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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Wild lose on the road again

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds scored twice as the Flyers handed the Wild a 4-1 loss in Philadelphia last night. 

Simmonds scored on a power play and later sealed the win with an empty-net goal.  Luke Schenn and Claude Giroux also scored while Jakub Voracek  had two assists for Philadelphia.  Steve Mason made 26 saves as the Flyers won their third in four games.  Mikael Granlund had the lone goal for Minnesota while Niklas Backstrom made 27 stops in net.  The Wild have lost three straight and five out of seven.  Minnesota is off until playing the Winnipeg Jets on Friday in Canada.


The Minnesota Timberwolves have some time off for the holidays.  The team doesn't play again until Friday when they host the Washington Wizards.  Minnesota lost twice in Los Angeles over the weekend to the Lakers on Friday and the Clippers on Sunday.  The T'wolves are now 13-and-15 on the season.


The Minnesota Vikings turn their attention to the season finale on Sunday against the Detroit Lions in the final game of the regular season and the last NFL game ever at the Metrodome.  Vikes head coach Leslie Frazier confirmed yesterday that Matt Cassel will start the finale at quarterback and Christian Ponder will be the No. 2.  Frazier also says they will wait a few days to determine if Adrian Peterson will play in the game.  He has been hobbled in recent weeks.  Minnesota slipped to 4-10-1 on the season with Sunday's 42-14 setback in Cincinnati.  Detroit is 7-8 and has already been eliminated from the playoffs.  Kickoff is noon on Sunday.


The University of Minnesota's football team is in Houston gearing up for the Texas Bowl.  The Gophers will take on the Syracuse Orange on Friday at Reliant Stadium.  Minnesota is 8-4 and is seeking just its second nine-win season in the last 108 years.  The Gophers won ten games in 2003 and had not won as many as nine games prior to that since 1905.  Syracuse went 6-6 this year out of the ACC.  Kickoff on Friday night is set for 5 p.m.


University of Minnesota women's basketball player Amanda Zahui of Stockholm, Sweden has been named the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week for the third time this season.  She earned the honor after helping her team to a split of games in a weekend tournament at Williams Arena.  She scored 16 points and grabbed ten rebounds in a Friday loss to UCLA and followed that up with a 16-point, seven-rebound, six-block shot game in a win against Auburn on Sunday.  The Gophers are 10-3 on the season and will next play Oakland (MI) on Sunday at Williams Arena at 2 p.m.


Minnesota State-Mankato freshman Darick Vancura has been named the NSIC Wrestler of the Week.  The 174-pound freshman earns the award after winning a pair of matches last week.  His wins helped the Mavericks to a two dual meet wins.  Vancura is now 20-5 on the season, while MSU-Mankato is 2-0 in duals.  The Mavericks are ranked No. 18 in the NCAA Division II poll.


The Minnesota Twins made the signings of two veteran free agents official yesterday.  The team announced it has agreed to a two-year deal with pitcher Mike Pelfrey, who pitched for the team last season.  He made 29 starts and went 5-13 with a 5.19 earned run average.  He was returning from arm surgery and the Twins believe his best pitching is ahead of him.  Minnesota also signed catcher Kurt Suzuki to a one-year pact.  He will provide some veteran leadership at the catching position now that long-time Twins catcher Joe Mauer has permanently moved to first base.  Suzuki played for Oakland and Washington last year, hitting .232 with five homers and 32 RBI.  The Twins sent outfielder Darin Mastroianni to Class AAA Rochester to make room for the two players on the Major League roster.