Vollmer, Chung miss third straight practice

570868.jpg

Vollmer, Chung miss third straight practice

FOXBORO -- Patrick Chung and Sebastian Vollmer were once again missing from practice on Friday, the third straight day for both, and they are listed as doubtful for Sunday's game at Denver.

The Patriots were practicing in shells and sweats in the team's fieldhouse.

There has been very little good news to come out in regards to Chung (foot) since he has been sidelined since Week 9. He was spotted wearing a protective boot on his foot on Monday. While that doesn't necessarily mean his injury has gotten worse, the fact that he has not practiced in three days could be taken as a sign that he has regressed. He was limited participant in practice last week in preparation for the Redskins.

While the Broncos don't pose the most formidable passing attack -- they are 31st in the league in pass yards per game, behind only Blaine Gabbert's Jacksonville Jaguars -- Chung's absence would be a significant one. Bill Belichick spoke on Friday about the difficulty of preparing for Denver's option attack. Having Chung available to organize the secondary, as well as help against the run, would have been beneficial.

With Vollmer out, it appears as though Nate Solder will once again get the start at right tackle. The rookie right tackle was praised by offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien earlier this week for his ability to fit in seamlessly with the Patriots' veteran offensive line group. He will have his work cut out for him blocking Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, who have combined for 19 sacks this season.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
DOUBTFUL: T Sebastian Vollmer (backfoot), S Patrick Chung (foot).
QUESTIONABLE: CB Kyle Arrington (foot), WR Deion Branch (groin), C Dan Connolly (groin), WR Julian Edelman (back), LB Dane Fletcher (thumb), S James Ihedigbo (shoulder), CB Devin McCourty (shoulder), WR Matthew Slater (shoulder), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), RB Shane Vereen (hamstring), WR Wes Welker (knee), C Ryan Wendell (calf), RB Danny Woodhead (abdomen).
DENVER BRONCOS
QUESTIONABLE: S David Bruton (Achilles), S Brian Dawkins (neck), CB Andre Goodman (concussion).
PROBABLE: FB Spencer Larsen (hamstring), LB Von Miller (thumb), WR Eddie Royal (concussion).

Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders

bruins_islanders_riley_nash_032517.jpg

Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins knew they needed to find stellar performances somewhere in order to come out of a must-win game vs. the Islanders with two points, and they got exactly that.

Riley Nash had his best game as a member of the Bruins with a pair of goals scored in a 2-1 win over the Islanders at the Barclays Center that snapped a four game losing streak, and pushed them back into the wild card playoff spot.

It wasn’t a perfect game for the Black and Gold by any means and it was nip-and-tuck all the way, but it was important for the Bruins to show they could pull out those kinds of games late in the season.

Things didn’t look all that great early when John Tavares cut through the Bruins defense in the first period, and whistled a wrist shot from the high slot that went through Adam McQuaid’s legs before beating Anton Khudobin. The Bruins responded, however, on the very next shift with Nash stealing the puck from Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone, and beating Thomas Greiss short side for the important game-tying goal.

It looked like the Bruins had their go-ahead score in the first period on a second-effort power play goal by Frank Vatrano, but that was wiped out by a coach’s challenge that ruled David Backes interfered with Greiss in front of the New York net.

So the Bruins needed to wait until the third period when Boston’s fourth line stepped up and won the massively important game for Boston. Dominic Moore fed Riley Nash hustling into the offensive zone, and he weaved through the Islanders defense before snapping a shot past Greiss for his second goal of the game and his seventh on the season for the Bruins. 

NCAA TOURNAMENT: Gonzaga beats Xavier 83-59 to reach first Final Four

gonzaga_xavier_ncaa_tournament_032517.jpg

NCAA TOURNAMENT: Gonzaga beats Xavier 83-59 to reach first Final Four

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points while orchestrating Gonzaga's efficient offense, and the Zags finally shook their overrated tag by routing Xavier 83-59 on Saturday to reach the Final Four for the first time.

Gonzaga (36-1) has been dogged by criticism through the years despite winning consistently, in part for playing in a weak conference but also for never making the Final Four.

On the cusp of history, the Zags took it head on with a superb all-around game to give coach Mark Few the one missing piece of his resume.

Gonzaga found the range from the perimeter after struggling the first three NCAA games, making 12 of 24 from 3-point range. The defense, a soft spot in the past, shut down the underdog and 11th-seeded Musketeers (24-14) to win the West Region.

The Zags will face the winner between South Carolina and Florida in next week's Final Four in Arizona.

J.P Macura led the Musketeers with 18 points.

The Musketeers brought their turn-the-page jar of ashes to the NCAA Tournament, where they burned through a string of upsets to reach their third Elite Eight and first since 2008. They beat Maryland, Florida State and took down No. 2 Arizona in the regional semifinals, setting up a matchup of small Jesuit schools seeking their first Final Four.

The Final Four was the only thing missing on Few's resume, which includes 18 straight NCAA Tournaments, eight trips to the Sweet 16 and a third Elite Eight after surviving West Virginia's constant pressure in the regional semifinals.

The Zags struggled to find an offensive rhythm against the Mountaineers - who doesn't? - but had it flowing against Xavier.

Gonzaga came into the Elite Eight hitting 29 percent of its 3-point shots after making 37 percent during the season. The Zags found the range early against Xavier, hitting 8 of 13 from the arc in the first half, mostly against the Musketeers' zone or on kick-outs from center Przemek Karnowski.

Xavier got off to a good start offensively by working the ball around, but hit a dry spell and made 1 of 5 from 3-point range as Gonzaga stretched to lead to 49-39 by halftime.

Halftime did little to slow the Zags, who pushed the lead to 59-42 on 3-pointers by Williams-Goss and Jordan Mathews. Gonzaga kept the machine rolling in the second half, continuing to make shots while its defense prevented the Musketeers from making any kind of run.