AJ MACLEAN/Herald photoDULUTH, Minn. — In a series highlighting both the youth of Duluth and the experience of Wisconsin, it was the freshmen from both teams that made big impacts throughout the two-game series, as Wisconsin pummeled Duluth 7-2 Friday night before falling 4-1 Saturday at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. In Saturday’s contest, Duluth jumped on the board first when senior Tim Stapleton beat Connelly on a power-play one-timer for his 12th goal of the year and a 1-0 lead.The Badgers responded with a power-play goal of their own, as Joe Pavelski cashed in a rebound off senior goaltender Isaac Reichmuth to tie the score at 1-1.However, the youth of the Bulldogs would dominate the experience of Wisconsin for the rest of the night. The Bulldogs responded 4:01 into the second period when freshman Mason Raymond fired a puck at the Wisconsin net that deflected off of a UW defender’s stick and over Connelly’s shoulder to put Duluth ahead for good at 2-1.Freshman MacGregor Sharp extended the Bulldog lead to 3-1 when he buried a rebound for a power-play goal halfway through the second period for his second goal of the series, and another freshman, Nick Kemp, closed out the scoring with a tip-in power-play goal in the third period.”Even though we lost a lot of games, I am really proud of their effort,” Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin said. “We did much better as a team tonight, and we scored some power-play goals. They went out tonight, and I was really impressed with what we saw. Hopefully, this can give our team a boost.”Along with the superb play of the Duluth freshmen, the story of the night for Wisconsin was its lack of success on the penalty kill, which led the WCHA at 88 percent.Duluth, which has the second worst power play in the league (14 percent), was an outstanding 3-for-6 on the power play and scored those three goals on only seven shots. On the night as a whole, Wisconsin out shot UMD 32-21, but behind junior goalie Isaac Reichmuth’s 31 saves, UMD broke its seven-game losing streak.”It was a tough night,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said. “I thought we could have been better on the penalty killing and could have executed better on the power play. Their power play beat our power play tonight.”It was a different story on Friday night, as Wisconsin came out the aggressor, pummeling Duluth goalie Josh Johnson early and often with 19 shots in the first period. Coupled with Duluth’s leading-scorer Michael Gergen receiving a game misconduct for checking from behind, Wisconsin was able to break out of an offensive slump that had plagued them over the past two weeks.The seven goals Wisconsin put up equaled its offensive output from the past four games combined, as defenseman Tom Gilbert, center Andrew Joudrey, left wingers Robbie Earl and Ross Carlson, and right winger Adam Burish scored goals in the Badgers victory, as they regained first place in the WCHA over idle Minnesota and Denver.Additionally, freshman Ben Street had his first three-point game as a Badger, adding two goals in the third period and an assist in the Wisconsin victory.The turning point for Wisconsin came in terms of a coaching change midway through the second period with Wisconsin up 3-2. Not pleased with how his lines were performing, Eaves decided to switch Jack Skille to Ben Street’s line in hopes of boosting the offense. Eaves’ gamble paid off, as the ensuing goal proved to be the back-breaker for Duluth. Skille made a touch pass to the Duluth native Carlson, who fired the puck between Johnson’s legs to give Wisconsin a two-goal advantage.”We decided to roll the dice,” Eaves said. “I think [that] we had a good first period with the lines we had [and] it was pretty solid. In the second period, we lost what we had and rather than sit around to see if something happens, let’s be proactive and see if we can set ourselves up here by making some changes.”However, the real topic of conversation Friday was the play of Shane Connelly and his superb goaltending in the net. After four consecutive defeats, Connelly stopped 28 shots and allowed two goals off deflections to earn his first collegiate win.When Wisconsin was struggling in the second period, Connelly proved to be the rock of the Wisconsin defense, stopping 17 of 18 Bulldog shots, allowing the Badgers to find their niche and retake control of the game. “It’s hard for a freshman goalie to come in and play Denver and Minnesota right away,” Street said. “He stayed positive through the whole thing, and he had a lot of support around him. It’s been a little tough going 0-4 but, as coach said, Curtis Joseph didn’t have a good start, and it turned out all right for him, too. I am just so happy and so proud of him.””I’m a little happier and upbeat to experience a win after the last four,” Connelly said. “It’s always more fun when you win. It just felt good as a team. We had lost four in a row and finally got some wind back. We put up seven goals tonight, and it’s a big lift for the whole team. It feels really good.”
Champion club Kumasi Asante Kotoko returned to the summit of the Glo Premier League standings yesterday after an emphatic victory over Arsenal at the Golden City Park toppled Berekum Chelsea who were crushed by Hearts of Oak in Accra.Very rarely do age-old rivals Hearts and Kotoko do each other favours in the league title race. For once, Hearts delivered a perfect gift to their arch rivals when their 3-0 thumping of Chelsea helped Kotoko leapfrog the Berekum lads to the top of the standings as the competition heads into the final four matches.It was exactly a week yesterday after the giants and the league’s most glamorous sides sold out a classic that ended in a 1-1 draw at the Accra Stadium. And despite the intervening mid-week’s varied fortunes for the traditional giants, the fate of facing Berekum’s two clubs was more than a coincidence.The paths of Arsenal and Chelsea — unlike their original glamourous counterparts of London — lie far apart, separated by a gulf in class, with Arsenal battling against relegation and Chelsea pursuing a second league title in three years.At Berekum, Arsenal’s bid for survival in the elite competition suffered a major blow when Michael Akuffo, Abdul Aziz and Kofi Nti Boakye struck to nail them to the 15th position in the 16-club league.It was equally frustrating for Chelsea in the nation’s capital as a brace by Gilbert Fiamenyo and Mahatma Otoo’s 16th league goal gave Hearts just their second win over Chelsea in 10 clashes. In a more straight route affair, Medeama beat relegation-bound RTU 3-0 at Tarkwa to revive their title aspirations as they moved into second position on the league log, while King Faisal pipped Ashantigold 1-0 at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.The weekend’s top fixture saw Hearts outclassing table-topping Chelsea and showing glimpses of their once dominant form, writes Kwame Larweh.The Phobians have over the past few weeks shown some promising prospects reminiscent of their glorious past by thrashing Liberty Professionals 3-1, drawing 1-1 with traditional rivals, Asante Kotoko and pummelling RTU 4-0 last Wednesday before yesterday’s spectacular display which must sent their fans into frenzy.They dominated play from start to finish with a man-of-the-match performance by Fiamenyo, particularly in the first half, accompanied by two brilliant goals.Fiamenyo struck first in the 25th minute to give his side the opener when he headed home a beautiful cross from winger Ernest Owusu Bempah. The marauding attacker then increased his tally to two in the 41st minute after fellow striker Otoo skillfully dribbled past a defender in the goal area and passed it on to Fiamenyo who slotted past Chelsagoalkeeper Michael Osei.The striker could have scored a hat-trick from another chance, but his feeble shot was saved by goalkeeper Osei as Chelsea looked shocked by the fantastic display of the Phobians.Back from recess, the visitors tried to take the game to the Phobians but defenders Tetteh Luggard, Robin Gnagne, Moro Abubakar and Nuru Sulley stood tall and frustrated the visitors.Hearts regained control and were further boosted in the 57th minute when Chelsea’s Wilson Akakpo was shown the exit after a reckless tackle on winger Thomas Abbey for a second bookable offence.However, striker Abdul Basit of Chelsea still looked hungry for goals as he hit the post of the Phobians twice, the first a powerful shot that hit the bar in the 67th minute, and the second in the 80th minute when he dribbled past goalkeeper Tetteh Luggard but saw his shot hit the post again with only the net at his mercy. In the 84th minute, a goal-mouth scramble in the visitor’s area saw Mahatma Otoo’s cheeky tap drop in the net to increase Hearts tally to three without reply.
Table Tennis star Derek Abrefa has been appointed as the General Captain of Team Ghana for the 2019 African Games in Rabat, Morocco.Abrefa is regarded as the most senior of all the athletes at the games, with a lot of experience in international competitions.He will also lead the team as the Flagbearer during the opening ceremony on Monday. “I regard it a privilege to be appointed as the General team Captain for Team Ghana in the ongoing African Games,” said Abrefa“I thank the Sports Ministry and team leaders for their trust in me to lead Team Ghana.“I believe for us to dominate in Africa, we would have to unite as a country. I will, therefore, do my best to build unity among all the players.” Abrefa is the highest-ranked table tennis player and is ranked 241 in the world.The Ghana Immigration Officer is a current bronze medallist holder from the last edition of the games in Brazaville, Congo.