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Mitch's Sports Report: UVM Misses Huge Upset By Less Than The Size Of The Puck That Didn't Go In

Excruciatingly close. Perhaps an inch, on a play that proves the cliche about the game being a matter of such small measurements. The University of Vermont Catamounts nearly pulled off an overtime upset of the Boston College Eagles that would have propelled them to the Hockey East semi-finals in a winner-take-all game three last night, but the rule in hockey is that the entire puck, not just a portion or even most of it, must cross the goal line to be called a goal, and the puck stubbornly refused to meet that requirement.

It all happened just minutes into sudden death overtime when a scramble in front of the B.C. net ended in a confusing scrum of players piled atop one another, with the puck seemingly over the line, but a video review showed that the disc glided along and partly but not fully over the goal line. The game continued, deadlocked at three apiece, and Murphy's Rule of Sports Law is that when a team comes that close to winning and doesn't, it's more often than not the other side that comes out on top, and so it was that just after the nine and a half minute mark of overtime a shot by B.C.'s Ryan Fitzgerald slipped past Catamounts goalie Packy Munson to allow the Eagles to move on in the tournament and end UVM's season. That the ninth-seeded Catamounts took the number one Eagles to a deciding game three on the road and came with perhaps an inch or less of winning may be small solace in the aftermath of the loss, but the Cats have no reason to hang their heads after rising to the occasion in the playoffs and playing some of their best hockey when it mattered most.

As for the UVM mens' basketball team, after falling to number one Stony Brook Saturday in the America East finals, they've accepted a bid to the College Basketball Invitational, and will host Western Carolina Wednesday night at Patrick Gym in the first round of that tournament.

The NCAA Ski Championships wrapped up over the weekend in Colorado Springs and the University of Vermont Catamounts finished in seventh place overall. the University of Denver won the competition for its twenty-third national title. Dartmouth finished fifth overall. Huntington's Jack Hegman earned All-America honors finishing tenth in the men’s 20K race and Guillaume Grand of St. Michael's made school history with a ninth place finish in the slalom. The top 10 standing earned him an All-America honor, the first in the program’s history. The Purple Knights finished fifteenth overall.

In the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins are right on the edge of the playoff bubble, and keeping that bubble from bursting will be made tougher by having one of their star players, Evgeni Malkin, out six to eight weeks with an injury. That's why the Penguins' 5-3 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden yesterday was such a huge victory. Matt Cullen scored the go-ahead goal for the Pens in the third period and rookie Conor Sheary scored twice to lift the Pens to the upset win. He and the rest of the Penguins will have to keep punching above their weight to compensate for the loss of Malkin, who is Pittsburgh's second leading scorer this season with twenty-seven goals and thirty-one assists in fifty-seven games.

Baseball lovers are no doubt excited that spring training is in full swing, and normally I try not to put much stock in spring training results. The final scores of the games themselves are essentially meaningless because they're managed far differently when they don't count than when they do. Mostly it's an audition for rookies and a tune-up for veterans. That said, it's not great news for Red sox fans that Rick Porcello, who struggled mightily in his first year with Boston after signing a big multi-year contract last season, got roughed up for eight runs and 10 hits in three innings against a split Tampa Bay squad yesterday. Porcello told ESPN "The results weren't very good, but I was throwing strikes. I don't like giving up eight runs on 10 hits, but it's a work in progress and it's getting there." Red Sox fans hope the "getting there" part means lasting longer than three innings and with far fewer than eight runs put up against his E.R.A.

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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