Briere Leads All-Snubs to Win Over Sabres

Briere Leads All-Snubs to Win Over Sabres

The talk of the day heading into the Flyers' first game of the season's second half  centered on how only one player from the top team in the Eastern Conference was named an All-Star. While we were all happy to see Claude Giroux get some league-wide acknowledgement, especially after he was left off the All-Star ballot, there are plenty of guys worthy of the nod on this roster. It didn't take long for them to show it, either. 
Danny Briere was a popular choice for biggest snub, with Mike Richards and Kimmo Timonen not far behind him. How about Sergei Bobrovsky among the rookie All-Star selections (see comments)? Well each of those guys played their asses off in a more meaningful game Tuesday night, with Briere leading them to a 5-2 win over his former club in Buffalo. Scott Hartnell wasn't in the All-Star discussion, but he continued his resurgent season by notching a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. 

Highlights and video below. 

It was a rough start for the Flyers, who were outplayed heavily in the first 10 minutes of the game and for stretches of the second period as well. Bob gave up a pair early, although he was playing behind sloppy defense and was caught off guard by a bad bounce off the back boards. Kid hadn't played since New Year's Eve, so it wasn't too surprising that he got off to a sluggish start. But he recovered quickly and shut out the Sabres for the remaining 50 minutes, with 38 saves overall. 

Briere tied a career-best four points, which had to feel a little better coming against his former squad. He scored a loud top-shelf goal and added three assists, and his line was once again the best on the ice, accounting for four of the team's five goals.

Hartnell had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, scoring a pair including the empty netter, assisting on another, and fighting Paul Gaustad, and Ville Leino was credited with a goal that bounced in off his skate as he skidded to a stop in front of Ryan Miller while being obstructed. The play was reviewed, but quickly upheld. 

Richie had a good night as well, beginning with an "assist" that won't show up on the scoresheet. With the Flyers on the powerplay in the first period, he absolutely ROCKED Jochen Hecht, opening up a lane for Briere to send a sweet touch pass to Timonen, who put one on goal where a screening Hartnell would deflect it in. The Captain's encore would come on a brilliant breakaway move to beat one of the best goaltenders in the game. 

Highlights below, followed by some celebratory extras: 

•Through two contests this season, the Flyers have hung NINE goals on Ryan Miller. [/Lindy Ruff face]
•With Leino's goal, the Flyers now have eight players with double-digit goals. 
•Scott Hartnell's pair of tallies tied his season total of 14 from last season. 
•Andrej Meszaros added to his league-leading +/- total with a plus-2 on the night. Ville Leino was also a plus-2, and he's now third in the league in the category.
•Anthony SanFilippo pointed out before the game that the Flyers are 6-0-0 when Nik Zherdev is scratched. Make that 7. Not many teams can afford to be without one of their most talented scorers, but the Flyers aren't most teams. 
•The Flyers won 33 faceoffs and lost 22. That helps. 
•JVR scored in the third period, but the goal was waved off due to a high stick by Giroux. It was an amazing play by both guys though, with JVR knocking the pass down, juggling it with the toe of his skate, and knocking it in out of mid-air. 
•The Flyers are now three points ahead of the Penguins for the division and conference lead, and they've played two fewer games. 
•The tough four-games-in-six-days road trip continues with games in Boston on Thursday, Atlanta on Friday, and New York on Sunday. 

(AP Photo/David Duprey)

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).