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Empty Netter Assists - 01-25-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Marc-Andre Fleury helped Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno's team win the skills competition.

-The results from the competition.

-Can Sidney Crosby still chase down the Art Ross Trophy?

An overtime goal by captain Tom Kostopoulos gave the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins a 3-2 win against the Norfolk Admirals. Matt Murray made 23 saves in the win.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins may have played their last game in Norfolk.

Franky Palazzese made 26 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 4-1 loss to the Fort Wayne Komets.

Atlantic Division

-Lightning forward Tyler Johnson will miss the All-Star Game due to a "lower body" injury.

-Blues goaltender Brian Elliott took a selfie during the breakaway competition:

Pacific Division

-Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau requested (and was denied) to set his stick on fire for the breakaway portion of the skills competition.

Smythe Division

-The NHL announced the World Cup of Hockey would return in 2016.

-The NHL also announced three outdoor games for next season:

Canadiens - Bruins at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., Jan. 1
Blackhawks - Wild at TCF Stadium in Minneapolis, Feb. 21.
Red Wings - Avalanche at Coors Field in Denver, Feb. 27.

-Former Avalanche/Canadiens/Coyotes (and Wheeling Nailers) goaltender David Aebischer announced his retirement.

-Former Blue Jackets forward Tomas Kana has joined the Swindon Wildcats of Englands EPIHL.

-Former Sabres/Canucks goaltender Mika Noronen has joined HC Banska Bystrica of the Slovakian Extraliga.

-Zac Lynch had a goal and an assist for Robert Morris in a 2-1 win against Holy Cross.

-Brandon Wildung made 13 saves for Mercyhurst which lost to Sacred Heart, 5-1.

-PJ Musico made 19 saves for Penn State in a 5-5 tie with Northern Michigan.

-Tanner Barnes scored two goals for the Johnstown Tomahawks in a 6-3 loss to the Janesville Jets.

(Photo: Associated Press)

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Empty Netter Assists - 01-24-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Penguins say Sidney Crosby required an injection to treat a lingering "lower-body" injury.

-Marc-Andre Fleury (above) was selected by the all-star team captained by Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno.

-Click here for the rosters.

-Two goals by Andrew Ebbett led the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 4-2 win against the Norfolk Admirals. Scott Wilson netted a goal and an assist for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while teammate Matt Murray made 27 saves in the victory.

-Franky Palazzese made 34 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 5-4 win against the Fort Wayne Komets.

-Happy 52nd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Norm Schmidt. A fourth-round pick in 1981, Schmidt spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins.  As a rookie in 1983-84, Schmidt appeared in 34 games and scored 18 points. After spending all of 1984-85 with Baltimore of the AHL, he returned to Pittsburgh in 1985-86 by setting career highs in games (66) and points (29). In 1986-87, he was limited to 20 games and six points. After five games and three points in 1987-88, he was forced into retirement due to a back injury. In 125 games with the Penguins, Schmidt scored 56 points.

-Happy 36th birthday to former Penguins forward Tom Kostopoulos. A seventh-round pick in 1999, Kostopoulos spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 2001-02, Kostopoulos appeared in 11 games and scored three points. In 2002-03, he was limited to eight games and one assist. Kostopoulos finally broke through as an NHL regular in 2003-04 by playing in 60 games and scoring 22 points. After the 2004-05 lockout, he joined the Kings as a free agent. He is currently a member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. In 79 games with the NHL Penguins, Kostopoulos scored 26 points.

Happy 42nd birthday to former Penguins forwards Chris and Peter Ferraro. The only set of twins to play for the Penguins, they each joined the organization when they were claimed off waivers from the Rangers prior to the 1997-98 season. Chris appeared in 46 games for the team that season and recorded seven points. Peter only played in 29 games for the Penguins that season also recording seven points before the Rangers re-claimed him off waviers in January, 1998. Chris left the Penguins when he signed with the Oilers in the 1998 offseason.

-Happy 70th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Bobby Taylor. Acquired late in the 1975-76 season along with Ed Van Impe in a deal which sent Gary Inness and future considerations to the Flyers, Taylor's Penguins amounted to two games, a 0-1-0 record and 5.38 goals against average that season. He was released in the 1976 offseason. He is currently a broadcaster with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-“It’s kind of obligation and it’s fun. I’m pretty sure if I would have right now six days off, I’ll take it right away. But I understand for fans and what I have to do and what different players do. We have to help the fans, because they want to see not only Capitals or Columbus, they want to see everyone together, all the best players together, play one game. It’s fun.” - Capitals captain/forward Alex Ovechkin on participating in the All-Star Game.

-Rangers forward and former Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash (right) expects boos in Columbus during the All-Star Game.

-Devils president, general manager and co-coach Lou Lamoriello has been sued for $2.3 million by former Devils Arena Entertainment President Rich Krezwick for lost wages stemming from his firing in August 2013.

Atlantic Division

-Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is eager to sign a long-term contract extension this summer.

-Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the first overall pick last year's draft, was named as an injury replacement for the All-Star Game.

Central Division

-The Stars signed forward Travis Morin to a two-year contract extension. Financial terms were not revealed. He is in the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $550,000. Morin, 31, has appeared in five NHL games this season and has no points.

Pacific Division

-Sharks defenseman Brent Burns flashed a classic hockey smile at the All-Star Game media day:

-Former Flames forward Akim Aliu has joined the Bakersfield Condors, ECHL affiliate of the Oilers.

-Former Avalanche defenseman Ray Macias has joined the Utah Grizzlies, ECHL affiliate of the Ducks.

Norris Division

-Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid can lean on Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Orr for advice.

-Devin Williams made 30 saves for the Erie Otters in a 3-2 win against the Guelph Storm.

-Two goals by Brady Ferguson led Robert Morris to a 4-3 win against Holy Cross.

-Dylan Richard had two goals and an assist for Penn State in a 5-4 win against Northern Michigan.

-Brandon Wildung made 36 saves for Mercyhurst which tied Sacred Heart, 2-2.

-Ian Spencer had a goal and an assist for the Johnstown Tomahawks who lost to the Janesville Jets, 4-2.

(Photos: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Harry How/Getty Images and Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

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Billy Knight, Tom Richards head PBC Hall of Fame class

Written by Mike White on .

Forty-five years ago, a kid from Braddock scored 41 points in a WPIAL basketball playoff game. The kid went on to be an All-American at Pitt and played a long time in the NBA.

That 41-point effort by Billy Knight still stands today as the most points scored in a WPIAL Class AA playoff game. The "kid" is now 62 and will be back in Pittsburgh this weekend to be honored as one of the new inductees in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Hall of Fame.

Induction ceremonies will take place tomorrow at the DoubleTree Hotel near the Pittsburgh airport. John Giammarco runs the Pittsburgh Basketball Club and on Sunday, Giammarco will stage the Pittsburgh Basketball Classic, a five-game event at Montour. The event has some of the top teams in the WPIAL and features a 4:30 game between Chartiers Valley and Lincoln Park.

Billy KnightAs for Knight  (pictured during his Pitt days), he had that memorable playoff performance in 1970. He was a 6-foot-6 forward for Braddock High and his 41 points led the team to a 79-63 victory over Penn Joint in a WPIAL quarterfinal game at Greensburg High. The playoff game was in the Class B tournament, which is now the equivalent of Class AA.

The win put Braddock into the semifinals three days later against Mohawk at the Civic Arena. Ambridge played Clairton in the second game of the doubleheader that drew 9.147 fans. Knight was super again for Braddock, scoring 30 points and grabbing 29 rebounds, but Braddock lost to Mohawk, 69-56.

Knight went on to a great career at Pitt, leading the Panthers to the Elite 8 in 1974. After Pitt, he played two years in the ABA and nine in the NBA. Twice he averaged over 20 points a game in the NBA.

Another player who will be inducted into the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Hall of Fame was a teammate of Knight on the 1974 Pitt team. Tom Richards was a terrific player at Moon High School before going on to play at Pitt.

Richards, a guard, averaged 32.3 points a game as a senior at Moon. He also had one of the most memorable games in WPIAL history as a senior. On Feb. 18, 1972, on his final home game, Richards poured in 63 points in a 108-91 victory against Beaver.

Richards (pictured during his Pitt days) shot 45 times that night, but made 27. The 63 points ties for the third-most in WPIAL history. Larry Hardesty of Mohawk has the record with 71 in a 1959 game. Micah Mason of Highlands scored 64 in 2011. Besides Richards' 63, Sam Sims of German Township also scored 63 in 1959.

Richards will long be remembered as one of the WPIAL's best guards. I will always remember him as my great coach and great teacher of the game at Pitt's Play Basketball Day Camp at the Pitt Field House when I was a kid many moons ago in 1975. 

Other players who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame under the "Legends" category will be Wilkinsburg's Bruce Atkins, Aliquippa's Myron Walker, Mt. Lebanon's Tony DeCello, Upper St. Clair's Joe David (now Mt. Lebanon's coach) and Point Park's Bobby Franklin.

Coaches who will be inducted are Aliquippa's Red McNie, Beaver Falls' Frank Chan, Sto-Rox girls coach Bill Palermo, Bishop Canevin's Jack Burik, deceased Beaver Falls coach Dave Podbielski and John Sikora of the Pittsburgh Steelwheelers.

Contributors who will be inducted are Dave Ambrose, Ray Morton, Jim Hoy and Nello Giammarco. 

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Empty Netter Assists - 01-23-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Sidney Crosby (right) will miss the All-Star Game due to an undisclosed injury.

-NHL rules dictate Crosby must skip Tuesday's game against the Jets if he misses the All-Star Game.

-Rick Tocchet wants more from the fourth line.

-“He’s really been the same player all the time. You’ve really got to give him a lot of credit. It doesn’t matter where he plays, when he plays or who he plays with. He’s the same guy every day, regardless of the venue.” - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes on forward Bobby Farnham.

-Happy 53rd birthday to former Penguins defenseman and picnic jug enthusiast (below) Randy Boyd. A third-round pick in 1980, Boyd spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1981-82, Boyd appeared in 23 games and recorded two assists. He played in three playoff games that spring and failed to record a point. In 1982-83, Boyd saw action in 56 games and scored 18 points. After five ganes and one assist in 1983-84, Boyd was traded to the Blackhawks in exchange for Greg Fox. In 84 regular season games, Randy Boyd scored 21 points.

-Happy 37th birthday to former Penguins forward Martin Sonnenberg. A free agent signing prior to 1998-99, Sonnenberg spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1998-99, he appeared in 44 games and scored two points. He followed that up in 1999-2000 by playing in 14 games and netting three points. After spending the next two seasons with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, he joined the Flames as a free agent in the 2002 offseason. In 58 games with the Penguins, he scored five points.

-Happy 41st birthday to former Penguins defenseman Joel Bouchard. Acquired midway through the 2002-03 season along with Richard Lintner, Rico Fata and Mikael Samuelsson in a deal which sent Mike Wilson, Alex Kovalev, Janne Laukkanen and Dan LaCouture to the Rangers, Bouchard's Penguins' career amounted to seven games and one assist that campaign. During the 2003 offseason, he joined the Sabres as a free agent.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will miss the All-Star Game due to an apparent groin injury.

Atlantic Division

-Senators general manager Bryan Murray is expected to step down following the season.

-The Maple Leafs assigned forward Matt Frattin, Josh Leivo and defenseman Stuart Percy to Toronto of the AHL.

Central Division

-Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (right) will miss the All-Star Game due to a "lower-body" injury.

-The Avalanche assigned forward Dennis Everberg to Lake Erie of the AHL.

-Predators forward Filip Forsberg was named as an injury replacement for the All-Star Game.

-Blues goaltender Brian Elliott was named as an injury replacement for the All-Star Game.

-After he cleared waivers, the Wild assigned defenseman Justin Falk to Iowa of the AHL.

Pacific Division

-The Kings assigned forward Nick Shore and goaltender J.F. Berube to Manchester of the AHL.

-The Sharks assigned forward Barclay Goodrow, Tomas Hertl and defenseman Dylan DeMelo to Worcester of the AHL.

-The Flames assigned goaltender Joni Ortio, defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon and forward Markus Granlund to Adirondack of the AHL.

(Photos: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images and Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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Reed's late-game heroics lift Colonials to 63-59 win

Written by Craig Meyer on .

EMMITSBURG, Md. – A certain guilt lingered inside Marcquise Reed in the final 30 seconds of a tightly-contested game.

On his Robert Morris team’s previous possession – with Reed running the point and his team down two – the freshman missed an open teammate with a clean look at a game-tying shot.

With 21 seconds remaining and the Colonials trailing Mount St. Mary’s by three, Reed felt that he owed somebody something. There were his teammates who were locked in a hard-fought game against a bitter rival. There were his friends and family who made the hour-and-a-half drive from his native Landover, Md. to see him play. Most of all, there was Reed himself, his own toughest critic.

As the clock dwindled to 13 seconds, the 6-foot-3 guard pulled up to the top of the key and stared down a defender with eight inches of height on him. Undeterred, he knew what he had to do.

“He backed up and all I needed was that little bit of space to see the rim,” Reed said.

Falling away from the basket, Robert Morris’ standout freshman knocked down the shot, giving him the final of his game-high 21 points and forcing overtime, where the Colonials (9-10, 5-2 Northeast Conference) captured a 63-59 victory Thursday night at the Knott Center.

The win came 19 days after the teams’ previous meeting, a 70-45 blowout for the Colonials (9-10, 5-2 Northeast Conference) against an undermanned Mountaineers (8-10, 4-3) team.

Against a much tougher opponent in a matchup with much higher stakes, the team’s budding star came through in the biggest of moments.

“He’s the kind of kid who, usually when he feels like he did something incorrectly, is going to do his best to make up for it,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “And that’s exactly what he did.”

The Colonials faced a 56-49 deficit with 4:06 remaining after a layup from the Mountaineers’ Gregory Graves. From that moment, though, Mount St. Mary’s did not make a field goal for the final nine minutes of play. During that time, it was routinely denied penetration into its opponents’ zone defense, something that often forced it into contested looks from beyond 3-point range.

Robert Morris had two chances to either tie the game or take the lead in the final two minutes, but it wasn’t until Reed’s 3 with 11 seconds remaining that it was able to draw even.

The victory was the fourth in the past five games for the Colonials, who overcame 21 turnovers against the Mountaineers’ pressure defense by shooting 48.8 percent as a team.

Coaches often emphasize the value of conference road wins, the kind of games that are hard to come by and difficult to earn. For Robert Morris, Thursday night may have represented another springboard in what’s become its most successful run of the season.

“I think it set the tone for the conference,” Reed said. “We’re not slouches, other teams can’t take us as a joke and we’re still going to be on top in the conference.”


Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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