May 8, 2007


Surging Wings advance


Associated Press/Paul Sakuma
Detroit Red Wings right wing Mikael Samuelsson (37) (left) celebrates with Johan Franzen (93) after scoring against the San Jose Sharks Monday. Red Wings were 2-0 playoff winners.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — From Chris Chelios to Dominik Hasek, the Detroit Red Wings all felt they won their second-round series five days before the clinching victory Monday night.
That’s when the Red Wings rallied from a 2-1 series hole to the San Jose Sharks and a one-goal deficit in the final minute, tying Game 4 with 33 seconds left before winning in overtime.
The rest of the series was a mere formality to the resurgent Red Wings — including the 2-0 victory in Game 6 on Monday night that sent the longtime playoff underachievers on to the Western Conference finals in style.
Mikael Samuelsson scored two first-period goals, Dominik Hasek posted his 13th career playoff shutout and the Red Wings rolled off three straight victories against the deflated Sharks, who never recovered from their last-minute flop at the Shark Tank in Game 4.
“It changed the momentum when we won (Game 4),” said Hasek, who made 28 saves in his first shutout of the spring. “After that, we’re a better team. Overall, the difference was us coming from behind in three of the games. We never gave up. We were able to come from behind when we needed to.”
The top-seeded Red Wings are headed to the conference finals for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2002, opening the next round Friday at home against the Anaheim Ducks. Detroit hung on with a patchwork defense relying heavily on Chelios and Nicklas Lidstrom, who spent nearly all of Game 6 alternating turns on the ice.
“Looking back, Game 4 should have been theirs,” said Chelios, who had assists on both of Detroit’s goals. “Really. We got so lucky. It was just a turnover and a good break, whatever you want to call it. That was definitely the one that got us here tonight.”
Detroit had won just one playoff series in the previous three seasons despite winning at least 48 games in each, earning two Presidents’ Trophies as the NHL’s best regular-season team. But the Red Wings, who finished second overall this season, finally parlayed their veteran experience into playoff success against a young opponent that took another postseason of lumps.
Coach Mike Babcock recounted the list of disrespectful perceptions that fueled Detroit’s rise this spring.
“You don’t get picked to be very good, and then you’re pretty good through the regular season, and then someone says you’re not a playoff team,” Babcock said. “We played two big, strong teams and have done well. And now we’re going to get another one.”
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 20 shots for the Sharks, but the best regular season in franchise history ended in another mystifying collapse after San Jose controlled most of the series’ first three games.
Joe Thornton and captain Patrick Marleau failed to spark any life from their club after blowing that fateful lead in Game 4.
“We’re going to look back at this series, and we’re going to kick ourselves probably until training camp next season,” said Thornton, held scoreless in the last two games after scoring 11 points in the Sharks’ first nine postseason contests.
Such momentum shifts are no surprise to San Jose’s fans, who have watched their club blow the 2004 Western Conference finals against Calgary and last season’s second-round series against Edmonton in similar fashion.
The Sharks blew a lead in each of their first three losses to Detroit, but the Red Wings made certain of the clincher early — and a litany of mistakes and missed chances kept San Jose from coming back.
“Our start was unbelievable,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. “We were physical. We had them hemmed in. We made two mistakes, and they scored two goals, and that was pretty much it. They sat back, and Hasek didn’t make a mistake.”
The Red Wings scored first on a breakaway set up by a beautiful lead pass by Johan Franzen. He positioned the puck perfectly for Samuelsson, who rolled past stumbling defenseman Matt Carle and dangled until Nabokov went down for an easy score.
A few moments later during a Detroit power play, Hasek misplayed a puck straight to Mike Grier in an error reminiscent of Nabokov’s turnover to Pavel Datsyuk in Game 4. But Grier circled the empty Red Wings net and then completely missed it, with his off-target shot hitting a diving Lidstrom.
Samuelsson got his second goal 8 seconds before the first-period buzzer, thanks to another defensive blunder. Samuelsson kept the puck on a 2-on-1 break and beat Nabokov cleanly on the glove side.



Van Ingen gets one more school record

UNION SPRINGS — With senior distance running whiz Erik Van Ingen leading the way, Marathon Central boys posted victories over host Union Springs and Groton during Monday’s Interscholastic Athletic Conference Track and Field double dual.
Van Ingen ran off with first places in the 400-meter run in 52.10, the 800-meters in 2:08.30 and the 3,200-meters in 10:47.20 as the Olympians nipped Union Springs 68-63 and topped Groton 74-53. The time in the 400m was a school record, the senior now owning every school mark from that distance on up to 3,200-meters.
Van Ingen also anchored the winning 1,600-meter relay team that included Marathon teammates Ryan Weldner, Adam Cross and David O’Shea.
Groton picked up a win over Union Springs by a 69-61 count.
Marathon girls used their depth to pick up a pair of convincing victories, beating Groton 93-37 and Union Springs 81-45. Groton trimmed Springs 61-53.
Sprinter Nick Compton also excelled for the Olympians the senior winning both the 100m (11.5) and 200m (24.20) sprints. He was also a member of the first place 400m relay squad with Robert Lopez, Dan Morehouse and Matt Robinson.
Marathon girls winning contributions from several athletes, as sophomore Meghan McEvoy won the 400m run (1:09), sophomore Brooke Winter Potter the 3,000m run (13:21.3), Erin Rundle the long jump (13-6.5), Katie Rawluszki the triple jump (28-0.5) and Hayley Beth Smithling the shot put (28-4). The Olympians swept the long jump, took the top two spots in the triple jump and won two of the three relays contested.
McEvoy’s time in the 400m was a personal best, as was her 4-6 second place in the high jump.
Groton had Alexis Coon sprint off with a first in the 100m dash (13.5), while Melissa Ward was first in the discus (84.7).




Cincy softball rolls with 12-run inning

A 12-run fifth inning by host Cincinnatus Central broke open a close game Monday and lifted the Red Lions to an 18-6 Central Counties League softball victory over visiting DeRuyter.
In another CCL softball contest, host Otselic Valley scored twice in the bottom of the seventh for a 10-9 win over McGraw.
In baseball action, host DeRuyter beat Cincinnatus 12-5 while McGraw was a 17-8 loser at Otselic Valley.
The Cincy golf team stayed perfect atop the CCL with a 245-280 win over McGraw, while DeRuyter beat Stockbridge Valley 232-249.
Cincinnatus 18, DeRuyter 6: Winning pitcher Kortni Wright went 3-for-5 with a double, RBI and three runs scored while Deanna Frink was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs as DeRuyter improved to 5-2 in the league and 7-5 overall.
Jolene Eaton went 3-for-6 and scored three times for the winners, while Kara-Beth Eaton (triple, two RBIs, two runs), Sam Shepard (three runs) and Dusty Fisk (run) had two hits apiece. Michele McUmber bashed a home run and had two RBIs.
Kate Vosburg went 3-for-4 with three runs and Polly Gallerani was 2-for-4 for DeRuyter (2-3 league).
Cincy visits Otselic Valley today while DeRuyter hosts Brookfield Wednesday.
Otselic Valley 10, McGraw 9: The Eagles (3-5 league, 3-8 overall) scored four times in the top of the seventh, keyed by a two-run single by Jenna Tobias, to rally from an 8-5 deficit. The Vikings tied the score on a bases-loaded wild pitch before pinch-hitter Lauren Huntley beat out an infield single that brought the winning run home.
Shannon OHara (double, two runs) and Sarah Bilodeau (RBI) both went 2-for-4, while Tobias scored twice and had the two RBIs.