
The tone of the game changed in the second period, when Minnesota forward Mike Rupp caught St. Louis forward T.J. Oshie with a shoulder to the head.
The hit, which occurred on a delayed high-sticking penalty to Wild defenseman Marco Scandella, drew a match penalty and gave the Blues a two-minute 5-on-3 power play at 10:30.
"Obviously, (Oshie) is out. He's like everything else at this time of year, he's day-to-day, but certainly a tough hit to take right now," said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock.
St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored on the ensuing two-man advantage, tying the game at 1-1 at 11:05.
Not much went right for the Blues during the rest of the power play.
The Wild quickly reclaimed the lead with a shorthanded goal. Brodziak, who hadn't scored since March 8, buried the rebound of a Matt Cooke shot at 12:24.
St. Louis, however, tied it with a shorthanded tally of its own.
Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter mishandled the puck at the offensive blue line, resulting in a rush for the Blues. Jaden Schwartz converted a feed from Alexander Steen at 16:01 of the second.
The Wild moved back ahead seconds after the power play ended, as Matt Moulson put home a saucer pass from Dany Heatley with 2:30 left in the second.
Brodziak scored his second goal 58 seconds into the third period for a 4-2 advantage.
The Blues had a healthy 17-5 shot advantage in the first period, but found themselves trailing 1-0 on Niederreiter's deflection goal at 14:02.
MINNEAPOLIS (SportsNetwork.com) - Josh Donaldson homered and drove in three runs to lead the Oakland Athletics to a 6-1 win and a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Sam Fuld added a two-run home run and Yoenis Cespedes had two hits for Oakland, which has won four straight, including the first three on its current nine-game road trip.
Oakland starting pitcher Dan Straily (1-1) tossed seven strong innings, allowing one run on three hits to help the A's win their ninth straight against the Twins.
"It was kind of a weird outing," Straily said. "I definitely didn't have my best stuff, but was able to mix speeds, mix locations and just keep them off- balance and from making good contact."
Brian Dozier homered for the Twins, who mustered just three hits and have yet to win (0-3) on their current nine-game homestand.
"It's not the way it's supposed to be," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of his club's struggles. "It's not like the guys aren't trying. It's just not working right now."
After the Twins took the early lead on Dozier's first-inning homer, the A's responded against Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey by tying the game in the second inning when Daric Barton singled home a run.
Oakland then took the lead in the third on Donaldson's two-run homer and added to its cushion in the fourth on Fuld's two-run blast.
Pelfrey compounded issues by walking the batter before each homer.
Replay came into effect in the top of the sixth inning when Nick Punto was thrown out at home trying to score from second on a base hit by Jed Lowrie. The A's challenged, arguing that Minnesota catcher Josmil Pinto was blocking the baseline. However, after review the call was upheld.
Oakland, though, did get a run in the frame when Donaldson singled home Fuld for a 6-1 cushion. Lowrie also tried to score on the play, but was cut down.
Pelfrey (0-2) didn't get out of the sixth inning and suffered his second straight setback of the season. The right-hander was charged with six runs on nine hits, striking out three and walking four in five-plus innings of work.
Straily, meanwhile, was cruising after the first inning. He allowed two second-inning hits, but then held the Twins hitless over his final five innings, issuing just two walks over that span. He struck out five before giving way to relievers Ryan Cook and Fernando Abad to finish it out.