NCI Sports – Tuesday, October 8

Major League Baseball

Three teams were facing elimination last night, but only one has bowed out.

First to be knocked out is the Atlanta Braves who dropped a 4-3 decision to the advancing Los Angeles Dodgers.  It was Juan Uribe playing the role of hero for L.A. with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to put the Dodgers through to the championship round.

The St. Louis Cardinals managed to escape the fate of the Braves when they pushed their NLDS series to a fifth and a deciding game thanks to a dominating pitching effort from Michael Wacha.

Wacha allowed only a single hit all night as the Cards went on to beat Pittsburgh 2-1.

The one blemish against Wacha last night was a solo home run in the eighth off the bat of Bucs’ third baseman Pedro Alvarez.  St. Louis did all of their scoring in the sixth, a two run shot from Matt Holiday.

Game 5 of the series will be tomorrow back in Pittsburgh.  If the Pirates win, it will be their first series victory since 1979 when the won the World Series.

For the American League, it was the Tampa Bay Rays that were on the brink of elimination last night but staved it off with a walk-off homer from Jose Lobaton.

Boston took an early lead in yesterday’s game, but saw it disappear thanks to a three run home run bottom of the fifth from Tampa’s Evan Longoria.  The Rays pulled ahead with a single run in the eighth only to see the Red Sox tie the game back up in the top half of nine.

Meanwhile, Oakland is now on the verge of dismissing last year’s AL champions from the current post season.  The A’s were 6-3 winners over the Detroit Tigers to go up 2-1 in that ALDS.

Game four in both American League series will be played tonight.


National Hockey League

It was a quiet Monday night in the NHL with just a pair of games.

Edmonton was looking at a 3-0 deficit before finally notching a goal of their own in the third period.  And it was a busy third period with Edmonton scoring four times to take a lead only to have the Devils even up with a short handed goal with just 54 seconds left to play.

Overtime wasn’t able to resolve the stalemate but shootout goals from Jordan Eberle and Dave Perron were enough as the Oilers emerged as eventual 5-4 winners.

Between the teams, the scoring was provided by players aged 20 in Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all the way up to 41 year old Jaromir Jagr who is playing for the Devils this year.  He opened the scoring in the first with the 682nd goal of his NHL career.

The other game last night has Alain Vingeault getting his first win as the coach of the New York Rangers.  They downed the L.A. Kings 3-1.

The lone goal for the Kings came from Jake Muzzin, the Rangers got two from Brad Richards and another from Ryan McDonagh which was of the short handed variety.

McDonaugh’s goal will make a few highlight reels as he managed to score from 180 feet away.  Just starting a penalty kill, the Rangers won a faceoff in their own zone.  The puck was fed back to McDonagh and he cleared it from the zone, shooting it against the boards in the neutral zone.

The puck was spinning as it went towards Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.  He crouched to stop the puck, only to it deflect off his blocker and into the net.

Tonight’s schedule is busier with eight games including the undefeated Toronto Maple Leafs hosting the equally undefeated Colorado Avalanche.  And one team will emerge with their first victory in the matchup of Nashville and Minnesota.

The Winnipeg Jets have a morning practice and won’t see game action again until Thursday when they host the Minnesota Wild.


Manitoba Junior Hockey League

Player of the week honours were handed out yesterday, with Parker Thomas of the Selkirk Steelers coming up as the winner.

Thomas notched six points this past week, five of them assists.  It puts his point total on the season at 15, which is good enough to be third in the league.

Runners up to the award were Portage Terrier Dylan Butler and Swan Valley’s Justin Valentino.

There’s one game on the schedule tonight which sees Valentio and the rest of the Stampeders up in OCN to take on the Blizzard.  Game time is 7:00 at the Gordon Lathlin Memorial Centre.


National Football League

Monday Night Football saw the New York Jets kicker Nick Folk split the uprights with just three seconds left on the clock as his team edged the Atlanta Falcons 30-28.

Atlanta surged late in the game, getting 14 point to take the lead away from the Jets until the last play when Folk was good from 43 yards out.  The attempt was set up by young quarterback Geno Smith stringing together a late drive that included four completions.

Smith had an efficient if not terribly productive night.  He was good on 16 of his 20 passing attempts and ended with 199 yards through the air.  However, he had three touchdown passes and another 21 yards rushing.

Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan had more impressive looking totals going 36 for 45 with 319 yards.  However, it was in a losing cause as the Falcons drop to 1-4.  Their record finds the Falcons mired in the mediocrity of the AFC where only the New Orleans Saints have a winning record, a perfect 5-0.

The Jets improve to 3-2 and remain competitive in the AFC East thanks to losses this past Sunday by both Miami and New England.  New York sits in a tie for second with both the Jets and Miami two points back of the division leading Patriots.

— Garth Hilderman

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