Sports 03-12-2015

Bruins finding a groove

When the game ended, and the candles blown out, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask could feel relief, knowing that on his 28th birthday, he had received his present – a ‘win’ and two points. Boston’s 3-1 win over Ottawa was mostly possible due to Rask’s outstanding goalkeeping, during a game in which he stopped 39 of the Senators’ 40 shots. The three candles on his imaginary cake would represent two goals from Ryan Spooner (#2 and 3), and a lone marker from Loui Eriksson (#17). Boston received additional gifts in the form of ‘goalposts hit,’ as Ottawa earned that unlucky situation, three times after beating Rask. Rask lost his shutout bid at 8:30 of the 3rd period, when rookie Matt Puempel scored his first NHL goal

For Spooner, it was a homecoming for the young forward who hails from Ottawa, and he certainly didn’t disappoint his family and friends in attendance, with his solid effort. The victory gives Boston a bit more breathing room in the eighth and final spot of the Eastern Conference standings, currently putting them six points in front of the 9th place Florida Panthers, and seven ahead of the Senators in 10th place. The spread is not a safe, comfortable margin for the B’s, as they will be hosted by Ottawa one more time this season, in one week (3/19), and Florida three more times, twice on Panthers’ home ice (3/21 and 4/9), sandwiched around a TD Garden appearance (3/31).

         Boston’s effort on the ice was not a ‘solid 60-minute effort,’ but it did run their record for the last six games to 5-0-1, with the single loss coming in a shootout against the Calgary Flames (3/5). Rask, never one to hold back in an interview remarked, “We got the points we wanted, it was good – it wasn’t easy. I thought our first period was our best, and after that didn’t play our best, but we got the win and that’s all we need.”

The Bruins’ upcoming schedule remains pretty tough, with three games against teams that are playing well, and are also ahead of Boston in the Eastern Conference standings. The Tampa Bay Lightning (7-3-0 last 10 games), hit the Garden ice tonight (Thursday at 7:00pm). Tampa is in a fierce battle with the Montreal Canadiens for both the top spot in the Atlantic Division, and the top spot in the Conference standings, separated by a single point at press time. An equally tough pair of back-to-back games make up the weekend, as the Pittsburgh Penguins (6-3-1) will host the Bruins on Saturday (3/14), in a 1:00pm matinee, and the Washington Capitals (6-4-0) provide the opposition on Sunday (3/15 a 7:30pm). The lowly Buffalo Sabres (3-5-2), holding onto last place in the Atlantic Division, and overall in the National Hockey League standings, will be on Garden ice, on St. Patrick’s Day, Tuesday (3/17 at 7:30pm).

REMINDER: SHORT CUTS: Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron is the driving force behind the eighth annual “Cuts for a Cause” event on Tuesday, March 24 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (VIP session: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.) at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel (50 Park Plaza at Arlington, Boston, MA). Bergeron and current members of the 2014-15 Bruins roster will have their heads shaved by auction winners to show their support and raise money for the Boston Bruins Foundation and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. Over the past seven years the “Cuts for a Cause” event has raised over $360,000 for charity.

Bruins fans can bid on the opportunity to shave the head of their favorite participating Bruins player by visiting HYPERLINK “http://bostonbruins.com/cutsforacause”bostonbruins.com/cutsforacause. The bidding begins this coming Monday, March 16. Auction winners will also receive admission to the VIP session from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. where they will meet and greet the players on the event floor.

Limited VIP tickets are available for $200 and General Admission tickets are available for $30. Fans can purchase tickets to the event, hosted by Bergeron, at bostonbruins.com/cutsforacause.

Chelsea High Track Teams Celebrate Successful First Season in the GBL

The Chelsea High School boys and girls track program, under the direction of head coach Mark Martineau, competed in its first season overall in the Greater Boston League.

The boys team featured two GBL All-Stars, Cris Saynet, who competed in the 300, and Jeffrey Estrada, who competed in the 600.

The girls team finished third in the GBL Meet. The 4 X 400-meter relay team of Mariama Kamara, Owliyo Mohamud, Martine Simon, and Katherine Cabral captured the GBL championship in a time of 4:26, a school record.

Kamara also qualified for the State Meet in the 55-meter dash, finishing sixth overall. Also qualifying for the State Meet were Katherine Cabral in the 300 as well as the 4 X 200 and 4 X 400 relay teams.

Coach Martineau thanked the parents, school administrators, and central office administrators for their support of the program.

Martineau is very optimistic about the future of the program that attracted an excellent turnout of 50 athletes for Chelsea’s first indoor track season. Martineau will also be the head coach of the boys outdoor track team that begins practice Monday.

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