Minnesota Sports Roundup: Blackhawks one win away from eliminating Wild
ST. PAUL - Chicago's Patrick Sharp scored twice as the Blackhawks blanked the Wild 3-0 in Game Four of their Western Conference quarterfinal series in St. Paul.
Bryan Bickell added a tally midway through the third period for Chicago, which holds a three-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven series. Corey Crawford posted 25 saves for the shutout victory. Minnesota goalie Josh Harding made five saves in the first period but did not start the second. He gave way to Darcy Kuemper to start the middle period after Harding sustained a left leg injury. Kuemper allowed two goals on 18 shots in defeat for Minnesota. The Blackhawks can close out the series with a win at home in Game Five tomorrow in Chicago. The Blackhawks flew back to the Windy City after last night's game. Minnesota will depart for Chicago this afternoon.
Wild defenseman Ryan Suter has been named one of three finalists for the coveted James Norris Memorial Trophy, presented annually to the NHL's best all-around defender. Suter, who came to Minnesota as an off-season free-agent signing, recorded 32 points in 48 regular season games and logged an incredible 27-minutes of ice time per game, which is the top average in the entire league. The 28-year-old Suter is joined on the list by Pittsburgh's Kris Letang and Montreal's P.K. Subban. The winner will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, with a specific announcement date to be determined.
A 17-year-old Minnesota hockey player paralyzed in a hit that came during a December 2011 game has been drafted by the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League, a junior amateur league. Jack Jablonski posted a Twitter reminder to USHL teams that he was eligible for the draft on Monday night, and the Steel responded last night, posting, "With the final pick the Steel draft Jack Jablonski." Jablonski, who is still unable to play hockey because of the injuries, was a sophomore for Benilde-St. Margaret's High when he was checked from behind and injured during a game. He tweeted last night, "Best night ever."
Minnesota lefty Scott Diamond tossed seven innings of shutout ball to help the Twins toppled the Red Sox 6-1 last night in Beantown. Diamond improved the 3-and-2 on the season. Ryan Doumit lifted a solo homer and scored twice for Minnesota, which has won two-of-three. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were each 2-for-4 with a run and RBI for the Twins. Ryan Dempster struck out eight but gave up four total runs over seven-plus frames for the loss. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a solo shot in the ninth for Boston, which has lost four of its last five. Red Sox DH David Ortiz singled in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to 27 games. The same two teams play game three of their four-game series tonight at Fenway Park.
The University of Minnesota will play TCU in football in a home-and-home series in 2014-15. The Gophers will play at TCU in Fort Worth on September 13th, 2014. The Horned Frogs will come to Minneapolis to take on the Gophers on September 5th, 2015. The Gophers topped TCU 9-7 in the only meeting between the schools in 1974.
Former Minnesota Viking and North Carolina State running back Ted Brown is part of this year's College Football Hall of Fame class. Brown starred for the Wolfpack from 1975-78 and was a first-round draft choice of Minnesota in 1979. As a Viking, he rushed for 4,546 yards from 1979 to 1986. His best season with the Purple came in 1981 when he rushed for 1,063 yards. Former Gopher star Bob Stein was a nominee, but did not make the final cut for induction. The 2013 class is headlined by three former Heisman Trophy winners in Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde, Florida QB Danny Wuerffel and Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne. Induction is December 10th in New York.