KANATA, Ont. — By the time Tim Stutzle’s shot was banking off of Mikko Koskinen’s bicep and into the top corner of the Oilers’ goal to become an overtime winner, Edmonton could very plausibly have been boarding their bus for the airport.
They could have had five goals on the night. Maybe six.
Most nights, they would have scored at least four, rendering any talk of overtime moot.
Edmonton was anything but great on a Monday night in the Nation’s Capital, and got outworked at times by the young, hustling and sometimes sloppy Sens. But you needed two hands to count the times an Edmonton player found himself in alone on Ottawa goalie Matt Murray — and all the right guys too.
Jesse Puljujarvi moments into the game. Connor McDavid more than once. Leon Draisaitl, a 31-goal scorer who could have left here at 33 or 34, he had so many quality looks. The industrious Zach Hyman, who worked his way to a couple of Grade A chances.
“So that’s hockey. Goalies stand on their head,” said Derek Ryan, who made a lovely play to set up Darnell Nurse’s tying goal. “I think we did some good things, created some good opportunities, but we need to do more creating traffic. I think he saw a lot of pucks. There wasn’t a lot of bodies in front of him.”
Ryan wasn’t speaking of the five or six breaks where an Oiler found himself in alone on Murray, with only McDavid managing to best the Sens netminder with a sneaky low slapper that squeezed under Murray’s pad. But he could have been talking about an Oilers power play that was disjointed and executed far too much out on the perimeter, a unit that could have won this game by itself but instead went 0-for-3.
“It doesn’t look like we’re shooting enough, for starters,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “And when we do shoot we miss the net a lot.”
And so passed a night where the Oilers walk out of Ottawa with a single point, which is one more valid point than the Freedom Rally made during its visit to Ottawa this past weekend.
It seems a tad wasteful, considering the Sens are a Bottom 4 team in the NHL standings and were missing a host of important players. It wouldn’t have taken much to secure the second point in regulation, but give Murray credit. He was better on this night than Edmonton’s shooters.
“In this league the first one to three usually can win,” reasoned Tippett. “We didn’t get to three. They did.”
Tippett stuck with his four-line rotation well into the night, then went to work with the blender as the game wore on, Ottawa in front 2-1. He moved Ryan up and got a dandy assist out of him. Only one forward played less than 10 minutes — Devin Shore, at 7:54.
“There are always little parts of your game you want to work on that have to be better,” said Tippett. “There are players that can play a little better, things that you can work on our special teams. We were a minus one on special teams tonight.
“We like our team. I think we’ve got a good team. It’s a game I think was a winnable game if we could have capitalized on some chances. We didn’t, so we move on.”
The only concern here would be how an understaffed, inferior hockey team outworked the Oilers for periods of this game. This was a prime example where the hockey Gods rewarded work over skill, and gave the Sens the game on Stutzle’s lovely overtime snipe.
After a scrap with Oilers defenceman William Lagesson, Stutzle becomes the first player in Sens history with a fight and an OT goal in the same game.
“I don’t know if we played well enough through 60 minutes to deserve a win,” admitted Ryan.
“I think we could have probably found another step up in our effort. Especially in the middle of that game,” agreed Nurse. “Matt made some great saves on the other end, and in times where we probably could have found a way to get some momentum, he made some big stops.
“He’s out there to do a job too, and he did his job well tonight. But I think we did have a lot chances and you want to you want to get both points in those situations.”
Late fumble costs Tiger-Cats in Elks win on Canada Day – TSN
HAMILTON — Tre Ford was in his happy place Friday in Hamilton.
The Edmonton Elks quarterback got a win in his first career CFL start 30 minutes down the Queen Elizabeth Highway from his hometown of Niagara Falls, Ont.
The Elks came from behind to beat the Tiger-Cats 29-25 in front of 20,233 at Tim Hortons Field.
“To come back to Hamilton and have all my family watching me get that first start and that first win has been fantastic,” Ford said.
Among Ford’s supporters were his wife, parents, sister, sister-in-law and mother-in-law, his high school football coach from A.N. Myer Secondary, his University of Waterloo head coach Chris Bertoia, eight of his former university teammates and more friends.
Ford was shaky at times as the Elks trailed by 13 points early in the second half.
But the 2021 winner of the Hec Crighton Trophy winner that goes to the most outstanding Canadian university football player threw a game-tying touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler early in the fourth quarter.
The winning play for the Elks (1-3) arrived with 1:38 remaining when defensive back Scott Hutter tackled Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans and knocked the ball loose.
Jalen Collins recovered for a 14-yard touchdown.
“I saw him tackle him and thought, ‘please punch the ball out,” Collins said. “All we needed was an opportunity to close the game out. We were fighting all night. It was ugly.”
The winless Tiger-Cats opened a season with four straight losses for the first time since 2017 when they started 0-8.
“I want to apologize to all the guys. I put both home losses on me,” Evans said. “I just have to take care of it, and we win the game.”
Evans was 20-for-31 in passing for 197 yards and a touchdown throw. He was intercepted twice.
Ford’s numbers didn’t sparkle, although he did rush for 61 yards on six carries. The 24-year-old competed 15 of 26 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.
Edmonton’s defence helped out with interceptions by Sheldon Brady and Matthew Thomas, as well as the pivotal late-game recovered fumble by Collins.
“A big shout out to the defence,” Ford said. “They won us that game. They made what, three or four turnovers? They did super well.
“I have room for improvement. I’m not going to complain because we did win. But I’m going to hit the film room to see what I can critique and where I can get better.”
Hamilton went after the rookie with various blitzes in the first half.
“My legs are going to open things up for my arm,” Ford said.
Ford credited teammate and quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who started in Edmonton’s three losses this season, for advising him during the game on defensive reads.
“He’s been like that since day one, even though we’re competitors for the position,” Ford said.
He admitted to early jitters as Hamilton led 16-6 after the first quarter and 19-9 at halftime.
“I always get nervous for the first play of every game,” Ford said. “I think it’s a good thing because it means I care and that I want to win.”
Evans hit Steven Dunbar for a 21-yard strike, and Lawrence Woods returned a kickoff of 72 yards for Hamilton’s first-half touchdowns.
Edmonton’s Kai Locksley scored on a one-yard plunge.
Elks kicker Sergio Castillo made two of his three field-goal attempts, while Hamilton counterpart Michael Domagala nailed his three and gave the Ticats at lead with a 33-yarder with 3:10 remaining in the game
“We’re not good enough right now,” Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinauer said. “We’re not executing at the level which needs to happen. We’re just not making those plays we need to make.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 1, 2022.
Raptors sign forward Otto Porter Jr. to 2-year deal: reports – CBC.ca
The Toronto Raptors have signed forward Otto Porter Jr., who was a key member of the Golden State Warriors’ NBA championship team.
The two-year deal was first reported by Yahoo Sports, and confirmed to The Canadian Press by a source close to negotiations.
Porter was selected third overall by Washington in the 2013 draft, and played the first six seasons of his career there before being traded to Chicago in 2019. Orlando then acquired him at the 2021 trade deadline, and he signed with the Warriors in the 2021 off-season.
The Raptors have been busy since free agency opened at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, signing Canadian forward Chris Boucher to a three-year deal, and signing veteran forward Thaddeus Young to a multi-year contract extension.
Blue Jays’ bats assist bullpen, carry the day in comfortable win over Rays – Sportsnet.ca
TORONTO – The Blue Jays may have discovered the solution to their bullpen issues: score nine runs a game.
Sustainable? Maybe not, but the Blue Jays are hitting at their best right now, with an MLB-leading 170 runs scored in June to go along with 50 home runs last month. Wearing their red jerseys in front of a sellout Canada Day crowd of 44,445 Friday, some of that offensive output carried into July with a festive 9-2 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.
“It was so special,” said starter Jose Berrios. “I’ve heard a lot about this day, but being here and pitching today was very emotional. I know a lot of Canadians enjoy it and want to be at the ballpark on a day like today.”
“It was amazing, to say the least,” added Cavan Biggio, who reached base four times Friday. “In 2020 and 2021 we definitely missed this place. Now we’re finally back and we’re experiencing that energy that we’ve all been looking forward to on a nightly basis.”
A Lourdes Gurriel Jr. home run put the finishing touch on this one, but the Blue Jays also hit six doubles, five of which came off Rays starter Corey Kluber in a five-run third inning. A three-run sixth created necessary breathing room for the Blue Jays, who were able to rest most of their high-leverage relievers on a day Berrios was not at his sharpest.
With three hits, including his fifth home run of the season, Gurriel Jr. helped drive the Blue Jays’ offence. But don’t overlook Biggio, who walked twice while also hitting two doubles on a day his season on-base percentage climbed to .385.
“Today was great,” Biggio said. “Just hit after hit. A good pitcher, a good experienced guy on the mound, but we had a plan and we were able to execute it.”
Even before a pitch was thrown, Blue Jays fans had plenty to cheer about Friday. The recently retired Russell Martin was honoured with a memorable video narrated by former teammate Jose Bautista and personal messages from the likes of former Jays manager John Gibbons and fellow Canadian Joey Votto.
As the video tributes played in centre field, most Blue Jays players watched from the dugout. The fans also responded warmly to Martin, who later threw out the ceremonial first pitch to another athletic catcher who wears No. 55: Gabriel Moreno.
“Unbelievable career,” Biggio said of Martin. “What stands out to me the most is he played 14 years in the majors and made the playoffs 10 times. That’s what this game’s all about: it’s about winning.”
As for Berrios, he was effective enough, allowing two runs on eight hits over the course of five innings. He worked in and out of trouble, though, stranding nine runners, including both of the batters he walked.
While his fastball averaged 93.6 m.p.h., the Rays weren’t often fooled by the right-hander, who generated eight swinging strikes on 98 total pitches. Still, the Blue Jays will take that from Berrios, especially considering he had allowed 14 earned runs over the course of his previous two starts.
“He’s better than what he did today,” Montoyo said. “He was missing by a little bit and that made him throw even more pitches and work harder … at the end of the day, he did the job.”
But realistically, the Blue Jays would have been in a tough spot without so much help from their offence. Adam Cimber was presumed unavailable after pitching three days in a row, and David Phelps was likely off limits given that he’d just pitched in four of five. This was not an ideal day for the Blue Jays to try preserving a one- or two-run lead.
Thanks to their lineup, they didn’t have to. With the exception of one inning from Trent Thornton, the Blue Jays were able to avoid their high-leverage relievers, putting them in a relatively strong position entering Saturday’s double-header.
“If our pitching gives us a chance, our offence is going to go and that’s exactly what happened,” Montoyo said. “We should be better tomorrow because of that.”
Sergio Romo made his Blue Jays debut with a clean inning seventh inning that featured two strikeouts and Max Castillo pitched the final two innings without incident as Toronto improved to 44-33 on the season while increasing their lead over the Rays to 3.5 games.
All told, this was pretty close to how the Blue Jays would have drawn it up. And end of the day, they’re in Toronto again, playing at home on Canada Day for the first time since 2019. In case any doubt remained as to the day’s significance, an impromptu rendition of O Canada broke out in the stands as the Blue Jays closed out the win. Soon after the fans finished singing, the players completed their 9-2 win.
“The energy and pride that this country embodies was definitely on full display,” Biggio said.
Or, as Montoyo put it: “You could tell the happiness about it.”
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