Monday, September 29, 2014

Marlins Get No Hits Against Nationals

     The Miami Marlins had no hits in their final game of the 2014 season as they fell to the Washington Nationals 1-0 at Nationals Park on Sunday. Jordan Zimmermann pitched the no-hitter for the Nats which is their first one since the franchise moved from Montreal ten years ago.
     Last season finished the same way for Miami(77-85) on the winning end of a no-hitter. Henderson Alvarez pitched it for them at Marlins Park against the playoff-bound Detroit Tigers. Giancarlo Stanton scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning on a wild pitch with the bases loaded.
     Zimmerman improved his record to 14-5 this season as he had ten strikeouts and walked one batter. Alvarez pitched seven innings and allowed one run on 11 hits. He struck out three and fell to 12-7 in 2014.
     Washington(96-66), who earlier this month won their second National League Eastern Division title in the last three years, scored the only run of the game during the second inning. Ian Desmond smacked an 0-2 pitch over the left-center field wall with one out for his 24th home run of the season.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Strikers And Rowdies Game Postponed

     The deciding game for the Florida Derby between the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg on Saturday night was postponed due to bad field conditions and concerns over the weather. According to the North American Soccer League and both clubs, the game will be made up on October 8.
     Both teams met each other twice earlier this season. The Rowdies won the first game at home 3-2 on May 24. The Strikers returned the favor on August 2 with a 1-0 home victory at Lockhart Stadium. The aggregate in both games is 3-3, however Fort Lauderdale has the edge in away goals.
     Tampa Bay has won the last four Coastal Cups since the rivalry was renewed at the start of the 2010 NASL season. The cross-state rivals also faced each other from 1977 until 1983 during the first incarnation of the North American Soccer League.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Stars Edge Panthers In Preseason Opener

     The Florida Panthers opened up their preseason schedule as they fell to the Dallas Stars 4-3 in a shootout at BB&T Center on Wednesday night. The Cats held out the 2014 top draft pick Aaron Ekblad from this game along with Roberto Luongo and Brian Campbell.
     The Stars crunched in a full day prior to this game. They held a practice outside of Dallas from 9 until 10:30 a.m., got on an airplane, flew several hours into a different time zone and bused through rush-hour traffic to arrive in Sunrise.
     It did not seem to affect the team in the first period as Dallas jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Patrick Eaves, who was acquired as a free agent, scored on a power play at 9:12. He made a turnaround move in the low crease and fired a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Dan Ellis. Kevin Connauton scored on a shot in the crease area at 14:56 to make it 2-0.
     Stars starting goalie Jack Campbell was pulled after 31 minutes of play and stopped all 11 Cats shots. The last half of the second period belonged to the Panthers as they evened the contest at 2-2. They scored in their first shooting attempt against backup goalie Jussi Rynnas at 11:59 when Shane O'Brien snapped a shot from the top left circle after a feed by Scottie Upshall. New Florida free agent acquisition Dave Bolland tied it at 2-2 on the power play when he pounded a shot from the top right circle on an assist from Dmitry Kulikov with 1:50 left in the period.
     Brandon Pirri gave the Cats their first lead of the game early in the third period and he scored on a wrist shot from the top left circle following a Nick Bjugstad face-off win. Dallas evened it 3-3 with 8:53 left in regulation when Tyler Sequin faked a shot, slid the puck to his left and Alex Goligoski put it into an open net.
     Neither team scored in overtime and missed on their first three attempts of the shootout. Ales Hemsky, who played for the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators last season, scored the winning goal on the Stars fourth attempt as he faked a forehand shot, went to the backhand and put the puck between the pads of Michael Houser.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Stranahan At Boynton Beach Preview

     Two schools will met in a District 15-6A game on Friday night as the Stranahan Dragons travel up I-95 to Boynton Beach and face the Tigers. The Dragons fell at home last year to the Tigers 47-12 as they surrendered the last 34 points of that contest.
     Quarterback Lamar Jackson will implement the Boynton Beach(4-0, 0-0) offense with his passes and running ability out of the pocket. Donte Sylencieux and Dieuly Aristilde are the main wide receivers who can get receptions. They have a number of options at running back with Zaire Ivory, Zander Bernard and Chauncey Mason. The Tigers have outscored their opponents 209-59 in their four games this season.
     Stranahan(2-1, 1-0) defeated Suncoast 43-7 last week in a district game. The offense is led by quarterback Javonne Heastie who can rush from the backfield as an option for the team. Look for him to connect with wide receivers Marvin Robinson, Deshawn Waite and Daewood Davis on completions. Anthony Hunt will be used as the top running back on the squad.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Florida Panthers Open Training Camp

     The Florida Panthers opened up their training camp for the upcoming 2014-15 NHL season in Coral Springs this past weekend. The club will look to improve from their 29th place finish from last season.
     It was the first NHL training camp for defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who was selected first overall by the Cats during the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in late June. He was teamed up with recent free agent acquisition Willie Mitchell on the blue line. Mitchell played with the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings last year and also collected another title with that organization in 2012.
     Roberto Luongo was slated as the top goalie on the depth chart followed by newcomer Al Montoya and Dan Ellis. New head coach Gerard Gallant and the coaching staff paired Brian Campbell and Erik Gudbranson on the top defensive line.
     The team will try out many different combinations on their forward lines for the next several days. They play their first preseason game at BB&T Center in Sunrise on Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars.

Dave Wannstedt Adds Fox Television Duties

     Former Miami Dolphins head coach Dave Wannstedt added additional duties at Fox Sports 1 this past weekend as a studio analyst on Fox NFL Kickoff. Wannstedt has been a college football studio analyst on the network since the start of the season. He replaced former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher on the pro football show.
     Wannstedt was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2000 to 2004 and the Chicago Bears from 1993 to 1998. He had a combined record of 85-89 for both teams. He was also the University of Pittsburgh Panthers head coach from 2005 until 2010 where he compiled a 43-32 record.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Calvin Ridley To Play Final Game

     Monarch Knights wide receiver Calvin Ridley will play in his final high school football game on Friday night at Piper against the Bengals. He is ineligible to participate with the school based on a FHSAA rule that a student athlete can not compete once they become 19 years and nine months of age.
     Ridley, who appeared on the annual cover of Friday Night Football Florida magazine earlier this year, has already made an early commitment to play college football with the University of Alabama. He is highly rated and considered one of the top high school players in the nation.
     His school is undefeated after two games this season with two shutouts on the road. Monarch routed Nova opening week 56-0 and blanked Western 40-0 last weekend. Expect Ridley to have a deep impact in his final game.
     There have been other players in South Florida who have appeared in their final high school game during the regular season. Current University of Florida running back Kelvin Taylor did it in 2012 with Glades Day before going to the Gators.
     Kelvin Benjamin, current wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, also left Glades Central during the 2010 season and would later attend Florida State University. His final play as a high school player happened in a road game at Boynton Beach. He jumped up and caught a 35-yard touchdown pass in the left side of the end zone surrounded by double coverage.