Blackhawks

Top 20 Rankings, Playoffs - Semifinals

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Top 20 Rankings, Playoffs - Semifinals

1 Lincoln-Way East (12-0)
Last Week (Ranked 3): Defeated Edwardsville 40-10
Next Game: 7A Playoffs at Benet
PrepsTalk: NIU recruit Tom Fuessel sprinted past Edwardsville to the tune of 263 yards and three scores. Sean Doherty's 25-yard INT-TD was the cherry on top of a successful Griffins defensive effort.

2 Glenbard West (12-0)
Last Week (Ranked 2): Defeated Wheaton North 3-0
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Lake Zurich
PrepsTalk: It was all defense on a muddy field in Glen Ellyn. Joe Marconi picked off two passes and Charlie Sweeny added another to seal the win. Hayden Lekacz was the offensive showcase (32-yard FG).

3 Loyola (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 4): Defeated Palatine 19-7
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Glenbard North
PrepsTalk: Linebacker Cody Sullivan dominated the game. His three interceptions helped shut down a once-dominant Palatine offense. A Danny Rafferty pick also led to an early Ramblers score.

4 Mount Carmel (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 6): Defeated Lyons 45-10
Next Game: 8A Playoffs at Neuqua Valley
PrepsTalk: The option attack, fueled by QB Don Butkus and running backs Matt Domer and Draco Smith, paved the way. A 10-10 game was broken open by a trio of Lyons turnovers which led to MTC points.

5 Crete-Monee (12-0)
Last Week (Ranked 7): Defeated Ottawa 42-6
Next Game: 6A Playoffs at Lemont
PrepsTalk: The Warriors defense produced three sacks, three fumbles and limited Illinois-bound Miguel Hermasillo from reaching the end zone. Laquon Treadwell had two scores for C-M.

6 Neuqua Valley (12-0)
Last Week (Ranked 9): Defeated Waubonsie Valley 23-20
Next Game: 8A Playoffs vs. Mount Carmel
PrepsTalk: Ryan Mulhern's 20-yard field goal was the difference in another heart-stopping Neuqua-Waubonsie tilt. Joey Rhattigan: 41 carries, 278 yards and three touchdowns.

7 Glenbard North (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 12): Defeated Maine South 29-23
Next Game: 8A Playoffs at Loyola
PrepsTalk: Panthers workhorse Justin Jackson rushed 36 times for 212 yards and four touchdowns. The defense was also able to limit the damage by Northwestern-bound QB Matt Alviti.

8 Maine South (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 1): Lost to Glenbard North 29-23
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Matt Alviti accumulated 227 yards (115 passing), but the defense could not hold Justin Jackson. The Hawks had the ball late, but could not convert on a fourth down in GBN territory.

9 Cary-Grove (12-0)
Last Week (Ranked 10): Defeated Crystal Lake Central 7-0
Next Game: 6A Playoffs at Lake Forest
PrepsTalk: Ryan Mahoney's eight-yard run to the end zone just before halftime was all the Trojans would need. Cary-Grove's defense stopped multiple Central attacks in C-G's territory.

10 Benet (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 14): Defeated Downers Grove North 26-24
Next Game: 7A Playoffs vs. Lincoln-Way East
PrepsTalk: Another dramatic win for the Redwings, this time it came on a Jack Beneventi five-yard TD pass to Jack Toner with no time left. Beneventi: 26-42, 236 yards, two TDs.

11 Waubonsie Valley (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 11): Lost to Neuqua Valley 23-20
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Austin Guido rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown, but the Warriors could not stave off a late Neuqua drive and a late field goal. Demario Webb also scored for Waubonsie.

12 Lemont (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 15): Defeated Oak Forest 21-14
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. Crete-Monee
PrepsTalk: Running back Christos Giatras simply owned the game. He tallied 119 yards and all three of Lemont's touchdowns. The defense kept a potent Oak Forest offense in check.

13 Wheaton North (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 13): Lost to Glenbard West 3-0
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Quarterback John Peltz tossed three interceptions and the rushing attack could never get going on a rain-soaked field. The Falcons missed a field goal attempt in the first half.

14 Montini (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 18): Defeated Marian Central Catholic 42-27
Next Game: 5A Playoffs at Joliet Catholic
PrepsTalk: Mark Gorogianis had the game of his life Saturday, rushing for 240 yards and five touchdowns on only eight carries. The Broncos defeated MCC in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

15 Lake Zurich (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 19): Defeated Boylan 21-6
Next Game: 7A Playoffs at Glenbard West
PrepsTalk: The Bears put a stop to a 39-game Boylan winning streak, thanks to two Noah Allgood touchdown passes and a 55-yard run to paydirt from Sean Lynch.

16 Morris (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 17): Defeated Washington 28-27 (OT)
Next Game: 5A Playoffs vs. Sacred Heart-Griffin
PrepsTalk: The Redskins erased a late 14-point deficit in 49 seconds (Zach Cinnamon and Collin Grogan TDs). Fernando Del Toro's extra point after a Cinnamon TD sealed the win in OT.

17 Palatine (10-2)
Last Week (Ranked 8): Lost to Loyola 19-7
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Quarterback Ethan Olles could not get anything going against Loyola, throwing four interceptions. Palatine's lone score came on a 47-yard punt return TD by Cam Kuksa.

18 Marian Central Catholic (11-1)
Last Week (Ranked 5): Lost to Montini 42-27
Next Game: Season Over
PrepsTalk: Minnesota-bound quarterback Chris Streveler racked up 360 yards of offense (251 passing) and three touchdowns, but the Hurricanes fell victim to Montini. Again.

19 Lake Forest (9-3)
Last Week (Not Ranked): Defeated Notre Dame 31-19.
Next Game: 6A Playoffs vs. Cary-Grove
PrepsTalk: How about the game for Trent Williams-- 6 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Andrew Clifford found Nick Giordono on two TD receptions; Stephen Cirame had two rushing TDs.

20 Joliet Catholic (8-4)
Last Week (Not Ranked): Defeated Lincoln-Way West 21-20 (OT)
Next Game: 5A Playoffs vs. Montini
PrepsTalk: Michael Ivlow produced the game-winning touchdown run in overtime and Zach Rezin saved the game with a tackle on a two-point conversion attempt. Ty Isaac: 178 yards, two TDs.

Looming and Lurking: Aurora Christian, Evergreen Park, Oak Forest, Lyons, Notre Dame, Brooks, Downers Grove North, Crystal Lake Central, Lincoln-Way West, Kaneland, Bolingbrook, Providence, Lakes, Richards, Coal City, Wilmington, Simeon.

Be sure to follow @JoeCSN and @PrepsTalkCSN for prep football coverage.

High School Lites airs this Saturday night at 10:30pm and is streamed live at csnchicago.com

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

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.