Minnesota’s Lee Stecklein scored 49 seconds into overtime to give the Whitecaps a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Beauts in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) championship final. The Isobel Cup win comes in Minnesota’s first season in the NWHL.
The game was a defensive battle with both teams scoring goals in the first period. The Beauts got the first one on a power play goal by Emily Pfalzer. Minnesota tied it up just 1:22 later when Amy Menke scored on a breakaway. The goaltenders shut down opposing offenses the rest of regulation. Amanda Leveille made 22 saves for the Whitecaps while Nicole Hensley made 28 saves playing for the injured Shannon Szabados. This was the first time since the NWHL switched to a single-elimination playoff system that the final has gone into overtime to be decided.
The Isobel Cup Final was played at TRIA Rink in Minnesota which was the tenth consecutive sellout for the Whitecaps.
Minnesota finished first in the regular season with a 12-4-0 record then defeated the Metropolitan Riveters 5-1 in the semifinals. Buffalo finished the NWHL season in second place with an 11-4-1 record and shut out the Boston Pride 4-0 in the semifinals. This was Buffalo’s fourth straight appearance in the final. They won the cup in 2017.
The Isobel Cup is the championship trophy awarded to the NWHL champions. It is named after Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy who was one of the first known women to play the game and daughter of Lord Stanley. The National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup is named after Lord Stanley.
The Toronto Marlies officially ended the 2017-2018 hockey season with their Game 7 win over the Texas Stars last night. All of the cups have been won and here are the leagues and teams that have claimed their titles:
American Hockey League (AHL): Toronto Marlies
Andreas Johnson and Mason Marchment each scored twice while netminder Garret Sparks made 29 saves at the Marlies defeated the Texas Stars 6-1 in Game 7 to win their first Calder Cup and the first men’s professional hockey title for the city of Toronot since 1967.
ECHL: Colorado Eagles
Colorado defeated the Florida Everblades in seven games to repeat as Kelly Cup champions in their final season before moving to the AHL next season. The Eagles rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the third period as Gabriel Verpaelst netted the game winner with 2:29 left.
Federal Hockey League (FHL): Watertown Wolves
The Wolves defeated the Port Huron Prowlers 3 games to 1 to win the Commissioner’s Cup. This was their second FHL title having won it previously in 2015. Gavin Yates led the Wolves with six goals in the playoffs and was awarded the league’s MVP.
Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL): Huntsville Havoc
The Havoc became the first fourth-seeded team to win the SPHL President’s Cup beating the Peoria Rivermen 2 games to 1. Sy Nutkevtich, who scored a goal in each playoff game against Peoria, had 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in the postseason and was named the MVP. This was the Havoc’s second league title. They last won it in 2010.
National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL): Metropolitan Riveters
The Riveters knocked off the defending Isobel Cup champs with a 1-0 win over the Buffalo Beauts. Katie Fitzgerald was the game’s MVP as she held Buffalo scoreless. Alexa Gruschow got the game’s only goal in the first period for the Riveters. This was their first Isobel Cup title.
North American Hockey League (NAHL): Shreveport Mudbugs
The Mudbugs came from behind to beat the Minot Minotauros 2-1 to win the Robertson Cup. Cole Quisenberry tipped home the game winner early in the third period for the Mudbugs. This was the Mudbugs’ first title in the NAHL. The franchise had previously won titles in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2011 in the Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL) and Central Hockey League (CHL).
United States Hockey League (USHL): Fargo Force
The Force won their first title in team history winning the Clark Cup over the Youngstown Phantoms. The Force got a late goal from Ty Farmer and an empty net goal from Mark Senden wo win 4-2 in Game 4 and clinch the series 3 games to 1. It took 10 years, 667 games and 63 playoff games for their first title.
Western Hockey League (WHL): Swift Current Broncos
The Broncos captured the Memorial Cup for the first time in 25 years. Beck Malenstyn put in an empty net goal to shut the door on the Everett Silvertips for a 3-0 win in Game 6. It wasn’t an easy path for the Broncos as it took them seven games to eliminate the Regina Pats in the first round and another seven games to advance past Moose Jaw in the second round. In the Eastern Conference final, they defeated Lethbridge 4 games to 2.
Alliance of American Football (AAF) – Announced that they will place a team in Salt Lake City, Utah when they begin play next spring. Salt Lake City joins Orlando, Atlanta and Memphis and will play at Rice Eccles Stadium, which is the home field for the University of Utah. The Memphis team has announced that former Chicago Bears’ great Mike Singletary will be their head coach.
AmericanArena League (AAL) – The Georgia Doom upset the Richmond Roughriders 56-44 in Macon, Georgia after the Doom replaced head coach Derek Stingley with Defensive Coordinator Gerald Dockery.
American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The Toronto Rush (4-0) held on to defeat the Montreal Royal 21-18 to stay undefeated and atop the East Division standings. Montreal drops to 2-3. In other divisions, the surprising Atlanta Hustle are tied with the Dallas Roughnecks at 4-1 in the South. Madison is 5-0 in the Midwest but Indianapolis (6-1) is right on their heels. The West seems to be wide open as 2.5 games separate the first and last place teams. The Los Angeles Aviators and San Diego Growlers are tied for first with 4-2 records.
Arena Football League (AFL) – The Albany Empire (2-2) defeated the Washington Valor (0-4) 53-42 on Friday night at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in front of a crowd of 9,036. Empire quarterback Tommy Grady threw for 257 yards and seven touchdowns earning himself the game MVP award. Empire receiver Malachi Jones had six receptions for 120 yards and three receiving touchdowns, while chipping one rushing touchdown and earning himself Offensive Player of the Game. Terence Moore was named Defensive Player of the Game with six total tackles and a fumble recovery.
Champions Indoor Football (CIF) -The Omaha Beef made just enough plays to edge out the Bismarck Bucks in an offensive explosion 79-78. After a tough game last week against Sioux City, John Gibbs showed what he can potentially be for Omaha. A week ago, Gibbs had one touchdown in the air and two on the ground, but it was the three interceptions that hurt the Beef the most. Saturday night, Gibbs had eight total touchdowns (7-passing/1-rushing) and most importantly, no interceptions. Gibbs found receivers Daniel Mckinney, Brandlynn Clark and Jerimiah Eaton open all game. Mckinney lead the receivers in receptions (6) and total touchdowns (5), Clark added two touchdowns, and so did Eaton, with one of his touchdown catches coming with under 10-seconds left in the game.
Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) – The online, fan-involved indoor football league has delayed their start date to the summer of 2019.
Indoor Football League (IFL) – The six-time world champion league leading Arizona Rattlers (9-1) defeated the Green Bay Blizzard (1-8) by a score of 62-26 at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Rattlers have extended their current win streak to eight.
Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – The Denver Outlaws fell 24-22 in a back-and-forth, high-scoring game to the Chesapeake Bayhawks on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Despite scoring a season-high 22 goals and rallying from a five-score fourth-quarter deficit, Denver was never able to overcome a Chesapeake 13-point third quarter and four two-goal tallies. Midfielder Drew Snider led all scorers with a career-high six goals-representing only the 20th six-goal game in Outlaws history.
Major League Rugby (MLR) – The Glendale Raptors were named the Major League Rugby Team of the Week the league announced today. The Raptors have jumped out to a perfect 4-0 start after a 31-27 win against the San Diego Legion. Facing a 21-10 deficit in the second half, Glendale used strong defensive pressure paired with timely stops to swing the momentum of the match. Down three with under 10 minutes to play, Raptors’ flanker Zach Fenoglio finished off a sequence of phase play with a try and the ensuing conversion proved to be enough for Glendale.
National Arena League (NAL) – The Columbus Lions stunned the Carolina Cobras 55-54 when Columbus quarterback Mason Espinosa found Durron Neal for a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired then kicker Lindsey Wolfe made the extra point for the win.
National Lacrosse League (NLL) – The Rochester Knighthawks edged the Georgia Swarm 9-8 in the Eastern Division final while the Saskatchewan Rush knocked off the Calgary Roughnecks in the West final. Rochester and Saskatchewan will faceoff for the NLL title with Game 1 at Saskatchewan on May 26th.
National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) – Added the Minnesota Whitecaps to the league as their fifth team joining Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut and Metropolitan in 2018-2019. The Whitecaps were already an independent team which started in 2004 and played in the short-lived Western Women’s Hockey League in 2010-2011.
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The Orlando Pride (3-2-3, 12 points) earned a 2-1 win over Portland Thorns FC on Saturday afternoon, defeating the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) champions in front of over 17,000 fans at Providence Park. The match not only marked the Pride’s first win over Portland in Club history, but extended the team’s unbeaten streak to five straight games. Forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Christine Nairn got on the score sheet for the Pride, both putting in their first goals of the 2018 season.
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Los Angeles Sparks and defending champion Minnesota Lynx will tip-off the league’s 21st season on May 20th. The league will again have 12 teams with the only relocation being the Las Vegas Aces which moved from San Antonio.
METROPOLITAN RIVETERS CLAIM THEIR FIRST ISOBEL CUP
Metropolitan Riveters 1, Buffalo Beauts 0
On their second shot of the game, the Metropolitan Riveters scored the only goal from Alexa Gruschow who put the puck in from a difficult angle after her first shot was blocked. After that it was a tense battle which saw both goaltenders turn away shots. The Riveters’ Katie Fitzgerald made 28 saves and shut down the Buffalo Beauts late in the game for a 1-0 win.
Guschow was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
The Riveters finished the regular season with a record of 13-3-0 then easily dispatched of the Connecticut Whale 5-0 in the semifinals for their first appearance in the Isobel Cup final and dethroned the defending champs.
BALTIMORE BLAST WIN YET ANOTHER MASL TITLE
Baltimore Blast 4, Monterrey Flash 3
The Blast opened with a strong first half in front of a hostile crowd of 8,220 with goals from Vini Dantas, Andrew Hoxie and Daniel Peruzzi to a 3-0 lead at halftime. After a goal from Monterrey’s Edgar Gonzalez, Juan Pereria scored for Baltimore to extend their lead back to a 3-goal difference at 4-1. The Flash stormed back with two goals but the Blast defense was able to hold off the Monterrey rally to secure their third straight Ron Newman Cup title.
The Baltimore Blast have now won their 10th indoor title in team history. The Blast have been in the finals in 13 of the past 16 seasons.
Goalkeeper William Vanzela was playing in only his second game after returning from injury and finished the night with eight saves and strong down the stretch to help the Blast protect their one-goal lead. Vanzela needed only to make one last save in the final two minutes as the Flash brought on the extra attacker.
It’s playoff time in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) as eight teams qualified for this year’s Ron Newman Cup. The Baltimore Blast (17-5) will attempt to go for the three-peat and will begin with their divisional series against the Sycracuse Silver Knights (13-9). In the other divisional series, the Milwakuee Wave (17-5) takes on the Cedar Rapids Rampage (11-11) for the Central Division title. In the Southwest Division it will be a Mexican showdown between Monterrey Flash (20-2) and Sonora Soles (15-7). The San Diego Sockers (19-3) and Tacoma Stars (11-11) will play for the Pacific Division crown.
The playoffs for the Isobel Cup are set in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) at the Buffalo Beauts (11-4) will host the Boston Pride (4-7-4) in one of the semifinal games on March 17th. The top-seeded Metropolitan Riveters (12-3) will play the Connecticut Whale (3-10-2) in the other semifinal on March 18th. The Cup final will be played the following weekend.
The Saskatchewan Rush (10-2) have clinched a playoff spot in the National Lacrosse League (NLL). A crowd of 14,057 watched as the Rush shutdown the Vancouver Stealth 16-10. The Stealth jumped out to a 3-1 lead early but the Rush stormed back with a 9-1 run led by three goals from Robert Church and three assists form Mark Matthews. Here are the current standings in the NLL: Eastern Division – New England (5-4), Buffalo (6-5), Toronto (5-5), Georgia (5-6), Rochester (5-6). Western Division – Saskatchewan (10-2), Colorado (7-3), Calgary (4-6), Vancouver (1-11).
The final four teams in the PRO Chess League will be played in San Francisco. The world’s best chess players will travel to San Francisco to compete in a live championship organized by Chess.com and Twitch, the companies announced today. This epic event will be the culmination of Chess.com’s Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League, a groundbreaking, season-long competition with the world’s top chess players representing international regions. The two-day event kicks off at 10 a.m. on April 7 at the Folsom Street Foundry and will also be live-broadcast exclusively on Chess.com’s Twitch channel (twitch.tv/chess).
Salina Liberty kicker Michael Pursley booted a 19-yard field goal with 1:27 left in the game gave the Liberty the lead and the defense held the Wichita Force on downs for a 17-15 win in the season opener of the Champions Indoor Football League. In other games, Dallas edged the Texas Revolution 38-37 in overtime, the Omaha Beef routed the Texas Power 71-6.
Iowa Barnstormers’ QB Drew Powell was named the offensive player of the week in the IndoorFootball League (IFL). The Iowa Barnstormers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to put away the Green Bay Blizzard 41-20 during opening weekend of the 2018 season. Picking up where he left off at the end of the 2017 season, QB Drew Powell (6’3,220, Livingstone College) again showed why he is one of the most exciting players in the IFL. Against one of the top pass defenses from last season, Powell completed 20 of 26 passes for a league-high 208 yards and four touchdowns. After posting 13 rushing touchdowns in the last four games of 2017, Powell continued to show that he is a threat on the ground as he added 48 rushing yards as well. The Iowa Barnstormers enjoy a Week 2 bye before hosting the Arizona Rattlers on March 10.
Here are the top teams in each league according to Developmental Football USA:
National Developmental Football League: Georgia Wolves
Coastal Football Alliance: North Carolina Rebels
Premier Amateur Football Alliance: Joplin Crusaders
Xtreme South Football League: Panhandle Crusaders
Arizona Gridiron Football League: Phoenix Phantoms
New Mexico Independent Football League: New Mexico Titans
Gulf States Football League: Louisiana Bayou Hurricanes
Independent American Football League: Dalton Danger
Universal Football League: Tri-County Steelers
Texas Football League: Texas Xtreme
Amateur to Professional Developmental League: Mississippi Dynasty
Tennessee Football Alliance: Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs
United Football Federation of America: Orlando Phantoms
The reports are true. The XFL is planning to make a return in 2020 with eight teams to play a 10-game schedule in the spring. The original XFL appeared in 1999 only to last one season before folding. The original league also had eight teams: New York-New Jersey Hitmen, Orlando Rage, Chicago Enforcers, Memphis Maniax, Birmingham Thunderbolts, Los Angeles Xtreme, San Francisco Demons and Las Vegas Outlaws. There is no word if the same teams will return in the XFL reboot. XFL boss Vince McMahon is hoping to give fans a better quality of football.
AFL UNVEILS NAME OF NEW ALBANY TEAM
The Empire strikes back in Albany, New York to join the Philadelphia Soul, Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor in the dwindling Arena Football League. Albany originally played as the Firebirds in the AFL from 1990-2000. The Firebirds were very successful during their first time in the AFL winning six division titles and won the 1999 ArenaBowl title. The Empire will begin play this season.
TAYOU LEADS MASL IN GOALS
Sonora Forward Franck Tayou leads the Major Arena Soccer League with 47 goals. Sonora is currently 10-6 and in second place behind Monterrey in the Southwest Division. Monterrey remains the league’s only undefeated team at 15-0 and the first team to clinch a playoff spot.
GEORGIA SWARM STING VANCOUVER
The defending National Lacrosse League champs broke up a close game against the Vancouver Stealth to notch a 16-12 win last week. The Swarm scored five goals in a span of 6:11 in the fourth quarter. Georgia now improves to 3-3 and dropped the Stealth to 1-6. Toronto and Saskatchewan continue to lead their divisions.
TWO GOALIES ARE NWHL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Amanda Leveille (Buffalo Beauts) and Brittany Ott (Boston Pride) were named the National Women’s Hockey League’s players of the week because of their performances in goal when Buffalo played Boston. The Beauts beat the Pride 1-0 after ten rounds of the shootout. Leveille got the win stopping all 25 shots she faced. She is 7-4-0 with a 2.77 GAA and .911 save percentage. Here are the current NWHL standings:
Metropolitan Riveters (11-0-0)
Buffalo Beauts (7-4-0)
Boston Pride (2-6-3)
Connecticut Whale (2-7-2)
PRO CHESS LEAGUE EARLY DIVISION LEADERS
The Estonia Horses (East), Stockhold Snowballs (Central), Minnesota Blizzard (Atlantic) and Chengdu Pandas (Pacific) are off to an early lead in their divisions. Round 3 of the season is this week. Yu Yangyi (Chengdu) is the leading player with 7.5 points and a rating of 2750.
NBA’S CHRIS PAUL TO HEADLINE NINTH STATE FARM BOWLING TOURNAMENT
Houston Rockets All-Star guard and tournament host Chris Paul will try to defend his doubles title with a new partner in the ninth State Farm®CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by Go Bowling! Super Bowl Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN from Bowlero The Woodlands in the Houston suburb of Conroe, Texas.
Paul will be joined by several celebrities and PBA Tour stars who will compete in the multi-format event which benefits the Chris Paul Family Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting youth, education, health, sports and social responsibility.
In addition to Paul, who is the defending champion of the doubles event (with PBA partner Chris Barnes), other participating celebrities include former NFL All Pro and former Celebrity Invitational winner Terrell Owens, Boston Red Sox All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts, andPaul’s All-Star Rockets teammate James Harden.
NEW MIXED-GENDER ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE PLANNED
The new semi-pro mixed-gender United Ultimate Disc League (UUL) plans to start play in April 2019 with eight teams and will be competition for the more-established American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The UUL will feature six-on-six competition (three men and three women per team) on a smaller field rather than the traditional seven-on-seven style and larger field used by the AUDL. The mixed-gender aspect of the league is a new and timely concept, as the AUDL recently faced a boycott by players due to its lack of female representation. The first-year teams are listed in a North Division with the Boston Whalers, New York Kraken, Philadelphia Pride and Washington Generals, and a South Division with the Carolina Cutlass (Raleigh, NC), Nashville Tristars, Atlanta Hounds and Florida Gulls (Jacksonville). The UUL season is short (three games per team) with each team playing the other teams in its division only once. The UUL will operate all teams and it plans to add four additional regional divisions of teams over the next few years.
Let’s take a look at some alternative sports leagues that you won’t see in your local sports pages:
AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL) – The only professional ultimate disc league is going through some growing pains as teams have moved or folded during the offseason. The latest move involved the Jacksonville Cannons who have moved to Tampa and will begin play there in the upcoming 2018 season. The Nashville Nightwatch changed ownership in the offseason and plans to make some significant changes in the 2018 season. A new franchise will be added in Portland, Oregon to play in the West Division.
MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE (MASL) – Here are the current league standings:
Cedar Rapids 6-8
Kansas City 4-8
St. Louis 2-11
El Paso 5-7
Rio Grande Valley 2-10
San Diego 10-0
AMERICAN BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (ABA) – The Richmond (VA) Elite are atop the ABA Power Rankings with a record of 10-0. They are followed by the Kentucky Enforcers (11-0), South Florida Gold (12-1), Jacksonville Giants (9-1) and Worcester 78s (10-1).
NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE (NLL) – The Saskatchewan Rush won the battle of the unbeatens when they defeated the Colorado Mammoths 17-12 in Denver. The Rush took over sole possession of first place in the West at 4-0 while the New England Black Wolves lead the East at 3-1.
NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE (NWHL) – In their third meeting of the season, the Buffalo Beauts edged the Connecticut Whale 4-3 at a game played in Pittsburgh. Buffalo’s Lisa Chesson scored her first goal of the season and the game winner with less than four minutes remaining. The Beauts are now 5-4 and currently in second place behind the Metropolitan Riveters at 8-0. With the loss, Connecticut drops to 2-7.