Blackhawks

Palatine runs wild past Glenbrook South

Palatine runs wild past Glenbrook South

Saturday, Nov. 7, 2010
1:03 AM

By George M. Wilcox
YourSeason.com

Palatine's last scoring play Saturday is called "midget." The trick play was designed specially for 5-foot-6, 154-pound running back Terry Halloran.

"I'm the smallest guy on the team," said Halloran, who did not seem to mind the lack of political correctness behind the play's name.

But for Halloran, the trick play resembling a fumblerooski turned into an unlikely trip to the end zone. It also placed the final dagger into a Glenbrook South defense, which gave up 28 second-half points in a 42-14 loss Saturday in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs in Glenview. The matchup featured the state playoffs' only game between four-loss teams.

On fourth-and-1 at the GBS 31, 14th-seeded Palatine packed all of its lineman at the line of scrimmage. Halloran took a handoff to his left and pulled out of the grasp of linebacker John Heles to rumble 31 yards for a touchdown on just his second carry of the game.

Glenbrook South (6-5), a No. 11 seed, scored twice in the second quarter to tie the game at 14 at halftime, but Palatine quarterback Cody Bobbit (28 carries, 199 yards) scored two of his three rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to lead the Pirates (7-4). Bobbit suffered a leg cramp on the first play of the fourth quarter and did not return.

"We went back to running the ball," said Bobbit, who completed his only second-half pass attempt of seven yards. "That's our bread and butter."

Running back Jimmy Smearman (19 carries, 91 yards) played quarterback the rest of the game and scored on an 18-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Halloran's trick play ended an eight-play scoring drive with 3:51 remaining in the fourth.

"I was jumping for joy (before the play)," Halloran said. "I had to settle down for us to make sure where the defense was lined up. I had a lot of energy."

Palatine will host 24th-seeded and crosstown rival Fremd (6-4) or second-seeded Loyola (9-1) in the quarterfinals. Fremd defeated Palatine 17-16 on Oct. 8. The Pirates advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1997 and for the first time under coach Tyler Donnelly, who is in his sixth season.

"We said, 'Do you want to play next week or not?'" Donnelly said at halftime. "'Do you want to let this team beat you?' It was the seniors and we let No. 11 (Bobbit) take over."

GBS, which was hoping to make back-to-back quarterfinal appearances, had only 28 total yards and three first downs in the second half. Senior Matt Jenkins (4 of 15, 27 yards) threw two interceptions. The first turned into a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown by Palatine linebacker Lucas Rago to put the Pirates ahead 14-0. Bobbit ended the game's first possession with a 2-yard TD run to cap an 11-play, 78-yard drive.

"It was a tough act to follow after (quarterback) Mike Pullano last year," Jenkins said. "We had a hell of a year. I'm proud of us. We had a chance to go to the quarterfinals. Palatine played better than us."

Senior John Strickland (17 carries, 114 yards) scored both of the Titans' touchdowns on runs of 7 and 42 yards. He juked past three or four tacklers and then bowled over safety Dan Haze into the end zone to score his final TD with four seconds remaining before the half.

"He loves to play football," GBS coach Mike Noll said of Strickland. "He'll be a good college football player. I think he'll play defense. For us, he did a lot for us. Jeepers."

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night:
 
1. One too many penalties.

The Blackhawks flirted with danger in the first period when they handed the Lightning three straight continuous power plays, a four-minute double minor high-sticking penalty from John Hayden and a Jonathan Toews hooking call that resulted in a 5-on-3 opportunity for Tampa Bay for 43 seconds. 

The penalty kill unit that ranked fourth in the league entering the matchup, however, killed off all three of those penalties against the NHL's top-ranked power play, and did so in commanding fashion.

The Blackhawks went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in regulation, but couldn't stop the sixth one — a questionable slashing call on Nick Schmaltz —  in overtime when Brayden Point buried the winner on a 4-on-3 opportunity.

It was also interesting that Jon Cooper elected to go with four forwards (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Point and Steven Stamkos) and zero defensemen during that man advantage, putting all of his offensive weapons out on the ice. It's something more teams should do in that situation.

2. Patrick Kane gets going.

After scoring just one goal in his previous 10 games, Kane found the back of the net twice in the opening frame against Tampa Bay and stayed hot against a team he historically plays well against. And he nearly netted a hat trick in overtime but couldn't cash in on a breakaway opportunity.

Kane has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 14 career regular-season games against the Lightning, and extended his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists over that stretch.

We wrote about how important it is for the Blackhawks' superstars to get going again with the offensive contributions mainly coming from role players as of late, and Kane getting into a groove is a perfect step in that direction.

3. How about that goaltending battle?

Corey Crawford and Andrei Vasilevskiy showed us exactly why they belong in the Vezina Trophy discussion, and as of this moment, it's hard not to include both of them as finalists. They put on a goaltending clinic, seemingly topping the other as the game went on.

The two teams combined for 71 scoring chances, and Crawford and Vasilevskiy came up big when their teams need them the most.

Crawford finished with 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 save percentage) in the loss while Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 31 (.935 save percentage), and improved to 15-2-1 on the season. 

4. Missed opportunities.

You couldn't have asked for a better start for the Blackhawks. They scored the first goal 3:49 into the game and the second on the power play at 15:54, killed off three penalties, including a 5-on-3, had 24 shot attempts (13 on goal) compared to the Lightning's 16 attempts (11 on goal) and led in even-strength scoring chances 9-6.

It was a different story the rest of the way.

The Blackhawks took their foot off the gas pedal a bit and let the Lightning back in the game by getting away from what they do best, and that's control the puck. Obviously, you expected the league's best offense to push back and it's certainly not an easy task to keep them off the scoresheet all together. 

But the Blackhawks had their chances to stay in front or retake the lead and just couldn't bury them. Tampa Bay had 50 shot attempts from the second period on while the Blackhawks had only 32, and finished with 44 scoring chances compared to Chicago's 27.

5. Richard Panik in the doghouse?

Joel Quenneville didn't go to his line blender in this one, but he did shorten some leashes. Panik, most notably, had a season-low 12:28 of ice time in the loss and had 15 shifts, which was second-fewest only to Ryan Hartman (13) on the team.

Panik had a prime chance to break a 2-2 tie in the third period but was denied by Vasilevskiy, who made a remarkable left-pad save. Instead, Panik extended his goal drought to 12 games and didn't get a shift in overtime.

He's certainly better and will get his scoring chances when playing on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad, but the missed opportunities are magnified in tight losses. It doesn't look like a move down in the lineup is coming given the success of Alex DeBrincat, who gives the Blackhawks an offensive weapon on the third line, but perhaps it should be considered.

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

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USA TODAY

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

On the second (turkey) leg of a back-to-back, the Bulls didn't bring much energy in a 110-80 loss to the Utah Jazz. 

Instead of diving into the nitty-gritty of the uninspiring effort, though, we decided to just serve you up a Thanksgiving meal of highlights. Here are the top blocks from Wednesday's game: 

5. Derrick Favors is no Rudy Gobert -- that we know -- but imitation is the highest form of flattery. 

4. Are Bobby Portis chase down blocks the new LeBron James chase down blocks? Let's not get carried away... yet. We'll chalk it up to just a real nice hustle play by Bobby. 

3 and 2. Speaking of hustle plays... Jonas Jerebko isn't exactly known as a dominant defender. He sure made it hard for the Bulls on what should of been an easy fast-break bucket in the third quarter, though. First, he silenced Kris Dunn's reverse. Then, he met Lauri Markkanen at the rim and sent the rookie packing. The Baby Bulls 2.0 can blame it on fatigue, but they just handed Jerebko a highlight tape for years to come.   

1. In fairness, Jerian Grant had to get up a shot as the quarter was coming to a close. It is as vicious as it looks, though.