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Category: Sports

Winning Streak Concludes as Preds Fall to Hurricanes

Nashville center Ryan Johansen

Ryan Johansen scored Nashville’s lone goal on Tuesday night, as the Predators fell to the Carolina Hurricanes by a 4-1 final at Bridgestone Arena. The result sees Nashville’s three-game winning streak come to an end, as the season series between the two clubs finishes with one victory apiece.

The loss was disappointing for the Preds after a stellar weekend that saw them sweep a home-and-home set with the St. Louis Blues. Those results provided another boost of confidence into the locker room, and even though the group stated the importance of moving on from that high, Nashville was unable to muster much on the attack on Tuesday.

“Since I’ve been here, it’s the first time we did win three in a row, and then we came off a weekend where I think everyone feels good,” Preds Head Coach John Hynes said. “We had a day off yesterday, and I didn’t have a great day off because [as a coach], you’re worried about where’s the mindset of your team. A lot of times you can get lost. You can get lost in a big win, and you can get lost in success, and the second that happens you get complacent.

“It’s human nature, but that’s something that, we didn’t handle the situation as well as we need to. But… we have bounced back after some bad losses. [Tonight], we didn’t bounce back and play the game, be prepared to play the game, the way you need to after two big wins and three in a row. That’s an area we certainly have to address and we have to approve.”

Carolina took the game’s first lead less than four minutes in when Jordan Staal beat Juuse Saros in tight for the only goal of the opening period.

The Predators responded quickly in the second stanza, as Johansen directed a puck out of the air and into the cage just 48 seconds into the period. Carolina challenged the play for goaltender interference, but the call stood in favor of the home team.

However, that was the only time the Preds beat Carolina netminder Petr Mrazek on the night. After Andrei Svechnikov and Nino Niederreiter put the Hurricanes up by two before the middle frame was out, Sebastian Aho got Carolina’s fourth and final marker early in the third to put the game away.

“Not a good game for us overall,” Preds Captain Roman Josi said. “I don’t think we had enough offense the whole game, and we couldn’t get anything going in the offensive zone. They had a lot more zone time than we did. We’ve got to be a lot more dangerous offensively.”

The Predators will now have a couple of days to regroup before another back-to-back set arrives this weekend involving the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets. As has been the case for the last number of weeks, every game at this point in the season carries vast importance, and each loss will make it tougher to attain a postseason spot.

With that in mind, Nashville has no choice but to learn from this outing, and then move on to the next opportunity for two points.

“We know how crucial every point is, so we can’t use [last weekend] as an excuse for not being ready tonight,” Johansen said. “It’s too bad we weren’t able to come out and get a win here again tonight to keep going in the right direction. We’ll take a day; we’ll look at everything and go from there.”

“At this point in the year, it doesn’t really matter what happened the day before, we’ve got to move on,” Preds forward Rocco Grimaldi said. “We’ve got Chicago on the road, and they’re right behind us in the standings. We need two points against them. Then, we’ve got Columbus coming into our building, and we have to make up for what we did tonight… We know what we’re getting into. It’s going to be two hard games starting on the road in Chicago.”

Notes:

Colin Blackwell and Matt Irwin were scratched for the Preds on Tuesday night, as Nashville stuck with the same lineup of skaters once more.

Another back-to-back set arrives on Friday for Nashville as they start in Chicago against the Blackhawks. The Predators will then return home to host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena.

Pete Weber Postgame Report

Westwood Soccer Blanks Warren County in Monday Scrimmage

Caleb Cargile of Westwood soccer[file photo]

The Westwood Rocket soccer team got their first scrimmage action of the spring on Monday as they welcomed Warren County to Dyer-Bouldin Field. A Caleb Cargile hat trick and a clean slate defensively lifted the Rockets to an impressive 5 nil scrimmage win. The JV Rockets battled to a 1 all draw with the Pioneers.

The Rockets got on the board in the 14th minute when Torin Van Zandbergen converted off a feed from Izick Sierra to make the score 1 nil. Cargile potted his 1st goal just before intermission on a feed from Nico Sanfilippo to give Westwood a 2 goal advantage at the half. In the second half Cargile got his 2nd and 3rd goals off of feeds from Hunter Crosslin and Izick Sierra respectively. Sierra finished the scoring in the 55th minute unassisted. In the JV game, Quinton Greenwell scored the only goal for the Rockets.

Westwood will be back in action on Tuesday, weather permitting, as they host South Franklin. That varsity only scrimmage will get underway at 5 PM at Dyer-Bouldin Field.

District 8AAA Basketball Tournament Updated

The District 8AAA basketball tournament moved to Lincoln County High School on Monday with the boys’ quarterfinal round. In Monday’s quarterfinals, Lincoln County defeated Shelbyville in overtime and Columbia upset Franklin County in a pair of boys’ games. The girls’ quarterfinals will take place on Tuesday night.

The Red Raiders and Lady Raiders will finish the year with the District 8AAA regular season district titles and will enter next week’s district tournament as the #1 seeded teams.  Both Coffee County teams will receive 1st round byes and advance to the tournament’s semifinal rounds. 

The Red Raiders will open up tournament play on Thursday at Lincoln County in the semifinals.  The Red Raiders will take on Columbia at 6 PM at Lincoln County High School. The Lady Raiders will play in their semifinal game on Friday at 6 PM.  The finals and consolation games are on Saturday and all of those games will take place at Lincoln County High School in Fayetteville. 

Updated 2/17/20

Alontae Taylor Voted Vice Chair of SEC Football Leadership Council

Alontae Taylor[Photo by Tennessee Athletics]

Alontae Taylor, a rising junior on the Tennessee football team, was recently selected as Vice Chair of the Southeastern Conference Football Leadership Council.

Taylor was selected by a vote of his peers at a meeting of the council held recently at the SEC offices in Birmingham. The Manchester, Tennessee, native will attend a portion of the SEC Spring Meetings in May to meet with conference leadership and provide feedback on SEC legislative proposals.

The Football Leadership Council is one of three components of the SEC Student-Athlete Leadership Council. The other two components are the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Leadership Councils. Student-Athlete Leadership Councils were introduced for the sports of football and men’s and women’s basketball, which, in addition to the conference’s longstanding Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), provide student-athletes with additional opportunities to engage with campus leaders and conference office staff. The councils serve as a conduit of communication to the conference office on issues related to student-athlete experience and student-athlete wellness.

During its recent meeting, the council met with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, reviewed NCAA and SEC legislative items, discussed a number of topics submitted by members of the Council, and engaged with football officials on rules of the game and student-athlete/referee interaction.

Taylor, a defensive back, appeared in all 13 games for Tennessee this past season, logging six starts. He finished the year with 33 tackles, one interception and three pass breakups. He is a Communications Studies major and was recently named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

Daniel Rios scores Nashville SC winner in 3-1 victory over FC Cincinnati

Daniel Rios of Nashville SC[Photo courtesy of nashvillesc.com]

Nashville SC picked up win No. 3 of the preseason, defeating FC Cincinnati, 3-1, in a closed-door scrimmage Sunday in Bradenton, Florida.

Jack Maher, who was selected No. 2 overall in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, scored his first professional goal in the first half off a Hany Mukhtar’s deflected free kick in the 20th minute.

FC Cincinnati leveled in the 61st minute on a first-time strike by Frankie Amaya. But Nashville quickly regained the lead through Daniel Rios three minutes later and tacked on a penalty kick goal by Derrick Jones in the 83rd minute.

Nashville closes out its preseason slate Wednesday night against D.C. United in Tampa.

Goals
20’ — NSH — Jack Maher
61’ — FCC — Frankie Amaya
64’ — NSH — Daniel Rios
83’ — NSH — Derrick Jones (PK)

Lineups
Nashville SC first-half XI: Joe Willis; Brayan Beckeles, Jack Maher, Ken Tribbett, Taylor Washington; Tah Brian Anunga, Matt LaGrassa, David Accam, Haris Mukhtar, Luke Haakenson; Dominique Badji

Nashville SC second-half XI: Joe Willis; Brayan Beckeles, Miguel Nazarit, Ken Tribbett, Taylor Washington; Tah Brian Anunga, Matt LaGrassa, David Accam, Derrick Jones, Luke Haakenson; Daniel Rios

Two Red Raider Wrestlers Fight Their Way to State Tournament Berths on Saturday

Coffee County wrestlers Cardin Stump(left) and Gavin Prater(right) with their medals on Saturday after qualifying for the TSSAA state meet.

The Coffee County CHS Red Raider wrestling team traveled to Murfreesboro on Friday and Saturday to compete in the Region 5AAA Individual Wrestling Tournament.  Competing at Oakland High School for spots in next week’s TSSAA State Wrestling Tournament, the Raider grapplers managed to advance a pair of wrestlers to the state meet in Franklin.  Gavin Prater and Cardin Stump will join Lady Raider wrestlers Alanna Coker and Mary Wolfrum to compete at the Williamson County Expo Center beginning on Thursday.

Stump, wrestling in the heavyweight division, rolled off 3 straight wins to advance to the championship bout on Saturday afternoon.  After getting a bye to open the tournament, Stump scored a pair of quick pins to advance to the title match.  Stump defeated the Warren County wrestler in 57 seconds before pinning his Tullahoma opponent in 63 seconds.  In the title match, Stump fell via a pin to top seeded Graham Keating of Oakland. 

Prater, wrestling at 145 pounds, had a tougher road to the medal round.  After earning a 1st round bye, Prater dropped a 9 to 2 decision to an Oakland wrestler in the 2nd round.  Prater rolled off a pair of pinfall wins before eliminating a Tullahoma wrestler by a 13 to 0 major decision to reach the medal round and assure himself a state berth.  Gavin dropped a heartbreaking 3 to 2 decision in the 3rd place match. 

The Red Raiders finished in 10th place in the team standings out of 17 teams competing in the region meet.  Coffee County’s Devin Judge(at 160 pounds) and Chris Speegle(220) each finished in 5th place barely missing the cut for the state meet.  Judge finished the region meet with a record of 2 and 2 as he grabbed a pinfall win and a major decision win.  Speegle finished with a record of 3 and 2 as he grabbed 2 pinfall wins and a decision win.  Hunter Massey(126) and Caleb Boothe(132) each finished with records of 2 and 2.  Gabe Westbrook(120), Hunter Waring(152), Zach Speegle(170) and Russell Ralph(182) each finished the meet with records of 1 and 2. 

The state tournament will begin on Thursday at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Park in Franklin.  The boys weigh-in will take place at 1 PM on Thursday with wrestling getting underway at 3 PM for the first 2 rounds. Wrestling continues on Friday at 10 AM with the championships on Saturday.  Lady Raider wrestlers Mary Wolfrum and Alanna Coker will weigh-in at 8:30 on Friday and their first round matches will begin at 10 AM on Friday morning.  The girls’ championship will also be held on Saturday beginning at 10 AM.  Tickets for the event are $10 daily with a parking charge of $5 per car.  

Coffee County Youth Bass Club Captures Tournament Title on Saturday

Jase Rice(left) and Jacob Garms(right) with their winning catch from Saturday

The Coffee County Youth Bass Club returned to action for the spring portion of their schedule on Saturday morning to brutal weather conditions on Normandy Lake.  The high school anglers captured 5 of the top 20 places including the team of Jacob Garms and Jase Rice won the tournament.  The junior division team of Kylan Mantooth and Jonathan Lewis came in 6th place on the day. 

Garms and Rice won the title as they landed a full stringer on 5 fish with a total of 16.94 pounds.  Their largest fish tipped the scales at 5.23 pounds which barely missed grabbing the Big Fish Award.  The team of Colby Thurmond and Paul Zuzich came in 4th place with a 5 fish total catch of 12.93 pounds.  Garrett Davis and Isaiah Owens landed 4 fish weighing 11.27 pounds to finish in 7th place out of 72 boats.  Tristan Boyd and Reagan Hershman came in 17th place with a 2 fish total of 7.56 pounds and Sawyer Banks and Avery Brown came in 19th place with a total catch of 7.17 pounds. 

For the season, the win moved Gamrs and Rice into 5th place in the season points standings.  The team of Kaden Freeze and Briley Sain are in 13th place in the region and the brother team of Branson and Dawson Wells are in 16th place.  The team of Colby Thurmond and Paul Zuzich are now in 28th place and the team of Adam Petty and Jayden Yates are in 29th place.  In the junior division, the team of Kylan Mantooth and Jonathan Lewis are in 5th place a mere 10 points out of 1st place. 

The Raider anglers will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Jasper for a region and state trail tournament on Nickajack Lake.  The tournament will get underway at first light on Saturday from the Marion County Park boat ramp.   

Coffee County CHS Baseball Wins Saturday Scrimmage

The Coffee County CHS baseball team got their first action on their home field on Saturday as they welcomed Grundy County to Powers Field for a 10 inning scrimmage.   The Coffee County pitchers struck out 23 Yellow Jacket batters on the day as the Raider defense needed only 7 defensive putouts.  The Red Raiders banged out 14 hits as they rolled to a 9 to 3 victory. 

After surrendering a run in the 1st inning without giving up a hit, the Raiders captured the lead in the bottom of the 1st with a pair of singles and a pair of triples.  Coffee County’s pitchers, throwing a maximum of 2 innings, did not surrender a hit until the 8th inning.  Brandon Jernigan was the leading hitter for Coffee County as he had a triple, a double and 1 RBI.  Griffin Meeker had a pair of singles and 2 RBI.  Hayden Skipper had a triple, a single and an RBI.  Noah Bradshaw added a pair of singles.  On the mound, Jernigan stuck out 6 in 2 innings of work while Skipper had 5 punch outs in a pair of innings.  Meeker struck out 3 batters in one inning of work. 

“I was definitely happy with the way we threw the ball today” said Coffee County coach David Martin.  “I was happy with our energy and our approach to the game in general” added Martin.  Martin was happy with the confidence and maturity his team displayed despite not having any outdoor practice sessions prior to the game. 

The Raiders will attempt to get in a week of outdoor practices as they prepare for another scrimmage on Saturday in McMinnville.  Coffee County will square off against Warren County in a 10 inning scrimmage beginning at noon.  The Red Raiders open the regular season on Monday, March 9th as they host Columbia.  Thunder Radio will be on hand to bring you the broadcast of that game.  First pitch is set for 4 PM. 

Rinne, Turris Lead Preds to Win Over Blues, Sweep of Home-and-Home Set

Pekka Rinne

Pekka Rinne made a season-high 38 saves and Kyle Turris scored the game-winner with less than three minutes to play, as the Nashville Predators defeated the St. Louis Blues, 2-1, on Sunday evening at Bridgestone Arena.

The result gives the Preds a sweep of their home-and-home set – and the season series – against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues. Perhaps more importantly, it’s Nashville’s first three-game winning streak since October, and the Preds are now currently just one point out of a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

As many said in the Nashville locker room postgame, this isn’t cause for popping champagne. However, for a group that has been searching for a spark most of the season, the past 48 hours certainly won’t hurt.

“October is a long time ago,” Rinne said of the previous three-game win streak. “I feel like we can be honest – it has been a struggle for the most part this year after October. I feel like we had a fairly good start, but after that it has been full of ups and downs. It shows in our game that we play with a lot of passion, just gutsy plays. I feel like we’ve changed the way we play a game. Obviously [Head Coach John Hynes is a big factor], but it’s also the players buying into it, and I think it shows.”

“We had great goaltending tonight, first and foremost,” Hynes said. “We were on our heels a little bit in tonight’s game, but I thought if you go from the net out – excellent game from Pekka… It’s not the recipe to win every game, but sometimes you have to win a game that’s gritty. It’s grinding, it’s not pretty, you need your goaltender to be probably your best player and you’ve got to have guys that just continue to hang in the fight and continue to battle. And we did that on the way to the win.”

After a scoreless opening period that saw Rinne, who was making just his second start in Nashville’s last seven games, turn aside 13 Blues’ shots, both clubs converted in the middle frame.

First, Craig Smith potted his sixth goal in his past five games, when he cleaned up a loose puck in front of the net and beat Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington for a 1-0 advantage. But approximately three minutes later, Tyler Bozak threw a pass toward the Nashville crease that deflected off of Dan Hamhuis and past Rinne to even the score after 40 minutes of play.

Rinne stopped 11 more Blues’ shots in the second, and his effort in the third – another 14 saves – gave the Predators a chance. At 17:48 of the final frame, Turris took advantage.

Off a turnover in the St. Louis zone, Filip Forsberg found No. 8 wearing Winter Classic white, and the forward snapped a shot from the left circle that found twine and sent the powder keg that was the hometown crowd into a frenzy.

“It was just a battle tonight,” Turris said. “They had a really good push back the whole game coming off of last night. Peks kept us in it. He played phenomenal. But just to stick with it, battle, grind it out and find a way to win, it’s really important for us right now in the situation we’re in. It was huge for us.”

No one deserved that praise more than Rinne, and he received a standing ovation during the third period from the Smashville faithful, as Bridgestone Arena flirted with playoff-level decibels. That was in large part due to the play of Rinne, and he earned every chant of “Pekka” that rained down.

“The guy is sick when he is in the net in front of us,” Smith said of Rinne. “Tonight, was a good example. He came out with some huge saves, seeing the puck well like he always does. I’m happy for him.”

“We’ve got the best fans in the League, for sure,” Rinne said. “It feels good, and I appreciate it a lot.”

Both games on the weekend against the Blues certainly felt like they were being played in April instead of February, and those are exactly the kind of challenges the Predators want at this point in the season.

Nashville knows points and wins are paramount no matter how they come, but to earn those in outings as intense as these seems to be bringing a little something extra out.

And that’s a very good sign.

“It’s growing,” Turris said of his team’s confidence. “It’s the time of the year you want it to be growing too. You want to get hot at the right time. We have a lot of work to do and ground to make up, but at the same time, we’re trying to move in the right direction.”

“Huge two wins in a row against one of the top teams in the League,” Rinne said. “It was a gutsy effort tonight. Two timely goals, we played solid defense and just got it done. All in all, you look where we are, I think these last three games have really given us confidence. We kind of see the light now.”

Notes:

Colin Blackwell and Matt Irwin were scratched for the Preds on Sunday.

The Predators are back at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night (at 7 p.m. CT) when they host the Carolina Hurricanes before another back-to-back set, this time with Chicago and Columbus.

Pete Weber’s Postgame Report

Preds Start Home-and-Home with Satisfying Win in St. Louis

Kyle Turris(#8) of the Predators celebrates with teammate Calle Jarnkrok [Photo courtesy of Nashville Predators]

Kyle Turris had three points and Mikael Granlund tallied the game-winner in the third period, as the Predators began their weekend on a high note by topping the Blues, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at Enterprise Center.

The victory in a playoff-like atmosphere was Nashville’s third in as many chances against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, and the Predators will try to make it four wins when they host the Blues in Music City tomorrow, the second half of a crucial home-and-home set against their division rival.

“We came into the game really mentally prepared,” Preds Head Coach John Hynes said. “We talked about leaving [a 5-0 win against the Islanders in our last game] behind and making sure that we’re totally attached and invested in this game. I thought we had a very good first, they obviously had a good second period, but I really liked the fact that we had good mental toughness, good focus on the third period we found a way to win the game. That’s the most important part of this time of year.”

“It was a really big win for us,” Turris said. “We’re battling in the standings and trying to make up ground, so to start the back-to-back off with [a win], this was really important. It’s going to be a really important game tomorrow night too.”

The Predators were the superior team to start, as they registered the game’s first seven shots and owned a 2-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes. First, Viktor Arvidsson beat Jake Allen from a sharp angle less than seven minutes into the contest, and then Matt Duchene converted on the rush at the 12:23 mark.

There was also plenty of feistiness between the two rivals in the first frame with Filip Forsberg and Brayden Schenn dropping the gloves early on, and then Jarred Tinordi and Robert Bortuzzo had a scrap later in the period, the latter of which showed a true example of the Predators sticking together.

“It’s awesome to know that [Tinordi] has my back and everyone in this room has my back,” Arvidsson said. “I’m not a fighter, it’s hard for me to do it and it’s cool to see guys stepping up for other players.”

In the second stanza, the home team came to life, and although Turris got Nashville’s third of the afternoon, the Blues scored three of their own to see a 3-3 score through two periods. The first of those St. Louis goals marked the first time Juuse Saros had been scored on in over four periods of hockey.

But then, on a power play in the third period, a rebound off a Roman Josi shot came to the stick of Granlund, and the forward slid it into the back of the net to give a 4-3 lead back to the visitors – his third game-winning goal in the last six games.

“That was a real hockey game,” Granlund said. “There was a lot of emotion, a lot of 1-on-1 battles, and that’s a fun way to play the game. Overall, we played a pretty good hockey game, and we were able to get those big two points.”

The Predators would have preferred not to surrender three goals in the middle period, but a solid start before regaining the lead and finishing things off in the third was plenty satisfying for the group. Hynes has emphasized mental fortitude with his team since arriving in January, and Saturday was another prime example of their improvement in that area.

“There’s some certain things we certainly have to clean up in the second period, but I think when you look at the third period, that was a message in between periods to continue on the mental focus, the fortitude, the understanding what it takes to win games,” Hynes said. “The commitment level [it takes to] win games and the attention to detail [is imperative]. In the third period, we did a good job of that, and you know it’s important to be able to find ways to win tight games.

Josi assisted on Granlund’s goal to extend his point streak to five games, and Saros made 24 saves as he started for the fifth time in the last six contests for Nashville.

With the road portion of the weekend now complete, the Predators will return home to Tennessee and try for another two points in 24 hours. It won’t be easy, but nothing in the Central Division ever is, especially at this time of the year.

“You’re going to be in a lot of games like this down the stretch where teams are fighting for points,” Hynes asid. “Games get more and more intense, particularly teams that are fighting for playoff spots. I like where we’re headed in that direction, mentally, with the victory.”

Notes:

Colin Blackwell and Matt Irwin were scratched for the Predators on Saturday afternoon.

The second half of the home-and-home comes Sunday evening in Nashville, a 5 p.m. CT start as part of Hockey Day in America. NBC and NBCSN’s 10-hour broadcast, which kicks off Hockey Week Across America, will originate from the Bridgestone Arena plaza starting at 11 a.m. CT and will conclude with a postgame show following the Predators and Blues game at 5 p.m. CT. Throughout their full day of coverage, NBC and NBCSN will feature the diversity and growth of hockey in Nashville, and across the country, before airing the Predators home-ice tilt.