Saturday, April 30, 2016

Local Players Picked In NFL Draft

     Several local players who either played high school or college football in South Florida were picked at the 2016 NFL Draft held in Chicago over this past weekend. There was not a bevy of players with local roots as there had been in previous years.
     The first round on Thursday night saw former St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders and Ohio State University defensive end Joey Bosa selected third overall by the San Diego Chargers. He captured two FHSAA Class 7A state titles with STA in 2010 and 2012 along with one national championship with the Buckeyes in 2014. The University of Miami had one player selected as cornerback Artie Burns went to the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 25th overall pick.
     The second and third rounds of the NFL Draft on Friday night had just one local player selected. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett was picked in the third round as the 91st overall pick by the New England Patriots. Brissett played high school football with the Dwyer Panthers and helped them capture their first FHSAA state tile in 2009 with the Class 4A crown. He began with the University of Florida for two years then transferred to North Carolina State where he participated in his final two years.
     Saturday saw more local talent taken in the final four rounds. University of Miami Hurricanes strong safety Deon Bush was selected in the fourth round and 124th overall by the Chicago Bears. He played for Christopher Columbus and helped them get to a FHSAA Class 8A state semifinal in 2011. An overlooked local player who was also picked in the fourth round was former Blanche Ely Tigers and LSU Tigers defensive back Rashard Robinson by the San Francisco 49ers as the 133rd overall pick.
     The fifth round brought another local talent selected as the Seattle Seahawks got running back Alex Collins as the 171st overall pick. Collins played with the South Plantation Paladins then attended the University of Arkansas for three years.
     Quarterback Jake Rudock was taken in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions as the 191st overall pick. Rudock was at St. Thomas Aquinas where he led the Raiders to two FHSAA state championships and two national high school championships in 2008 and 2010. He went to the University of Iowa for four years with the Hawkeyes and then transferred to the University of Michigan for his final year of college football in 2015.

Marlins Knock Off Brewers

     The Miami Marlins extended their winning streak to six games with a 6-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night at Miller Park. The Marlins now have a  6-2 record on their current ten-game road trip which included their first sweep of the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
     Miami(11-11) starting pitcher Adam Conley pitched a no-hitter through 7 2/3 innings before he was pulled from the game due to a high pitch count. He had thrown 116 pitches against Milwaukee(8-14).

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hornets Slip By Heat In Game 5

     The Miami Heat were stopped by the Charlotte Hornets 90-88 on Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena in Game 5. Miami trail the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals three games to two and can be eliminated from the NBA Playoffs on Friday in Charlotte.
     The Hornets were down 14-5 at the start of the game then scored 14 unanswered points to go up 20-14 with 4:20 left and led 28-25 after one quarter. Charlotte grew their margin to double digits midway through the second quarter 40-28 on a 15-3 spurt and stayed ahead 49-47 at halftime.
     The Heat outscored Charlotte 24-16 in the third and were up 71-65 after three quarters. The Hornets cut at the deficit during the fourth quarter as they outscored Miami 25-17 in the final frame.
Charlotte regained the lead 90-87 with 25 seconds left when Courtney Lee made a three-point shot.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Andrea Ocampo Leaves Florida Panthers

     Florida Panthers game operations arena host Andrea Ocampo spent her last day as part of the organization on Tuesday when the team had their final interviews with the media at BB&T Center in Sunrise. Ocampo announced earlier this month that she was joining NXT, a part of World Wrestling Entertainment, as a ring announcer and interviewer in Orlando.
     Ocampo has worked for the Panthers over the past four years making announcements to people in attendance at Panthers home games during commercial breaks and intermissions. She had shared the position with several people for the first couple of seasons and worked solo in the 2015-16 season. Ocampo has appeared as a guest on several local radio and television stations speaking both English and Spanish languages. She was also the game operations stadium host for Florida Atlantic University football games in Boca Raton.

Heat Fall To Hornets In Game 4

     The Miami Heat lost to Charlotte Hornets 89-85 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Monday night at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Heat and Hornets are now tied 2-2 in the best-of-seven series with Game 5 on Wednesday night in Miami.
     The Heat got out to a 26-19 lead after one quarter, however Charlotte turned the tide during the second quarter and were up 48-39 at halftime. The Hornets had their biggest margin of the contest at 18 points 57-39 early in the third quarter. Miami outscored Charlotte in the second half and trailed 69-61 after three periods.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Islanders Win Series Over Panthers

     The Florida Panthers were defeated in Game 6 by the New York Islanders 2-1 in double overtime on Sunday night at Barclays Center. The Islanders won their first playoff series since 1993. Florida, who lost a second straight playoff game in double overtime to the Isles, have not won a playoff series since 1996.
     The Panthers were able to score with 1:02 remaining in the first period to take the lead 1-0. Jussi Jokinen stole the puck from Shane Prince at the Islanders blue line. Vincent Trocheck picked it up inside the offensive zone and made a short pass to Jonathan Huberdeau at the top right circle. He released a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Thomas Greiss for his first career playoff goal.
     New York finally tied the contest with 53.2 seconds left in the third period after they pulled the goalie. Nick Leddy centered the puck from the right corner to the crease area. Nicolay Kulimen backhanded a shot which was saved by Roberto Luongo, but John Taveres swept in the rebound from the blue paint.
     The game went into double overtime for the second time in three nights and the final result was the same as New York concluded it at 10:41. Kyle Okposo placed a lead pass from the right wing to Tavares at the top right circle and his snap shot from the right-circle dot was stopped. He got the rebound, went around the Panthers cage and scored on a wraparound backhand shot to clinch the series for the Islanders.

Hornets Sting Heat

     The Miami Heat lost their first playoff game this year as they fell to the Charlotte Hornets 96-80 on Saturday night in Game 3 at Time Warner Cable Arena. It was the first postseason win for the franchise which rebooted as the Charlotte Bobcats over ten years ago. Luol Deng led the Heat with 19 points while Dwyane Wade added 17.
     Miami trailed 29-28 after one quarter and 49-44 by halftime. Charlotte played their best period in the series during the third and were up 75-58 after three quarters. They coasted to the victory in the final quarter.

David Furones Joins Sun-Sentinel

     Local sports reporter David Furones has left the Miami Herald and joined the South Florida Sun- Sentinel. He begins his new position at that newspaper this week.
     Furones has been with the Miami Herald for several years and worked as a high school sports game writer and recruitment researcher. He is now part of the expanding high school sports staff at the Sun-Sentinel which hired Wells Dusenbury in late January from ESPN West and ESPN Radio 106.3 WUUB-FM in West Palm Beach.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Islanders Stop Panthers In Double Overtime

     The New York Islanders topped the Florida Panthers 2-1 during double overtime in Game 5 of the first round series at BB&T Center on Friday night. The Cats are down 3-2 in the best-of-seven series and can be eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday in Brooklyn.
     In the first period, New York scored the initial goal of a game for the first time in the series at 13:31. Thomas Hickey was in the slot area when he released a wrist shot which was saved by Roberto Luongo. Frans Nielsen pushed in the rebound from the top of the crease for his third goal of the playoffs and a 1-0 lead.
     Florida waited until 1:59 into the third period to tie the contest 1-1. Aleksander Barkov dropped a pass to Alex Petrovic at the top of the zone. He skated to the right wing and connected a cross-ice pass to the low slot where Barkov put in a snap shot by Thomas Greiss for his second goal of the series.
     The game went into overtime and the Panthers were rewarded a penalty shot at 7:19 when an Islanders player closed his hand on the puck in the blue paint. Barkov took the attempt, skated upon the net and had his backhand shot stopped.
     It moved to double overtime and the Islanders picked up two power-play opportunities in the period. They missed on the first with no shot on goal, however they got the victory on the second power play. Marek Zidlicky passed the puck from the blue line to Alan Quine above the top right circle and he blasted in a slapshot for the game-winning goal at the 16-minute mark.

Dino Costa Leaves St. Louis

     Former local sports host Dino Costa has left his position as the morning host at KFNS-AM in St. Louis. He joined that organization for his first show back in early March.
     Costa once worked in South Florida 12 years ago. He was the afternoon host at 1400 The Fan WFLL-AM when the station flipped to a sports format in April 2004 until July 2004. He left when station management tried to force him to add Bruce Warner as a show co-host.
     He had two other stints in the state of Florida. Costa hosted an afternoon show on WNNR-AM in Jacksonville from June 2003 to February 2004. He recently was a mid-afternoon co-host with Pat Paolini on WAOC-AM in St. Augustine from November 2014 until late 2015.

Marlins Defeat Nationals

     The Miami Marlins finished off their seven-game homestand with a 5-1 victory over the Washington Nationals 5-1 on Thursday at Marlins Park. The Fish ended with a 2-5 record and now head to California with stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
     It took a short time for Washington(11-4) to score as they got the lead just three batters in during the first inning. Bryce Harper hit a solo home run on the first pitch to center field against Tom Koehler for his eighth homer this season.
     Miami(5-9) answered with three runs during the bottom of the first to pull ahead. After a lead-off base hit by Ichiro Suzuki, Christian Yelich doubled to left field with one out. Marcell Ozuna followed with a three-run homer off Max Scherzer to left field on a 1-1 pitch for his second home run this year.
     Martin Prado added to the margin in the second inning with an RBI-single to left that scored Jeff Mathis. Justin Bour blasted a double to right-center field in the fifth inning which brought in Ichiro to make it 5-0.

Heat Get By Hornets In Game 2

     The Miami Heat defeated the Charlotte Hornets 115-103 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal at American Airlines Arena on Wednesday night. The Heat, led by Dwyane Wade and his team-high 28 points, now lead the best-of-seven series 2-0.
     Both clubs played even early and were tied 29-29 after one quarter. Miami had their best quarter of the contest in the second putting in 43 points and led 72-60 at halftime. The Heat remained ahead after three quarters 91-78 while Charlotte outscored the Heat by one point in the fourth quarter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Panthers Take Islanders In Game 4

     The Florida Panthers pulled even two games each in their best-of-seven first round series as they beat the New York Islanders 2-1 in Game 4 at Barclays Center on Wednesday night. Both clubs will face each other for Game 5 in Sunrise on Friday. 
     After a scoreless first period, a Jonathan Huberdeau backhand goal on a breakaway with 9:15 left in the second period was disallowed by officials. The Panthers had an Aaron Ekblad goal waved off in the second period of Game 3.
     Florida would score on the power play with 4:42 remaining in the period. Ekblad fired a slapshot from the right point and Jaromir Jagr then attempted two shots from the right of the crease. He got the second rebound, went to behind the Islanders net and backhanded the puck. Teddy Purcell scored on a one-time forehand shot from the low left circle past Thomas Greiss. It was the first point for Jagr in the series and his 200th career playoff point on the play as he became only the fifth player in NHL history to accomplish that feat.
     New York got a great opportunity when they converted on a five-on-third power play with 15.3 second to go. Brock Nelson made a cross-ice pass from the left point to Ryan Pulock on the right point. He connected a pass to John Tavares in the low right circle and he roofed in a wrist shot by Roberto Luongo for his third goal of the playoffs.
     The Panthers regained the lead 2-1 at 9:25 of the third period. Derek MacKenzie backhanded the puck from the left wing to the top of the zone. Alex Petrovic delayed then delivered a snap shot from the top right circle for his first goal of the series.

Nationals Blank Marlins

     The Miami Marlins were shut out by the Washington Nationals 7-0 on Tuesday night at Marlins Park. The Fish, who were held to five hits in the contest, have lost four of their last five games during their current seven-game homestand.
     Miami(4-8) gave up four home runs in an inning for the first time in franchise history. Washington(10-3), who have been victorious in eight of their last ten games, put up seven runs during the seventh inning.
     After Daniel Murphy flew out into center to begin the top of the seventh against Adam Conley, Jayson Werth smacked his 200th career homer over the left-center field fence on a 3-2 pitch. Wilson Ramos followed and hit a solo homer over the left-center field wall on the first pitch for a 2-0 lead. Danny Espinosa flew out to foul territory in right field for the second out.
     Things would get worse for Miami later in the frame. Stephen Strasburg singled to center field. Michael A. Taylor doubled into left field and Anthony Rendon walked to load the bases. Chris Narveson entered the game in relief for the Marlins. Bryce Harper smashed a 2-1 pitch over the right-center field wall for a grand slam homer. It was his second grand slam of the season which increased the Nats margin to 6-0. Ryan Zimmerman collected his first home run of the year as he blasted a solo home run to right-center field to complete a seven-run inning.     

Monday, April 18, 2016

Heat Blow Out Hornets In Game 1

     The Miami Heat began the 2016 NBA Playoffs with a 123-91 rout of the Charlotte Hornets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Sunday night at American Airlines Arena. Both teams met each other two years ago in the first round when Charlotte was known as the Bobcats.
     The Heat led the game from the start until the finish as the contest was never close. Miami scored 41 points in the first quarter alone and led 41-22 after 12 minutes. Charlotte played even with their opponent in the second quarter and trailed 67-50 at the half.
     Miami moved their margin to over 20 points after halftime and were ahead 97-74 after three quarters. The Heat led by as much as 38 points during the fourth quarter and finished ahead by 32 points.

Braves Sweep Marlins

     The Miami Marlins were swept in a three-game series at home on Sunday as they lost the Atlanta Braves 6-5 in 10 innings at Marlins Park. Atlanta(3-9) bounced back after they were winless for the first nine games of the season. Former Marlins pitcher Jason Grilli picked up the victory in relief for the Braves. 
     Miami(3-7) has not won a game at home this season as they began 0-5 at home. The Marlins  longest home losing streak to start a season was in 1995 when they fell in their first nine games.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Islanders Top Panthers In Game 3 Overtime

     The Florida Panthers fell two games to one in the first round series with a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Sunday night. It was the first Stanley Cup playoff game held at Barclays Center after the Islanders franchise played their previous 43 seasons at the Nassau Coliseum.
     Reilly Smith collected his fourth goal of the series at 2:25 on assists from Alex Petrovic and rookie Mike Matheson. It was the third consecutive game of the series that the Panthers scored in the first five minutes of the contest.
     They extended their lead at 1:11 of the second period. Smith took a high shot from the high slot that went over the Islanders cage and off the back glass. It rebounded to Aleksander Barkov to the left side of the crease and he knocked it in for the goal and a Panthers 2-0 margin.
     After the Panthers had a goal by Aaron Ekblad disallowed three minutes later due to an offside call, New York found the net at 5:21 of the second as Ryan Pulock scored on the power play from long range with assists credited to Kyle Okposo and John Tavares.
     Florida regained their two-goal lead at 7:23 of the period. Smith skated by a defenseman as he went through the left circle and put a backhand shot on net. Nick Bjugstad had the rebound hit his left skate and banged off the post before he finished the play with a tip-in shot for his second goal of the postseason.  
     The scoring continued in the second period as the Islanders got a goal at 11:48. Pulock controlled the puck on the right point and centered it from the right wing. Shane Prince scored from the slot area with a wrist shot past Roberto Luongo.
     The Isles tied it up 3-3 with 3:05 left in the second period when Frans Nielsen scored on the power play as Okposo and Tavares added their fourth assists of the series.
     New York won on an overtime goal by Thomas Hickey with 7:29 remaining in the extra session. After Petrovic lost the puck on the end wall to Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson backhanded the puck from behind the Panthers cage to the slot and Hickey followed with a one-time shot.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Panthers Drop Islanders In Game 2

     The Florida Panthers played Game 2 of the first round on Friday night and defeated the New York Islanders 3-1 at BB&T Center. It was the first playoff victory for the Cats since 2012. The series is now tied at 1-1 and both clubs will meet again on Sunday in Brooklyn.
     Reilly Smith scored his third goal of the series to give the Panthers a 1-0 margin at 4:32 of the first period. Jonathan Huberdeau put the puck ahead to Nick Bjugstad and he placed a backhand shot from the low left circle on net which was saved by Thomas Greiss. Reilly Smith followed up and put in a forehand shot from the low slot.
     The same front line for Florida added to the lead during the second period at 6:17. Dmitry Kulikov rang the puck around the boards from the right wing to Smith. He backhanded a pass in front and Bjugstad scored his first playoff goal on a one-timer from the low slot.
     The Islanders broke the shutout on a delayed penalty with 3:33 left in the third period. Nick Leddy took a slapshot that went off the back boards behind the Panthers cage. John Tavares got the rebound and scored in the crease area for his second goal of the series.
     The Panthers held off the Islanders who pulled their goalie in the last two minutes of the contest. Kulikov eventually sent a rainbow shot from his own left circle into an empty net with 9.3 seconds remaining to wrap up the victory.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Islanders Top Panthers In Game 1

     The Florida Panthers appeared in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in four years and lost to the New York Islanders 5-4 in Game 1 of the first round at BB&T Center on Thursday night. Both clubs, who have not won a playoff series in two decades, will tangle again on Friday night in Game 2.
     Both teams combined for four goals during the first period. Florida got on the scoreboard first as they moved ahead 1-0 at 1:55. Dmitry Kulikov sent a long lead pass from his own zone to Jiri Hudler at the Islanders line. He skated in on a two-on-one and then fed a cross-ice pass to Teddy Purcell in the low slot for a one-time snap shot by Thomas Greiss.
     New York responded quickly after they killed off the Panthers first power play of the contest and tied it at 6:39. Ryan Strome stole the puck at the red line and found Brock Nelson speeding up the middle of the ice. He skated in alone through the slot and scored on a high snap shot against Roberto Luongo.
     The Panthers powered through as they scored on their second power-play opportunity at 13:51. Brian Campbell fired a slapshot from the top of the zone which was redirected by Jussi Jokinen in the low slot for a 2-1 lead.
     The Islanders tied the game 2-2 with 3:14 left in the first on their first power play. John Tavares entered the zone and faked a shot from the high slot. He backhanded to Frans Nielsen in the left circle and he roofed a wrist shot.
     In the second period, the Cats kept the pressure on and regained the lead 3-2 at 1:31. Nick Bjugstad won a face-off in the right circle and Jokinen passed it back to Alex Petrovic on the right point. His slapshot went wide right of the cage and bounced off the back wall then Reilly Smith put in the puck from the left of the crease.
     The Isles matched their opponent for the third consecutive time and pulled even at 3-3 with 21.8 seconds left in the second. There was a loose puck deep in the Florida end that was recovered by Kyle Okposo in the low right circle. He sent a cross-ice pass to Tavares in the low left circle and he put in a tally with a snap shot.
     New York finally took their first lead of the contest 4-3 at 2:33 of the third period. Campbell carried the puck around his own net and had it taken away by Tavares. He placed a short pass to Okposo who scored from the slot area.
     They scored their third straight unanswered goal at 6:01. Prince raced through the right circle and centered the puck in front. Strome trailed the play and scored from the slot to give the Islanders a two-goal margin 5-3.
     Florida recovered at 6:56 and cut the deficit to 5-4. Jokinen was on the left point and put a lead pass to Smith who blasted a slapshot from the left circle for his second goal of the game.

Chris Moore NHL Playoff Studio Host

     Original Florida Panthers radio voice Chris Moore will co-host a two-hour studio show alongside Boomer Esiason on Sports Radio 66 WFAN-AM in New York City. It will occur on Sunday night prior to Game 3 of the first round series between the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers at Barclays Center.
     Moore, an Ithaca College grad, was the radio play-by-play announcer for the Florida Panthers during their first six years as an NHL franchise from 1993-94 until 1998-99. He held that post when the Panthers won the Eastern Conference title back in 1995-96. Moore was the radio voice of the New Jersey Devils for five seasons prior to arriving in South Florida.

Heat Clinch Southeast Division

     The Miami Heat clinched the Southeast Division title on Wednesday night, even though they blew a big lead and lost to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. It was their fifth Southeast Division championship in the last six years and their 12th overall division title in the last 20 seasons.
     The Heat wrapped up the number three seed in the Eastern Conference and will face the Charlotte Hornets in the first round. They played Charlotte in the NBA Playoffs in 2013-14 when they were known as the Bobcats.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mets Settle Marlins

     The Miami Marlins failed to sweep the New York Mets for the first time in Citi Field since 2009 as they lost 2-1 on Wednesday. The Fish completed their five-game road trip with a 3-2 record.
     It was not until the seventh inning when one of the clubs scored. Miami(3-4) left the bases loaded with none out at the top of the frame as reliever Jerry Blevins pitched the last three outs. New York(3-5) capitalized on the situation in the bottom of the seventh against Dustin McGowan.
     Wilmer Flores began with a base hit to center field and moved to third on a single to right field by Asdrubal Cabrera. After Juan Lagares grounded out to the pitcher, Kevin Plawecki bashed a single into left field to drive in Flores and Cabrera for a Mets 2-0 lead.
     In the eighth inning, Christian Yelich picked up a one-out single into center field off Blevins. Jeurys Familia entered the game for the Mets to pitch and Giancarlo Stanton flied out to center. Martin Prado singled to left field then Justin Bour hit an opposite-field single into left and Yelich scored to make it 2-1.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Marlins Get By Mets

     The Miami Marlins edged the New York Mets 2-1 on Tuesday night at Citi Field. Ichiro Suzuki passed Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds for 33rd place all-time in base hits when he singled in the seventh inning during a pinch-hit situation.
      New York(2-5) was only able to score against Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez and that happened in the first inning. Curtis Granderson led off with a double to right field and David Wright followed with a walk. After Yoenis Cespedes struck out, Lucas Duda singled on a line drive to right-center field for Granderson to score for a Mets 1-0 lead. Fernandez pitched five innings, allowed one run on three hits and struck out five batters.
     Miami(3-3) tied the contest with a late rally in the top of the fourth against Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard. Giancarlo Stanton got on base with a fielders choice to make it two out and he advanced to second on a base hit to left field by Justin Boar. Derek Dietrich knocked in Stanton with a base hit into right field. Syndergaard completed seven innings as he struck out 12 and gave up one run on seven hits.
     The Marlins took their only lead of the game in the eighth inning. Jim Henderson was on the mound and faced Dee Gordon to begin the frame. Gordon prolonged a 16-pitch at-bat when he finally put the ball in play on a base hit into shallow left field. He stole his second base of the year then Marcell Ozuna popped out to second. Christian Yelich and Stanton walked to load the bases then the Mets brought in Jerry Blevins to relieve for Henderson. Pnich-hitter Martin Prado was able to drive Gordon in on a sacrifice fly to center field for the winning run.

Miami Ratings March 2016

     790 The Ticket WAXY-AM was on top of the sports format radio stations in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale region by themselves for the second consecutive month. All three competitors in the market did not rise or fall as WQAM finished a close second while WINZ ended up a distant third.
     The Ticket had their ratings stay the same as they were at a 1.0 in the month. It has been a transition for them as Eric Reed left the early afternoon show at the start of the ratings period. Brendan Tobin has filled in well on the morning show as a co-host with Jonathan Zaslow and Brett Romberg since the departure of Joy Taylor. The Miami Heat contended for a playoff spot during the monthly period.
     Miami Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM was in second place as they remained at a 0.9 again for the third consecutive month. The Florida Panthers battled for the division title while the University of Miami basketball team finished with an underachieving performance to end their season.
     Miami Sports 940 WINZ-AM stayed flat at a 0.2 in the month of March. It was the final ratings period for their afternoon show The Finsiders hosted by Greg Likens. The program was being replaced by a taped delay The Herd with Colin Cowherd from Fox Sports Radio. The station also broadcast spring training games of the Miami Marlins.

Marlins Slam Mets

     The Miami Marlins continued their road trip through the east coast and hammered the defending National League champion New York Mets 10-3 on Monday night at Citi Field. The Fish rolled up seven runs during the second inning and delivered a statement in the contest.
     The second inning long rally began for Miami(2-3) against New York(2-4) starting pitcher Steven Matz as they loaded the bases with walks by Martin Prado and Chris Johnson then a base hit by J.T. Realmuto. Adeiny Hechavarria singled into left field to score Prado and Johnson for a 2-0 lead.
     After a Jarred Cosart sacrifice bunt, Dee Gordon knocked in Realmuto with an infield hit and later stole second and compiled his first stolen base of the season for the National League leader in steals last season. Two batters later, Christian Yelich smashed a line drive to center field as Hechavarria and Gordon scored. Giancarlo Stanton came up and blasted a two-run homer to left-center field for his second home run of the season and a Marlins 7-0 lead.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Panthers Playoff Games On Spanish Radio

     The Florida Panthers playoff games at home and on the road in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs will be broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes 1210 WNMA-AM in Miami and ESPN Deportes 760 WEFL-AM in West Palm Beach. Play-by-play announcer Arley Londono and game analyst Octavio Sequera have broadcast all 41 Panthers home games this season and will do so when the team travels to New York.
     The Panthers had their first three seasons of home games broadcast in Spanish from Miami Arena by Londono and Felix DeJesus from 1993-94 until 1995-96. The club did Spanish radio broadcasts of eight home games in 2014-15 with Londono and Sequera.

Panthers Pound Hurricanes

     The Florida Panthers played the final regular season game of their record-breaking campaign and dominated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 at BB&T Center on Saturday night. The Panthers will host the New York Islanders or New York Rangers in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
     Florida(47-26-9) started off strong and scored just 1:39 into the first period. Rocco Grimaldi entered the Canes zone and flicked a pass to his left. Jiri Hudler then sent a cross-ice pass into the slot where Teddy Purcell put the puck by Eddie Lack.
     The Panthers extended their margin to 2-0 at 3:58. Nick Bjugstad placed a pass in the neutral zone to Jussi Jokinen. He skated in on a two-on-one and snapped a shot from the right circle for his 18th goal of the season.
     Carolina(35-31-16) surrendered another goal and got down by three goals at 7:40. Hudler was in the left corner and moved the puck to Aaron Ekblad at the top right circle. He fired a high slapshot for his 15th tally of the year.
     The Cats continued to roll as they got their fourth consecutive goal at 4:56 of the second period. Aleksander Barkov was in the right corner and fed the puck to Jaromir Jagr at the right of the crease. He then put a drop pass to Jonathan Hubedeau and he scored his 20th goal of the season.
     The Hurricanes found the net at 10:47 to break the shutout 4-1. Jordan Staal shot the puck on net from the high right circle which was saved by Roberto Luongo. Elias Lindholm scooted through the crease area and put in the rebound.
     The Canes pulled their goalie for an extra attacker for the final five minutes of the contest. Reilly Smith capped it with an empty-net goal with 5.5 seconds left for his 25th goal and a Panthers 5-2 lead.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Panthers Fold To Senators

     The Florida Panthers played their final regular season road game and fell to the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre. The Cats faced the Sens for the fifth time this season which more than against any other opponent. Florida found out that they will play their first round playoff series against the New York Islanders or New York Rangers.
     Ottawa waited until 1:40 left in the first period on the power play to get ahead 1-0. Erik Karlsson was at the top of the zone and moved it to Mika Zibanejad on the right point. He relayed it to Chris Wideman at the top circle who released a slapshot. Al Montoya made the initial save however Zibanejad backhanded in the rebound from the low slot.
     In the second period, the Senators extended their margin to 2-0 at 10:12. Chris Neil had the puck on the left wing and sent a cross-ice pass to Cody Ceci at the right point. His wrist shot was deflected in by Buddy Robinson in the low right circle for his first NHL goal.
     Florida closed the gap to 2-1 at 4:49 of the third period as Jaromir Jagr compiled his 27th goal of the season. Aleksander Barkov along with Alex Petrovic were credited with assists on the play. The Panthers dropped to 18-2-2 when Jagr scores a goal in a game this season. Ceci gave the Senators the victory on an unassisted goal with 5:46 remaining in the third.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Jose Fernandez Loses At Home

     Jose Fernandez had his major league all-time record of 17 home winning decisions to begin a career stopped as the Miami Marlins fell to the Detroit Tigers 7-3 at Marlins Park on Wednesday. It was the first time since May 9, 2014 in San Diego that the Marlins had both Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton in the starting lineup.
     Detroit(2-0) scored first for the second straight game against Miami(0-2). It continues a trend that the Tigers held last season when they had the best record in the majors whenever the club scored the first run of the game.
     Later in the contest, Victor Martinez of the Tigers hit a pinch-hit home run in his second straight game to begin the regular season. He became the first player in the majors to accomplish that feat since 1959.
     Fernandez was credited with the losing decision going 5 2/3 innings. He gave up five runs on five hits and struck out 13 batters.

Marlins Lose Home Opener To Tigers

     The Miami Marlins opened their fifth season at Marlins Park on Tuesday night with a 8-7 defeat to the Detroit Tigers in 11 innings. It began the 24th season for the Marlins as a Major League Baseball franchise.
     Detroit(1-0) placed one run in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead against new Marlins starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chan. The Tigers added three runs in the second inning as Ian Kinsler blasted a three-run homer to left field to make it 4-0.
     Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander began impressively in the first five innings as he did not allow a base hit. Miami(0-1) got to him during the sixth inning as Dee Gordon slapped a double down the right-field line and he scored on a Marcell Ozuna single soon after. Giancarlo Stanton followed with a towering blast over the left-center field wall for a two-run home run to close the gap to 5-3.
     The Fish pulled to within one run 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth. Gordon again set things up with an extra-base hit and then was driven in by Christian Yelich on a sacrifice fly.
     Bryan Morris entered the contest in the ninth inning. and surrendered back-to-back solo home runs. Anthony Gose socked the ball into the right-field stands then Victor Martinez powered the ball below the sculpture in center field for a Detroit 7-4 margin.
     Francisco Rodriguez failed to close the game for the Tigers as he allowed three runs in the bottom of the frame for the Marlins to tie it 7-7. Martin Prado scored on a Adeiny Hechavarria sacrifice fly to left, Derek Dietrich doubled in J.T. Realmuto with a shot into center field and Gordon knocked in Dietrich with a double into right.
     Detroit decided it in the 11th inning when Kinsler got a base hit on a line drive to left field which scored Gose for the winning run against Craig Breslow.

Joy Taylor New Fox Sports Radio Host

     Former South Florida sports host Joy Taylor joined Fox Sports Radio this past weekend as a Saturday afternoon co-host with Mark Willard. She has been a fill-in sports anchor and show sidekick for The Herd with Colin Cowherd for over a month on Fox Sports Radio and its television simulcast on Fox Sports 1.
     Taylor left 790 The Ticket WAXY-AM back in early February. She co-hosted the morning show with Jonathan Zaslow for several years and was the morning sports anchor along with being a show sidekick until Marc Hochman exited in December 2013. Taylor, sister of former Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, began her radio career at Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM and handled different roles at that radio station which included producer, show sidekick, sports anchor and sports host.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Panthers Sweep Habs Win Division Title

     The Florida Panthers clinched the Atlantic Division and reached the 100-point plateau for the first time in franchise history as the Cats put away the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 at Bell Centre on Tuesday night. It is the second division title in club history. They captured the Southeast Division back in the 2011-12 season.
     Both teams faced each other three days ago in Sunrise when Florida erased a three-goal deficit for the victory. Florida defenseman Brian Campbell hit a milestone as he played in his 1,000th NHL game. 
     It just took 10 seconds for the Panthers to get up 1-0. Florida won the opening face-off and Jonathan Huberdeau gave a short pass to Jaromir Jagr. He connected the puck ahead to Aleksander Barkov on the left side and he ripped a snap shot from the left circle by Mike Condon. It tied for the fastest Panthers goal to start a game which was set by Johan Garpenlov 20 years ago.
     Montreal scored on their fourth power play of the contest at the 11-minute mark of the second period. Dmitry Kulikov had the puck taken away by Brendan Gallagher on the left wing. His centering pass was touched by Max Pacioretty in the slot area and Alex Galchenyuk fired a one-time slapshot past Roberto Luongo for his 28th goal of the campaign.
     Florida regained their lead 2-1 on a power play with 13 seconds remaining in the second. Jagr broke out through the neutral zone on a four-on-one attack. He pushed an outlet pass to Teddy Purcell on his right. Purcell connected a cross-ice pass to Nick Bjugstad and he bashed a slapshot from the high slot.
     In the third period, Greg McKegg would score his second goal in two games with 11:02 left. Aaron Ekblad placed a slapshot on goal which was saved and Shawn Thornton whacked at the rebound which was stopped. McKegg advanced to the right of the crease and scored for a 3-1 margin.
     Jiri Hudler buried a shot from the slot area with 1:29 to go in the final frame. Purcell and Jakub Kindl were credited with assists on the play.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Panthers Down Maple Leafs

     After clinching a playoff spot on Sunday for their fifth postseason appearance in franchise history, the Florida Panthers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 at Air Canada Centre on Monday night. They broken a franchise record as they reached their 99th point of the regular season. The Panthers compiled 98 points back in the 1999-2000 season. This game started the final road trip for the Cats during the regular season.
     Florida dominated the second period with three goals during the frame. Nick Bjugstad put in his 14th tally of the season with assists from Aaron Ekblad and Reilly Smith at 1:34.
     The Panthers moved out to a 2-1 margin at 10:31. Jiri Hudler placed a lead pass to the left side to Rocco Grimaldi. He skated into the left circle and put in a high wrist shot by Jonathan Bernier.
     Grimaldi added his second goal of the game and third goal on the season on a Toronto turnover in their own end. Smith was on the right wing and sent a cross-ice pass to the top left circle where Grimaldi scored on a slapshot at 13:11.
     The Maple Leafs attempted to bounce back in this contest and scored on a power-play goal at 5:50. Colin Greening scored from the high slot as William Nylander and Morgan Rielly were credited with assists. Former Florida Panther player T.J. Brennan scored his first goal in two years to help Toronto cut the deficit to 3-2 at 8:54.
     It took 36 seconds for Florida to get back their two-goal lead. Ekblad fired a slapshot which was saved by Bernier, however Aleksander Barkov put in the rebound from the slot area.
     Greening added his second goal of the contest sixth tally of the year at 11:53 from close range against Al Montoya. Tyler Bozak and P.A. Parenteau provided assists on the play.

Shaquille O'Neal Elected To Basketball Hall Of Fame

     Former Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal was elected to the Basketball Hall Of Fame on Monday. He has been an NBA studio analyst on Turner Broadcasting for the last five years since he retired from pro basketball.
     O'Neal was acquired by the Heat from the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004 and promised South Florida an NBA championship when he arrived. He played with Heat for four seasons and helped their franchise capture their first NBA championship in 2005-06.
     He started his pro career with the Orlando Magic and brought them as Eastern Conference title in 1995. O'Neal joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 1997 and led them to three consecutive NBA championships in 2000, 2001 in 2002. He played the last couple of years of his career with the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.

Shaquille O'Neal Performs At WrestleMania 32

     Former Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal appeared at WrestleMania 32 at AT&T Stadium on Sunday in Dallas, Texas. He made a surprise appearance as a competitor of the 3rd annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
     He stood face-to-face with The Big Show and they both choke-slammed Kane. O'Neal eliminated the first person in the battle royal when he dropped Fandango. O'Neal was thrown over the top rope by a gang of wrestlers as the third competitor eliminated.
      O'Neal had a connection with professional wrestling for over 20 years. He was part of the entourage of Hulk Hogan in July 1994 when he captured the WCW World Heavyweight Championhip from Ric Flair in Orlando. O'Neal has appeared in World Wrestling Entertainment on several episodes of Monday Night Raw for over a decade.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Panthers Come Back On Canadiens

     The Florida Panthers came back from a three-goal deficit and defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on Saturday night at BB&T Center. The Panthers set a franchise record with their 44th victory of the regular season. They had 43 wins during the 1999-2000 season. Both teams will meet again three days from today in Montreal
     Montreal(36-37-6) was able to score first at 10:14 of the first period. Brian Campbell passed the puck behind Aaron Ekblad in his own defensive zone. Max Pacioretty recovered it on the left wing and passed it back to Joel Hanley on the left point. His slapshot was stopped in the slot area then Brendan Gallagher turned around and put a shot by Roberto Luongo for a 1-0 lead.
     The Canadiens would score twice in a time span of 1:19 midway through the second period and extended their gap to 3-0. Paul Byron came in through the right circle on a two-on-one breakaway and put a lead pass to his left and David Desharnais redirected the puck in from the left of the crease at 10:10. The Habs added to their lead 12:19 as Lars Eller sent a pass from the left corner to the top of the crease and Torrey Mitchell scored from close range.
     Florida(44-25-9) broke the shutout with 6:47 remaining in the second. Aleksander Barkov won a face-off in the right circle and Jonathan Huberdeau took it to behind the Montreal cage. He connected a pass to Barkov at the left-circle dot and he blasted a one-time slapshot past Mike Condon for his 25th goal of the campaign.
     The Panthers closed out the second period on a strong note as they pulled to within one goal 3-2 with 33.6 seconds left. Barkov knocked the puck from a mad scramble in the low slot back to Ekblad above the right circle. His soft shot went to Jaromir Jagr in the slot area and he scored on a wrist shot for his 26th tally of the season and 748th goal of his NHL career.
     In the third period, the Cats made the best of their second power-play opportunity and converted it at 12:17. Nick Bjugstad skated it through the left circle to the goal line. He backhanded the puck to Huberdeau in the low right circle and he fired home a high snap shot to tie the contest 3-3.
     Florida completed their amazing comeback with 28.1 seconds to go. Ekblad shot the puck from the top right circle and it was deflected in from the low slot by Barkov for his second goal of the game.

Marlins Finish Off Yankees

     The Miami Marlins finished their spring training schedule with a 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees at Marlins Park on Saturday. It was the second game of a two-game set between both clubs prior to the regular season. Both teams combined with seven hits as New York had four and Miami got three.
     New York got out to the early lead for the second consecutive game on a solo home run. Dustin McGowan got the start for Miami and gave up a homer on the first pitch of the game to Yankees lead-off hitter Jacoby Ellsbury which landed in the right-field stands.
     Miami answered back quickly in the bottom of the first to tie it 1-1 against Luis Severino. Dee Gordon began with a base hit into right field and Marcell Ozuna followed with a walk. Both runners advanced one base when Christian Yelich grounded out to first. Giancarlo Stanton would drive in Gordon with a sacrifice fly to left field.
     The Marlins took the eventual lead during the third inning. Ozuna reached second with one out on a throwing error and moved to third when Yelich flew out to center. Stanton knocked in his second run of the game with a base hit into center field.

Yankees Overcome Marlins

     The New York Yankees compiled just three hits as they pulled off a 3-2 comeback victory over the Miami Marlins on Friday night at Marlins Park. It was the first game of a two-game set to complete spring training for both clubs prior to the regular season.
     The Yankees struck first during the fourth inning as Brett Gardner hit a lead-off home run on a 0-1 pitch down the right-field line against Jose Fernandez for a 1-0 lead. Fernandez, who is penciled in as the Marlins opening day starting pitcher, gave up one run on two hits and struck out seven in four innings of work.
     Miami evened the contest up at 1-1 in the sixth inning against former teammate Nathan Eovaldi. Giancarlo Stanton began with a single to center field and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt to the left side by Justin Bour. Martin Prado followed with an infield base hit to the right side and Stanton went to third. J.T. Realmuto then knocked in Stanton with a single into shallow center field.
Eovaldi pitched 5 1/3 innings and surrendered one run on seven hits.
     A.J. Ramos entered the game in the ninth inning, however New York came back with a two-run frame to regain the lead 3-2. Aaron Hicks started the rally and got on base with a walk. Lane Adams then pinched-hit for Alex Rodriguez and blasted a two-run homer to left field on the first pitch.

Joey Bosa On Athlon Sports Cover

     Former local high school player Joey Bosa appears on the magazine cover of Athlon Sports for the upcoming NFL Draft. He also appeared in early March on the magazine cover of two NFL Draft editions which included Pro Football Weekly and Lindy's Sports.
     Bosa played high school football with the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders and helped them capture two FHSAA Class 7A state titles in 2010 and 2012. He then attended Ohio State University for three years and brought a national championship to the school in 2014 as a defensive end.