Sunday, May 31, 2015

{allcanada} Generals beat Rockets in OT to win Memorial Cup


QUEBEC CITY, Que. - Anthony Cirelli's time to shine for the Oshawa Generals was supposed to be next season, but the 17-year-old made a massive impact in the biggest game of the campaign.

Cirelli tied the game in the second period and then scored 1:28 into overtime on Sunday night to give Oshawa the Mastercard Memorial Cup.

"Words can't describe what I'm feeing now," Cirelli said as the Generals celebrated their 2-1 victory over the Western Hockey League champion Kelowna Rockets. "Coming from midget hockey last year and making this team, then doing this..... we worked so hard all season and to win it is unbelievable."

The Generals won the Cup for the first time since 1990 and became the first Ontario Hockey League team to win since the 2010 Windsor Spitfires.

Tomas Soustal scored in the first period for Kelowna, which had the edge in possession and play for most of the game but got only one past solid goaltender Ken Appleby. The Rockets outshot the Generals 38-26.

In overtime, a favourable bounce sent Oshawa on an attack. Goalie Jackson Whistle stopped the first shot from Chris Carlisle but Cirelli was on the doorstep to bang in the rebound.

"I was shocked when it when in. It was an unbelievable feeling," said Cirelli.

Added Generals veteran defenceman Dakota Mermis: "You see Carlisle, an overager, get the puck to the net and Cirelli, a guy who was undrafted in the OHL, and he nails it right in and then it's all just emotions. It's so crazy."

Oshawa also beat the Rockets 2-1 in the round-robin portion of the tournament, but Kelowna played a much better game this time, rarely allowing the Generals to get their cycle game going.

"Both teams battled hard and it could have gone either way," said dejected Rockets captain Madison Bowey. "We played hard and you know what? Two great teams meet up and one team has to lose and tonight we were on the wrong side of things."

An announced crowd of 10,391 turned out for the final hockey game at the Pepsi Colisee, which is to be demolished and replaced by the 18,000-seat Videotron Centre next door.

Perhaps rusty from five days off since finishing first in the round robin, the Generals were unable get sustained pressure in the Kelowna zone.

Cole Linaker won a draw from Michael McCarron and Bowey fired a puck off the end boards that Soustal, posted at the back door, put into an open side at 15:08.

The Generals found their legs during successive power plays in the second period and tied the game at 13:50 when Cirelli broke down the left side and picked the top corner behind Whistle.

Oshawa nearly had the winner at 17:30 of the third, but video review showed Hunter Smith batted it in with a high stick.

The Generals had a veteran team that will lose most of its top players next season. Youngsters like Cirelli will be the team's future. The Woodbridge, Ont. native had 13 goals in 68 regular season games and added two in the OHL playoffs.

His two at the Memorial Cup were ones he won't forget.

"I just kept working hard and thinking 'my time will come,'" said Cirelli. "I'm just thankful I got those two goals."

Kelowna star Leon Draisaitl, who led the tournament with seven points but was held off the scoresheet in both games against Oshawa, was named tournament MVP.

Appleby was named top goaltender and Alexis Loiseau of the Rimouski Oceanic was named most sportsmanlike player.

Total attendance for nine games was 79,930, or 8,881 per game. Next year's Memorial Cup will be in Red Deer, Alta.


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{allcanada} Hunter lifts Twins to narrow win over Jays


MINNEAPOLIS - Forgive the Minnesota Twins if they wish May wasn't ending. After four 90-loss seasons, winning 20 games in a month for the first time since 1991 feels pretty good.

"I think maybe we're going to change tomorrow to May 32nd and see what happens," manager Paul Molitor said Sunday when asked if his team's current streak is sustainable. "It's staying in the moment. We're doing some good things, but it's your ability to find a way to stay with what's making you successful, and I'm not going to get too far ahead of myself."

Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run homer, and Torii Hunter had a go-ahead double in the seventh inning to lift the Twins over the Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 on Sunday.

Minnesota moved into first place in the AL Central and finished May with a 20-7 record, securing its first 20-win month since going 22-6 in June 1991. The Twins (30-19) have their most wins through 49 games since starting 33-16 in 2001.

"I'm not thinking about the rest of the season, I'm just thinking about tomorrow," Hunter said. "We've got Boston tomorrow, we think about that game."

Ryan Pressly (3-1) got two outs for the win, and the Twins overcame an early injury to starter Ricky Nolasco to win two of three in the series. A sore right ankle ended Nolasco's bid for a sixth straight victory in the second inning.

Toronto starter Drew Hutchison went 5 1-3 innings, allowing four runs and seven hits. He looked in command heading into the sixth before the Twins rallied to make it 4-all on Plouffe's homer.

The Blue Jays led 5-4 in the seventh after Josh Donaldson's 15th homer, but a throwing error by shortstop Jose Reyes allowed Aaron Hicks to reach safely in the bottom half against Roberto Osuna (1-2).

One out later, Brian Dozier singled and then Hunter launched a two-run double over Chris Colabello's head in left field.

"We got exposed today," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It's been happening a little bit lately. Hutch was cruising. He started out a little bit slow, kicked it in gear and then all of a sudden, wham, bam! ... You don't really know what happened."

Blaine Boyer worked a scoreless eighth and Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 19th save in 19 chances.

Toronto led 4-1 in the sixth before Joe Mauer's RBI single scored Dozier. Plouffe followed with a 434-foot homer to the second deck to tie it.

The Blue Jays regained the lead in the seventh on Donaldson's homer. In recent years, that might have been enough against the Twins.

"They've played well enough over a period of time now where I think they believe they can find a way to hang around games and maybe come back," Molitor said.


Nolasco threw only 28 pitches in his final start of an outstanding month. He had just started pitching to Russell Martin leading off the second before coming up awkwardly on the mound. Molitor said he thinks Nolasco actually hurt his ankle in the first inning.

Nolasco stayed in the game after throwing a few warmup pitches, but Molitor pulled him for reliever J.R. Graham after back-to-back singles by Martin and Colabello.

"He just said, 'I don't know if I can go,'" catcher Kurt Suzuki said Nolasco told Molitor during their final conference on the mound.

The team said Nolasco is day to day, and MRI results were expected in the next day or so.

"You don't want a guy to get hurt, and a guy who's been pitching well who's been winning games for us," Molitor said.


Donaldson has homered in five of his last six games and has hit in 20 straight games against the Twins, the second-longest active streak by any player against a particular team. Reyes has hit in 21 consecutive games against Detroit.

"He's got that knack, and that's why he's an elite player," Gibbons said. "And that's not easy to do consistently like he's doing. Thank God we've got him."


Blue Jays: The team placed INF Steve Tolleson on the disabled list with a strained groin and recalled INF Munenori Kawasaki from Triple-A Buffalo. Tolleson was batting .268 with three RBIs in 41 at-bats. Kawasaki had only five at-bats this season before being optioned to the minors last Monday.

Twins: GM Terry Ryan said Perkins was fine after sitting out Saturday's game when he had trouble loosening up. The Twins used Boyer as the closer as a precaution. "I don't think it's anything other than maybe giving him a breather," Ryan said. ... Ryan said RHP Ervin Santana faced batters and threw about 70 pitches Saturday at the team's training facility in Florida. Santana is serving an 80-game suspension for the use of a performance-enhancing substance.


Blue Jays: Toronto begins a three-game series at Washington on Monday. R.A. Dickey (2-5) tries for his first road win of the season opposite Jordan Zimmermann (4-2).

Twins: Minnesota opens a four-game set at Boston on Monday when Mike Pelfrey (4-1) pitches against Clay Buchholz (2-6). The Twins swept three games from the Red Sox last week at Target Field.

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{allcanada} Stop The Fighting

{allcanada} Argos' Durie feeling good after 2014 season


TORONTO - It was a rather dubious start to training camp for the Toronto Argonauts' offence but with an important silver lining.

Slotback Andre Durie, who missed most of last year with two separate collar-bone injuries, returned to field Sunday for both sessions at York University. More importantly, the 33-year-old Mississauga, Ont., native emerged from the opening workouts unscathed.

"No issues," Durie said. "It feels good.

"I have enough metal in there to protect me for a lifetime."

Durie first broke his right clavicle July 5 versus Saskatchewan, required surgery and missed seven games before returning Sept. 13. He played in two more contests before breaking the clavicle again — in a different area — diving for a pass during practice, ending his season.

The injuries limited the five-foot-10, 199-pound Durie to just 19 catches for 214 yards and a TD after recording career highs in receptions (92) and yards (986) in 2013.

But a healthy Durie gives Toronto much more than just a reliable receiver. He can also play running back — Durie was a star tailback at York before suffering a horrific leg injury in '05 — and can play special teams.

Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich said Durie's ability to play multiple positions well gives rival defensive co-ordinators fits.

"He's a great leader for us but the versatility Andre brings with being able to run the football from the backfield, run deep routes, run short routes and block, all those things really makes it difficult for a defence to get a grasp on what we're trying to do," Milanovich said. "He's essentially an extra tailback and a receiver so we have two personnel groups in there at the same time and that can be difficult to match up with.

"He's an explosive player, the first guy never brings him down. Hopefully he will have a good, healthy year."

That's a sentiment Durie, entering his ninth CFL campaign — all with Toronto — also shares after being forced to watch his teammates miss the CFL playoffs last season.

"As a football player you wish you could always turn off the injuries but that's part of the game unfortunately," he said. "It was rough mentally to sit on the sidelines and watch the team go out there and not be able to go out there with them and help them win games.

"I worked this off-season to make sure I'm healthy and can be out there with the guys."

Even with Durie, Toronto's offence struggled mightily in the wet, cold and windy conditions Sunday, especially during the first session. That's hardly surprising as it takes units time to gel but the offensive players' inability to hold on to the football bothered Milanovich.

"The offence didn't protect the football, felt sorry for themselves because it was raining," Milanovich deadpanned. "It's about how you'd hope it would go the first day.

"Defence dominated. This is a great test the first day in the CFL of playing in the elements. I told them before the first practice if you can't play in the elements you can't play in this league. They got a taste of it the first day."

Predictably, Durie refused to blame the weather for the offence's issues.

"The first practice was a little bit rough obviously with the weather but there are no excuses," Durie said. "We've got to come out and execute and keep the ball off the ground.

"As an offence we have to come out and do that every day. It's Canada. You never know, it could snow tomorrow."

NOTES: Toronto suspended defensive lineman Cleyon Laing after he was a no-show Sunday. The Edmonton native recently changed agents, hiring Washington D.C.-based Jonathan Hardaway, and is entering the final year of his CFL contract. Hardaway also represents defensive back Chris Ackie, the fourth pick in this year's CFL draft currently at a contract impasse with the Montreal Alouettes . . . Offensive lineman Sean McEwen, Toronto's '15 first-round pick, isn't here, having decided to return to the University of Calgary this fall . . . Quarterback Trevor Harris turned 29 on Sunday.

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{allcanada} Jays not panicked by Travis setback

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MINNEAPOLIS – Devon Travis was scratched from a second-straight game in Buffalo, his rehab assignment shelved for the time being and April's American League Rookie of the Month was headed to the Blue Jays' facility in Dunedin, Florida for additional rest and recovery.

The 24-year-old continues to be hobbled by pain in his collarbone and left shoulder. The injury originated when he took a one hop line drive off the bat of Brandon Moss on April 30 in Cleveland.

Travis played for more than two weeks afterward and his offensive numbers plummeted as his swing became increasingly compromised.

He appeared in one game with the Bisons, on Friday night, going 1-for-4 and later acknowledged e still didn't feel right.

A source tells Travis needs "just a little more rest." Travis, whose toughness has been praised by his manager and others, apparently told Blue Jays' officials he'd be willing to try to play through the pain. The feeling, however, is that a week or two of downtime could be enough to return Travis to full health.

Shortly after getting hurt Travis underwent an X-ray and a CT scan, neither of which revealed any breaks or cracks in his collarbone.

There are no plans to have the injury imaged again.

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{allcanada} Changes to compensation for coaches coming

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Compensation was a hot topic over the last couple of weeks with the likes of Peter Chiarelli heading to Edmonton to be the new Oilers general manager, Mike Babcock to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the hiring of Dan Bylsma in Buffalo.

There was much ado over the cost of those moves. The Detroit Red Wings set the cost of luring Babcock away at a third-round draft choice, as he was technically still under contract with the club. The Chiarelli and Bylsma situations were a much different scenario.

According to Elliotte Friedman on Saturday's edition of "Headlines" on Hockey Night in Canada, the NHL's Board of Governors are set to change the rules surrounding compensation for coaches and executives.

Friedman noted that the Board of Governors could move to change the current rule so that only a coach or general manager still working for a club would warrant a compensatory pick in the event that they were hired away.

The Oilers surrendered a second-round pick to the Bruins for Chiarelli, who had been relieved of his duties in Boston following the conclusion of the regular season.

A matter of compensation held up the Bylsma hiring until it was determined the Sabres would send a third-round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who let the coach go last summer with his contract running through 2016.

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{allcanada} Veterans arrive as Als open camp

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The Montreal Alouettes opened camp Sunday morning at Bishop's University in Lennoxville, QC, where veterans took to the field for the first time.

Defensive back Jerald Brown and linebacker Chip Cox did not report due to family commitments but are expected to have their physicals on Monday and join camp Tuesday.

Wide receiver Chad Johnson was also absent on Sunday. Head coach Tom Higgins said there is no change in Johnson's status, as it appears he will not be returning to fulfill the second year of his contract.

Defensive end Michael Sam took reps on the strong and weak side rush end with the third-string defensive core on opening day, and spent significant time on special teams.

The Alouettes will play two preseason games before the regular season kicks off - Saturday, June 13 against the Ottawa Redblacks in Quebec City and Thursday, June 18 when they host the Toronto Argonauts.

They start the regular season on Saturday, June 25 when they host the Redblacks.

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{allcanada} Henderson named to Canada's golf team at Pan Am Games

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TORONTO - Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., headlines the four athletes named to Canada's golf team on Sunday for the upcoming Pan American Games.

The 17-year-old former world No. 1 amateur will be joined by four-time LPGA Tour winner Lorie Kane of Charlottetown.

"It's really exciting to have been selected to represent Canada in the first ever Pan Am games golf competition," said Henderson. "I've had so many great experiences being a part of Golf Canada's national team program since I was 14, and now in my first year as a pro, it's a great honour to play for my country at the Pan Am Games."

The men's team is 18-year-old Austin Connelly who resides in Irving Texas, and reigning Canadian men's mid-amateur champion Garrett Rank of Elmira, Ont.

Connelly is the 10th ranked player on the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

The Pan Am golf competition runs July 16-19 at Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham, Ont.

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{allcanada} Jays sign LHP Coke to minor league contract

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The Toronto Blue Jays have signed left-handed pitcher Phil Coke to a minor league contract.

Coke began the season with the Chicago Cubs but was released on May 27 after being designated for assignment.

He made 16 appearances out of the Cubs bullpen this year, posting a 6.30 earned-run average over 10 innings.

Coke has appeared in 399 career games with the Cubs, Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees. He has a 22-27 career with a 4.21 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.

He has made five post-season appearances over the past six seasons, including winning the World Series with the Yankees in 2009.

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{allcanada} Canadian Theisen-Eaton excels at Hypo Meeting

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GOETZIS, Austria — Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada improved her personal best heptathlon score by 167 points to dominate the Hypo Meeting on Sunday.

The world championship silver medallist gathered 6,808 points to win the prestigious competition for a second time after 2013. Second-place Carolin Schaefer of Germany had 6,547 points and Nadine Broersen of the Netherlands took third with 6,531.

Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill finished fourth in the Briton's first heptathlon since winning gold at the London Games. Ennis-Hill earned 6,520 points and comfortably passed the 6,200-point qualifying mark for next year's Rio Olympics.

Dafne Schippers was second before the final event and looked set to beat her own Dutch record of 6,545 points but decided not to start in the 800 metres because of a knee injury.

The men's decathlon concluded later Sunday.

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