Flyers-Sabres Game 2: Split 'Em Up

Flyers-Sabres Game 2: Split 'Em Up

The Flyers may have yielded a chunk of their home ice advantage with their loss on Thursday night, but with a win today and a split in the first pair, the Eastern Conference's top road team should still be in plenty good shape. Despite the frustrating 1-0 result, the Flyers showed some great things in the opener. There's certainly room for some very specific improvements though, and no room for regression in any areas. 

 

Image by Fresh Design/Doug Zenzel

For instance, they can't afford not to come out hungry and ready to hit and grind out puck battles. That was something they did well early in the opener and can't dial back at all. If anything, they need to ratchet it up, and they have to keep it going whether they falter or not. The Sabres showed that they can exploit a mistake, and to be honest, I don't think we saw the best of what they have to offer either. The Flyers need to prepare for an even better Buffalo effort today. And, as just about everyone has rightly suggested, they need to do a better job of making Ryan Miller uncomfortable. 

They appeared to be well on their way to executing that strategy in game 1, when before the five-minute mark, they already had Miller throwing his catching glove into Mike Richards' face. They seemed to let up though, and after their power play's futility climaxed with a failed half-minute of 5-on-3 action and the Sabres found the net, the Flyers were pressing in the wrong ways. Carrying the puck into traffic. Shooting at defenders (although credit the Sabres for some masterful shot blocking). I'm all for confidence, but not if it's going to lead to turnovers. 

Today, it's gotta be somebody's job to trespass, if not vandalize, that crease. Scottie Hartnell, you know your talents. Of course, it doesn't have to be any one guy, and the other edge of the sword is the need to stay out of the box to the degree possible. Hartnell is a known goalie antagonist, and he and the others will be watched for exactly this strategy. 

On the right side of the law, the Flyers need to generate more traffic out in front, with any luck doubling up the screen width by keeping a defender busy in tight as well. The problem is, Ryan Miller is pretty good at picking up shots through screens, as he showed on Thursday. The Flyers actually did a lot of the stuff they need to do today, it just didn't happen for them due to a combination of missed targets, great goalie positioning, and blocked shots. 

Defensively, the Flyers were very good overall. If they replicate that effort, and Sergei Bobrovsky can be as solid as he was on Thursday, that should be enough to support an offensive showing of two or three goals. 

A few of us will be at the game today, so it may be a while before you hear anything further. 

LET'S GO FLYERS

Drexel falls to James Madison in potential CAA Tournament preview

Drexel falls to James Madison in potential CAA Tournament preview

BOX SCORE

Jackson Kent and Tom Vodanovich combined to score 31 points and James Madison held off Drexel late to secure a 70-64 victory Thursday night.

The game could be a preview of a first-round match-up in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. With one game left in the regular season, James Madison (9-21, 7-10) is the No. 7 seed and Drexel (9-21, 3-14) has locked up the No. 10 seed. Those seeds meet in the first round, with the winner facing the No. 2 seed in the second round.

Sammy Mojica hit a 3-pointer with :32 left to get the Dragons within four, 66-62, but Shakir Brown and Joey McLean each hit a pair of free throws to seal the victory.

Kent hit 6 of 11 from the floor and tallied 16 points with eight rebounds to lead the Dukes. Vodanovich added 15 points.

Kurk Lee and Mojica both scored 18 points off the Dragons' bench.

Conspiracy charge added for 3 former Penn State administrators

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Conspiracy charge added for 3 former Penn State administrators

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania judge on Thursday allowed prosecutors to add a conspiracy charge against three former Penn State administrators, increasing their possible penalty if convicted of crimes for their handling of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Judge John Boccabella granted a request by the attorney general's office to tack on a related conspiracy count to the charges of endangering the welfare of children.

Prosecutors said each felony count carries up to 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Jury selection is scheduled for March 20 in Harrisburg in the case of former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley.

The defendants sought permission last week from Boccabella for an appeal that could delay the trial. The judge has not ruled on that request.

They argue Boccabella erred when he declined to dismiss the child-welfare charges, arguing the statute of limitations expired, the defendants did not provide direct care for children and they are charged with actions that occurred before the law was revised.

Earlier this month, the judge dismissed charges of failing to properly report suspected abuse, and last year the Superior Court threw out perjury, obstruction and conspiracy charges.

The three administrators fielded a complaint in 2001 from a graduate assistant who said he saw Sandusky, then retired as an assistant football coach, sexually abusing a boy in a team shower.

They did not report the matter to police or child welfare authorities, but did tell Sandusky he could no longer bring children to the campus and they notified his charity for children, The Second Mile.

Sandusky currently is serving a lengthy state prison term after being convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys.

Last week, a new judge appointed to preside over his appeals under the state's Post-Conviction Relief Act scheduled a March 24 hearing at the courthouse near State College to "present and finalize the evidentiary portion" of the hearing.