BC hockey takes care of business against BU

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BC hockey takes care of business against BU

As much as things didnt go right for Boston College on Friday night in losing to Boston University in unfriendly territory, things all went the Eagles way in a 5-2 victory over the Terriers at Kelley Rink on Saturday night.

Needham native Bill Arnold potted a pair of power play goals for Boston College in a second period barrage, and BC head coach Jerry York matched the NCAA all-time record for wins with his 924th victory behind the bench. The four power play goals for the Eagles and the 36 shots on net to only 23 for Boston University revealed a pretty one-sided effort that turned into a special teams contest after a tightly played first period.

I think we were a little smarter and we worked a little harder, said York, comparing Saturday nights winning effort to the loss at Agganis Arena 24 hours earlier. Last night it was a battle of wills and BU had an edge on us in a lot of different categories. We were just that much better than we were last night whether it was loose pucks, goaltending or special teams. We were just that much better.

It looked like it might be a first period of frustration for Boston College when a Johnny Gaudreau sniped shot to the top corner was waved off because a BC skater bumped into Terriers goalie Matt OConner in the crease. But the top-ranked Eagles didnt let it throw them off.

Minutes later Eagles defenseman Teddy Doherty scored his first career collegiate goal on a rebound after power forward Kevin Hayes had drawn the BU defenses attention with a drive down the slot. Two minutes later it was BUs turn with Gaudreau in the box for hooking, and Terriers forward Wade Megan turning on the highlight reel machine.

Megan dangled through three Eagles skaters before dropping a pass to Sahir Gill at the doorstep. Gill found a wide open Cason Hohmann on the backdoor, and he tapped in the tying goal to leave things even after one period.

It was all Boston College after that. Arnold sandwiched a pair of rebound power play strikes around a Mike Matheson blast from the point, and the Eagles had a commanding 4-1 lead headed into the final 20 minutes. Wakefield native Brandon Silk and Evan Rodrigues traded goals for BC and BU respectively in the third period, and gave the Eagles the feel-good victory they were seeking in the home-and-home weekend series.

GOLD STAR: Bill Arnold is one of the lead forwards as a junior thats won some big games in his collegiate career, and he was a major factor in a giant win for Boston College. Arnold slammed home a couple rebound power play strikes in the second period by crashing the net, and won 12 of his first 15 draws in the face-off circle. While the Johnny Gaudreau, Steve Whitney and Pat Mullane top line for the Eagles rightly gets all the credit, Arnold now has six goals and 12 points in 13 games this season. Not too shabby at all for the 2010 fourth round pick of the Calgary Flames.

BLACK EYE: Matt Grzelcyk was sensational on Friday night in BUs win, but he was barely noticeable against the Eagles in Kelley Rink on Saturday night. The Bs third round pick had a pair of shots on net, but wasnt able to generate offensive chances like he did for his BU teammates 24 hours earlier. Grzelcyk also finished as an even defenseman, but was part of a Boston University defensemen corps that got manhandled around their own net by the big, strong determined Eagles forwards.

TURNING POINT: Boston University skaters Garrett Noonan and Alexx Privitera were whistled off for successive penalties in the second period with the Eagles holding a slim 2-1 lead, and BC blew the games doors off by cashing in on both ends of a 5-on-3 PP advantage. Michael Matheson whistled a point shot through traffic that eluded Matt OConnor and Arnold drilled home the carom of a Patrick Wey shot that didnt hit its mark. The quick power play barrage essentially ended the game before the third period had even begun.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 the number of power play goals for both teams in a special teams extravaganza.

QUOTE TO NOTE: He has obviously changed everybody on the teams lives, so to be able to give something back to him and help set this record for him is something that we obviously wanted to do. Bill Arnold talking about making sure Jerry York got his NCAA record-tying 924th victory on home ice at the Heights.

STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

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STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.

Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in finals history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37:09 at one point without a shot.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions.

All the guys from the place dubbed "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.

The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.

It temporarily deflated Nashville and gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.

Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Nick Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.

It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa, when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead they rallied.

Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second. Though Nashville didn't get another one by Murray, they also kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history.

Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.

No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.

Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.

Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

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Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

SAN FRANCISCO - An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.

Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland's first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn't hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.

No one got in Harper's way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might've slipped - and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.