Mitch's Sports Report

Weekdays at approximately 6:45 a.m.

Sports can be fun, thrilling, and heartbreaking... local, national or global. I love talking sports, and I've been known to express an almost imperceptible preference for certain teams.

Listen to my sports report every weekday as part of the 6:44 a.m. newscast, or listen here or the podcast any time.

A little separation. A little breathing room. That's what the Boston Bruins bought themselves last night with a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators in Boston, a much-needed home win and the team's second in a row following a four game losing skid.

The NHL calendar says the playoffs don't start for another two weeks, but you could fool at least four teams in the eastern conference for whom every game from now until the end of the season is essentially, a playoff game to make the playoffs.

The Norwich men's hockey team is once again champions of NCAA division three hockey. The Cadets won the program's fourth title and first in seven years Saturday night, beating Trinity 4-1 in upstate New York.

The Boston Bruins could not stand their good fortune against the Tampa Bay Lightning last night, blowing three different leads at home of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 in an ultimate 6-3 loss in a game they really had to have to keep a secure spot in the race for the playoffs.

In the NHL, the Boston Bruins were idle last night but two games were played that have an effect on their fortunes, and neither outcome was good for the Black and Gold.

The Boston Bruins are entering into their annual stretch of Groundhog Day hockey. The reference being to the Bill Murray film in which he lives the same day over and over before learning how to free himself from the existential shackles of an unexamined life. Whether the Bruins are learning anything that will free them from a path to playoff hockey exile remains to be seen.

The Boston Bruins needed this one. But so did the team chasing them down. In the end, it was the pursuer who had the final word as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-2 in Toronto last night, a win that pulls the Leafs within just one point of the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic division, with a game in hand on Boston.

The Plattsburgh State Cardinals are champions of women's division three hockey for a record breaking fourth time in a row, but they were less than a minute away from having that streak snapped in Michigan last night.

The 21-game winning streak is over. The upset bid came up short. But no one in the UVM men's basketball locker room was hanging their heads after the thirteenth-seeded Catamounts fell to number four Purdue in Milwaukee in the NCAA tournament last night.

In the NHL, the Boston Bruins went into the Calgary Saddledome last night looking to keep the high-flying Flames from setting a franchise record for most consecutive wins. Calgary was on a ten-game winning streak, but they'll have to start over as the Bruins came away with an impressive 5-2 victory.

In the NHL the Boston Bruins face the hottest team in the league right now and an old friend when they skate against the Flames in Calgary tonight. Former Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton is part of the blue line corps for the team that's won ten games in a row heading and has vaulted itself into the upper regions of the playoff bubble when just a month ago they looked like a lock for a no-show.

It was the year of the Boston Red Sox Impossible Dream season. The year Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway thrilled moviegoers in the biopic "Bonnie and Clyde". The last time the Original Six Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team hoisted the Stanley Cup. And until last night at Patrick Gymnasium, 1967 was the last year the Rutland High School boy's basketball team was crowned division one state champs.

Their nail-biting win over Albany in the books, and with it their sixth America East championship, the University of Vermont men's basketball team found out yesterday they'll be facing the Purdue Boilermakers in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Some thrilling action in high school playoffs went down on Town Meeting Day, including a semi-final match-up between Rutland and Burlington in division one boys' hoops that went down to the wire and saw Rutland knocking off the defending state champs 41-38 at Patrick Gymnasium.

You can't blame fans of the University of Vermont mens' basketball team if they're already looking ahead to the Big Dance. The Catamounts and coach John Becker would surely remind those fans that they've still got work to do to get there, but after UVM's 74-41 dismantling of New Hampshire last night, the America East championship crown settling squarely in Burlington has a feel of inevitability to it.

The nation's second longest winning streak in mens' college basketball is now at seventeen games. The America East conference crown has been secured. The best regular season record for a UVM hoops team is in the books. And if any other team in America East wants to forge a path to the NCAA tournament, they're going to have to travel through Burlington to get there.

The playoffs are a few games off for some schools, but have already begun for others, including the Lyndon State Hornets, who have booked themselves a date in the North Atlantic Conference semi-finals after beating the University of Maine at Farmington, 88-66, in Lyndon Center last night.

The NBA schedule resumes after the all star break today, but the games themselves will take a back seat to trade tracking as teams buy or sell according to their playoff chances.

The U.S. Biathlon team continues to rack up wins at the World Cup in Hochfilzen, Austria, and skiers with ties to Vermont keep finding their ways to the podium. Last week UVM alum Lowell Bailey became the first American ever to win a Biathlon World Championship, and yesterday Barton native Susan Dunklee took silver in the womens' 12.5-kilometer race.

A University of Vermont skiing alum has made history. Lowell Bailey, who graduated from UVM in the class of 2005, became the first American ever to win a biathlon world championship in a thrilling finish on Thursday in Hochfilzen, Austria.