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Mitch's Sports Report: Pastrnak Ends Goal Drought, Bruins Skid; Bonds Milestone In St. Mike's Win

The Boston Bruins were in desperate need of a win. David Pastrnak was mired in a goal drought. Both problems were addressed when the young winger from the Czech Republic scored on a slapshot with less than a minute left in overtime in the Bruins' 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings last night.

The Bruins came into the game losers of four in a row and in danger of falling outside the playoff bubble, and Pastrnak, after charging out of the gates this season with 19 goals, had endured a stretch of 18 games without one, but his one-timer off a feed from fellow Czech David Krejci put a halt to both bad streaks last night.

The game had all the markings of another disappointing loss. A week earlier the Bruins had blown a 4-1 lead in Detroit to lose in an overtime shootout and last night in Boston the B's coughed up leads of 1-0 and 2-1, eventually falling behind 3-2 going into the third period. But Brad Marchand's second goal of the night evened the score and forced overtime. Marchand circled around the net while a mad scramble was going on in front as Patrice Bergeron tried to stuff home a puck in the crease. It squirted to the side of the net and Marchand smartly knocked it in on his backhand. Tuukka Rask also made several key saves in the final period to prevent another tough loss.

Former UVM defenseman Kevan Miller scored Boston's first goal of the night, his first of the year, and the win really was critical. It keeps the Bruins a point ahead of Toronto in the standings for 3rd place in the Atlantic division, which represents a playoff spot. And it's some much needed momentum with just two games left before the all-star break. What the B's really need is a significant winning streak to get some separation in the standings, something they haven't been able to put together yet this season.

Meantime, here's a look at "Pasta's" OT winner: 

The Montreal Canadiens have had little trouble in the standings, sitting in first place in the Atlantic since rattling off a nine-game winning streak to start the season and they kept the good times going last night with a 5-1 win over the slumping Calgary Flames. Alexander Radunov had two goals in the win, pushing his season total to twelve. Andrew Shaw, Tomas Plekanec and Daniel Carr also tallied for Montreal and Carey Price made 30 saves in net, missing a shut-out only when Calgary scored a goal with just one second left in regulation. If Price was miffed by that last second denial of another goose egg to pad his career stats he can at least take satisfaction in recording an assist on Carr's goal. The Canadiens also killed off a 5 on 3 Calgary power play when the game was still within reach, the Flames failing even to get a shot on net during that two-man advantage. Calgary has now lost four in a row.

In the NBA, the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards don't have much of a rivalry history to draw on. It's not exactly Bird versus Magic when the two teams tangle, but that said, the previous two meetings before last night's tilt in Washington were pretty nasty affairs, with rough fouls, ejections, and a war of words left on the court and with the media afterward. So the Wizards were up front about calling last night a grudge match and their 123-108 win over the Celtics a bit of payback after their previous losses. Jae Crowder and John Wall almost came to blows in the last contest. No punches were thrown last night but Wall had the last word in the form of 27 points. Bradley Beal was even better, scoring 13 of his overall 31 points in the fourth quarter. Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points and 13 assists but was uncharacteristically cold in the fourth quarter, going 1 for 7 from the floor. A playoff series between these two teams might just create a lasting rivalry, maybe not exactly 1980's Lakers-Celtics, but with both teams in the playoff bubble right now, the mutual animosity bodes well for games that count even more in the post-season.

In mens' college hoops the St. Michael's Purple Knights got their fourth win of the season in dramatic fashion last night with their star player entering the record books in the process. Charging to a late 21-7 run in the fourth quarter, St, Mike's beat New Haven 66-63 in Connecticut last night, and Matt Bonds recorded yet another double double, his 13th of the season and seventh in a row,   scoring 20 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. And those 14 boards now have him at 1,000 for his career as the senior continues to put together an amazing final season for his St. Mike's career.

Elsewhere, the Middlebury Panthers rode a career high 31 points from Jake Brown to beat Lyndon State 100-90 at Pepin Gym.

In womens' college hoops New Haven 63, beat St. Michael's 63-35 and Norwich 59, topped Lyndon 59-48 behind a double double from Heather Leblanc, who had 15 points to go with 11 rebounds as the Cadets improve to 10-7.

At the Australian Open, a hard fought mens' quarterfinal ended with Rafael Nadal beating Milos Raonic in straight sets as Nadal moves into the semi-finals. On the womens' side, Serena Williams is into the semi-final round and her big sister Venus has a big match tonight against fellow American Coco Vandeweghe. Williams enters that match as the oldest woman ever to play in an Australian Open semi-final at the age of 36.

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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