Hawks make it back to back with 4-1 win over Kings

One dramatic victory in Winnipeg turned into a convincing win in the United Center.A little momentum for the Blackhawks traveled a long way.Defensemen Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson scored 1:04 apart in the second period, and the Hawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Monday night.The Blackhawks were coming off a dramatic 4-3 win against the Jets on Sunday. Captain Jonathan Toews got the winning score in that one with 31 seconds left as the Hawks fought back twice from one-goal deficits.

”Sometimes, when you’re thrown right back into it, coming off the last game with good emotion, it can carry over,” Keith said. ”And I think we had a real solid team game all the way through.”

Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist as the Blackhawks pulled within a point of the second-place Blues in the Central Division. The Hawks play St. Louis twice in its final six games.After scuffling for four games – losing three of them – the Blackhawks used solid defense and puck-management basics to record a pair of important victories.

”The way we played for four games straight wasn’t the way we want to play at all,” Hjalmarsson said. ”You go through stretches in the season that aren’t going to be great, but that was pretty ugly.I thought we played really well today. It was a big game for them and important points for us as well.”

Scott Darling subbed for starting goaltender Corey Crawford and made 31 saves.

”Last night and tonight, the guys played great defense,” Darling said. ”They didn’t get any Grade A scoring opportunities. Even the goal was not a Grade A chance.”

Jake Muzzin scored for the defending champion Kings, who dropped their second straight in the finale of a five-game road trip. They also lost ground to Calgary in their bid for the final playoff berth in the West.

”We need points and we didn’t get any tonight, so at the end of the day we go home,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said. ”First thing we have to do is take care of business at home.”

The Kings play their next two games at Staples Center before playing three of their final four on the road.

”It’s not where we want to be, but can’t sit here and feel bad for ourselves,” Brown said. ”We still have a chance, so that’s what I think guys in this room have been really good at, is realizing that the opportunity is there.”

Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick stopped 36 shots. He was pulled after allowing two goals on nine shots in the first period of Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the surging Wild.The Western Conference rivals met at the United Center for the first time since Los Angeles eliminated the Hawks in overtime in Game 7 of last year’s conference finals. The Kings went on to knock off the New York Rangers for their second Stanley Cup in three years.The Hawks had to settle for a 1-all tie after 20 minutes.Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell opened the scoring at 5:31 on a deflection from the edge of the crease, capping Brandon Saad’s flashy setup. Saad swooped behind the net from the left to right side, cut through the right circle to the slot, and then dished to Bickell, who netted just his third goal in his last 21 games.The Hawks had chances to extend its lead in the first, but Muzzin’s soft goal with just 32 seconds left in the period tied it at 1. His spinning shot from the left boards skipped in between Darling’s pads.The Blackhawks responded in the second.Keith’s power-play goal on a knee-high drive through a screen from the top of the slot made it 2-1 at 1:37. Moments after Patrick Sharp’s shot glanced off the crossbar, Hjalmarsson pounced on a failed clearing attempt for the Kings and ripped a rising shot past Quick’s glove at 2:41 for his 100th NHL point.

”They got up the two goals in the second period, it’s tough coming back,” Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said.

Darling came up with a couple of tough saves to help Chicago preserve its momentum, including a point-blank stop on Drew Doughty with about 5 minutes left in the second.Hossa put it away with his 22nd goal with 6:54 left in the third. He ripped a rising shot past Quick’s glove side from the left circle.

NOTES—Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said star F Patrick Kane is making ”excellent progress” as he rehabs from surgery for a broken collarbone. Kane, who has resumed skating on his own, has 27 goals and 64 points in 61 games. … Blackhawks Fs Daniel Carcillo and Joakim Nordstrom sat out with upper-body injuries. … Kings F Jarret Stoll (upper body) missed his ninth game. … Apollo 13 commander James Lovell was one of the three U.S. military veterans on the ice for the national anthem.

Ramblers up a game in CBI Finals, one win to go.

Loyola-Chi. Ramblers logo

Trailing by two points at halftime, Loyola picked up its intensity in the second half to overcome a Louisiana-Monroe team with a noticeable height advantage.Earl Peterson scored 16 points to lead a balanced offense as the scrappy Ramblers beat the Warhawks 65-58 Monday night in the opener of the College Basketball Invitational championship series.Christian Thomas had 12 points, Montel James added 11 and Devon Turk 10 to help the Loyola (23-13) shake off a two-point halftime deficit to take command in the second half.

“I thought we were way more aggressive in the second half going north-south,” Loyola coach Porter Moser said. “The other thing we talked about was transition. … The rebound is the admission ticket to the fast break. I thought we rebounded better in the second half and therefore were able to run some more.”

The best-of-three series shifts to Monroe, La., for Game 2 on Wednesday, and Game 3 — if necessary — on Friday.Trailing 26-24 at halftime, the Ramblers used a 13-5 run to take a 42-35 lead. Ben Richardson’s jumper later gave Loyola a 56-44 advantage, its biggest of the game.

“At halftime we talked about being more physical and I thought we did a better job,” Moser said. “If you’re going to win that battle with guys 6-10, 6-9, 6-7. You’ve got to put a body on them.”

Louisiana-Monroe pulled within three points with 4:32 to play but got no closer.

“We just couldn’t stop them, really and truly, all night long,” Louisiana-Monroe coach Keith Richard said. “We tried everything. We tried four-guard lineups, we tried zone, we tried man, we switched back to zone.”We tried it all.”

Jamaal Samuel scored 15 points to lead the Warhawks (24-13). Tylor Ongwae had 12 points and 11 rebounds, Justin Roberson added 11 points and Majok Deng had 10.

“We had a lot of balls tipped out of our hands, we had a lot of missed layups and point-blank shows where Loyola made all those plays,” Richard said.

It was the first all-time meeting between the teams and Loyola’s first game against a Sun Belt team since 2002.Loyola led 10-7 at the 8:16 mark while Louisiana-Monroe managed was shooting just 3 for 12 from the field. But the Warhawks shook off the shaky early shooting with an 11-2 run over a span of 6:35 while the Ramblers shot just 1 for 5.Loyola regained the lead at 17-16 on Turk’s 3-pointer with 4:40 left in the first half. Ongwae responded with a layup and helped the Warhawks take a 26-24 lead at halftime.

Late Sharp & Toews goals push Hawks past Jets 4-3

WINNIPEG—Jonathan Toews knows style points don’t matter much this late in the season. All that counts is getting the win.Toews deflected in Niklas Hjalmarsson’s long shot with 31 seconds left in regulation as the Blackhawks defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 on Sunday.

”We’re going to have to win games in dramatic fashion sometimes, especially this time of year,” said Toews, who scored his 25th goal. ”They’re not going to be pretty and winning games by two or three goals, so we’re going to have to find ways to squeak them out.”

Andrew Shaw, Brad Richards and Patrick Sharp also scored. Dustin Byfuglien scored twice on the power play and Blake Wheeler recorded his fourth short-handed goal of the season for Winnipeg. Andrew Ladd added two assists.Corey Crawford made 31 saves for the Blackhawks, who snapped a two-game losing skid. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 20 shots in the loss, which snapped his six-game winning streak.The loss also ended Winnipeg’s four-game winning streak at home. It was the second game of a four-game homestand. Winnipeg hosts the New York Rangers on Tuesday.Sharp got an unexpected pass to tie it at 3 early in the third period. Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom lost his stick going past a linesman along the boards and then batted the puck. Sharp picked it up and beat Pavelec at 6:27.

”It’s like an injury,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. ”You know, you’re angry when it happens, but there isn’t anything you can do about it.”
It was hard for the players to accept, but Ladd noted there was still a lot of time left in the game.

”That’s a tough one to take,” Ladd said. ”We’re battling for our playoff lives and something like that happens. It’s always tough to give up the tying goal on that play, but at the same time it’s still a 3-3 hockey game late in the third period and we’ve got to find a way to take that thing to at least overtime.”

Sharp said he was glad to be in the right place at the right time when he scored the tying goal.

”That’s an unfortunate play for them, fortunate for us,” Sharp said. ”We’ve had our fair share of posts and (pucks) staying out, so it’s nice to get a good bounce to go in.”

The Hawks had scored the only goal in the first period and then the teams combined for four in the second.After more than 10 minutes without a shot on goal in the first, the Blackhawks got on the board during a power play with Byfuglien in the penalty box for elbowing. Shaw spun around in front the net and used a rebound off Brandon Saad’s shot to score his 14th goal at 18:30.Winnipeg had killed off 19 of 20 penalties in its previous seven games heading into Sunday.Byfuglien tied it at 1 with an unassisted goal on the power play at 4:34 of the second. His shot went off Crawford into the air and then down and off a defender into the net for his 17th goal of the season.Wheeler made it 2-1 with his team-leading 25th goal on a patient play. After taking a pass from defenseman Tyler Myers, Wheeler skated in and waited to send a low shot behind Crawford’s skate at 7:40.Richards tied it at 16:19, but Byfuglien restored the Jets’ lead with 26 seconds left in the period.Byfuglien fired a blast straight at Crawford from just inside the blue line, the same spot he had a shot clang off the post seconds earlier. Drew Stafford assisted on the goal, extending his career-high points streak to nine games with four goals and seven assists, the longest active points streak in the league.After Sharp tied it at 6:27 of the third, the Jets had a power play with just over four minutes to play, but couldn’t capitalize.

Irish beat Wichita State–advance to Elite 8 for first time since 1979


CLEVELAND—Momentum sagging and Wichita State surging, Mike Brey called time out and offered his Notre Dame players a reminder.There was no screaming. No frantic scribbling of Xs-and-Os. That’s not Brey’s style. Or his team’s either.One that carried the Irish all the way to the brink of the Final Four.Demetrius Jackson scored 20 points and third-seeded Notre Dame blitzed the Shockers in the second half of a surprisingly easy 81-70 victory Thursday night in the Midwest Regional semifinal to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in 36 years.The Irish (32-5) shot 75 percent (18 of 24) over the final 20 minutes, overwhelming the seventh-seeded Shockers (30-5) with a barrage of 3-pointers, expert cuts to the basket and enough fancy passing to fill an And-One mixtape.The 38-18 burst that turned a tight game into something else entirely came after Wichita State took its first and only lead on a layup by Darius Carter with 16:37 to go. Jackson drilled a 3-pointer on Notre Dame’s next trip down then added another one moments later.After that, the Irish were gone. The lead ballooned to as many as 19 points before the Shockers settled themselves. By then, it was far too late.Pat Connaughton added 16 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame and Jerian Grant had nine points and 11 assists as the Irish won their eighth straight.Notre Dame will play top-ranked and unbeaten Kentucky on Saturday night with a Final Four spot on the line. The Wildcats beat West Virginia 78-39.Fred VanVleet led Wichita State with 25 points and Carter had 22 points while playing on the home court of distant cousin LeBron James but the Shockers simply couldn’t keep up with the sharp-shooting Irish.Wichita State appeared ready to take control after surviving an early first-half barrage then Carter’s layup put them ahead. The Shockers – eyeing a rematch with the Wildcats in the regional final after Kentucky ended the Shockers’ perfect season last spring – were caught flat-footed as Notre Dame put on a show.Once Grant decided to become a distributor after missing all five of his first-half shots, the Irish soared. Notre Dame hit eight straight shots at one point to propel the Irish to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1979, when Bill Laimbeer, Orlando Woolridge and Kelly Tripucka fell to Magic Johnson and eventual national champion Michigan State.Ron Baker had just nine points and went scoreless in the second half. Wichita State said it had the punch to keep pace with Notre Dame. The Shockers did for 25 minutes, after that the ACC Tournament champions took flight.The Irish survived two tough opening weekend games, beating Northeastern and Butler by a combined seven points. The win over Butler came just hours after Brey lost his mother Betty to a heart attack at age 84. He spent Sunday celebrating her remarkable life – she was a member of the 1956 U.S. Olympic swim team – before returning to the cocoon of his resilient team.Notre Dame rebounded from the worst season of Brey’s 15 years in South Bend last winter – a messy 15-17 slog – with a sizzling sprint through March that included wins over Duke and North Carolina on its way to an unlikely ACC Tournament triumph down the street from Tobacco Road.Wichita State had no such worries last weekend. The Shockers raced past Indiana then dominated in-state rival Kansas, a victory more than two decades in the making after the Jayhawks spent years building a nonconference schedule that did not include the blossoming mid-major a couple of hours away.Baker admitted toppling Kansas was like reaching Cloud Nine but added it doesn’t sound so good when Cloud 10 is two steps away.The Shockers didn’t even get halfway there.

14-0 run carries Ramblers past Seattle 63-48, advance to CBI Finals

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Earl Peterson and Devon Turk both scored 15 points and Loyola beat Seattle University 63-48 on Wednesday night in the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational.Loyola (22-13) hosts Louisiana-Monroe in Game 1 of the CBI’s best-of-3 championship series on at Gentile Arena Monday.Peterson’s running one-hander from the right baseline tied the game 42-all with 5:46 remaining and triggered a 14-0 run for Loyola over the next 3:43. Peterson had six points in the run.Seattle, which led 34-29 with 12:10 to play, was outscored 34-14 down the stretch.William Powell had 12 points for the Redhawks (18-16) and Jadon Cohee added 10.The Ramblers haven’t been in any postseason tournament since the 1985 NCAA Tournament. It was Seattle’s first postseason appearance of any kind since 1969.

Flyers jump on flat Hawks early, win 4-1

PHILADELPHIA—Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Ryan White and Michael Raffl scored goals to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 win over the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.Giroux had his 22nd goal for his first even-strength score at home this season. Steve Mason was stout again for the Flyers, finishing with 34 saves.Andrew Shaw scored for the Blackhawks.Flyers fans gave Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen a standing ovation during a video tribute for the returning defenseman who helped lead Philadelphia to the 2010 Stanley Cup final.Timonen returned to Philadelphia for the first time since he was traded to the Blackhawks in February for two draft picks. Timonen’s Philly career ended because of blood clots that sidelined him all season until he was traded.Timonen, who joined the Flyers in 2007, had said he would retire at the end of the season and wanted to go out with a playoff contender. Long out of the postseason picture, the Flyers granted his wish once he was cleared to skate.The four-time All-Star waved to the crowd and players on both sides tapped the ice with their sticks during a video tribute in the first period.

”Everything’s been unusual,” Timonen said before the game. ”I’m trying to find my game. It’s been a process the last three weeks. We have a really good team. Even if I play 10, 12 minutes a game, we win games. I have to remind myself the reason why I’m here. It’s not to play 20 minutes, it’s to help this team as much as possible. The playoffs and the Stanley Cup is the biggest thing.”

The Flyers beat the Blackhawks at home for the 11th straight time during the regular season, dating to Nov. 9, 1996.However, the Hawks won in Philadelphia in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup final to clinch the championship. The Blackhawks won the Cup again in 2013 while the Flyers are still chasing their first title since 1975.For a night, this game had as close to a playoff feel as the Flyers will get this season.Simmonds scored his 100th career goal as a Flyer in the first period for a 1-0 lead.

”I think we were making smart decisions with the puck,” Simmonds said. ”One of the biggest things we talked about before the game was we have to be smart with the puck and to have smart puck management. We haven’t made too many turnovers in the neutral zone or trying to do anything fancy.”

White and Giroux both scored in the second period to build a 3-0 lead. Giroux is in the thick of the scoring race, somehow, without a 5-on-5 goal at the Wells Fargo Center before tonight. Giroux, an All-Star this season, had downplayed the dubious distinction. But he tipped the puck over Corey Crawford’s glove midway through the second for the 3-0 lead. Jakub Voracek had his 53rd assist on the goal and he continued to make ground on the NHL scoring lead.Shaw scored the lone goal for the Blackhawks in the third.Raffl scored his 19th goal of the season in the final minutes of the game for a 4-1 lead.

NOTES—The Flyers have five home games over the final seven of the season. … The Blackhawks had allowed the second-fewest goals in the NHL (2.22).

Huge 4th quarter carries Bulls past Raptors 116-103

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

TORONTO—The Bulls are feeling good about themselves as they head toward the playoffs.Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Pau Gasol had 18 and the Bulls beat Toronto 116-103 on Wednesday night for their fifth consecutive victory over the Raptors.Making his second straight start after missing 11 games with a sprained left elbow, Butler was 7 for 8 from the field and 7 for 9 at the free-throw line. The All-Star guard also had five rebounds and three assists.

”The more he plays, that rhythm will come back,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”He’s put a lot of extra work in the last couple of days. Obviously we need him on both sides of the ball.”

Tony Snell scored 17 points as the Bulls moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Raptors for third in the Eastern Conference. Aaron Brooks had 16 points, and Nikola Mirotic finished with 15.Butler said he’s not concerned about the Bulls opponent in the first round of the postseason or playoff positioning for that matter.

”I think we can beat anybody,” he said. ”I don’t think it matters what seed we end up in. We just want to win as many games and get in a rhythm and get rolling heading into the playoffs.”

Toronto backed into a playoff berth when Miami beat Boston and Charlotte lost to Brooklyn. That was of little consolation to coach Dwane Casey on the heels of the Raptors’ second straight loss and third in four games.

”There are no moral victories in this league,” Casey said.
Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan was more optimistic.
”Our confidence is still high,” he said. ”All we need is that one game to get ourselves going.”

Toronto (42-30) needs one more win or another Boston loss to clinch its second straight Atlantic Division title.Greivis Vasquez had 22 points for the Raptors, while DeRozan scored 20. Vasquez also matched a career high with six 3-pointers.Raptors guard Kyle Lowry rested for the third time in four games with a sore back. Lowry returned to the lineup against Detroit on Tuesday after a two-game absence, but left early in the second quarter and didn’t return.The Bulls (44-29) took their first lead since the opening quarter on a layup by Mirotic with 5:47 left, but DeRozan tied it with a pair of free throws.The Bulls then went in front to stay with a 7-0 run. Gasol made a layup, Brooks drained a pull-up 3 and Butler hit two from the line as the Visitors opened a 104-97 edge with 3:42 remaining.

”We knew it was time to win the game,” Butler said.

The Bulls outscored Toronto 39-21 in the fourth as the Raptors missed 12 of 18 shots. The Bulls have won four of five.Thibodeau said injured guard Derrick Rose remains on track to return in time for the playoffs.

”Everything is going according to plan,” Thibodeau said of Rose’s recovery. ”As long as it does and he doesn’t have any setbacks, I don’t see why not.”

After playing three times in six days, the Bulls now play only twice in the next seven days, hosting the Knicks on Saturday and visiting Milwaukee next Wednesday. With several players sore, Thibodeau said the down time is coming at a good time. ”It’s a chance to sort of get your house in order, tighten up some screws,” he said.

NOTES—Joakim Noah returned after sitting out Monday’s win over Charlotte with general soreness. He had nine points, five rebounds and five assists in 28 minutes. … F Doug McDermott (back) was not available. … The Bulls have won four straight and eight of 10 in Toronto….The Bulls host the New York Knicks on Saturday night….Toronto had only three turnovers through the first three quarters but made four in the fourth. …The Bulls are one of two Eastern Conference opponents the Raptors have not beaten this season. Charlotte is the other. Toronto faces the Hornets twice more before the end of the season. … The Raptors haven’t beaten the Bulls since Dec. 31, 2013.

Butler returns, Gasol and Mirotic big in win over Hornets

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol carried the Bulls in Jimmy Butler’s return to the court.Mirotic scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, and the Bulls clinched a playoff spot with a 98-86 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.Gasol had 27 points and 12 rebounds as the Bulls moved into a tie with Toronto for third place in the Eastern Conference. Butler added 19 points on 6-of-20 shooting after missing 11 games with a sprained left elbow.
”It was great to have him back. Great,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”He had a bunch of bunnies that he always makes, so his timing was not quite there but I thought as the game went on, he started to get into a rhythm.”
The Bulls played without center Joakim Noah, who was scratched because of general soreness, but managed to bounce back from an ugly 107-91 loss at Detroit on Saturday.Kemba Walker had 29 points and Mo Williams scored 15 for the Hornets, who were without Cody Zeller (right shoulder) and shot just 34.6 percent from the field. Charlotte also played most of the second half without Al Jefferson, who was held out as a precaution because of a sore right knee.The Hornets finished with 11 assists and 11 turnovers.Charlotte has lost four of five to fall out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets are a half-game back of Boston, which beat Brooklyn 110-91 on Monday night.
”They did a great job,” Walker said. ”Every time we tried to make a push, they scored a big basket. We just couldn’t get a stop down the stretch.”
Mirotic was 10 for 19 from the field and also had eight rebounds in 31 1/2 minutes. The 6-foot-10 rookie is averaging 21 points per game in March, helping the Bulls stay in contention despite another rash of injuries.
”Man, dude can play. He’s basically carried this month, to tell you the truth,” Butler said. ”He’s confident, I think he’s only going to continue to get better because he’s always in a gym working on his game and it shows.”
Gasol made a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Bulls a 74-69 lead heading into the final period. Mirotic had a big 3 with 2:33 to go, and then dunked over Jason Maxiell with 1:55 remaining to increase the Bulls lead to nine.
”We’ve got 10 games left to play, each and every game will be important and critical for our seeding and we’ve got to create momentum and consistency going into the playoffs,” Gasol said.
NOTES—Thibodeau said Derrick Rose (knee) is ”making good, steady progress” and the 2011 NBA MVP is ”doing everything in practice except the contact part.” … The Bulls wore their ugly alternate black uniforms at home….The Bulls visit Toronto on Wednesday night.

Crawford solid as Hawks beat Hurricanes 3-1

RALEIGH—Joel Quenneville didn’t want to talk much about his 750th NHL coaching victory.Instead, his focus was on the important two points the Blackhawks earned in a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.The Blackhawks turned things around after losing 4-0 at Dallas in their previous game.Andrew Shaw scored twice and Corey Crawford made 43 saves for the Hawks,who have earned a point in 18 of its past 21 games.Shaw scored in the first period and with 40 seconds left in the third for the Blackhawks, who are 23-0 when leading after two periods.The Hawks played a strong first period, withstood an onslaught in the second and added an empty-net goal.Patrick Sharp said Quenneville’s intensity is one reason the Blackhawks are the team they are today, with Stanley Cup titles in 2010 and 2013.Now the Blackhawks are fighting for home ice in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs.

”It’s been an honor to play for him all these years and to be a part of a lot of those wins,” said Sharp, who had a goal and an assist. ”He’s a fun coach to play for. He’s got more intensity than the players do.”In practice, preseason games, playoff games, regular season, he’s always into it, and that filters down to our team.”

The intensity was there at the start for the Hawks,who got goals from Shaw and Sharp 1:19 apart in the first period. Shaw netted his 11th of the season, one-timing Marcus Kruger’s behind-the-net pass. Sharp then scored on a rush, redirecting Marian Hossa’s pass by Anton Khudobin.Victor Rask cut Carolina’s deficit in half early in the second period, putting in a rebound of Eric Staal’s breakaway chance.Carolina held the Blackhawks without a shot for the first 9:53 of the second and outshot the Blackhawks 17-1 overall in the period before Khudobin made a strong save on Shaw about five minutes before intermission.The Hurricanes outshot the Blackhawks 19-6 in the frame and 44-25 overall.

”It was obviously an important win,” said Quenneville, third on the career coaching victories list. ”I liked our start. What we did to them in the first they did to us in the second, and then we hung on in the third.”

He attributed the Blackhawks’ success at holding second-intermission leads to several factors, including the play of Crawford, who improved to 30-15-5.Crawford praised the defense in front of him, despite facing 44 shots.

”Guys were making sure that the lane was open for me to see pucks,” he said.

The Hurricanes fell to 15-15-6 at home.

NOTES—Jonathan Toews’ assist on Sharp’s empty-net goal gave him 500 NHL points. … Crawford improved to 5-2 against Carolina. … The Blackhawks improved to 19-7-3 against Eastern Conference teams. … The Hurricanes didn’t commit a penalty, and the Blackhawks were called for one, the Hawks killed off the power play. … Quenneville has 312 victories with the Hawks, 307 with St. Louis, and 131 with Colorado. … Khudobin made his fifth consecutive start for Carolina.

Ramblers beat ORU in CBI second round

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Loyola raced out to a 15-point halftime lead and knocked down nine straight free throws over the final 40 seconds to withstand a furious late charge in an 86-78 win over Oral Roberts in a College Basketball Invitational (CBI) quarterfinal game tonight at Gentile Arena. The Ramblers improve to 21-13 and equal their highest single-season win total since 1985. The Golden Eagles’ season comes to an end with a 19-15 record.Oral Roberts’ Aaron Young hit a three-pointer and converted a four-point play in the first 72 seconds to put the visitors on top before Loyola found its rhythm. A three-point play from Montel James and a three-point basket from Jeff White gave the Ramblers their first lead and a 10-0 run later, highlighted by five points from Earl Peterson, put LU on top 20-13 just past the midway point of the half. A three-pointer from Milton Doyle pushed the lead to double digits for the first time and another triple, this one from Devon Turk, made it a 37-22 game with 3:29 remaining. Oral Roberts scored the next five points but Loyola answered with the final five of the half to carry a 42-27 lead into intermission. Loyola shot 48% in the half and recorded assists on 11 of 13 buckets while its defense limited to the Golden Eagles to just 36% accuracy.A Doyle trey and a James jumper early in the second half gave LU its largest lead of the night (49-32) before Oral Roberts started to chip away. Six straight points sliced the margin to 11 but a steal and lay-in from Peterson bumped the lead back to 16 (54-38) five minutes into the half. A Darian Harris triple pulled ORU within 10 (56-46) but Ben Richardson had an answer, drilling a three from the left wing. With Loyola over the foul limit early, Oral Roberts used two Bobby Word free throws to get within nine with 8:29 to play. Back-to-back baskets from James, the second on a beautiful setup from Doyle in transition, kept the Golden Eagles at an arm’s length and two Richardson free throws made it a 74-62 lead with 2:40 to play before a wild finish.Word drilled two long three-pointers around a pair of Doyle free throws to cut it to eight and, after White split a pair at the line, Word drained another one to make it a 77-71 game with 43 seconds left. After Doyle hit 1-of-2, Young was fouled on a three-pointer and hit all three from the line to cut the deficit to four. Peterson hit four free throws on either side of Young making a pair and Word was fouled on a three-pointer with 16 seconds remaining. He hit the first two to cut it to four but missed the third. Joe Crisman secured the rebound and hit two free throws for his only points of the night to give LU some breathing room. Peterson hit two final ones with just under two seconds left for the final margin.Peterson was terrific all night, finishing with 19 points (4-5 FGs, 11-11 FTs), four rebounds and five assists to lead the Ramblers. James finished with 17 points while Christian Thomas (15 points) and Doyle (14 points, four assists) also reached double figures. Young led Oral Roberts with 26 points.Loyola advances to the CBI semifinals where it will host Seattle game on Wednesday night. Tip-off from Gentile Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.