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Mitch's Sports: UVM Gives Sneddon New Deal In Losing Season; Buffalo Wings of Thanks Sent To Bengals

A game high 32 points from Ernie Duncan led the University of Vermont men's basketball team to an 88-77 victory over UMass-Lowell in the opening of America East conference play for the Catamounts in Massachusetts last night, both teams getting the game in despite the massive nor'easter that bore down on the Bay State and continues to do so today.

Senior Drew Urqhart turned in another strong performance, recording a double double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Payton Henson also reached double figures with a 15-point effort. The bucket must have looked real big to the Catamounts as a team, as they shot a scintillating 58% from the field, a season best mark, and UVM improves to 10-5 on the season and 1-0 against America East opponents with the victory.

Meanwhile the UVM men's hockey team is struggling through a losing season, but their head coach has received a vote of confidence in the guise of a new three year contract extension. The Burlington Free Press reports UVM Athletic Director Jeff Schulman as saying the University has agreed in principle to a deal that will keep Kevin Sneddon behind the UVM bench through the 2019-20 season, while noting that many fans may not support that decision. UVM is lugging a 4-12-3 record into tonight's game against Umass-Lowell, and has just one win against Hockey East opponents, but Schulman said he continues to have great confidence in Sneddon's leadership of the program.

To the pro game on ice, and a few days ago I mentioned that Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty had gone without scoring a goal since the end of November, but he finally got the biscuit in the basket just 20 seconds into the second period at the Bell Centre last night, and the Canadiens as a team snapped their five game losing skid against the best team in the eastern conference with a 2-1 overtime shootout win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Paul Byron scored the game winner for the Habs in the shootout, the only player to find the back of the net on either side. Carey Price was very busy in between the pipes for Montreal, making 44 saves to get the win against the high voltage Lightning offense.

The Toronto Maple Leafs also scored a shootout victory 3-2 over the San Jose Sharks in Toronto, but the highlight of the night was Toronto's Nazem Kadri getting into a fight with San Jose veteran Joe Thornton right after the game's opening face-off.

 Thornton is a long-time all star who in recent years has kept his playoff beard growing and growing even during the regular season. Thornton's beard is every bit as big, long, and bushy as those sported by the 2013 Boston Red Sox, guys like Mike Napoli and Johnny Gomes. In any event, during the scrap Kadri took hold of Thornton's beard the way some players cling to a jersey in a fight and he ended up ripping out a fair chunk of it, which, if you ask me, should carry an additional two minutes of penalty time. Five for fighting, and two for bearding, which is like boarding, but somehow more violating.

But Kadri did contribute more than just a beard butchering. He scored a goal which helped the Leafs get to overtime and the eventual shootout win, and that win snaps Toronto's 3-game losing skid.

The Boston Bruins didn't get a chance to extend their winning streak to three games. Their contest against the Florida Panthers last night in Boston was postponed due to the winter storm.

Finally, just how appreciative were the Buffalo Bills that the Cincinnati Bengals pulled off a huge upset last Sunday in beating the Baltimore Ravens in the final minute of play, a win that meant nothing for the already out of the playoffs Bengals but that allowed the Bills to make the post season for the first time in 18 years? Well, the Bills sent the Bengals a gift of thanks in the form of food, and what else could it be but Buffalo wings. But not just a few. The Bills sent 1,440 wings, 90 pounds of celery, 30 pounds of carrots, and 6 gallons of blue cheese to show their gratitude. This after Bills fans, also thrilled to finally snap the longest pro playoff drought in any sport, gave tens of thousands of dollars to a charity sponsored by Bengal's quarterback Andy Dalton, who threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 44 seconds left to go in the game. Finally, some NFL news that doesn't make milk curdle when you hear it.


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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