District 12-AAA Champion Overton Bobcats - Photos by Mike Strasinger

District 12-AAA Champion Overton Bobcats – Photos by Mike Strasinger

District 12-AAA Runners-up Hillwood Hilltoppers

District 12-AAA Runners-up Hillwood Hilltoppers

Although Overton beat Hillwood Friday night in the District 12-AAA, both teams advance to the next round on the road to the TSSAA State Tournament. Overton will host Ravenwood, while Hillwood will travel to Summit High School in Williamson County. Both games will be on Monday.

The District 12-AAA All-Tournament Team L to R - Zac Vaughn, Antioch; Cody Byers, McGavock; Taylor Demonbreun, Patrick Lockeridge, Terron Smith, Hillwood; Julius King, Gideon McKee, Logan Roberts, Sam Mast, Alex Hall (MVP), Overton

The District 12-AAA All-Tournament Team
L to R – Zac Vaughn, Antioch; Cody Byers, McGavock; Taylor Demonbreun, Patrick Lockeridge, Terron Smith, Hillwood; Julius King, Gideon McKee, Logan Roberts, Sam Mast, Alex Hall (MVP), Overton

 

Rawnaq (3) edges out for the win in the 2016 Iroquois Steeplechase - Photo by Mike Strasinger

Rawnaq (3) edges out Shaneshill (5) for the win in the 2016 Iroquois Steeplechase – Photo by Mike Strasinger

Nashville, TN –

Ireland’s Rawnaq,  with Jack Doyle up,  edged out fellow Irish Thoroughbred Shaneshill to win the 75th running of the Iroquois Steeplechase on a spectactular race day at Percy Warner Park in Nashville. Rawnaq now is in the running for a $500,000 bonus if successful next spring at the Group 1 Ryanair World Hurdle at Cheltenham in March 2017.

In honor of its diamond anniversary, the Iroquois Steeplechase and the world-famous Cheltenham Racecourse in England have produced the Brown Advisory Iroquois Cheltenham Challenge–a partnership that can now boast one of the largest payouts of any steeplechase event in the world: any horse to complete the Challenge would earn nearly a million dollars.

The Brown Advisory Challenge is straightforward: win Nashville’s Grade 1 Calvin Houghland Iroquois Hurdle Stakes on May 14th and the Group 1 Ryanair World Hurdle at Cheltenham in March 2017. Both are three-mile races on turf over fences. Between the two purses and the $500,000 bonus, total winnings would exceed approximately $960,000.

The bonus, which hinges on a horse winning both races within the space of 12 months, opens the door to those who are even placed at Cheltenham this March to make the trip to Tennessee in May–and, if winning there, try to gain the bonus at The Festival in March 2017.

The Brown Advisory Challenge looks to reignite the cross-Atlantic rivalry that has been a part of steeplechase racing through history, and this challenge is a significant one. To learn more about the Brown Advisory Challenge, email Dwight here.

The Iroquois was the final race of 7 races held at the Steeplechase Grounds at Percy Warner Park.

Race Results for Race 1, The Guilford Dudley, Jr. Memorial Training Flat
(HORSE’S NAME, followed by owner, trainer, rider):
WINNER: GOODBYESEEULATER, Matthew T. Groff, Jack Fisher, Sean McDermott)

Race Results for Race 2, The Bright Hour Hurdle Stakes
WINNER: LUNE DE CARO (Tamara McSorley, Jonathan Sheppard, Keri Brion)

Race Results for Race 3, The Marcellus Frost Sport of Kings Novice Hurdle Stakes
WINNER: TEMPT ME ALEX (Robert A. Kinsley, Elizabeth Voss, Jack Doyle)

Race Results for Race 4, The Margaret Currey Henley Filly & Mare Hurdle Stakes
WINNER: ONE LUCKY LADY ( Irvin S. Naylor, Cyril Murphy, Ross Geraghty)

Race Results for Race 5, The George Sloan & John Sloan Sr. Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle
WINNER: ALL FOR US (Duodecim Stable, Jack Fisher, Connor Hankin)

Race Results for Race 6, The Mason Houghland Memorial Timber Stakes
WINNER: THE NEPHEW (Bruton Street-US, Jack Fisher, Connor Hankin)

Race Results for Race 7, The Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Grade I) Hurdle Stakes
FIRST PLACE WINNER: RAWNAQ (Irvin S. Naylor, Cyril Murphy, Jack Doyle)
Second Place: SHANESHILL (Andrea Wylie, W.P. Mullins, Danny Mullins)
Third Place: NICHOLS CANYON (Andrea Wylie, W.P. Mullins, Ruby Walsh)
Fourth Place: SCORPIANCER (Bruton Street-US, Jack Fisher, Connor Hankin)
Fifth Place: DEMONSTRATIVE (Mrs. George L. Ohrstrom, Jr., Richard Valentine, Darren Nagle)
Sixth Place: SYROS (Mrs. S. K. Johnston Jr., Jack Fisher, Sean McDermott)

East Nashville's Grenetria Shell won the 100 and 300 meter hurdles, the 200 meters, and the long jump. Photo by Mike Strasinger

East Nashville’s Grenetria Shell won the 100 and 300 meter hurdles, the 200 meters, and the long jump. Photo by Mike Strasinger

Nashville, Tn

East Nashville Magnet’s Grenetria Shell continued her track and field dominance in Class A-AA middle/West Sub-Sectional meet concluded Friday at Lipscomb Academy. Shell won the 100 meter hurdles, the 300 meter hurdles, and the 200 meter dash on Friday to go along with her long jump victory earlier in the week.

Jeremy McDowell of Maplewood doubled up, winning the 100 and 200 meters. Harrison King of CPA also doubled, winning the 1600 and the 3200.

Maplewood's Jeremy McDowell - Photo by Toby Simpson

Maplewood’s Jeremy McDowell – Photo by Toby Simpson

The East Nashville Girls swept the relays winning the 4 x 100, 4 x 200, and 4 x 400, while in the boys races , Pearl Cohn won the 4 x 100 , East Nashville took the 4 X 200, and Lipscomb ran away with the 4 X 400.

East Nashville Girls swept the relays - Photo by Toby Simpson

East Nashville Girls swept the relays – Photo by Toby Simpson

The top 2 finishers from each sub-sectional earned automatic places in next week sectional meet (also at Lipscomb), and then the next 4 best times also advance.

Complete results from the Lipscomb meet can be found here – Results

The 75th running of the Iroquois Steeplechase  takes place on Saturday at Percy Warner Park. - File Photo by Mike Strasinger

The 75th running of the Iroquois Steeplechase takes place on Saturday at Percy Warner Park. – File Photo by Mike Strasinger

From The Iroquois Steeplechase –

The Iroquois Steeplechase has been Nashville’s rite of spring since 1941, attracting more than 25,000 spectators annually to watch the best horses and riders in the world race over hurdles and timber on a manicured turf track.

Held the second Saturday of each May at Percy Warner Park, this iconic sporting event is Music City’s annual celebration of time‐honored traditions, Tennessee hospitality and Southern fashions. Guests enjoy areas for families, well‐appointed tents and individually organized tailgates where the emphasis is on race day pickings, larger‐than‐life hats, Honey Jack Juleps and crowd‐pleasing recipes.

Owners, trainers, sponsors, and sporting fans gathered at the Steeplechase Barn Thursday morning for the traditional post position drawing and breakfast, sponsored by FarmVet. Enthusiasts of the sport mingled and soaked in the beauty of the morning at Percy Warner Park as the post positions for each of Saturday’s seven races were drawn from a leather bag.

The Iroquois Steeplechase is run by the nonprofit, 501c3 organization The Volunteer State Horsemen’s Foundation who manages and produces a world-class event and promotes the sport and the spirit of steeplechasing throughout the community.

Through its work and the Iroquois Steeplechase, the foundation also supports several local organizations by way of race proceeds.

Since being designated as one of our primary beneficiaries in 1981, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt has received more than $10 million from The Volunteer State Horsemen’s Foundation (VSHF) proceeds. The Iroquois Steeplechase staff, as well as the VSHF board, are involved with the hospital year round–contributing time, supporting endowments, and continuing the long-standing association of the event and the children. Learn more about the impact of the VSHF on the hospital in the 2015 Impact Report here.

In addition, our organization supports other deserving non-profits and charities, such as Friends of Warner Parks. The VSHF pays special attention to the preservation of the Percy Warner Park grounds, and all improvements to the Iroquois Steeplechase grounds are paid for by the foundation from race proceeds. That maintenance provides year-round benefits and enhancements for the Equestrian Center at Percy Warner Park. For more details, please read the Friends of Warner Park Impact Report here.

Post Positions for the Iroquois were drawn on Thursday.

Nichols Canyon and Shaneshill, two horses from Ireland who have traveled to Nashville to compete in the seventh race, the Iroquois, will take the first and fifth posts, respectively, for the final race of the day.

Continue Reading

The Predators celebrate after Viktor Arvidsson scored in OT to win Game 6 over the Sharks, Photos by Mike Strasinger

The Predators celebrate after Viktor Arvidsson scored in OT to win Game 6 over the Sharks, Photos by Mike Strasinger

Nashville, Tn

Viktor Arvidsson scored just 2:03 into overtime to lift the Nashville Predators past the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals at Bridgestone Arena before a delirious SRO crowd at Bridgestone Arena on Monday night. It was Arvidsson’s first ever Stanley Cup playoff goal. The Predators will now play in their 2nd consecutive Game 7 in the playoffs after never playing in a Game 7 before this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.  There will be a much-needed extra day of rest for the teams as they don’t play until Thursday night in San Jose. The Predators have played every other day since the playoffs began. Predators coach Peter Laviolette said that he’d rather have the extra day than any momentum the OT victory may have given his team.

Miikka Salomaki was called for high sticking against Sharks goalie Martin Jones resulting in a power-play goal for the Sharks

Miikka Salomaki was called for high sticking against Sharks goalie Martin Jones resulting in a power-play goal for the Sharks

The San Jose Sharks maintained their momentum from their decisive Game 5 win over the Predators, coming out strong in the 1st period scoring twice to build a 2-0 lead 11;51 into the opening frame. The Predators answered back quickly getting an unassisted goal from Roman Josi with 4:33 remaining in the 1st period bring the home crowd of Bridgestone Arena back into the game. From there on out the Predators were the stronger team, skating faster, hitting harder, using the crowd’s enthusiasm as a tonic.

Ryan Johansen tied the game at 2-2 on a beautiful move beating Sharks goalie Martin Jones just 1:25 into the 2nd period. The Predators continued their dominance the rest of the period, but they couldn’t get anything past the stubborn Sharks netminder sending the teams to the locker rooms tied 2-2 after 2.

An unfortunate high-sticking penalty against Miikka Salomaki put the Preds down a man, and the Sharks quickly cashed in getting a power play goal from Logan

Colin Wilson celebrates after tying the game 3-3 in the 3rd.

Colin Wilson celebrates after tying the game 3-3 in the 3rd.

Couture 10:04 into the 3rd. Now facing elimination, the Predators continued to force the action and their hard work paid off as Colin Wilson scored his 5th goal of the playoffs off a sweet pass from James Neal to tie the game at 3-3 with 7:22 remaining. The teams would skate to a tie at the end of regulation.

The overtime period was all Predators when Arvidsson got loose down the left side in front of the San Jose defense, and he flipped a wicked back-hand over the left shoulder of Martin Jones for the game-winner setting off another epic celebration.

The Predators were outshot 8 to 5 in the 1st period but then held San Jose to just 10 shots the rest of the game. The Predators finished with 32 shots on goal.

Box Score

Highlites

Coach Laviolette’s Post-Game Remarks

On the team’s resiliency…
We’ve got really good leadership in the room – I’ve said that all along. Ultimately, those are the guys that pull the rope. When you’re down like that, it can be frustrating. We were a little slow getting off the mark, they had that redirect, then a rebound goal, and then were able to jump up two to nothing. You never know what’s going to happen at that point. I think [Josi’s] goal, with five minutes or so left to go in the first period, was really important. It injected some life into us. I’ve got to tell you, the fans tonight were just incredible. The building was unbelievable, and when you come down from elimination games, last round and this round, and you have a building like we do…the energy that we draw from that, that we pull from that, I can’t even tell you how important that is for our group. It was a great environment. After that [goal], we came out in the second period and really put our foot on the gas pedal.

On moving Arvidsson to the top line…
Things have gone well for that [top] line, our defense has thrown in some goals, and things have gone well for the Fisher line, but ultimately, you’re trying to get production from different pieces and different parts of the lineup. Where everybody didn’t play the game that I think we’re capable of in game five, and you address things and you meet with the players, there is usually a good response. We just had a feeling that [Arvidsson] was going to be a non-stop worker out there, and use his speed to try and get in on the fore-check, and make things happen. It was great for him. He’s such a fun player to watch. You’ve got some speed behind him in the neutral zone, he was able to turn [the puck] over, and get an angle to get a shot off. It was a great shot. I thought, more than anything it was just trying to get more people involved.

On Rinne’s resiliency after the Sharks third goal…
Nobody would want that [third goal] back more than him. He’s a competitive guy. He got tripped up there for a second, and they were able to score a big goal. I thought our response was really good shortly after that with Wilson putting in the goal to tie it up. But, let’s not kid each other. [Rinne] has been outstanding in this series, and when we win, he’s a big part of it.

On having two days off until the next game…
We kept saying, let’s get through this game and we’ve got two days. We have not had anything. It’s been nonstop with the travel and the fact that we’re [playing] every other day since the playoffs started. It’s really good for our group. We need that break, and we feel like it will give us that push when we go out there for game seven.

We’re gladly going to take these two days off. I’m not making excuses. If we didn’t like going out to the West Coast, then we should have done better in the regular season. Our guys went in to game five, and we know what we look like when we’re on top of our game and we have the energy. We didn’t have it for whatever reason. I’m not going to make excuses, but, it wasn’t our night. For us to get an extra day off, it’ll be important.

On Mike Ribeiro’s game tonight…
I thought [Ribeiro] played a good game in Game Five. We were not good, and didn’t show up, but I saw him taking hard strides everywhere, strong finishes in his checks. When we talked again today, he came back with another hard-working effort, like he’s trying. [Ribeiro] is capable of making play that can tie a game when your season is on the line, and he’s done it for us all year. He’s been one of our top scorers all year, and top scorers last year. I’m happy for him.

On the team’s resiliency…
We’ve got really good leadership in the room – I’ve said that all along. Ultimately, those are the guys that pull the rope. When you’re down like that, it can be frustrating. We were a little slow getting off the mark, they had that redirect, then a rebound goal, and then were able to jump up two to nothing. You never know what’s going to happen at that point. I think [Josi’s] goal, with five minutes or so left to go in the first period, was really important. It injected some life into us. I’ve got to tell you, the fans tonight were just incredible. The building was unbelievable, and when you come down from elimination games, last round and this round, and you have a building like we do…the energy that we draw from that, that we pull from that, I can’t even tell you how important that is for our group. It was a great environment. After that [goal], we came out in the second period and really put our foot on the gas pedal.

On moving Arvidsson to the top line…
Things have gone well for that [top] line, our defense has thrown in some goals, and things have gone well for the Fisher line, but ultimately, you’re trying to get production from different pieces and different parts of the lineup. Where everybody didn’t play the game that I think we’re capable of in game five, and you address things and you meet with the players, there is usually a good response. We just had a feeling that [Arvidsson] was going to be a non-stop worker out there, and use his speed to try and get in on the fore-check, and make things happen. It was great for him. He’s such a fun player to watch. You’ve got some speed behind him in the neutral zone, he was able to turn [the puck] over, and get an angle to get a shot off. It was a great shot. I thought, more than anything it was just trying to get more people involved.

On Rinne’s resiliency after the Sharks third goal…
Nobody would want that [third goal] back more than him. He’s a competitive guy. He got tripped up there for a second, and they were able to score a big goal. I thought our response was really good shortly after that with Wilson putting in the goal to tie it up. But, let’s not kid each other. [Rinne] has been outstanding in this series, and when we win, he’s a big part of it.

On having two days off until the next game…
We kept saying, let’s get through this game and we’ve got two days. We have not had anything. It’s been nonstop with the travel and the fact that we’re [playing] every other day since the playoffs started. It’s really good for our group. We need that break, and we feel like it will give us that push when we go out there for game seven.

We’re gladly going to take these two days off. I’m not making excuses. If we didn’t like going out to the West Coast, then we should have done better in the regular season. Our guys went in to game five, and we know what we look like when we’re on top of our game and we have the energy. We didn’t have it for whatever reason. I’m not going to make excuses, but, it wasn’t our night. For us to get an extra day off, it’ll be important.

On Mike Ribeiro’s game tonight…
I thought [Ribeiro] played a good game in Game Five. We were not good, and didn’t show up, but I saw him taking hard strides everywhere, strong finishes in his checks. When we talked again today, he came back with another hard-working effort, like he’s trying. [Ribeiro] is capable of making play that can tie a game when your season is on the line, and he’s done it for us all year. He’s been one of our top scorers all year, and top scorers last year. I’m happy for him.

 

Nashville Sounds right-fielder Jake Smolinski scores the winning run against the Memphis Redbirds - Photos by Mike Strasinger

Nashville Sounds right-fielder Jake Smolinski scores the winning run against the Memphis Redbirds – Photos by Mike Strasinger

From The Nashville Sounds

Starter Daniel Mengden Tosses Seven Shutout Innings

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sounds left fielder Andrew Lambo hit a two-out single to right field to score Jake Smolinski with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Sounds a 3-2 walk-off win before 6,031 fans Sunday afternoon at First Tennessee Park.

The Sounds celebrate their win.

The Sounds celebrate their win.

Smolinski sparked the two-out rally when Miguel Socolovich hit him with a pitch. With Lambo batting, he swiped second base for his third stolen base of the game. Lambo swatted a 3-2 offering from Socolovich into shallow right field and Smolinski scored just in front of the throw to the plate.

 The rally came just moments after Redbirds right fielder David Washington tied the game with a two-out, two-run homer in the top of the ninth off Sounds reliever Tucker Healy. The blast cost starter Daniel Mengden his second win in as many outings after a brilliant performance.

Daniel Mengden

Daniel Mengden

Mengden matched a career-high seven innings and kept Memphis off the scoreboard while limiting them to just four hits. He didn’t walk a batter and racked up eight strikeouts in the process. The eight punchouts fell just one shy of tying his career-high. Over his first two Triple-A starts, Mengden has combined to throw 13 shutout innings.

 The scoring began with a Jake Smolinski two-out RBI single to right that scored Tyler Ladendorf to give Nashville an early 1-0 lead.

The Sounds doubled their lead in the bottom of the fourth when Joey Wendle sent a sacrifice fly to left field to score Renato Nunez to give Nashville a 2-0 lead.

 Mengden was terrific after he allowed a leadoff triple to Charlie Tilson. He buckled in and got the next three hitters while keeping Tilson at third.

 One game after Zach Neal retired the final 16 batters he faced, Mengden retired the final 11 he saw.

 He gave way to the bullpen as Angel Castro kept the 2-0 lead with a 1-2-3 eighth inning.

 The Sounds turned to Healy in the ninth who allowed the game-tying homer to Washington on a 1-1 pitch before the heroics in the home half of the ninth.

 The series will conclude Monday night at First Tennessee Park. The Sounds send right-hander Chris Smith (1-4, 5.51) to the mound and the Redbirds will counter with right-hander Arturo Reyes (1-2, 5.73). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

Box Score 

Brentwood's Brody Hasty (1) leads the pack in the 1600 meters

Brentwood’s Brody Hasty (1) leads the pack in the 1600 meters

From MoPattonSports.com

Winning an event at Tuesday’s Great 8 Invitational track and field meet at Vanderbilt was an accomplishment, considering it featured the top performers in Middle Tennessee – and beyond.

Battle Ground Academy’s Diamond Battle was one of three athletes to take multiple titles.

The senior sprinter won both the 100 and 200 meters, turning in a 12.26-second effort in the former and a 25.28 in the latter.

“The 200 isn’t usually my race, but I told myself ‘you’ve got this’,” said the Austin Peay signee, who was pushed by Shelbyville’s Keithlin Campbell in both events. Campbell, who had the fastest qualifying times in each, finished second in the 100 (12.36) and did not finish the 200 as she had to be helped off the track following an injury.

“I knew as long as I could run with her, I could hit my times,” Battle said. “I’ve been trying to hit 11.9 or 11.8 (in the 100), but I haven’t had the weather or the competition. I felt like she’d be my competition (Tuesday).”

Battle’s time in the 200 was a personal best and set a school record, as she hopes to continue to peak toward the upcoming Division II state meet in three weeks.

“I feel good about it,” she said of Tuesday’s outings.

Maplewood’s Jeremy McDowell – a summer track teammate of Battle’s – swept the 100 and 200 as well, winning the 100 with a 10.94 and the 200 with a 21.77.

“It’s an honor to be here with some of the top runners in the state,” the junior said. “Knowing people are out here running the same times as you, you know every race has to be the best it can be. One mistake and you’re done.

“It was a little cold out here. To run the time I ran in the 200 was amazing. I’ve been stuck at 21.9 the whole year. To run 21.7 in this weather – I probably would have gone 21.5 or 21.6 if it had been warmer. It gives me hope for the future.”

Gallatin’s Adam Neelly was also a double winner, with a 55-11 effort in the shot put and a 181-1 in the discus – erasing the previous meet record of 174-6 set by his older brother, Brett, two years ago.

Four other records were set Tuesday, including the 110 hurdles, where Brentwood Academy’s George Patrick ran a 13.98 to erase the 14.09 ran by Hunters Lane’s John Yarbrough in 2000.

“It feels amazing,” said Patrick, a Texas signee, of the new mark. “I know in my heart I can go faster. But the second you start getting mad at PRs is the second you stop hitting them.”

His record-setting effort almost didn’t take place, as Patrick was nearly disqualified for false-starting.

“(The starter) was shooting rounds off at the line, but they didn’t go off,” he said. “I tried to stop myself, and my shoulder popped out. I fell on my face.”

For Patrick, running on a school day after classes wasn’t the most conducive set-up for a stellar performance.

“I’m not used to running at 7 at night when I’ve been up since 6 in the morning,” he said. “Running in a meet after a school day is really tough, when you’ve been sitting in a position not good for running. The conditions weren’t perfect to break a record.”

Records were also set by East Nashville’s girls (49.01) and Pearl-Cohn’s boys (42.50) in the 4×100, along with Brentwood’s Brodey Hasty in the 1600 (4:13.22) and Niamh Schuacher of The King’s Academy in the 3200 (10:47.99).

Ravenwood’s girls and Franklin’s boys saved their best for last, winning the 4×400 relays in the final events of the night.

Ravenwood’s foursome of Addison White, Juila Henderson, Grace Parsons and Riley White combined for a 3:59.87, finishing just ahead of Centennial’s 4:00.90. Continue Reading

The Predators may be have been down 2-0 but they're not out, winning game 3 by the score of 4-1. Photos by Mike Strasinger

The Predators may be have been down 2-0 but they’re not out, winning game 3 by the score of 4-1. Photos by Mike Strasinger

Nashville,Tn

The Nashville Predators defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-1 in Game 3, scoring 4 unanswered goals to overcome an early 1- 0 lead for the Sharks, before a rabid, sold out crowd at Bridgestone Arena. San Jose leads the Western Conference semi-final series now 2 games to 1 with game 4 in Nashville Thursday at 8:00 PM CT.

After a pretty goal by the Sharks Patrick Marleau at 13:13 of the 1st, the Predators got goals from James Neal, Shea Weber, Colin Wilson , and Filip Forsberg. Neal and Forsberg scored power play goals, while Weber scored on a 4 on 4 situation. Predators goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 27 of 28 shots by the Sharks.

Celebration after score by Colin Wilson (33)

Celebration after score by Colin Wilson (33)

The Predators were outplayed in Game 1, probably should have won Game 2, and were rewarded for their better play in Game 3 tonight with the win. This was San Jose’s first loss on the road in the playoffs this year.

Predators Coach Peter Laviolette’s Quotes

Head Coach Peter Laviolette
On tonight’s special teams performance…

I think just making sure we’re disciplined, or trying to be [disciplined] because their power play is so dangerous. I thought our PK did a really good job tonight. Our power play was good tonight. It moved around, got some looks. That was the difference in the game, and it had been.

On tonight’s game…
Our guys have played hard. The only game that we look back on where we say that we weren’t on our toes and ready to jump was game three in the first round, and that happens sometimes. You just don’t have the stuff. Game One we had it, and it was a tough break with the power play goal that they scored. Their building kind of took over from there. Game Two, I liked the way we played, and Game Three, I liked the way we played. I think our guys are playing pretty good hockey right now.

On sitting Mike Ribeiro and starting Pontus Aberg…
In regards to [Ribeiro], it was just a lineup decision that I made. [Aberg], I thought, came in and gave us some good speed. He was a good player for Milwaukee down the stretch. He brings speed and skill, and this is a fast game right now against San Jose. I thought he did a good job. I don’t think he had too many minutes, but I think, in saying that, it’s his first game in the National Hockey League. That can be a little bit overwhelming to come in to our building with the energy that’s in here, it’s his first playoff game, and we’re down 0-2 in the series. That’s a big piece to bite off for him. I thought he did a really good job just using his speed and playing a good game, a smart game. You can see that he’s got speed and you can see that he’s got skill.

On the team loosening up after Neal’s power play goal…
I don’t sense our guys being tight, tense or gripping their sticks. In the morning skates, I think there is a lot of confidence in our room. But San Jose has got a great team, too. You’ve got two good teams playing against each other. It’s not from lack of confidence from our guys that we can’t win or that we can’t be successful. I don’t think we’re gripping our sticks, but you certainly gain a little bit of confidence when we’re scoring some goals, and some guys who are probably looking to make a difference in the game tonight are looking at the scoresheet from tonight’s game. That’s a good thing for our group. Overall, I thought our team played a really gutsy game. We blocked a lot of shots, especially at the end of the first period. There were a lot of guys who were sacrificing their bodies in front of [Rinne]. [Rinne] was terrific. I really liked the way we played tonight.

On special teams factoring in to the series…
Special teams always factor into the series, there’s no question. Discipline and specialty teams are two huge factors. I said this after last game, I hated the result, but we played a pretty good hockey game. It’s about wins. I thought we played a good game tonight, and they played a good game tonight. I thought that their game was a little bit better than it was in game two, and it was good to get a win under our belt because right now that’s what it’s about- winning games.

Box Score

Highlites