Mitch's Sports Report: Bruins On The Brink; Thunder Road Speedbowl Changes Ownership

Apr 20, 2017

Thunder Road Speedbowl has been sold, the first change of ownership to the quarter mile racing track in Barre since 1982.

Track officials announced the sale yesterday, with longtime owners Ken Squier and Tom Curley handing over day-to-day operations to Cris Michaud and Montpelier businessman Pat Malone. Thunder Road opened in 1960. The new owners are well versed in its history and Michaud has been a part of it. He spent 22 years as a driver and race director at Thunder Road, and Malone says he has no plans for development on the site, saying it will remain a racing venue. Thunder Road hosts Thursday night races and is home to the Vermont Milk Bowl and Pro All Stars Series known as Pass.

Every game in the series between the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators has been decided by one goal, and last night in Boston was no different. The other consistency has been that most of these one goal games have gone the way of the Senators and that proved true last night as well as the Bruins fell 1-0 and now find themselves facing elimination, down three games to one.

The Bruins have been flummoxed in this series primarily by two players, Ottawa forward Bobby Ryan and defenseman Erik Karlsson, and those two hooked up again for the only goal of the game last night, which came early in the third period. Karlsson wound up for what looked like a slap shot on goal from the Boston blue line, but made a slap pass instead to Ryan, who was waiting at the side of the goal and collected the puck with Tuukka Rask out of position, having set up to block that potential shot from Karlsson. Rask could only dive across the crease and try to get hi stick on the puck and he did initially, but Ryan took as second whack at it and slid it into the net, and the Bruins never got the equalizer. The series now heads back to Ottawa Friday night for game five, and unless Boston can force a game six, they will have played their last game of the 2017 season in Boston.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were also hoping to go up three games to one in their series against the regular season's top team, the Washington Capitals, but the Caps brought the Leafs and their fans a bit closer down to earth with a 5-4 win in Ontario last night.

One of the intriguing story lines in this series has been the play of Tom Wilson, normally a fourth line forward whose job is to play with energy and physicality, wear down the opposition, and if he happens to score a goal, well that's gravy on the turkey. But Wilson has proved to be more than a grinder and a player who gets fewer minutes on the ice than big-name players like Alex Ovechkin. He scored the overtime winner in game one for the Caps, and last night was moved up by coach Barry Trotz to the third line, a move that paid huge dividends when Wilson potted two goals and made a play on defense that kept another out of his own team's net. What's tough for Leafs fans is that Wilson is technically one of their own, a Toronto native who grew up cheering for the hometown Maple Leafs but is now doing everything he can to keep that team from scoring a huge upset in the first round of the playoffs. The series is now tied at two games apiece with game five back in Washington Friday.

The Minnesota Wild avoided a four-game sweep at the hands of the St. Louis Blues last night, winning 2-0 on goals by Cahrlie Coyle and Martin Hanzal. Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves in net for the shut-out win that keeps the Wild alive.

The Calgary Flames were not so fortunate, their flames extinguished by the Anaheim Ducks who swept Calgary away in four games with a 3-1 win Alberta last night.

To Major League Baseball, and Rick Porcello deserved better. Last year's American League Cy Young award winner pitched arguably his best game for the Bostion Red Sox this season, but was let down by his defense in a 3-0 loss. The three runs came in the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays, and all were unearned, following errors by third baseman Pablo Sandoval and the normally sure-handed first baseman Mitch Moreland, a former Gold Glove winner. Credit the Jays bullpen as well, with three different relievers combing for six innings of scoreless relief inn support of starter Francisco Liriano. Porcello's line was a good one. He scattered six hits over seven innings, striking out five while giving up just one walk, but those errors behind him proved to be too much to overcome.

The NY Yankees had their 8-game winning streak snapped by the Chicago White Sox Tuesday but got started on a new one right away with a 9-1 rout of the pale hose in the Bronx last night. Aaron Judge followed a three run homer by Starlin Castro with a bomb of his own that had jaws dropping all through the Stadium, a shot measured at 448 feet that landed more than halfway up the bleachers, and the Yankees completed their homestand with eight wins and just one loss. Masahiro Tanaka pitched into the seventh and got the win. The Yanks get a day of rest to admire their work before heading out to Pittsburgh for a series against the Pirates.

The NY Mets were losers of four straight, but Jay Bruce put a stop to that, hiting two home runs and riving in all five Mets runs in a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies last night. Bruce is weraring out baseballs in the early going this season, hitting .309 with six homers and 14 RBI's in 14 games for the Mets so far, a far cry from the tepid numbers he put up after being acquired from the Cincinnati Reds at the trading deadline last year.

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