Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Fool's Sports Chowdah Update- Sox Drop Season Opener to O's, Stop By White House for Customary Visit; Road Trip to Philly Wraps Up Hot March for Bruins; BC Advances to Frozen Four

RED SOX- The end of March heralded the beginning of the major league baseball season, with the Red Sox opening up on the road in Camden Yards. With Lester matched up against the O's Christ Tillman, the O's got on the board first when new acquisition Delmon Young grounded into a double play with nobody out and ex-Ranger Nelson Cruz at third in the bottom of the second.

The Red Sox managed to tie the game back up when Grady Sizemore- in only his second regular season MLB at-bat since July 2011- belted a solo homer to right field in the top of the 4th [His first at-bat was a single in the top of the 2nd- NANESB!].

However, Nelson Cruz would then lead off the top of the 7th inning with a solo homer off of Lester to give Baltimore the 2-1 lead. Tommy Hunter came out of the bullpen for the O's on the top of the 9th and led off the inning by hitting Will Middlebrooks with a pitch. Daniel Nava popped out the third for the first out of the inning but Pedroia followed that up with a single before Big Papi flew out to left field for the second out. With two away, John Farrell decided to have Jackie Bradley Jr come into the game as a pinch-hitter for Mike Napoli, but Bradley struck out to end the ballgame.

So the Red Sox open up the season with a 1-run loss in Baltimore. Not surprisingly, the Opening Day loss was taken in stride and kept in the proper perspective by some members of Red Sox Nation.

However, the Red Sox took Tuesday off to head down to the customary visit to the White House by the World Series champions [their third trip in 10 years and first since Barack Obama was elected- NANESB]. Gone were most of the beards that made the 2013 Red Sox look like a Hub version of Duck Dynasty, although some of the outfits stood out more than others.

The Red Sox will resume play tonight with John Lackey getting his first start of the season while Ubaldo Jiminez, who the Orioles signed to a 4-year, $50 million contract back in February. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 ET and the game will be televised on NESN.

BOSTON BRUINS- The only downside of March for the Boston Bruins is that it's come to an end. Heading into last weekend, they started a 4-game road trip that started with back-to-back games in Washington DC and Philadelphia. On Saturday afternoon, they managed to double up the Caps by a 4-2 final with Chad Johnson in net.

On Sunday afternoon, they headed up the I-95 to take on the Philadelphia Flyers. Just a little after five minutes into the game, Vinny Lecavalier got the Flyers on the board first before ex-Flyer Andrej Meszaros beat Steve Mason to make it a 1-1 game halfway through the first. However, Kimmo Timonen put the Flyers back on top with an even-strength goal in the last 45 seconds of the first period.

However, at 5:44 into the second period, Zdeno Chara would get a power play goal to even up the contest at 2-2 and Patrice Bergeron would get a go-ahead goal from a seemingly impossible angle to give Boston their first lead of the night at the 11:05 mark.

In the third, the Bruins had managed to hold off the Phillies throughout most of the period until inside the final 25 seconds when Vinny Lecalvalier once again broke through and tied the game at 3-3 in regulation with a few seconds left. Since nothing was decided in regulation and the 5 minutes of overtime, the contest then headed to a shootout with Bergeron scoring early for Boston and Claude Giroux for Philly. The Bruins' Reilly Smith finally broke through in the fifth round of the shootout, giving Boston the 4-3 win, although Philly does collect a much-needed point to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Tukka Rask turned aside 49 of the 52 shots he faced prior to the shootout while Steve Mason made 27 saves on 30 shots faced. The Bruins were 1 for 2 on their power play opportunities while Philly went 0-4 with the man advantage.

The Bruins road trip continues through Detroit on Wednesday night- this one will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network. Puck is scheduled to drop at 8:00 ET between the Bruins and Red Wings.

BOSTON COLLEGE HOCKEY- The BC Eagles survived a late challenge from a very game UMass-Lowell in Worcester on Sunday to advance to the frozen Four. Eagles defenseman Ian McCoshen broke a 3-3 deadlock in the 3rd and goalie Thatcher Demko made 29 saves in the Boston College win.

BC will advance to the Frozen Four to take on Union, who eliminated the Eagles last season by beating them 5-1 in the first round of the NCAA Eastern Tournament regional. This would be the Union Dutchmen's second trip to the Frozen Four since the 2011-2012 season, where they lost to Ferris State by a 3-1 final in the semifinal. The game is scheduled for 5:00 PM ET at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 10th.

Meanwhile, Minnesota bested St Cloud State in a 4-0 shutout to advance and face a resurgent North Dakota in Philly. The Fighting Sioux and Golden Gophers are scheduled to play at 7:30 PM ET and both the BC/Union Game and Minnesota/North Dakota games will be televised on ESPN.

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