Capitals

Rematch of emotional game as Cowboys face Cyclones

Rematch of emotional game as Cowboys face Cyclones

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) The memories of Oklahoma State's trip to Iowa State a season ago are etched in Richetti Jones' memory in an aura of sadness and spookiness.

It's not just the fact that the Cowboys' dream season and national championship bid got derailed with a loss, but the circumstances that surrounded that Friday night game. That morning, the team learned of the crash that killed women's basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant Miranda Serna and two others on a recruiting trip to Arkansas.

The game still went on.

``That was the weirdest day ever,'' said Jones, a senior defensive end for the Cowboys last season. ``It was like it wasn't real life.''

What was terribly real seemed to Jones like it was right out of a tragic movie. Carrying a 10-0 record and needing two more wins to reach the national championship game, the Cowboys lost 37-31 in double overtime to a Cyclones team that had never beaten a team ranked in the top six in 58 previous chances.

``Not so much physical as emotional, it hurt,'' linebacker Alex Elkins said. ``I don't like to lose and after everything we'd been through that season, for us to come that close and lose, it hurts.''

The rematch of that game comes Saturday in Stillwater, and the memories are still fresh from a day of jubilation for Iowa State's football program and a diametrically opposite feeling for Oklahoma State.

Coach Mike Gundy remembers telling his team about the plane crash tragedy during a meeting in a banquet room and how quiet they remained while at the team hotel, during meetings, on a bus ride to the stadium and in the locker room before the game.

After watching TV news reports about the plane crash throughout the day, the Cowboys boarded three buses for what Jones remembers as about a 30-minute drive through pitch black fields to get to the stadium.

``It's eerie, it's creepy and all you can think about is death ... because of what happened - these people are actually gone. And then you stop at a stop sign and make a left and there's only one bus behind you,'' Jones said. ``We get to the stadium and we're warming up with only half the team.''

One of the team buses had broken down on the way to the game, adding another layer of complication for players who were already emotionally rattled. Jones won't argue that turnover problems did in Oklahoma State on that night, but there was something else to it, too.

``You can say that it didn't affect us, but it did. It did,'' Jones said. ``You can say whatever you want, but these people died. They're dead. They're not coming back.''

Considering all of the circumstances, there's absolutely no comparison between last year's game and the one on Saturday. This time, it's a somewhat routine midseason game with Oklahoma State (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) and Iowa State (4-2, 1-2) slugging it out for position in the middle of the conference standings.

Both Gundy and counterpart Paul Rhoads downplayed the revenge factor.

``Coach Gundy is a very smart coach and he doesn't need extra motivation for his team,'' Rhoads said. ``He knows the importance of this game because it's the next game, and I'm sure that's how he's preparing them, just like that's how we're preparing our football club.''

Gundy continued to withhold whether his starting quarterback would be freshman Wes Lunt, who won the job in the spring, or J.W. Walsh, who replaced him after an injury last month. Walsh got the call last week at Kansas even though Lunt was able to play, and the Cowboys had their NCAA record-tying run of 22 straight games scoring at least 30 points snapped in a 20-14 win.

Oklahoma State had only 24 points in regulation at Iowa State last season.

``We'll have our hands full to do anything close to that, like we did last year,'' Rhoads said.

The Cyclones cracked the top 25 in the first BCS standings of the season after losing 27-21 to then-No. 6 Kansas State last weekend in their bid to upset a second straight ranked opponent.

``They just don't make any mistakes,'' Gundy said. ``They play good football and they don't turn it over. They're sound. From this season and even back into last season, you can see that they've competed against good offenses and played much better than what people would have expected them to.

``We're to the point now that everybody realizes that it doesn't happen by accident that Iowa State is a good football team and worthy of the consideration that they're getting.''

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Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

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Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

It would have been understandable if Travis Boyd struggled this past week. Something more important was on his mind.

Boyd spent the week in the hospital with his daughter, Hayden, who had been experiencing pain in her throat. He spent the enitre week in the hospital, not leaving until Hershey's game against Laval.

Boyd turned this trial into something incredible as he scored four goals Friday in Hershey's 6-3 win.

Boyd spoke about the ordeal with Zach Fisch of the Bears Radio Network (transcription via RMNB).

“It actually started after the game last Sunday against Rochester," he said. "I went straight from the rink to Urgent Care and then from Urgent Care to the ER. Never left the hospital until Friday morning. We had a successful surgery on Thursday night. Basically just a bad infection in her throat that had to be surgically removed. They had to surgically go in and kind of remove the bacteria and drain out the fluids. Everything went well. She’s doing well.”

Following the game, Boyd dedicated his performance to Hayden.

A four-goal game at the AHL level would have been an incredible accomplishment on its own. The fact that it came during such a trying time for him makes this a truly inspirational story.

You can watch highlights of the game including all four of Boyd's goals here:

CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S UPDATED CAPS’ PROSPECT RANKINGS HERE

Other prospect notes:

  • In the Bears' game Friday against Laval, Riley Barber dropped the gloves with Markus Eisenchmid.  Barber was given an extra minor and game misconduct for instigating the fight in the final five minutes of the game. That penalty carries with it an automatic one-game suspension which Barber served Saturday. Here's a look at the fight.

  • Liam O'Brien had a pair of two-goal games over the week, scoring twice against Laval Friday and then two more against Toronto on Monday. Of his four goals, three of them were empty netters.
  • As the Capitals prepare for their Stadium Series game in Annapolis on March 3, Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley—a native of Perth, Australia—made a plea to see Nathan Walker recalled for the game.  “I’ll have to put a quick shout out to the one Australian that’s playing for the Caps now, Nathan Walker. If you could just bring him up for this game, that’d be great. Because an Australian being in a hockey game is like a Jamaican bobsled team. It doesn’t happen very often.”

  • Brian Pinho was honored Friday in Providence College's Senior Night. He has served as captain of the team this season and as an assistant captain in his junior year. He spoke with The Cowl on what being a leader on the team means to him. "I think being a leader of this team is a great honor, but also a huge responsibility. I try to keep everything fun at the rink, while also bringing some intensity and competing hard every day.” You can read the full story here.
  • Goalie Adam Carlson, who was on loan to the Indy Fuel of the ECHL, was reassigned to the Kansas City Mavericks also of the ECHL. He started two games for his new team and turned aside 42 of the 48 total shots he faced.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in his week's updated rankings.

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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Panthers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals (34-19-7) take on the Panthers (26-25-6) Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Florida.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Panthers game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-PANTHERS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.