Alabama notes: Playoff opponent doesn’t matter for Tide

first_imgTUSCALOOSA – Alabama players wanted to bask in the SEC Championship Game victory and not worry about the playoffs Saturday night.They were still tired Sunday and looked forward to the week off.However, they were confident that they’ll be ready for the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl to begin the their four-team playoff.“It doesn’t matter who we play,” offensive tackle Austin Shepherd said. “If we play Alabama football, we can beat anybody in the nation. We just have to play to our standard, and we will be fine.”Top-seeded Alabama found out Sunday that it faces No. 4 Ohio State in one the of the semifinals.No. 2 Oregon and No. 4 Florida State face off in the Rose Bowl for the other semifinal.“We’ll prepare for it,” safety Landon Collins said. “The team we play will have the same mentality as we do, so we have to be ready.”The winners move on to the national championship game on Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas.“If we play the Alabama way we can give anybody a run,” quarterback Blake Sims said. “Whoever is next on the schedule is, I’m ready to play.” ■ Offensive notes: Alabama ended the regular season with a flurry of offense with 504 total yards and 42 points against Missouri. Here are other points of interest out of the SEC Championship Game.The 28 first downs, 76 plays, 23 completions, four rushing touchdowns and points scored were all conference game highs for the Crimson Tide.Sims set the Alabama SEC title game record for total offense with 281 yards. He threw for 262 and rushed for 19.Junior wide receiver Amari Cooper gained 1,679 total yards this season, which is eighth-best in Alabama single-season history. His 3,443 career yards ranks 10th in Crimson Tide history.Running back Derrick Henry was used off the bench, but had a career day with 141 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. The yardage was his best effort and the carries and touchdowns tied his previous bests.Christion Jones claimed the kickoff return average record for the SEC title game at 28.3 on three returns. He topped a 27.5 average on two returns by Peerless Price of Tennessee in 1998. ■ Defensive notes: Sophomore defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson had a career game against Missouri. He had nine tackles and three for a loss of yardage. Both were his best-ever numbers.Junior safety Landon Collins had seven tackles in the game. He has had seven or more tackles in 10 of the last 14 games. ■ Special company: Alabama has won five SEC Championship Games and earned five individual MVP awards, now that Sims claimed the latest trophy.The other winners were defensive back Antonio Langham (1992), receiver Freddie Milons (1999), quarterback Greg McElroy (2009) and running back Eddie Lacy (2012). ■ Former player update: Former Alabama offensive lineman Chad Lindsay transferred to Ohio State last offseason. He’s no longer with the team due to injuries, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said Sunday.“He’s given up football,” Meyer said. “He’s finishing up his schooling this semester or this month.”last_img read more

WKD Pool Super League

first_imgTeamPWDLFA+/-Pts. The Butcher’s Arms125521361043215 O’Leary’s Sports Bar1113789131-425 Results & Standings Dec. 27 (week12) Megabreak Pool Lounge11443114106812 Shoot Pool12426111129-1810center_img Shoot Pool Ladies126241281121614 The Boom Boom Bar12714121119215 The Stag’s Head1212998142-444 Results: Shoot Pool Ladies 11 v 9 Megabreak Pool Lounge, The Boom Boom Bar 9 v 11 O’Leary’s Sports Bar, The Butcher’s Arms 11 v 9 Shoot Pool, The Stag’s Head 6 v 14 Cheers Barlast_img

Friday on my mind

first_imgBy RUSSELL BENNETT THE West Gippsland Warriors have fallen short of making the final day of the Country Week carnival…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Cranbourne make a statement

first_imgOUTER EAST NETBLL REVIEW – ROUND 10 PREMIER What a win in the context of the season for Cranbourne. The…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription. By Nick Creely last_img

Conference aims to connect

first_imgBy KATHRYN BERMINGHAM COMMUNITY groups, social entrepreneurs, activists and creatives will come together to celebrate the art of connection later…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Probe in to grass fire

first_imgGRASS land was burnt out in a suspicious after dark blaze in Pakenham which is being investigated by police. CFA…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Nominations open for Australia Day Awards

first_img Cardinia Shire community members are invited to recognise outstanding local people and community events by nominating them for the 2019…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription. By Kiara Gilbert last_img

Canucks Win Battle of Traded Players, But Lose Game 5-3 to Buffalo

first_img The Sedin twins continue to struggle mightily.  Each time they appear to gotten over their scoring woes, they have another game like tonight where they fail to deliver any points.  Some stats:  they have combined for one point in the last five games; one power play goal in the last 19 games; and they have only had points in 4 out of the last 12 games. The second line nearly made the difference tonight.  After Raymond was moved off the unit in favour of Kassian, they produced two goals.  Kassian has come as advertised – he can skate, he hits, and provides a physical presence the team needed.  I’m slowly being convinced the trade might not have been as disastrous as I originally thought.  Leigh Ramsden lives in Vancouver and is an avid Canucks fan, having been a partial season ticket holder for over 10 years. He’s old enough to have witnessed all three Stanley Cup losses, as such, his prime goal is to remove those scars by seeing a Cup brought to Vancouver. Leigh is Fighting For Stanley’s ( west coast correspondent, and will also blog after all Canuck games for The Nelson Daily. The Vancouver Canucks hosted the Buffalo Sabres in a rare meeting between the expansion cousins on Saturday night at Rogers Arena.  What was, for the longest time, a ho-hum game on the late-season schedule took on increased relevance after last Monday’s trade between the two teams, which sent rookies Cody Hodgson and Zach Kassian across the continent. The play between the two players was an interesting subplot to the game, ending with a 5-3 Buffalo victory.This game was a story of two different games.  The Canucks typically start games well and score first in two out of every three games.  Tonight, they came out extremely flat, and that start coupled with some questionable goaltending by starter Roberto Luongo doomed them to a 3-0 deficit just over five minutes into the first. The Buffalo goals were scored by Ville Leino, who had the first two, and by Brad Boyes, who wired a shot past Luongo, off the post and in, then quickly back out, which caused officials to rule no-goal until the NHL situation room reviewed the play.Luongo can be legitimately faulted on the first two Leino goals, and once the third one went in, coach Alain Vigneault had seen enough and relieved him of his duties in favour of Cory Schneider.From that point forth, the Canucks were a different team, outskating, outworking, outhitting, outshooting, and outscoring the Sabres through the balance of the game.  The second period featured a number of power plays and some immense pressure by Vancouver, however, they weren’t able to solve Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller until 15:37 when David Booth beat him on the power play. Booth added a second goal at 3:43 of the third, his goals bookending a fluky goal by ex-Canuck Christian Ehrhoff which went in a minute before Booth scored.  Zach Kassian rounded out the scoring for the Canucks, scoring his first as a Canuck as he made a game of it at 17:14 of the final stanza, before Tyler Ennis iced it for the Sabres with just over a minute remaining, scoring into an empty net.  There’s certainly enough blame to go around for those three goals against – the fourth line of Lapierre-Malhotra-Kassian and the third defensive pairing of Rome-Gragnani were all on the ice for the first and third goals, with Malhotra in particular appearing to be uncharacteristically out of position on the first, Lapierre on the third.  The second goal was a bit of a fire drill in the Canucks’ zone, Hamhuis turning the puck over, then chasing, an unlucky bounce across the slot, Luongo and Burrows losing their sticks, etc.  As I mentioned above – it was just a perfect storm to Buffalo’s benefit. The story of this game really is the fact that Buffalo was up 3-0 before the Canucks realized a game was going on, and were provided tremendous goalkeeping by Miller compared to a subpar effort from Luongo. The ineffectiveness of the Canucks power play is becoming a major concern.  The question here is one of chicken vs. egg:  are the PP stats bad because the twins aren’t playing well; or, are the twins’ stats struggling because they are having trouble scoring on the PP?  It seems obvious these are co-dependent – the way the games are being played (and called) now, it’s tough for them to find space on the ice to work their magic.  This should be a major concern for everyone in Canuck Nation. Regardless, Luongo could have made saves on the first two goals, his decision on the second one being a horrible one, as he swatted the puck into the slot with his blocker. I actually had to miss the first period of the game live, and watched it at the conclusion of the game.  If you started watching tonight’s game at the beginning of the second period and didn’t know the score, you would have sworn the Canucks easily handled the Sabres. Unfortunately for the Canucks, tonight was one of those nights where there was a perfect storm early in the game, and every mistake wound up in the back of the net.  Frankly, I thought Vancouver played with great intensity throughout the game and generally took the game to Buffalo. While they weren’t rewarded with any points for their efforts, there have been too many nights in the last month where the Canucks appear to be merely coasting through, and they are a good enough team to garner points based on those efforts.Those types of games are not going to produce a lot of wins come playoff time, so it was refreshing to see the Canucks being forced to play with some urgency – bringing the game to Buffalo physically, creating scoring chances, drawing penalties, and the like.  Ehrhoff’s goal was completely against the run of play and went in off Aaron Rome’s skate – if that goal hadn’t found its way into the back of the net, the result would have been more positive for Vancouver. The Canucks just didn’t get the bounces tonight – and over an 82 game schedule, there are bound to be nights like this one.  In a way, it’s somewhat comforting to know that the Canucks can put a bad effort on the ice, receive subpar goaltending, and still come within a hair of getting points out of the game. GAME OBSERVATIONS Hodgson made his return to Vancouver and centred Buffalo’s second line. He finished with no points in 16:52 of icetime, with a plus one rating.  Hodgson made a few nice plays, but missed the net on his best chances.  Kassian, on the other hand, was promoted to Kesler’s second line in the second period and wound up igniting the unit, as it accounted for all three Canuck goals.  Kassian also led the team with seven hits, providing exactly what he was brought in to do. AV needs to consider making the demotion of Raymond permanent – his speed and defensive abilities are valuable, but not on a scoring line.  I’ve changed my mind on this – I have felt that his abilities to create turnovers benefitted his linemates, but when you can predict with certainty how every foray he makes into the offensive zone will play out (ending with losing the puck), it’s time to try something different.  “Something different” tonight resulted in two goals, so I say, stick with it. PARTING SHOTSBroadcast Observation of the Night:  Oft-maligned Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play man Mark Lee was on the call tonight.  Apparently I’m in the minority, as I like the way he calls a game.  I like the intonation he uses and some of his nomenclature and sentence structure is entertaining.  It was (rudely) pointed out to me on Twitter tonight that he makes mistakes – however, I believe that you could find errors by almost every play by play voice in the business.Frankly, the biggest thing I like about him is that he calls a fair game, not exhibiting any discernable bias for or against any particular teams.  My distaste for HNIC is well-documented, and most of it stems from their tacit acceptance of everything the league does and lack of holding the league to account when it’s warranted. This bias starts at the top and filters its way down through the studio teams and right into the play by play teams.  Lee, and his partner Kevin Weekes, may not call the best game ever and might say a few silly things here and there, but at least you can trust them to call what they see on the ice exactly how they see it, and tell you when they agree or disagree.  As a viewer, watching a national broadcast, that’s all I expect.If you’re a Canuck fan and you missed HNIC After Hours, it’s a must-see.  Find someone that PVR’ed it, or look for it on the CBC website.  The segment starts with a good interview with Kassian, and finishes with a full 25 minutes of comedy, courtesy of Kevin Bieksa.  Pure entertainment.Looking ahead:  On Tuesday night, the Canucks host the Dallas Stars in the third game of their season-long seven game homestand. On the other hand, I have seen enough of Marc-Andre Gragnani.  It’s one thing to “jump into the play” and try to get some points from the back end, but completely the other to play as a forward when you’re a rearguard.  I don’t think he looked good tonight and look forward to seeing Chris Tanev back in the lineup. In this manner, they really are difference makers for this club.  If they were scoring at their regular point-plus per game clip, it’s unlikely the Canucks would have had so many games reach overtime recently, and probably would have completed the comeback tonight. last_img read more

Spurs resigned to losing contract rebel Alderweireld but will demand £44m for him

first_imgTOTTENHAM are resigned to losing contract rebel Toby Alderweireld and will demand £44million for him, according to reports.Spurs have always stressed they are under no obligation to sell any players as they try and convince the Belgian to sign a new deal.1 Tottenham are reportedly ready to sell Toby Alderweireld in the summerCredit: PA:Press AssociationBut Dutch paper HLN are claiming the North London club will try and cash in on the defender in the summer.Talks between Alderweireld, 29, and Spurs chiefs have broken down over disagreements on how much the wages should be.His current deal has the option of a one-year extension and means he is under contract until 2020.But there is also a £25m release clause that will be activated in the summer of 2019 for the centre-back who has struggled with injury this season.Most read in footballRETRACING STEPSJack Charlton’s granddaughter Emma Wilkinson ‘would love’ to visit IrelandROY RAGEFurious Roy Keane launched foul-mouthed rant at Pique over Fabregas friendshipPicturedTOP FORMBrazil icon Ronaldo soaks up sun with partner Celina Locks on yacht in FormenteraPicturedON THE PAOLPaolo Maldini shows off shredded physique at 52 while on holiday with wifeLive BlogUNITED LATESTMan Utd transfer news LIVE: All the gossip and updates from Old TraffordExclusiveLOCK CLOWNPaul Scholes flouts local lockdown rules by throwing huge 7-hour birthday bashPicturedMADD FOR ITPrem aces Dele, Maddison & Grealish enjoy hard-earned break in sun-soaked IbizaLive Bloggunners newsArsenal transfer news LIVE – Latest updates from the EmiratesLive BlogBLUES NEWSChelsea transfer news LIVE: Havertz deal LATEST, Willian move updatesPicturedSOR SUBJECTNeymar’s ex-girlfriend Soraja Vucelic almost pops out of dress in steamy selfieThat means Spurs would have to sell in the next two transfer windows if they want to try and make as much money as possible.Manchester United have consistently been linked with a move as boss Jose Mourinho looks to bolster his defence for next season.PARIS BOUND? PSG join Manchester United and Barcelona in race for Tottenham contract rebel Toby AlderweireldBarcelona are also keeping a close eye on Alderweireld’s situation, who joined Spurs from Atletico Madrid in 2015.Reports earlier in the week suggested PSG were also looking at making a bid in the summer.Christian Eriksen’s amazing strike wins the Gillette Precision Play of the Weekendlast_img read more

Son ends goal drought in style with double to lift Poch’s gloom

first_imgSON HEUNG-MIN celebrated his 150th appearance for Tottenham by firing them into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals with his first goal for eight months.The South Korean’s put Spurs 2-0 up inside 54 minutes with goals either side of half-time.10 Heung-min Son fires in his first goal of the season for Tottenham at West HamCredit: Jamie McPhilimey – The SunSub Perez gave the Hammers hope with a 71st minute but Fernando Llorente netted Spurs’ third four minutes later to seal their passage into the last eight.It fully justified Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to give star striker Harry Kane the night off.Son had struggled this season after starring for his country at the World Cup and Asian Games – where victory made his exempt from military service.But he looked back to his best last night as he grabbed his first goals of the campaign.Mind you, he was helped by the Hammers poor defending on a night when their misery was compounded by two ‘fans’ invading the pitch in separate incidents late in the game.10 The South Korean celebrates his first goal in 20 Spurs matches, alongside Fernando LlorenteCredit: Reuters10 Son rifles in with his left foot in the first half at the London StadiumCredit: Jamie McPhilimey – The SunIt was such a shame for the club as they paid tribute to the Leicester helicopter crash victims with such dignity before kick-off.Co-chairman David Gold, former Hammers and Leicester star Tony Cottee and Tottenham legend Ledley King laid wreaths on the pitch and fans observed a minute’s silence.The Irons, of course, were the visitors at the King Power on Saturday when the tragedy happened.They made five changes to their starting line-up, while Tottenham made TEN from the team that lost 1-0 to Manchester City at Wembley on Monday.Spurs would have been relieved to see the London Stadium pitch looking immaculate with not a gridiron marking or NFL logo in sight.West Ham had the first serious attack in the 15th minute when Grady Diangana broke down the right and crossed to the back post where Hernandez tried to cushion it into the path of Michail Antonio.Fans fight as Tottenham supporters are ejected from the West Ham end during Carabao Cup tieMOST READ IN FOOTBALLBRO MESSAGEBobby Charlton’s touching tribute to Jack revealed as he misses funeral serviceFRESH OUTFITMicah Richards pokes fun at Roy Keane backstage at Sky Sports studiosFALL OF TROYDeeney calls Sky reporter ‘cheeky b******’ after he asks about retirementSHOTS FIREDDenis Irwin’s son trolls Liverpool fans with savage Steven Gerrard tweetPicturedC’MON THE LADSRamos’ becomes dad again as wife gives birth to FOURTH son Maximo AdrianoVideoROY MEANKeane says ‘that’s why they never win anything’ as Villa celebrate staying upPicturedHARRY’S HEROES Kane says goodbye to Tottenham team-mates Vertonghen and VormRED LETTER DAYKeane and Neville urge Man Utd to invest big after securing Champions LeagueLive Bloggunners newsArsenal transfer news LIVE – Latest updates from the EmiratesLive BlogUNITED LATESTMan Utd transfer news LIVE: All the gossip and updates from Old TraffordBut Tottenham defender Juan Foyth was on hand to intercept before his central defensive partner Davinson Sanchez saw the ball out for a corner.Within moments the Hammers found themselves behind after their defender Angelo Ogbonna failed to clear his lines and Fernando Llorente played the ball into Dele Alli on the edge of the area with his back to goal.The England midfielder, making his first appearance since injuring his hamstring in Tottenham’s penalty shootout win over Watford at Milton Keynes in the previous round, cleverly flicked the ball on for Son to fire it first time into the roof of the net.Incredibly it was the South Korean’s first Spurs goal for 20 appearances since he netted in the North Londoners 4-1 win at Bournemouth way back on March 11.Tottenham soon nearly added a second soon as Christian Eriksen saw a shot blocked after another sweeping move from the visitors.But West Ham hit back strongly before break with Antonio twice going close. First his curling shot from the corner of the area was deflected over by Victor Wanyama’s challenge.10 Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino puts his arm around Son after the forward’s first goalCredit: Reuters10 Grady Diangana tussles with Dele Alli during a lively performance from the Hammers winger, 20Credit: AFPThen Antonio out-paced Kyle Walker-Peters to latch on to Arthur Masuaku brilliant pass down the left flank before cutting into the box and unleashing a shot that had the sting taken out of it by Foyth’s challenge allowing Gazzaniga to turn it away for a corner.Tottenham’s Argentinean reserve keeper also did well to claw away Hernandez’s shot from eight yards after Masuaku had pulled the ball back.West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini took off the ineffective Felipe Anderson at half-time, replacing him with Robert Snodgrass.And this certainly seemed to give the hosts extra energy at the start of the second half and they almost levelled as Antonio muscled Foyth off the ball before his shot was blocked by Gazzaniga.But the Hammers, just like with the first goal, shot themselves in the foot again as they conceded a second nine minutes into the second half.Dele’s attempted through ball to Son was poor, Masuaku’s attempt to control it was even worse, as it went through him, giving the Spurs man a clear run on goal.10 Son rounds Hammers keeper Adrian before slotting in his secondCredit: Getty Images10 Lucas Perez headed in for just his second goal for West HamCredit: Jamie McPhilimey – The SunSon, brimming again with confidence after his opener, made no mistake as he rounded Hammers keeper Adrian before slotting the ball into the net.This sparked some minor unrest among the home and away fans, but with most of it posturing and bravado it was soon brought under control by police and stewards who ejected a couple of yobs.Pellegrini reacted by sending on Marko Arnautovic and Perez for Pedro Obiang and Hernandez.And after an Arnautovic cross had been brilliantly cleared by Foyth from under his own bar, Perez pulled a goal back for the Hammers in the 71st minute with a header from Snodgrass’ corner.10 Ex-Arsenal forward Lucas celebrates scoring against Tottenham after his strike was checked by VARCredit: Reuters10 Fernando Llorente was allowed to volley in from a cornerCredit: ReutersSuddenly a repeat of West Ham’s comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Tottenham at the same stage of this competition looked on.But there was to be no groundhog day as Llorente side-footed in the visitors’ third from a corner four minutes later after a yob from the home stands had run onto the pitch.The idiot’s actions clearly distracted his team’s defence as the Spaniard netted his first goal of the season and his first since the 6-1 FA Cup win over Rochdale in March.We then had another fan from the home end run onto the pitch in the final minute.The moron in a Halloween mask was eventually stopped by Masuaku – in scenes that evoked memories of the pitch invasions at the Hammers’ 3-0 home defeat by Burnley in March.The Tottenham fans chanted “Is that Mark Noble?” before singing: “He’ll never play for England?”Goals of the Month – watch the best goals from the Premier League in October 10 Llorente could smile after finding the net on a rare start under for PochettinoCredit: ReutersDele Alli signs new deal with Tottenham to stay with the club until 2024last_img read more