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Mitch's Sports Report: Bruins Pick Terrible Time For Longest Losing Skid Of The Year

The University of Vermont mens' basketball team will have to wait for its chance at a first-ever post-season championship. The Catamounts' season came to an end last night in Nevada, losing to the Wolfpack in the semi-finals of the CBI tournament 86-72.

The Cats kept things close in the first half but it was all Nevada in the second, with freshman Cameron Oliver recording an impressive double-double with twenty-three points and eleven rebounds for the home squad. Trae Bell-Haynes and Ernie Duncan both scored nineteen for UVM, but the Wolfpack were hitting shots the way power hitters go yard in a home run derby, shooting 52.8% for the game, Nevada's highest shooting percentage against any division one opponent they faced this year. The Catamounts wrap up their season with a record of twenty-three wins and fourteen losses, an up and down season for John Becker's squad that saw them stumble at times early, but finish strong down the stretch with a seven-game winning streak, while making it to the America East conference final where they fell to Stony Brook. Nevada moves on to the best-of-three CBI championship series against Morehead State. Had the Catamounts won last night, they would have had a shot at the program's first post-season title, but the goal next season will be to win the America East title and get back to the NCAA big dance.  

To the NHL and the Boston Bruins have picked a pretty lousy time to record their longest losing streak of the season. Make it four losses in a row now for the B's after a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden last night, and the losing skid shows that hockey is not only the fastest sports on earth, the standings can change just as quickly. There are now eight games left on the docket for the Bruins but these four losses in a row put them in a precarious position. They're barely clinging to third place in the Atlantic conference, with the Detroit Red Wings lurking three points behind, so the Bruins need to get back in to the win column and fast.

Last night's game against the Rangers was one of those Murphy's Law, whatever-can-go-wrong-will games. The refs were whistle-happy against the visitors, calling five consecutive penalties against the Bruins, and the Rangers swiftly took advantage with two power plays goals. To be fair to the Bruins, at least one of those penalties, called against David Krejci, was as puzzling a call as you'll ever see in the game, with Krejci barely making contact with the Ranger in front of him and making you wonder if there's a new rule that you get two minutes for whispering something inappropriate into an opposing player's ear. The Bruins had appeared to tie things up at one apiece on a goal by Lee Stempniak but it was called back after a video review showed the play was offside before Stempniak scored. The wheels really came off the wagon after that as the Bruins fell behind 2-0 after one period and 3-1 after two, and trying to play catch-up against one of the best goalies in the league in Henrik Lundqvist is a formula for failure. Lundqvist finished with thirty-nine saves as the Rangers solidify their playoff position and the Bruins make their fans nervous about whether they'll get to the playoffs at all, and tonight's game at home against the Florida Panthers therefore qualifies as a true must-win for Boston. This is not the time of year to be playing sloppy hockey.

Perhaps the Bruins can draw inspiration from the New York Islanders, who broke a four-game losing skid of their own with a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators last night and got a critical two points to strengthen their hold on the first wild card playoff berth.  

To the NBA and the Boston Celtics are also starting to think playoffs, but playing much better than their hockey counterparts right now. The C's won their third in a row last night, beating the Toronto Raptors for the first time this season, 91-79 in Boston. These Raptors are not the pushovers of past seasons. They have the second best record in the eastern conference, behind only Cleveland, and Boston has the third best record, which improved last night thanks to a twenty-three point performance from Isaiah Thomas and seventeen from Evan Turner.

Finally, the baseball world lost one of its signature voices yesterday when Joe Garagiola, who called baseball games for NBC for three decades, died at the age of ninety. He had a seven-year baseball career of his own but will be best remembered for his television analysis, including calling with Curt Gowdy what some (yours truly included) believe was the greatest World Series contest ever, game six between the Red Sox and Reds in 1975.

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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