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Mitch's Sports Report: Beware The Penguins

For almost this entire NHL season the usually formidable Pittsburgh Penguins have been an afterthought.

Mired in the bottom the standings, getting little production from the player once universally agreed to be the best on the planet, the Penguins looked like they might be a no-show for the playoffs. But after a coaching change midway through the year was allowed to take hold with former Bruins head coach Mike Sullivan taking the reins in Steel City, the Pens have turned things around, and even though they recently lost star forward Evgeni Malkin to injury, they've been on a tear, winning eight of their last nine including last night's 3-2 overtime win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

And the game-winner was scored by that guy who wants to remind people that he still belongs in the conversation for best hockey player on Earth.

Sidney Crosby's tip-in of a shot by defenseman Kris Letang won the game with just thirty seconds left in OT. It was Crosby's thirty-second goal of the year and he's playing his best hockey of the season with the playoffs just a couple of weeks away. Sid the Kid now has seven goals and fifteen assists in his last fifteen games. And the win tightens up an already sardine-can like Metropolitan division, with Pittsburgh now just three points behind the Rangers for second place, and two points ahead of the New York Islanders, who were idle last night. Matt Cullen and Phil Kessel also scored for the Penguins, while the Rangers got two goals from the newly acquired Eric Staal, but saw their three-game winning streak snapped by Crosby's overtime strike.

Locally, the University of Vermont men’s lacrosse team won its conference opener, defeating UMass-Lowell 11-9 on Saturday afternoon at Virtue Field.

Ian MacKay led all scorers with four goals and three assists for the Catamounts. Jon Kaplan stopped 11 shots to earn the win in goal.

Elsewhere in mens' lacrosse Adelphi beat St. Michael’s 16-9, with Salvatore Tuttle scoring five times to lead Adelphi to the win.

Brian Loughlin led the Purple Knights with three goals and two assists. The Purple Knights drop to 2-5 on the year.

The Castleton Spartans opened their North Atlantic Conference play Saturday with a decisive 22-3 win over the Thomas Terriers at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans earned their second straight victory while evening their record at 3-3 on the season.

In womens' lacrosse, the Castleton women were also winners over their Thomas Terrier counterparts, cruising to a 20-4 win over the Thomas Terriers in the first game of its North Atlantic Conference season. Brianna MacKay racked up a career-high eight points for Castleon in the win. MacKay netted five goals to go along with three assists in the victory.

Elsewhere, Dakota Savitcheff scored seven goals to lead Albany to an Vermont 18- 6 victory over UVM.

And one note from spring training as we inch closer to opening day of the 2016 Major League baseball season. Steven Wright may have clinched the role of fifth starter in the Red Sox rotation, after a strong outing against the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday. The knuckleballer with the same name as a Bostonian stand-up comic who delivered classic one-liners like "It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it" gave up one run on seven hits over five and two thirds innings in Boston's 5-1 win. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xavier Bogaerts homered for the Sox in the win.

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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