Flyers Out for Revenge, First Win in New Jersey

Flyers Out for Revenge, First Win in New Jersey

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Everybody knew there was no way the Flyers could carry over the
frenetic pace from last season’s first-round playoff series against the
Pittsburgh Penguins into round two. Sure enough, that energy would only last
for all of one more game.

The Orange & Black would go on to take a 1-0 series lead
via an overtime thriller before the New Jersey Devils went about their usual
business of smothering the life out of an opponent. Philadelphia had averaged
nearly five goals during its first seven postseason games, but was held to less
than two per over their next – and final – four.

Just like that, the Flyers were eliminated from the
postseason in what was the equivalent of an elongated sweep. The Devils went
all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tonight they’ll hold a ceremony and raise another banner in
Newark before hosting the winless Flyers, with an offense still searching to
regain its form after Marty Brodeur and company drained the team of its
vitality. So far this season they have just the three goals in two games,
although the refs have played a part in some of the frustration.

Back in May, the officials didn’t have a damn thing to do
with it. The Devils simply had all the answers. Where the Flyers won most of
the battles for the puck versus Pittsburgh, New Jersey was able to turn the
tables on them. And Brodeur had a magnificent series, not only in net, but also
behind, expertly playing every puck to his teammates that Philly wanted to dump
and chase.

The Devils wore them down at the other end as well, taking
advantage of head coach Peter Laviolette’s aggressive system. Ilya Bryzgalov
could not have been 100% in net either, having sustained a stress fracture in
his foot. New Jersey posted at least three tallies to the scoreboard in all
five contests.

It was a thorough beating, one that does not necessarily
give hope that the Flyers can pick up their first points of the season tonight.

Having said that, Jersey is certainly going through a
transition after losing Zach Parise in free agency. That’s 31 goals and 38
assists subtracted from the lineup, not to mention a league-leading eight goals
in the postseason this past summer, and Adam Henrique’s 16 and 35 are currently
missing as well due to a thumb injury.

Then again, the more things change in Newark, the more they
stay the same. The Devils are still capable of stifling opponents the way they
did to Philly in that series last season, and if the 40-year-old Brodeur is
rusty at all following the lockout, it didn’t show in his first game back.
Marty limited the New York Islanders to one goal in a 2-1 victory.

The Flyers did have some success against their rivals last
year however prior to the playoffs, in particular Bryz, who was 3-0 in starts
against New Jersey last season, only allowing one goal in the process. He’s
looked sharp in the earlygoings this year despite the losing, so we’ll see if he can keep
the momentum going.

Game starts at 7:30 due to pre-game ceremonies. Is it too early to say the Flyers need a win tonight given the shortened season?

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College hoops wrap: Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue

College hoops wrap: Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue

Villanova headlined Philly college basketball action today with a 78-68 win over Providence, led by Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins (see full recap). The win is dampened with the news that Phil Booth is increasingly unlikely to return this season as he still deals with knee discomfort (see story).

Here's a snapshot from the rest of area hoops today.

Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The way it played this week, No. 21 Purdue is acting like a team that is determined to be in the race for the Big Ten championship all the way to the end of the regular season.

Caleb Swanigan had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Purdue built an 18-point halftime lead and coasted to a 77-52 victory over Penn State on Saturday, four days after shooting 60.4 percent in a 91-68 victory against Illinois.

Against Penn State, the Boilermakers (16-4, 5-2) got 13 points from freshman guard Carsen Edwards and 10 each from Dakota Mathias and Vince Edwards.

"I would just say we were coming out ready to play," said Vince Edwards, who added seven rebounds and three assists. "Our goal is to win the Big Ten. Our focus is to take care of business."

Josh Reaves led Penn State (11-9, 3-4) with 12 points. The Nittany Lions made only 20 of 64 field goal attempts (31.3 percent) and were outrebounded 39-30. Purdue shot 56.6 percent (30 of 53) (see full recap).

Drexel drops road game at CAA-leading UNC Wilmington
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Devontae Cacok scored 12 points and set a Colonial Athletic Association record with 24 rebounds, helping UNC Wilmington stay perfect in conference with an 87-74 win over Drexel on Saturday.

Cacok, whose previous career-high rebounding was 16, broke the school record (21) and conference record (22) late in the second half as the Seahawks cruised to their ninth straight home win, tying the best mark in program history.

UNC Wilmington (19-2, 8-0) led 53-51 with 15:01 left before four players combined to rattle off 12 straight points. Cacok capped the run with one of his 11 offensive rebounds and a dunk to give the Seahawks a 65-51 lead with 11:23 remaining.

UNC Wilmington is off to its best start ever and has won 24 of its last 26 conference games, including 12 straight. Chris Flemmings led the Seahawks with 17 points.

Sammy Mojica had 15 points and Rodney Williams added 14 for Drexel (7-13, 1-6), which has lost seven of eight (see full recap).

Delaware swept in season series with Towson
NEWARK, Del. -- Mike Morsell and Arnaud William Adala Moto pulled down a dozen boards as Towson won its fourth straight and a season sweep of Delaware with a 75-58 win on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers are fresh off a win over Hofstra that saw them erase a 16-point first-half deficit, and momentum carried over when they built a 17-point lead at halftime.

Alex Thomas and John Davis added 13 and 12 points, respectively, but Towson saw its streak of three-straight games shooting better than 50 percent end. The Tigers hit 26 of 55 shots from the floor (47.3 percent), including 6 of 15 from deep.

Delaware snapped a six-game losing streak Thursday with a win over Northeastern. Ryan Daly scored 21 points for Delaware and became the first freshman in school history to post six 20-plus efforts in a season. He reached double-digits for the 12th time in 13 games (see full recap).