Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Panthers Blank Hurricanes

     The Florida Panthers hosted the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night and pulled out a 1-0 combined shutout at BB&T Center. The Cats are now three points out from a playoff spot in their last game prior to Thanksgiving Day. The Hurricanes were on their third game of a four-game road trip.
     It only took 21 seconds into the first period for Florida(8-6-6) to strike as their top line buzzed around the Hurricanes cage. Jonathan Huberdeau sent a pass from the end wall off the leg of Brandon Pirri at the top of the crease and Nick Bjugstad smacked a shot off Cam Ward for the goal. It was Bjugstad's fourth goal in four games and his sixth in six games. The Cats outshot their opponent 15-4 in the first 18 1/2 minutes of the contest.
     After making a save on a backhand shot from close range by Victor Rask six minutes into the second period, Roberto Luongo had to leave the game due to an injury with 9:38 left in the frame and was replaced by Al Montoya. He had stopped 11 shots at that point.
     Carolina(6-12-3) was unable to get the puck by Montoya in the third, although they outshot the Cats 17-5 in the final period.

Royal Palm Beach At St Thomas Aquinas Preview

     It is an anticipated Class 7A matchup as the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders host the Royal Palm Beach Wildcats in a regional final at Brian Piccolo Stadium in Fort Lauderdale on Friday night. Both schools come into this game with momentum.
     St. Thomas Aquinas(11-1) were undefeated in District 15-7A and breezed by the competition in their division. The only exception was a nationally televised defeat to Don Bosco Prep 24-7 in a neutral site game in West Point, New York during their second game. The Raiders are currently on a ten-game win streak. They had an opening week victory over the defending Class 5A champion American Heritage 38-7 at Sun Life Stadium and a win at Miramar 20-12 during their third game.   
     The Raiders have outscored their last nine opponents, which included two playoff opponents, 465-20 and compiled six shutouts. They won a regional quarterfinal over Mater Academy Charter 57-0 and dropped their top district rival Plantation 38-6 in a regional semifinal last week. STA have appeared in a regional final every year since 2004.
     Aquinas comes in with a balanced offensive attack. Running back Jordan Scarlett is expected to get the bulk of the carries from the backfield. Deltron Sands and Khambrel St. Hubert can run the ball when necessary. Jake Rizzo is their quarterback and he can throw the ball to any part of the field. He has a strong wide receiver core with Davante Peete, Sam Bruce and Jawuan Harris.
     Royal Palm Beach(11-1) missed the postseason last year and have lost just three games in the last two seasons. They finished on top of the competitive District 13-7A ahead of defending Class 7A champion Dwyer, Atlantic, West Boca Raton and Lake Worth. The only loss in 2014 for the Wildcats was at Dwyer as they fell 47-24. They currently sit on a seven-game win streak in which they have outscored their opponents 269-60 in that span.
     The Wildcats have never advanced beyond the regional final in school history. They had two playoff games at home and handled Fort Lauderdale 30-7 in the regional quarterfinal along with Atlantic in the 28-7 in the regional semifinal.
     The main emphasis on the RPB offense will be quarterback Toddy Centeio. He can throw the ball and on occasion run the ball out of the pocket. They have a duel threat at running back with Charles Perry and Shamar Jackson as both players have speed to break open on a carry. Demarcus Holloway is an additional asset to their running game. Expect wide receivers Derick Python and Marlon Eugene to make their share of receptions from Centeio.

Miami Ratings November 2014

     104.3 The Ticket WAXY-FM remained ahead as the top sports format radio station in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale region for the 15th consecutive month. It was a good month as all three local radio stations in the area improved with their ratings.
     November is the time of the year where 104.3 The Ticket usually begins to generate better ratings and that was no surprise this month as they went from a 1.5 to a 1.8. The main reason for it was the start of the NBA regular season for the Miami Heat, even with the loss of LeBron James from the roster.
     Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM saw some improvement during the month of November as they went from a 0.9 to a 1.0. They have seen stability from their weekday lineup in the last couple of months which will go a long way. Evening host Alex Donno has gained some audience since becoming the new studio host of the Florida Panthers Radio Network.
     Miami Sports 940 WINZ-AM did something that they had not done in 13 months as they increased for the second straight ratings period from a 0.3 to a 0.4 in November. The replacement of Jay Mohr for Rich Eisen in the midday shift certainly helped the station along with the optimism of Miami Dolphins football.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Heat Fall To Warriors

     The Miami Heat lost their momentum prior to the Thanksgiving break as they were beat by the Golden State Warriors 114-97 on Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena. The Heat, who extended their television deal with Sun Sports today, played without Dwyane Wade for the seventh straight game. They will have a long five-day break and play in New York against the Knicks on Sunday.
     The Warriors, who continued their best start in their franchise's 69-year history, matched the Houston Rockets with the best road record this season in the NBA at 6-1.
     Miami(8-7) scored their most points in any quarter this season as they led 36-30 after the first. They finished the period on a 22-11 spurt with Mario Chalmers leading the way with 13 points.
     The Heat began the second on an 18-8 run to go up 54-38 with 5:56 left in the first half. Golden State(11-2) chopped into the deficit and were down by just one point at halftime 62-61. Chris Bosh had 17 points at the half for the Heat while Stephen Curry had 18 for the Warriors.
     Neither team led by more than seven points in the third as the Heat trailed 91-86 at the end of the quarter. Miami was up 95-93 with 7:24 remaining in the fourth until Golden State dropped down 14 consecutive points to lead by 107-95 with 2:49 left.

Miami Heat Extend Television Deal

     The Miami Heat have extended their exclusive local television rights with Sun Sports. The Heat have broadcast their games on Sun Sports since the middle of the 2004-05 season. They had been on their previous namesake Sunshine Network as their primary cable television home from 1992-93 until during the 2004-05 season. 
     The team had their cable broadcasts on SportsChannel Florida from their inaugural season in 1988-89 until 1991-92. Miami was once on free television in the first 16 seasons of the franchise. They had their games on WBFS-TV Channel 33 from 1988-89 to 1998-99 and from 2000-01 to 2003-04. WAMI-TV Channel 69 had their games as the only over-the-air channel in 1999-2000. WFOR-TV Channel 4, a sister station of WBFS-TV, added several games from 2000-01 until 2003-04.
     Their will be no change in on-air personnel. Eric Reid will continue as the television play-by-play announcer. He has been broadcasting the club since their inception in 1988-89. Reid, an Ithaca College grad, started as a game analyst alongside Sam Smith in the first three seasons of a television and radio simulcast. He has been the television play-by-play guy for the team since 1991-92. Tony Fiorentino remains as the game analyst where he has held that role since the 2004-05 season. Jason Jackson stays as their main studio host and sideline reporter. Jackson, a former WSVN-TV Channel 7 sports anchor during the mid 1990s, has been with the Heat telecasts since the 2003-04 season.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Wild Rip Panthers

     After a four-game road trip against Western Conference opponents, the Florida Panthers returned home and fell to the Minnesota Wild 4-1 at BB&T Center on Monday night. The Cats have lost two straight home games while the Wild have won five of their last six games.
     Minnesota(12-8-0) put up two goals in the first period and never looked back. They scored 5:58 into the game when Mikko Koivu sent a cross-ice pass from the left wing to Jason Zucker in the right circle and let go a one-time shot by Roberto Luongo. Nino Neiderreiter made it 2-0 with 2:17 left in the first when he put in a shot from close range following a Panthers turnover.
     In the second period, Shawn Thornton tallied his first goal with Florida(7-6-6). Dmitry Kulikov flinged the puck from the blue line and Thornton redirected it in the slot area past Niklas Backstrom at 5:34.
     The Wild regained their two-goal cushion with 2:41 to go as Zucker skated toward the left of the crease and lifted a backhand shot over Lunogo's glove and into the roof of the Panthers cage. Koivu was again credited with the only assist on another Minnesota goal.
     The Panthers pulled their goalie for an extra attacker with two minutes left in the third period, but Zach Parise put the biscuit into an open net at 18:31. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Predators Hold Off Panthers

     The Florida Panthers finished a four-game road trip with a 3-2 shootout loss against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night. The Cats overcame a two-goal deficit in the final minute of regulation to gain at least one point.
     The Panthers return home for Thanksgiving week and will face another Western Conference foe in the Minnesota Wild on Monday night to begin a three-game stint in Sunrise.
     Neither club scored in the opening period as the Cats were held to three shots during the first 19 minutes and four shots during the stanza.
     Nashville(13-5-2) scored the first goal of the game with 1:34 left in the second period as Colin Wilson tallied his third goal of the season. Former Panther Matt Cullen added to the Predators lead with a goal at 13:01 of the third period.
     Rocco Grimaldi got his first NHL goal on a snap shot from the left circle with 42.6 seconds left in regulation to bring Florida(7-5-6) within one goal. Brian Campbell lifted a blind backhand shot toward the net from the right circle to set up the play.
     The Panthers shocked everyone with 29 seconds to go as they evened the contest at 2-2. Nick Bjugstad fired a shot from the right wing which went through Pekka Rinne to send it into overtime.
     Filip Forsberg connected with the only goal in the shootout on the fourth attempt by the Predators. Roberto Luongo was able to make 48 saves in net for the Panthers.