2016 Blue-Gold game draft results and rosters

Written by Sam Werner on .

Pitt held its second annual spring game draft this morning to determine rosters for Saturday's Blue-Gold spring game. The seniors were divided up into teams yesterday, and served as captains picking their respective squads. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada will coach the blue team (Tony Dorsett's team), and defensive coordinator Josh Conklin will coach the gold squad (Matt Cavanaugh's team). The way the draft worked, teams alternated making the first pick in each round, and once that pick was made, they drafted out that position until it was done. For instance, if the gold team opened round one by taking a quarterback, the teams would alternate drafting quarterbacks until they were gone.

You can watch head coach Pat Narduzzi discuss the results above, and here's a full rundown of the draft order. Feel free to parse it at your leisure...

1 (Blue): Brian O'Neill 1 (Blue): Mike Herndon
2 (Gold): Carson Baker 2 (Gold): Mike Grimm

3 (Blue): Aaron Reese

3 (Blue): Alex Paulina
4 (Gold): Tony Pilato 4 (Blue): Kyle Benbrook
5 (Gold): Aaron Britton ROUND 12 (QB)
ROUND 2 (DE) 1 (Gold): Ben DiNucci

1 (Gold): Dewayne Hendrix

2 (Blue): Adam Bertke
2 (Blue): James Folston 3 (Blue): Ryan Adzima
3 (Gold): Allen Edwards ROUND 13 (TE)
4 (Blue): Dom Cuono 1 (Blue): Devon Edwards
4 (Gold): Erik Sellers 2 (Gold): Zach Poker
ROUND 3 (CB) 3 (Blue): DeAndre Schifino
1 (Blue): Avonte Maddox ROUND 14 (MONEY LB)
2 (Gold): Phillipie Motley 1 (Gold): Saleem Brightwell
3 (Blue): Malik Henderson 2 (Blue): Nico Lodovico
3 (Gold): Dane Jackson ROUND 15 (MIKE LB)
4 (Gold): Rob Boatright 1 (Blue): Brian Popp
ROUND 4 (X-WR) 2 (Gold): Jim Medure
1 (Gold): Jester Weah ROUND 16 (K)
2 (Blue): Jaquaun Davidson 1 (Gold): Alec Schuster
3 (Gold): Mark Bernsdorff 2 (Blue): Tristan Cunha
1 (Blue): George Aston 1 (Blue): RB James Conner
2 (Gold): Nate Bossory 2 (Gold): DE Patrick Jones
ROUND 6 (S) 3 (Blue): LB Quintin Wirginis
1 (Gold): Jordan Whitehead 4 (Gold): OT Jaryd Jones-Smith
2 (Blue): Dennis Briggs 5 (Blue): DT Jeremiah Taleni

3 (Gold): Jay Stocker

6 (Gold): WR Zach Challingsworth
4 (Blue): Rimoni Dorsey 7 (Blue): C Alex Officer
ROUND 7 (C) 8 (Gold): FB Colton Lively
1 (Blue): Alex Bookser 9 (Blue): LB Anthony McKee
2 (Gold): Connor Dintino 10 (Gold): DE Rori Blair
3 (Blue): Alex Galiyas 11 (Blue): TE Chris Clark
1 (Gold): Rafael Araujo-Lopes 1 (Gold): Ryan Winslow
2 (Blue): Quadree Henderson 2 (Blue): Nick Goldsmith
3 (Gold): Tre Tipton 3 (Blue): Matt Barber
4 (Blue): Kellen McAlone ROUND 19 (LS)
ROUND 9 (STAR LB) 1 (Blue): Jake Knight

1 (Blue): Sean Idowu

2 (Gold): Elijah Zeise 1 (Gold): Justin Moody
3 (Blue): Jalen Williams 2 (Blue): Shane Roy
ROUND 10 (RB) 3 (Blue): Calvin Hamilton
1 (Gold): Chawntez Moss  
2 (Blue): Darrin Hall  
3 (Gold): Rachid Ibrahim  
4 (Blue): Qadree Ollison  

And here are the full rosters (injured players are in red)...


Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 12.20.16 PM


Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 12.20.32 PM


- The two most notable selections, as far as I could see, were Moss going first among RBs and Araujo-Lopes going first among Z-WRs. Obviously, Pitt has a ton of talent in the backfield, but Moss being taken ahead of Darrin Hall, Rachid Ibrahim and Qadree Ollison tell you something about how much the freshman has impressed in his first few months on campus. As for Araujo-Lopes, he was taken ahead of Quadree Henderson and Tre Tipton, so it'll be interesting to see if he can turn into a contributor for Pitt this year. Those other two guys were players that Narduzzi has spoken highly of this spring, so Araujo-Lopes (or "Ra Ra" as he's known), must be playing well if he's up on that level, too.

- At first glance, it looks like the blue team might have a slight edge, particularly on offense. They've got both both first-team tackles, as well as the first-team center along the offensive line. It'll be interesting to see what their offensive looks like with Manny Stocker at quarterback.
The gold team has Nate Peterman at QB, and it also has the first-team guards in Dorian Johnson and John Guy. They've also got some intriguing pass-catchers in Orndoff, Weah, Araujo-Lopes and Tipton. Still, I'd expect the gold team to focus on pounding up the middle behind Johnson and Guy, especially given that the blue team is relatively thin in the middle of its defensive line.

- On defense, the blue side boasts more depth, but I'd say the gold has more first-team guys on its roster. The matchup I'm most interested in will be defensive end Dewayne Hendrix going up against Adam Bisnowaty and Brian O'Neill. Hendrix, a Tennessee transfer, has drawn rave reviews dating back to last season, and he'll get a chance to go up against Pitt's two first-team offensive tackles.
At linebacker, Mike Caprara said he'll probably slide over to play in the middle for the gold team, with Brightwell and Zeise alongside him.
The one area where the blue team definitely has the edge is at cornerback, where they got both first-team guys in Avonte Maddox and Ryan Lewis (one of the senior captains).

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Penguins - Rangers preview - 04-13-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins vs. Rangers

Penguins Leading Regular Season Scorer: Center Sidney Crosby (right), 85 points (36 goals, 49 assists).

Rangers Leading Regular Season Scorer: Right winger Mats Zuccarello, 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists).

Penguins Expected Starting Goaltender: Marc-Andre Fleury, 35-17-6, 2.29 GAA, .921 SV%.

Rangers Expected Starting Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (below), 35-21-7, 2.48 GAA, .920 SV%.

Penguins Regular Season Statistics

Rangers Regular Season Statistics

Penguins Injuries: Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) and defenseman Olli Maatta ("lower body") are probable. Right winger Beau Bennett (right shoulder) is doubtful. Center Evgeni Malkin (suspected left hand or wrist), goaltender Matt Murray (suspected head or neck) and right winger Bryan Rust ("lower body") are out. Right winger Pascal Dupuis (blood clots), center Kevin Porter (right ankle) and left winger Scott Wilson (right ankle or foot) are on injured reserve.

Rangers Injuries: Defensemen Dan Girardi ("upper body"), center Eric Staal ("upper body"), left winger Viktor Stalberg ("lower-body"), right winger Mats Zuccarello ("lower body") are probable. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh (right hand) is out.

Penguins with Stanley Cup bling: Centers Matt Cullen, Crosby, Malkin, left winger Chris Kunitz, defenseman Kris Letang, Dupuis, Fleury.

Rangers with Stanley Cup bling: Center Eric Staal.

Something worthwhile about the Penguins: The Penguins led the NHL with 33.2 shots per game this past regular season.

Something worthwhile about the Rangers: The Rangers had the worst penalty kills success rate (78.2) of any Eastern Conference playoff team this past season.

Something useless about the Penguins that is vaguely connected to the Rangers: Right winger Jaromir Jagr is the only Penguins player to ever score a penalty shot goal in the playoffs. He scored on Rangers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck in Game 5 of a 1992 Patrick Division final.

Something useless about the Rangers that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: Hagelin scored the overtime goal which clinched last season's five-game first-round series against the Penguins. The only other one-time Penguins player who scored a series-clinching overtime goal against Penguins was right winger Garry Valk who scored in overtime of a 4-3 win by the Maple Leafs in Game 6 of a 1999 Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Former Rangers on the PenguinsLeft winger Carl Hagelin, head coach Mike Sullivan, Cullen, Dupuis.

Former Penguins on the RangersLeft winger Tanner Glass, center Dominic Moore, professional scout Rick Kehoe, assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson, president Glen Sather.

Who needs to be the difference for the Penguins: Crosby and Letang. With Malkin sidelined, Crosby and Letang have been the biggest catalysts in the Penguins' resurgence since mid-December. They will need to continue their high level of play for the Penguins to advance past the first round.

Who needs to be the difference for the Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers need Lundqvist to reclaim the form he exhibited he past two postseasons against the Penguins. This past regular season, he looked shaky at times against the Penguins.

Best Penguins YouTube Video We Could Find: Left winger Luc Robitaille's overtime goal against the Capitals in Game 5 of a 1995 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against:

Best Rangers YouTube Video We Could Find: Hagelin overtime goal against the Penguins in Game 5 of last year's first round series:

EN Prediction: Assuming Fleury is in net, the Penguins will make quick work of a Rangers team which is missing one of its most vital defenders in McDonagh. Penguins 4-1.

(Photos: Al Bello/Getty Images and Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

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Empty Netter Assists - Maatta could return - 04-13-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Playoff Stuff
Penguins - Rangers

-Home ice advantage hasn't been very kind to the Penguins in recent postseasons.

-Welcome back defenseman Olli Maatta ... maybe?

-"It's something special to play in the playoffs. It's something that if you never played in, it's tough to explain." - Center Eric Fehr on what's different about playoff games.

-There will be viewing parties for home games during the first round after all.

-Head coach Mike Sullivan speaks:

-Captain/center Sidney Crosby speaks:

-Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury speaks:

-Left winger Carl Hagelin speaks:

-Right winger Beau Bennett speaks:

-Maatta speaks:

-Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist resumed practicing after being sidelined Monday due to an illness

-“They’re fast, they’re good, but we know we can beat them." - Lundqvist on the Penguins.

Capitals - Flyers

-"We're here to win a championship. Anything less than that is unsuccessful in my mind." - Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan on expectations for his team.

-"It is obviously a place I played, but I don't know anyone on the team. Philadelphia is somewhere that holds a place in my heart. But other than that, it is nothing major" facing the Flyers." - Capitals forward Mike Richards on facing his former team, the Flyers.

Panthers - Islanders

-Panthers forward and former Penguins captain Jaromir Jagr (rightenters his 18th NHL postseason.

-Former Penguins goaltender Thomas Greiss enters the postseason as the Islanders' No. 1 goaltender.

-Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, sidelined since March 31 due to a knee injury, is hoping to return to the lineup by Game 1

-The Islanders recalled forward Alan Quine from Bridgeport of the AHL.

Lightning - Red Wings

-Lightning forward Tyler Johnson resumed practicing after being sidelined due to an "upper-body" injury.

Stars - Wild

-According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Wild forward Zach Parise has been seeing a specialist for his ailing back

Blues - Blackhawks

-Blues coach Ken Hitchcock proclaimed his team "100 percent" healthy with forwards David Backes ("lower body"), Troy Brouwer ("undisclosed), Steve Ott (hamstrings/colitis) and goaltender Jake Allen (undisclosed) all participating in practice.

-“I’m preparing for it — definitely. If I get the call and have to play [Duncan Keith's] minutes — maybe on the penalty kill and stuff, yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited. We’re all excited.” - Blackhawks defenseman and former Penguin Michal Rozsival on trying to fill the void of suspended defenseman Duncan Keith

Ducks - Predators

-Ducks forwards Rickard Rakell (appendectomy) and David Perron (shoulder), Brandon Pirri (head) and defenseman Kevin Bieksa ("upper body") are all expected to return to the lineup during the first round.

Kings - Sharks

-The Sharks will start former Kings goaltender Martin Jones (rightin Game 1.

-"You know what the beauty of that position is?. It's the classic case where greatness is the subtleties. And that No. 1 defenseman, what makes him special? Unless you really understand the game and see some of the things he does, you have to study the game, not watch the game, and realize what he does is like really special and has nothing to do with the highlights and the points and all of this stuff." - Kings general manager Dean Lombardi making a case for defenseman Drew Doughty to win the Norris Trophy. 

-The Kings assigned forward Nic Dowd and defenseman Kevin Gravel to Ontario of the AHL.

Non-Playoff Stuff

-Happy 53rd birthday to former Penguins center Jim McGeough. Acquired at the 1985 trade deadline in a deal which sent center Mark Taylor the Capitals, McGeough spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. He finished 1984-85 by appearing in 14 games for the Penguins and recording four assists. In 1985-86, McGeough played in 17 games and recorded five assists. He followed that up in 1986-87 by seeing action in 11 games and netting five points. In the 1987 offseason, he joined Klagenfurter AC in Austria.

-Happy 41st birthday to former all-star Penguins defenseman and current assistant coach Sergei Gonchar (right). A free agent signing in the 2005 offseason, Gonchar spent five seasons with Penguins. Gonchar's debut season in Pittsburgh saw him appear in 75 games and record 58 points. His second campaign saw Gonchar play in all 82 games and match a career-high in points with 67. He appeared in five postseason games that spring and scored four points. In 2007-08, Gonchar as he netted 65 points in 78 games, earned an appearance in the All-Star Game. During that spring's postseason, Gonchar played in 20 games and contributed 14 points while helping the Penguins return to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 16 years. A preseason injury derailed his 2008-09 season as he only appeared in 25 games and scored 19 points. In 22 postseason games that spring, Gonchar appeared in 22 games and scored 14 points while helping the franchise earn its third Stanley Cup title. In 2009-10, Gonchar appeared in 62 games and record 50 points. He saw action in 13 postseason games in 2010 and contributed 12 points. During the 2010 offseason, he joined the Senators as a free agent. In 322 games with the Penguin, "Sarge" recorded 259 points, 30th-most in franchise history. In 60 postseason games, he scored 44 points. He was hired as a coach with the Penguins this season.

-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins right winger Arron Asham. A free agent signing in the 2010 offseason, Asham spent the past two seasons with the Penguins. In 2010-11, Asham appeared in 44 games and scored 11 points. He saw action in seven postseason games last spring and collected four points. During 2011-12, Asham saw action in 64 games and scored 16 points. He played in three postseason games last spring and had no points. In 108 career regular season games with the Penguins, Asham has scored 27 points. In 10 postseason games, he had four points. In the 2012 offseason, he joined the Rangers as a free agent.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-“I’m not ready to close that door. I’m remaining optimistic that hopefully something can happen. I’ve made it clear this is where I’d like to be. Obviously the feeling needs to be mutual for both sides.” - Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward on his desire to remain the team as he enters the offseason as a pending unrestricted free agent.

-“For the most part, we embarrassed ourselves this year.” - Blue Jackets forward Scott Hartnell on his team's season.

Atlantic Division

-The Senators fired head coach Dave Cameron, assistant coach Andre Tourigny and goaltending coach Rick Wamsley. Assistant coach Jason Smith was assigned to another unspecified position.

-The Lightning signed defenseman Matt Spencer, a second-round pick in 2015, to a three-year entry-level contract.

-Sabres forward and former Penguin Cal O'Reilly cleared waivers and was assigned to Rochester of the AHL.

Pacific Division

-Chris Sutter, the son of Kings head coach Darryl Sutter met wrestling legend Ric Flair:

-The Canucks assigned defenseman Andrey Pedan and forward Brenden Gaunce to Utica of the AHL.

IIHF World Championship

-The following players were named to the United States' roster for the upcoming IIHF World Championship tournament:

Forwards - J.T. Compher, University of Michigan; Kyle Connor, University of Michigan; Nick Foligno, Blue Jackets; Matt Hendricks, Oilers; Patrick Maroon, Oilers; Auston Matthews, Zurich Lions (NLA); Tyler Motte, University of Michigan.

Defnesemen - Noah Hanafin, Hurricanes; Jake McCabe, Sabres; Connor Murphy, Coyotes; Chris Wideman, Senators.

Goaltenders - Mike Condon, Canadiens; Keith Kinkaid, Devils.

-The following players were named to Canada's roster for the tournament:

Forwards - Max Domi (right), Coyotes; Matt Duchene, Avalanche; Brendan Gallagher, Canadiens; Taylor Hall, Oilers; Boone Jenner, Blue Jackets; Brad Marchand, Bruins; Connor McDavid, Oilers; Ryan O'Reilly, Sabres; Sam Reinhart, Sabres; Mark Schiefele, Jets; Mark Stone, Senators.

Defensemen - Cody Ceci, Senators; Ben Hutton, Canucks; Ryan Murray, Blue Jackets; Morgan Rielly, Maple Leafs; Chris Tanev, Canucks.

Goaltenders - Calvin Pickard, Avalanche; Cam Talbot, Oilers.

-Rogers took a huge hit from all seven Canadiens teams missing the postseason.

(Photos: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images, Christian Petersen/Getty Images, Mike Stobe/Getty Images, Elsa/Getty Images and Post-Gazette archives)

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Blues - Blackhawks preview - 04-12-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Blues vs. Blackhawks

Blues Leading Regular Season Scorer: Right winger Vladimir Tarasenko (right), 74 points (40 goals, 34 assists).

Blackhawks Leading Regular Season Scorer: Right winger Patrick Kane, 106 points (46 goals, 60 assists).

Blues Expected Starting Goaltender: Brian Elliott, 23-8-6, 2.07 GAA, .930 SV%.

Blackhawks Expected Starting Goaltender: Corey Crawford, 35-18-5, 2.37 GAA, .924 SV%.

Blues Regular Season Statistics

Blackhawks Regular Season Statistics

Blues Injuries: Goaltender Jake Allen ("lower body"), centers David Backes ("lower body") Steve Ott (hamstring/colitis) and Brouwer (undisclosed) are probable.

Blackhawks Injuries: Right wingers Marian Hossa ("lower body"), Andrew Shaw ("upper body"), center Artem Anisimov ("upper body") and defenseman Viktor Svedberg ("lower body") are probable.

Blues with Stanley Cup bling: Right winger Troy Brouwer.

Blackhawks with Stanley Cup bling: Goaltenders Corey Crawford, Scott Darling, left wingers Andrew Desjardins, Andrew Ladd, defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith, Michal Rozsival, David Rundblad, Brent Seabrook, Trevor van Riemsdyk, centers Marcus Kruger, Teuvo Teravainen, Jonathan Toews (below), Hossa, Kane and Shaw.

Something worthwhile about the Blues: The Blues set a franchise record with seven road shutouts this past regular season.

Something worthwhile about the Blackhawks: The Blackhawks were 41-6-6 when scoring first this past regular season.

Something useless about the Blues that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: Former Penguins right winger Joe Mullen holds the Blues' record for most assists by a rookie (11 in 10 games in 1982).

Something useless about the Blackhawks that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: Former Penguins general manager Tony Esposito holds the Blackhawks' record for postseason shutouts (six).

Former Penguins on the BluesDefenseman Robert Bortuzzo.

Former Penguins on the Blackhawks: Defensemen Christian Ehrhoff, Rozsival, senior advisor Scotty Bowman, development coach Mark Eaton, general manager Norm Maciver, Hossa.

Who needs to be the difference for the Blues: Defensemen Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, etc. The Blackhawks have two really strong top lines. The Blues' typically stout defense will have its hands full.

Who needs to be the difference for the Blackhawks: Kane, Toews, Hossa. With so many key role players having departed from last season's Stanley Cup championship team, the franchise players have to carry even more of the load.

Best Blues YouTube Video We Could Find: Blues center Alex Steen's overtime goal in Game 1 of a 2014 first round series against the Blackhawks:

Best Blackhawks YouTube Video We Could Find: Toews overtime goal in triple overtime of Game 5 of a 2014 first round series against the Blues:

EN Prediction: The Blackhawks faded a bit down the stretch due in part to goaltender Corey Crawford being injured. With so many miles on their tires due to so many long playoff runs in recent seasons, the Blackhawks might not have enough left to get past the Blues. Blues 4-2.

(Photos: Claus Andersen/Getty Images and Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

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What is different about playoff hockey? - 04-12-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins have nine players on their active roster who could potentially play in their first career playoff game. Goaltenders Tristan Jarry, Matt Murray, Jeff Zatkoff, right wingers Tom Kuhnhackl, Bryan Rust, defensemen Derrick Pouliot, Justin Schultz, left winger Conor Sheary and center Oskar Sundqvist have never played in an NHL postseason game.

Earlier today, six of their veteran teammates talked about what they remember from getting into a postseasaon game for the first time:


Center Matt Cullen - “I just remember the excitement. I remember not being able to sleep the night before, the day of. It's just a different level of excitement, especially when it's your first time through and experiencing these things for the firs time …I was playing with Anaheim. We were in Detroit. They were really good that year. It was a tough year. We got beat bad but I just remember the excitement and how much fun it was. It was just awesome."

Defenseman Ian Cole - “It's definitely different. I don't think there's one particular moment but I think that it was something where you're kind of sitting in the locker room and it's a lot quieter. There's a lot less joking room. Guys are way more serious. Not that we're not in the regular season too but it's a little bit lighter because there's 82 games versus potentially a [maximum] 28 [games]. Every single play, every single gap, every single box-out going back to the net, body positioning, every instance that you're on the ice, it's so much bigger. There's so much of a heightened importance on each and every tiny detail. Because if for some reason something goes wrong and it does happen and they score, it's significantly more important because it is so hard to get goals in the playoffs. It was kind of a wake-up call my first game four or five years ago, where every single thing had a heightened importance. Now, you know that going in and it certainly helps. We'll try to make those guys aware of it before hand so. If not, they'll figure it out sooner than not.”

Defenseman Trevor Daley - “My first year, I played my first game. It was against Colorado. I'll never forget how excited I was. The players they had, [center] Joe Sakic. It was pretty cool to play in the playoffs. A lot of those guys, when you were a young kid you got to watch in playoff hockey. It's a special time. Playoffs are so special. It's obviously a whole new environment. The stakes are obviously high. It's a special time of year.”

Center Eric Fehr - “The atmosphere in the playoff is a lot different than the regular season. It doesn't matter how many regular seasons games you've played it. It's extra special to get into a playoff game. You have to try to control your adrenaline and your energy and channel it in the right ways … I was playing with [center] Dave Steckel and [left winger] Donald Brashear. You could probably know what our job on that line was. To fly around a create a little bit of energy. I was the smallest guy on that line. We actually scored that night. It's something special to play in the playoffs. It's something that if you never played in, it's tough to explain."

Note: Fehr is listed at 6-foot-4, 212 pounds while Brashear was listed at 6-foot-3, 237 pounds and Steckel at 6-foot-6, 215 pounds.

Left winger Chris Kunitz - “I played against the Calgary Flames. It was nothing that's out of the ordinary. You're just excited. It was something that I always watched and liked the way that playoff hockey was played. They're always tight-checking, tight scoring games. I think it takes you maybe a few games to realize that every details matters out there and sometimes the smallest ones are the ones that end up in your net if you're not doing the right things.”

Defenseman Kris Letang - “When you walk towards the ice for the first game, it's just the crowd, they stand up right away. It's loud and you feel it. The atmosphere is a lot different. Obviously, the first five, 10 minutes of the game, there's a lot of intensity, a lot of energy from both teams. It's kind of those first 10 minutes."

(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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