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Mitch's Sports Report 2/9/16: Lucic Back In The Bear Cave

In mens' college hoops, when a college team puts up 93 points that more often than not means victory. But not when you let the opposing team score 100.

That was the case for the UVM Catamounts, who were firing on all cylinders in the first half, but were plagued by multiple turnovers and ineffective defense in general in the 2nd as UMass-Lowell pulled away for the 100-93 win last night. The River Hawks forced UVM to cough up the ball 19 times, leading to 31 points, 27 of those scored by Jahad Thomas, and the defensive lapses countered the multiple Catamounts players who recorded double digits on offense. Worse, the loss, combined with a weekend defeat against Albany, drops UVM to 14-12 overall on the season and 4th place in the America East conference.

The UVM women were also in action against their UMass-Lowell counterparts and took the River Hawks down to the very last second, but lost on a buzzer-beater 68-66 when Asia Mitchell-Owens grabbed a rebound off a blocked shot by UVM's Lauren Handy at the free throw line, and put up the game winning shot as time expired. The Catamounts fought valiantly in this one, clawing back from a 12-point 4th quarter deficit, tying the game before Mitchell's heroics on a 3-pointer by Hayley Robertson, who finished with 20 points on the night. The loss drops UVM to 7-17 on the year and 2-9 in conference play.

To the NHL, and last night the New York Rangers won their 3rd game in a row, nipping the New Jersey Devils 2-1 at Madison Square Garden. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves and the Rangers were able to win without two of their more dependable players: Rick Nash is out with a bone bruise, and captain Ryan McDonagh is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion courtesy of a sucker punch by Philadelphia Flyer Wayne Simmonds in their previous contest. The Rangers are less than pleased that the NHL has decided not to suspend Simmonds for the punch that sent McDonagh to the ice after the two sparred along the boards. The Flyers insist McDonagh had his stick up pretty high on Simmonds on a cross-check before the gloved punch by Simmonds was delivered. Essentially, there's plenty of blame to go around when things get chippy in hockey, but in any event goals by the red hot J.T. Miller, his 9th over a ten game stretch, and Kevin Klein, less prolific, scoring for the first time in 28 games, gave Lundqvist all the cushion he would need for the win.

Tonight at TD Garden the Boston Bruins will welcome back a familiar face, but any and all niceties will likely be restricted to pre-game ceremonies or Jumbotron tributes. Milan Lucic was a core member of the Bruins team that won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and helped the team to the finals in 2013, but he's known as much for his pugilistic prowess as he is for his gritty goal scoring, and dropping the gloves won't be out of the question when he starts getting into the thick of it with his former teammates this evening. The game marks the first time Lucic has faced the Bruins since being traded this off-season to the Los Angeles Kings, where he and the team are thriving, currently in first place in the Pacific division with 65 points. The Bruins have 62 points on the season but are in more of a dogfight to actually secure a playoff spot, with just a scant few points separating them from the wild card teams on their heels and the pack trying to break into that bubble. The B's are on a modest 2-game winning streak after winning a home and home against Buffalo, but the Kings will prove a more formidable challenge this evening, especially with Lucic roaming his old stomping grounds.

The Montreal Canadiens are back at the Bell Centre tonight, and riding a 2-game winning streak that probably feels like 20 given the team's well-chronicled struggles over the last couple of months. But they face a tough test tonight trying to stretch it to three against the Tampa Bay Lightning, currently in 2nd place in the Atlantic division.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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