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Harbaugh critical of Ross, Jackson for mistakes in Sunday’s loss

Posted on 16 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — On Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh dissected plenty that went wrong in the 22-20 loss to Jacksonville, but the criticism was particularly strong for special-teams players Jeremy Ross and Asa Jackson.

Ross’ fumbled punt early in the fourth quarter led to a go-ahead touchdown for Jacksonville and was the return specialist’s second lost fumble in the last three games. It was Baltimore’s fourth turnover of the second half after quarterback Joe Flacco threw two interceptions and fumbled in the third quarter.

“The muffed punt killed us. It was one of the four turnovers that shouldn’t happen,” said Harbaugh, who acknowledged that the Ravens will need to decide whether to replace Ross at punt returner. “It wasn’t an easy catch. The ball was moving from left to right and behind him, but it’s still a catch that you have to make in that situation for sure.”

Harbaugh’s words were even more critical for Jackson, who cost the Ravens a combined 30 yards in penalties on a low block in the first quarter and an unnecessary roughness foul in the third period. Jackson committed another unnecessary roughness penalty against Arizona in Week 7.

It’s clear the lack of discipline is wearing thin on the Baltimore coach after Jackson was already waived once at the end of the preseason for ball security issues in the return game.

“There’s no place for that,” Harbaugh said. “There’s absolutely no reason to leave your feet [on the first penalty]. I don’t care if you are slipping or not. You might be slipping, but if you are out of position to make the block, you don’t make that block, and you certainly don’t throw yourself back into a guy’s legs on a kickoff return. That’s blatantly illegal. And then blocking a guy after the ball is down and dead — that’s just foolish. That’s what we call a foolish penalty.

“For one guy to have three personal foul penalties in a season — in a career, let alone a season — let alone two in a game, is unacceptable.”

Webb at safety

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees revealed several new wrinkles after the bye week with the most interesting being cornerback Lardarius Webb lining up at safety for a number of plays in the nickel package.

Webb and starting free safety Kendrick Lewis swapped positions several times, often waiting until right before the snap in an effort to confuse Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. The seventh-year defensive back also secured Baltimore’s first takeaway since Week 3 with a second-quarter interception while playing cornerback.

“We felt like he could be a factor in the back end, as far as chasing balls and being a ball hawk, and he may be kind of a natural that way,” Harbaugh said. “We tried him there on Tuesday and Wednesday of the bye week; he looked good.

“We built a couple packages for him, and we were able to play him at three different spots at least throughout the course of the game. They had a tougher time knowing where he was going to be, and I really think that’s something we can build on going forward.”

Arthur Brown sighting

All but forgotten as the Ravens’ 2013 second-round pick, inside linebacker Arthur Brown saw his first defensive snaps since the end of his rookie season on Sunday.

Brown was part of the nickel package for eight plays, but he did not register a defensive statistic. The Kansas State product was active for each of the first eight games of 2015 while only seeing action on special teams.

“He played fast and was excited to be out there,” Harbaugh said. “He ran to the ball, made a couple plays — nothing spectacular, but nothing that made you concerned, either. He had done a really good job in practice, and Arthur deserved a little more playing time. He did well with it.”

Urban could return this week

Starting his second week of practice, second-year defensive end Brent Urban is moving closer to making his NFL debut and could be activated in time to play St. Louis on Sunday.

“There’s a chance,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not something we’ve talked about yet, but I think physically — based on what I’ve seen physically — he’s ready to go. But again, we’ll talk about this week as we go.”

Urban was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return at the start of the season after suffering a torn biceps in early August.

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Trade deadline passes with Ravens standing pat

Posted on 03 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In the midst of their bye week with a disappointing 2-6 record, the Ravens did not make any moves before Tuesday’s league-wide trade deadline at 4 p.m.

They weren’t alone as the only deal of significance around the NFL occurred Monday with the Denver Broncos acquiring two-time Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis from the San Francisco 49ers. The lack of activity was not a surprising development given the quiet history of the trade deadline in the NFL compared to the other major professional sports.

“There’s always a lot of talk and a lot of nothing happens,” head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday. “I’m interested if somebody calls [about] how we could get better, but usually nothing comes of it.”

Despite no activity on Tuesday, general manager Ozzie Newsome did complete two trades in the first half of the regular season, acquiring cornerback Will Davis from Miami in exchange for a 2016 seventh-round pick on Sept. 21 and adding wide receiver Chris Givens from St. Louis for a 2018 seventh-round pick on Oct. 3. Davis suffered a season-ending knee injury on Oct. 11, but Givens has steadily emerged as a vertical threat for a passing game now without top receiver Steve Smith for the rest of the season.

With their playoff hopes all but gone at the midway point of the season, the Ravens were wise to hold on to future draft resources instead of making a deal for a short-term fix at receiver or another position of need.

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Givens aiming to be “explosive” catching passes from Flacco

Posted on 07 October 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Buried on the St. Louis depth chart at the start of his fourth NFL season, Chris Givens became suspicious when he heard from an old college teammate a couple weeks ago.

Ravens wide receiver and fellow Wake Forest product Michael Campanaro had reached out to the speedy wideout to tell him that the Baltimore coaching staff had been asking about him, a sure sign that general manager Ozzie Newsome was interested in acquiring the Rams’ 2012 fourth-round pick. With rookie Breshad Perriman sidelined since the start of training camp with a knee injury, the Ravens were in need of a vertical threat in their passing game.

“I just thought it was talk,” said Givens, who was acquired from the Rams in exchange for a 2016 seventh-round pick on Saturday. “But once things started getting weird around Rams Park, I knew something was up. I basically just didn’t practice [last] Tuesday through Friday, so I knew something was up.”

When an NFL player is acquired in the middle of a season, there’s generally an acclimation period of a week or two to learn a new system before being thrown into the fire of competition. But the Ravens don’t have that luxury with both No. 1 receiver Steve Smith (back) and Perriman expected to miss Sunday’s game against Cleveland.

Baltimore hopes Givens can provide the ability to stretch the field in the passing game while potentially providing another option to replace the injured Campanaro at kick returner. Barring other roster moves, the Ravens will need him to serve as no worse than the No. 4 receiver against the Browns with quarterback Joe Flacco missing so many other pass-catching targets.

Averaging 16.3 yards per catch in his career, Givens expressed confidence in his ability to learn a new offense, saying the biggest challenge was adjusting to new terminology after picking up the passing concepts of offensive coordinator Marc Tresetman.

“He’s going to be out there on Sunday,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “How much he plays depends on how well he does. I’m really hopeful that he plays a lot. It’ll be up to him and how well he can learn what we’re doing.”

The 6-foot wideout only had one reception in the Rams’ first three games this season, but his 1,433 career receiving yards are more than Baltimore’s other healthy receivers — Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, and Darren Waller — have combined (1,303). Givens, a 2012 fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest, enjoyed his best season as a rookie when he caught 42 passes for 698 yards and three touchdowns.

However, the 25-year-old’s numbers had declined every year since as he struggled to catch the football consistently and other St. Louis receivers leapfrogged him on the depth chart. Givens quipped that he now has a “potato” — not a chip — on his shoulder coming to Baltimore.

“It was very frustrating,” said Givens about his last couple seasons with the Rams. “I knew I was a guy that could complement the team and play well. I don’t know if it wasn’t the right fit or they liked other guys or whatever the case may be, because after the first year, my opportunities just went down.”

The Ravens certainly hope he can recapture the success he found early in his career with St. Louis.

Not lacking confidence, Givens will be given every opportunity to carve out a meaningful role with the banged-up Ravens as he praised the talents of Flacco. The pair will be challenged to build a rapport in a short period of time, but Flacco said the receiver’s speed jumped out immediately in their first couple practices together.

“It can be explosive,” said Givens of the chance to catch deep passes from Flacco. “It’s one of those things that you’ve just got to take advantage of the talents and opportunities. I’m just looking forward to doing that.”

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 9 St. Louis Cardinals

Posted on 06 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

St. Louis – The darkness of the foyer evokes a past that not even the old circular Busch Stadium could brag upon. Uniquely designed this “new” Busch Stadium is worth the trip to the Gateway City. Not much to recommend downtown St. Louis these days but the area around the ballpark is a must see. A sea of red – and a pretty good squad most years – the ballpark really does an amazing job of capturing the history and pageantry of Cardinals baseball. Musial. Brock. Gibson. Smith. McGwire. You sort of feel it all in this place. Plus, the Arch is still cool and very visible from the upper deck.

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Caps Mistakes Costly in 3-1 Defeat to Rangers

Posted on 12 March 2015 by Ed Frankovic

In hockey, you’ll often hear coaches talk about bad losses and good losses.

On Wednesday night at the Verizon Center, Washington Capitals Coach Barry Trotz would not categorize the Caps 3-1 defeat to the New York Rangers as a bad loss.

Despite the post game reaction from numerous Caps fans on twitter, where it seemed several people were out on the ledge and ready to leap, I definitely agree with the Washington bench boss.

Sure the Rangers were playing their third game in four nights, but the Caps were missing two of their top five defensemen in Mike Green and Brooks Orpik and their top center, Nicklas Backstrom, was playing with a bad stomach bug that prevented him from skating for four days. So coming into this contest against the Blueshirts, who I believe are the best team in the NHL right now and will likely win the Eastern Conference and perhaps the Presidents’ Trophy, I didn’t have a good feeling for the Caps given that Nate Schmidt was playing his first NHL game in over two months and Cameron Schilling was also in the starting lineup on defense.

The inexperience and lack of skill on the blueline is something we saw help wreck the Capitals post season appearance streak last spring and to be honest, the defensive lineup iced on Wednesday night was a bit reminiscent of last year’s club that routinely featured two or more AHL calibre players. As expected, the youth led to the Rangers first tally when Schmidt was beaten badly in the neutral zone. Then on the second New York marker, Tim Gleason, who was playing the off side for him, tried to go high glass on a dump out and the puck hit the stanchion and allowed the Rangers to get a quick three on two that J.T. Miller buried short side on Braden Holtby (28 saves).

The Caps would get a good bounce on Alexander Ovechkin’s power play tally in the opening frame and the Gr8 now has 45 goals on the season. The first period was pretty even, shot attempts favored the Caps 21-20, but the Rangers led because of the two costly Capital miscues.

Washington would open period two on a lengthy five on three (78 seconds) but the Caps couldn’t score. Cam Talbot, who was sensational in this contest, especially in period three, made a highway robbery glove save on Backstrom and that turned the game around, giving the Rangers a boost that they used to carry the play in the middle stanza. The Rangers would out shot attempt the Caps, 23-12, in period two.

“To be honest with you, five on three was my mistakes, I just missed the net. It’s kind of the moment you have to score. Especially when they give you a chance and they give you an opportunity to shoot so it was total blame on me,” said Ovechkin.

“When you don’t score off a five on three of that extent, that usually swings the momentum and then they got a few power plays that we killed off, but it took a little bit of steam out of our game,” added Matt Niskanen, who was outstanding for the Caps in 28:10 of ice time (led all players).

In the final frame, the Capitals threw the kitchen sink at Talbot, but he was a brick wall. #33, who has been superb in relief of an injured Henrik Lundqvist, was easily the game’s first star and he made numerous point blank saves. Trotz pointed out afterwards that the Caps had an 8-1 edge in quality chances in period three, but the only goal came for the Rangers when Tom Kreider picked off John Carlson’s cross ice pass and fed Martin “Caps Killer” St. Louis on a two on none break for the game closing tally. In that last 20 minutes, the Caps out shot attempted a fatigued Rangers club, 35-10.

Overall for the game, the Caps won the shot attempt battle, 68-53, but all that matters is the 3-1 final score. The Rangers are a very good team and they can roll four lines and three defensive pairs. That’s part of why they were able to go 3-0 in this tough three game in four nights stretch against the Blackhawks, Islanders, and Caps. The biggest reason they won on Wednesday was Talbot and the team’s ability to protect a one goal lead, something they’ve been strong at for several seasons.

“When they get the lead, they just put four guys close to the net and they block lots of shots. Again, it was not surprising at all. They are a pretty solid team, they know how to play, and they were in the Stanley Cup Final last year,” stated Ovechkin.

The Rangers have a very good team and could easily win the Stanley Cup, so losing a close game in which you out chanced your opponent is nothing to hang your head on. The Caps were shorthanded on the back end and one of their best forwards wasn’t right, yet they were in the game until the end and likely find a way to win against many other goalies. But they lost and now they have to watch out that they don’t drop to the second wild card spot with the Boston Bruins charging hard in the standings.

With the Rangers looking like a good bet to win the East, the Caps must avoid a first round match up with the Blueshirts, so they can’t afford to fall to the second wild card slot.

In the end, the Caps played hard but made too many mistakes to win and the Rangers net minder was the big difference. Losing is no fun, but Ovechkin summed things up pretty good afterwards.

“I think we play a good game, a couple of bounces cost us a victory or at least one point. It’s a situation when you have to just forget about it and move forward. But it’s kind of disappointing when you have that kind of chance to move closer to an opponent or a team who is in front of you,” finished the Gr8.

Certainly the Caps can’t be happy with losing, as every standings point matters, but they did do a lot of good things against the best team in hockey on Wednesday night.

Notes: Joel Ward assisted on the Ovechkin goal and he was one of the Caps best forwards in 18:25 of ice time…Trotz limited Backstrom to 18:38 due to his stomach virus…the Caps won the face off battle 38-29. Eric Fehr was 12-3…Jay Beagle was hit hard, but cleanly, by Dan Girardi in period two. #83 would return for a shift or so but then left the contest for the third period due to an upper body injury…next up for the Caps are the Dallas Stars at the Verizon Center on Friday night.

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Hardy scratched from Sunday’s lineup with sprained left thumb

Posted on 10 August 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Originally slated to start as the Orioles tried to complete a three-game sweep over the St. Louis Cardinals, shortstop J.J. Hardy was scratched from Sunday’s lineup due to a sprained left thumb.

The announcement came minutes before first pitch as Ryan Flaherty slid over to the shortstop position after originally being tabbed to play second base. Rookie Jonathan Schoop was inserted in the order at second base before the Orioles fell 8-3 to the Cardinals.

“Probably could have [played],” Showalter said. “[He] swung the bat. He was going to make a little adjustment in his grip. Obviously, his left hand doesn’t bother him defensively. But, the wrong jam shot [could have aggravated it].”

The news came with Hardy swinging a hot bat as he was 4-for-7 with two homers and five runs batted in over the first two games of the series in which the Orioles outscored St. Louis by a 22-5 margin. It’s been a difficult year at the plate for the veteran shortstop, who will be 32 later this month and has hit only six homers in 438 plate appearances after clubbing 77 in his first three seasons in Baltimore.

Hardy expressed disappointment following the game and acknowledged he may have to play through some soreness in the immediate future. He injured the thumb while sliding into home plate during Saturday’s win but remained in the game.

The infielder told reporters he had issues gripping the bat as well as opening and closing his glove during Sunday’s pre-game activities, which led to Showalter pulling him from the lineup.

“We’ll see how it is tomorrow. I have a feeling that I’ll probably play through some pain,” Hardy said. “If I can, I will. It’s frustrating anytime you’re dealing with your hands. Hopefully, today’s the only day and I’ll come in tomorrow and be able to get through it.”

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Hey you-help us rip off Mets fans and win some concert tickets!

Posted on 07 August 2014 by Glenn Clark

So I’ll just tell you flat out-the “Hunter Pence Signs” meme is the best I’ve seen from sports fans in, like, ever.

Are you not familiar? Perhaps it’s time to study up.

The concept is simple. You make fun of a player to get them going, but it’s only mildly insulting. It’s mostly just good comedy. I mean, even Hunter Pence himself got in on it Thursday.

The meme (like everything else that happens on the interwebs) has gone viral. In fact, it showed up Wednesday night in Toronto where the Baltimore Orioles were facing the Blue Jays. From Jays fan “Mr. Zach Palmer” on Twitter…

Classic all around.

“Chris Davis wears socks and sandals.” “Chris Davis puts mayo on fries.” Excellent.

The concept is that you’re not really making fun of the guy. In fact, it’s a bit endearing. It’s like a way of showing respect. “We don’t really have anything mean to say about you so instead we made some stuff up.”

So we’ve decided to have fun with it on “The Reality Check”. We want to continue the meme this weekend. The St. Louis Cardinals are coming to town, so we’ve decided to make outfielder Matt Holliday our “victim”.

The game is easy to play. All you have to do it be funny and clever in coming up with your insults. The best one will win a pair of tickets to The Hot August Music Festival (featuring Old Crow Medicine Show, Nickel Creek and Dr. Dog) next Saturday at Oregon Ridge.

I’ve already gotten a BUNCH. Some of the highlights…

Brad-“Matt Holliday doesn’t like Christmas”
Patrick-“Matt Holliday likes Hangover III”
Dean-“Matt Holliday changed his walk-up music to “Wrecking Ball”
Ed-“Matt Holliday dots his autograph with a smiley face”
Mark-“Matt Holliday cried during Marley and Me”
Steve-“Matt Holliday takes his fruitcake without walnuts”
Kerry-“Matt Holliday uses AOL”
Doug-“All of Matt Holliday’s albums are best of collections”
Greg-“Matt Holliday thinks Skip Bayless is always right”
Chris-“Matt Holliday stays out after 9pm on school nights”
Mark-“Matt Holliday thinks Michael Bay is underappreciated”
Lee-“Matt Holliday leans over the glass when ordering his burrito”
Syd-“Matt Holliday still uses payphones”
Joe-“Matt Holliday drafted Blaine Gabbert as his fantasy quarterback”
Jon-“Matt Holliday likes Nickelback”
GP-“Matt Holliday rooted for Apollo Creed”
Even our own Ryan Chell-“Matt Holliday thinks Andy Dalton is underpaid”

And Patrick is probably the leader in the clubhouse right now with “Matt Holliday still checks his MySpace”.

That’s just a sampling. We got hundreds during the show. I was going to include more but I’m writing this while sitting at the Ravens game and got bored. Blame the NFL.

We want yours. Be timely. Be clever. Be creative. Be MILDLY insulting without being cutting. Put it on an actual posterboard and you’ll get extra points!

You can email me-glenn@wnst.net or Tweet us @WNST with your best Matt Holliday insults. We hope you’ll take your signs to the stadium this weekend and share them with the masses.

“Matt Holliday enjoys preseason football” is off limits. That one is mine.

-G

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Ravens agree to one-year deal with former Rams safety Stewart

Posted on 21 March 2014 by Luke Jones

Concluding a quiet week after their last free-agent signing of veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, the Ravens added another piece to their 2014 plans by agreeing to a one-year deal with strong safety Darian Stewart on Friday.

The former St. Louis Rams defensive back is familiar with Baltimore secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was Stewart’s head coach in the first two years of his NFL career. Stewart started six games and played in 13 overall for the Rams last season, making 36 tackles and breaking up five passes.

Stewart is scheduled to arrive in Baltimore to take a physical before signing his contract.

It’s likely that Stewart’s signing is more of a depth move as the Ravens aren’t expected to retain starting strong safety James Ihedigbo, who is reportedly mulling over offers from a few NFC teams. With 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam expected to shift to strong safety, general manager Ozzie Newsome said at the beginning of the offseason that upgrading the free safety spot would be his top defensive priority.

“I talked about a free safety [and] maybe getting a free safety that can be a playmaker,” said Newsome when asked in early January what improvements needed to be made to the defense. “When tipped balls are in the air, guys that can come away with that.”

Stewart received the most extensive playing time of his career during the 2011 season, Spagnuolo’s last year as head coach of the Rams. The University of South Carolina product started 13 games and collected 84 tackles, three sacks, 11 pass breakups, and one interception.

For his career, the 5-foot-11, 214-pound safety has amassed 147 tackles, four sacks, and one interception.

The free safety market has few remaining options as veterans Chris Clemons and Thomas DeCoud could be viewed as reasonable choices but neither profiles as the playmaking safety Newsome covets. Former Bills free safety Jairus Byrd was the best free safety to hit the market earlier this month, but he was quickly signed to a lucrative $56 million contract with the New Orleans Saints on the first day of free agency.

The Ravens may have no choice but to look toward the draft for their answer at free safety with the likes of Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor potentially available in the first round and others such as Ed Reynolds of Stanford or Florida State’s Terrence Brooks serving as Day 2 possibilities. Should the Ravens not acquire a free safety, they would likely be forced to move Elam back to free safety and look at the possibility of Stewart at the starting strong safety spot.

An undrafted free agent in 2010, Stewart reportedly visited the Carolina Panthers earlier this week.

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Blast open road swing with win in St. Louis

Posted on 07 February 2014 by WNST Staff

The Blast traveled to St. Louis to play the Ambush for the second time this season. With a 12-6 final score, the Blast improved their record 12-3.

 

The Baltimore Blast scored the first goal 3:36 into the game from a goal by Tony Donatelli, assisted by Lucio Gonzaga. With only one minute to play in the first quarter, J.T. Noone scored on a deflection from Mike Lookingland. At the end of the first quarter, the Blast led the Ambush 4-0.

 

Mike Lookingland added another goal to the Blast’s total with an assist from Max Ferdinand, 7 minutes into the second quarter. In the final seconds of the second quarter, Michael Roach scored an unassisted goal. At half time, the Blast were ahead 6-2.

 

The Ambush scored the first goal 3:34 into the quarter. Scored by Jeff DiMaria and assisted by Chad Vandegriffe.  The Ambush tied the game with a goal from Corey Adamson, assisted by Daniel Antoniuk. In the final seconds of the quarter, Mike Lookingland gave the Blast the lead. At the end of the quarter the Blast regained the lead, 8-6.

 

The Blast got on the board early into the 4th quarter with a goal by Diego Zuniga, assisted by Mike Lookingland. Pat Healey added another goal early in the quarter, with an assist by Tony Donatelli. At the final whistle the Blast improved their record 12-3 and beat the Ambush for the second time this season, 12-6.

 

The Blast were led by Mike Lookingland who had 2 goals and 2 assists in Thursday’s victory over the Ambush.  Tony Donatelli attributed a goal and an assist, lifting the Blast to a 12-6 victory over the St. Louis Ambush.  William Vanzela protected the goal with 13 saves, while the Baltimore defense only allowed 3 goals.

 

The Blast take on the Missouri Comets for the second time this season. The Blast defeated the Comets earlier in the season 14-6. The Comets are led offensively by Vahid Assadpour, who leads the MISL with 55 points. Forward Leo Gibson also has 50 points on the season as the Comets high-powered offense looks to find opportunities against the strong Blast defense. The Comets are coached by Vlatko.

 

1 2 3 4 F

Blast: 4 2 2 4 12

Ambush: 0 2 4 0 6

 

Upcoming Games:

2/9 Blast @ Missouri Comets, 4:05pm EST

2/21 Blast vs. Pennsylvania Roar, 7:05pm

2/22 Blast vs. Syracuse Silver Knights, 6:05

 

The Blast traveled to St. Louis to play the Ambush for the second time this season. With a 12-6 final score, the Blast improved their record 12-3.

 

The Baltimore Blast scored the first goal 3:36 into the game from a goal by Tony Donatelli, assisted by Lucio Gonzaga. With only one minute to play in the first quarter, J.T. Noone scored on a deflection from Mike Lookingland. At the end of the first quarter, the Blast led the Ambush 4-0.

 

Mike Lookingland added another goal to the Blast’s total with an assist from Max Ferdinand, 7 minutes into the second quarter. In the final seconds of the second quarter, Michael Roach scored an unassisted goal. At half time, the Blast were ahead 6-2.

 

The Ambush scored the first goal 3:34 into the quarter. Scored by Jeff DiMaria and assisted by Chad Vandegriffe.  The Ambush tied the game with a goal from Corey Adamson, assisted by Daniel Antoniuk. In the final seconds of the quarter, Mike Lookingland gave the Blast the lead. At the end of the quarter the Blast regained the lead, 8-6.

 

The Blast got on the board early into the 4th quarter with a goal by Diego Zuniga, assisted by Mike Lookingland. Pat Healey added another goal early in the quarter, with an assist by Tony Donatelli. At the final whistle the Blast improved their record 12-3 and beat the Ambush for the second time this season, 12-6.

 

The Blast were led offensively by Mike Lookingland who had 2 goals and 2 assists in Thursday night’s victory over the Ambush.  Tony Donatelli attributed a goal and an assist, lifting the Blast to a 12-6 victory over the St. Louis Ambush.  William Va  by Vahid Assadpour, who leads the MISL with 55 points. Forward Leo Gibson also has 50 points on the season as the Comets high-powered offense looks to find opportunities against the strong Blast defense.

                  

FINAL SCORING SUMMARY


                   1    2    3    4     F

Blast:       4     2    2    4    12

Ambush: 0     2    4    0     6

 

Upcoming Games:

2/9 Blast @ Missouri Comets, 4:05pm EST

2/21 Blast vs. Pennsylvania Roar, 7:05pm

2/22 Blast vs. Syracuse Silver Knights, 6:05

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Ovechkin’s 4 Goals Rallies Caps Past Bolts in Shootout

Posted on 10 December 2013 by Ed Frankovic

There is something about snow that tends to bring out the best in Alexander Ovechkin, so it’s no coincidence that one of his nicknames, besides the Gr8, is Snovechkin.

On Tuesday night, in a game the Capitals really had no business winning, Alex Snovechkin scored four goals, including the game tying tally with just 33 seconds left in regulation.

Washington would go on to win in the shootout, 6-5, and steal two points from a hard working and undermanned Tampa Bay Lightning club.

Ovechkin had the four markers and his center, Nicklas Backstrom, had a goal and four helpers for a five point night. Those two guys, along with rookie Philip Grubauer in net and some good fortune, are the reason the Caps scraped out two points after trailing 3-0 early on.

The Caps looked nothing like the team that manhandled the Rangers on Sunday at the Garden as the Lightning, without top players Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, came out flying while several Capitals coasted through their early shifts. Most notable was defensemen Mike Green who had the worst period I’ve ever seen #52 play. He took four minors, a 10 minute misconduct, and badly misplayed the two on one break that gave the Lightning a 3-0 lead and chased starter Braden Holtby. #70 wasn’t that bad, but clearly Adam Oates wanted to wake his sleep walking team up, at that point.

The move eventually helped and Ovechkin would get yet another goal this season off of a face off in the opening frame to give the Caps some life. Then when the Bolts Richard Panik took a major for boarding Karl Alzner late in period two, the Gr8 scored twice on the power play to send this one tied, at 4-4, to the third period.

At that point one would think the Caps would take over and win this one against a depleted Tampa squad, but the Bolts are well coached by John Cooper and they carried much of the play. They grabbed the lead when Martin St. Louis, who is one of the smallest but also one of the best players in the NHL, set up Ondrej Palat in the slot at 8:36 of the final period. St. Louis is a Caps killer and he had three points in this game. His work ethic is amazing and several Capitals could learn a lot from watching him.

Work ethic was something that was not there for many Capitals in this tilt. Washington was too fancy and made many bad passes. Martin Erat had a hat trick of giveaways, one of which led to a goal. It should have been three for three if not for Grubauer’s great goaltending on the other two occassions. The Capitals forwards did a mostly lousy job of helping out their defense in this game and Oates will have plenty of video to show of their mistakes.

But the good news is this Capitals team is resilient. They don’t quit and they keep scrapping. It really helps to have skill and talent and Ovechkin and Backstrom took over to save the day on a night when many Washington players just didn’t bring their better performances to the rink.

On Tuesday the Caps did just enough to win, they should be thankful that snowstorms, even an over hyped one like the area had today, brings out the best in their captain.

It was the Alexander Ovechkin show on Tuesday. That’s now 26 goals in 29 games this season. To quote the Gr8, that is “Sick, Unbelievable…”

Notes: Eric Fehr, who is playing super and brought his game on Tuesday, Mikhail Grabovski, and Troy Brouwer all scored in the gimmick for the Caps…Grubauer got his 2nd NHL win in his 1st career NHL shootout…because the Caps were trailing the fourth line played sparingly and Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson played less than five minutes each…the Caps are now 17-12-2 (36 points)…John Carlson played an all worldly 34:48 in this one…the Caps won the face off battle, 36-22 and Backstrom was 15-7…Washington was 3 for 5 on the power play while Tampa went 2 for 5…Green was a lot better after his misconduct and had an assist. The referees were not the problem for him in the opening frame, it was his lack of skating and too much reliance on using his stick. Lazy hockey, plain and simple.

 

 

 

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