Preps Talk

Fire held scoreless, fall to Rapids

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Fire held scoreless, fall to Rapids

Associated Press
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Omar Cummings scored in the 58th minute to help lead the Colorado Rapids to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on Sunday night.The teams exchanged scoring chances for much of the game until Cummings found himself alone in the slot. Brian Mullan set up Cummings' second goal of the year. Cummings has six goals in seven games in his career against Chicago.Kamani Hill added a goal in added time at the end of the gameMatt Pickens earned his second shutout of the year and his 23rd as a member of the Rapids (3-1-0). He trails only Joe Cannon (25) for the career franchise lead.Pablo Tornaghi had a strong game in goal for the Fire (1-2-1). Tornaghi has given up four goals in three games.Dominic Oduro, who has scored the team's only goals this season, was denied three times by Pickens.The road team has won only once in the last 15 games in the season series, and this is the only meeting between the teams this year.The game was scoreless at the break in a half that began when Pickens smothered a rocket shot from the slot by Marco Pappa in the second minute for Chicago. Tornaghi matched it with a diving stop of a shot by Tony Cascio in the 11th minute.Pappa set up Oduro for a breakaway attempt in the 37th minute. Pickens came well out of the crease to jump on Oduro's shot. Pickens caught a shot that deflected off several players huddled in front of the net in the 42nd minute.Colorado failed to convert on a penalty kick from short range after Jeff Larentowicz was fouled. But Martin Rivero's free kick sailed well over the cross bar in the 55th minute.Three minutes later, Colorado had a 1-0 lead.Rivero dumped a pass deep into the Chicago zone. Mullan ran the ball down and fed Cummings in the slot, and Cummings sent a shot past Tornaghi.Pickens kept Chicago off the scoreboard in the 68th minute. Oduro peppered him with two hard shots 15 seconds apart that Pickens blocked with both hands.

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

High School Lites had a busy show as it was the final week of the regular season for IHSA boys basketball Class 3A and 4A. The Class 1A and 2A playoffs also tipped in boys basketball as the show has some thrilling regional titles that were decided in the final minute. And finally, the girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals were played on Friday as the state's top teams played in Bloomington.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for the latest news and scores for IHSA basketball.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Richards wrestler Mia Palumbo

Saint Xavier Team of the Week: Simeon boys basketball

Highlights

Marshall shocks Leo in Class 2A regional final

Aurora Christian runs past Harvert Christian for 1A regional title

Buzzer-beater lifts Monticello over Gibson City for regional title

Jacobs goes unbeaten in Fox Valley with win over Dundee-Crown

West Aurora gets by rival East Aurora

Yorkville completes season sweep of DeKalb

Lemont escapes past T.F. North

Marshall needs OT to get past Teutopolis in girls 2A semifinals

Harlan takes down Eureka in 2A semifinals

Stockton runs by Okaw Valley in 1A

Schlarman races by Lebanon

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. One big reunion.

The Blackhawks will square off with the Blue Jackets for the first time since Oct. 7, which was the second game of the season. In that game, they won 5-1 led by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad, each of whom scored a goal and added an assist.

Of course, that was the first game since the offseason trade that sent Artemi Panarin to Columbus and Saad back to Chicago, along with Anton Forsberg. Artem Anisimov, of course, was part of the original deal that sent Saad to Columbus in 2015, so there are a lot of emotional ties between the two teams.

Forsberg didn't get a chance to face the Blue Jackets in the first meeting, but there's a chance he will this time with it being the second of a back-to-back and Jean-Francois Berube getting the start in Friday's 3-1 win over San Jose.

2. Panarin and Kane bromance.

The emotions of a difficult break-up have probably died down by now, but Panarin and Kane gave us this moment at center ice during pregame warmups in their first game against each other and it hit Chicago right in the feels:

Panarin has spent enough time apart from Kane for people to realize how big of a star he is in his own right, leading the Blue Jackets in all three scoring categories: goals (17), assists (32) and points (49).

He hasn't gone more than three games this season without recording a point, and is looking to extend his point streak to four games, which would tie a season high.

3. Struggling Blue Jackets special teams.

The Blue Jackets got off to a great start but are barely clinging onto a wild card spot going into Saturday's game, and a big reason for that slide is their lack of success on special teams. Usually one can pick up the slack for the other, but they've been brutal in both departments.

The Blue Jackets are 0-for-9 on the power play in their past five games and are ranked 31st overall, converting on only 14.1 percent of their opportunities. They also have own the 27th-ranked penalty kill with a 76.3 percent success rate.

So if there's an area the Blackhawks can exploit, it's that. But, you know, still be mindful of that Russian winger's one-timer from the faceoff circle.