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Boise State looks to win third straight Vegas bowl

Boise State looks to win third straight Vegas bowl

LAS VEGAS (AP) Once again, Boise State is in this gambling city for a bowl game to end yet another successful season. Unlike previous years, though, no one is talking about where the Broncos should really be.

There is no BCS controversy for the No. 20 Broncos coming into the Las Vegas Bowl to play Washington. No talk about Boise State being in the chase for a national title, either.

But if this season is what rebuilding is all about, Boise State coach Chris Petersen will gladly take it.

``Part of the problem with sports today, particularly college football, is that you do well and that sets the bar high,'' Petersen said. ``In our case it's set so high that anything but a perfect season is looked upon differently.''

Petersen's team wasn't perfect this year, though the Broncos aren't complaining about a 10-2 season and a national ranking. Not after losing six starters from last year to the NFL draft and having to find a quarterback to replace Kellen Moore, who went 50-3 as a four-year starter for Boise State.

Still, the year could have been even better had the Broncos not lost a 21-19 game at home to San Diego State that might have kept them out of a bigger bowl game.

``Win one more game and we're in the BCS,'' Petersen said.

Instead Boise State is in the Las Vegas Bowl for the third straight year, hoping to come up a winner in the city once again. They're five-point favorites against a Washington (7-5) team that had won four in a row before being upended in overtime by Washington State in the regular-season finale.

In a bit of a twist, it's the first of two straight games between the two schools. Boise State travels to Washington next year to open the season in the newly renovated Husky Stadium.

``It sets the stage for an intriguing offseason for nine months before the rematch here at Husky Stadium,'' Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said when the matchup was announced. ``I think it's pretty cool.''

Boise State has won two straight Las Vegas Bowl games, the first coming after an overtime loss to Nevada cost the then-undefeated Broncos a certain spot in a BCS game in 2010. Last year, Boise State lost 36-35 at home to TCU on its way to a 12-1 season that ended with a blowout win over Arizona State in the bowl.

If playing in the relatively minor Las Vegas Bowl was a disappointment for Boise State the last two years, it's a reward this year after a season that would be good by any standards other than those set by Petersen's teams in Boise.

``It's a good matchup,'' Petersen said. ``And the players are always excited to come to Las Vegas.''

That goes for the players on Washington, too. Aside from a well-stocked gift room for players to select something for their dorms, the city's hotels and casinos are always a lure.

``A lot of people wanted to go the Vegas Bowl,'' quarterback Keith Price said. ``Obviously it's a fun place to be, but we've got to channel the team kind of and set certain limitations and make sure we're focused and ready for the game.''

The Huskies looked like they wouldn't have a postseason during a three-game slide that included blowout losses to Oregon and Arizona. But they rebounded before a startling loss in the Apple Cup.

Price will be trying to rebound from an interception in overtime that led to the loss to Washington State and ended the regular season on a down note.

``We lost a game we shouldn't have lost,'' he said. ``I was mad about it. But I can't do anything about it now. People are going to blow it up or whatever. We should have won the game.''

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3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

Nicklas Backstrom scored with less than seven seconds remaining to give the Capitals the 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday in a preseason preview of the regular-season opener. Radko Gudas and Richard Panik also scored.

Here are three players who impressed for the Caps.

1. Richard Panik

Panik got plenty of practice on the penalty kill with 4:16 of shorthanded ice time shorthanded. In that time he gave a glimpse of why he was so coveted by the Caps as a free agent.

In the first period, Panik pounced on a loose puck at the top of the faceoff circle in the defensive zone. Seeing he had room to work with, he did not just clear it down the ice and instead elected to skate up with it. He fought off the backcheck from Tyler Bozak through the neutral zone, drew an additional two Blues players to him, then drew a holding call from Bozak because he would not give up the puck.

Panik's 4:16 of penalty kill time was more than top penalty killer Carl Hagelin's 2:26, though the fact that Hagelin took two minors on the night probably had something to do with it.

Late in the game, Panik was also added to the power play as a sixth attacker with the goalie pulled. He would score the game-tying goal with just 1:09 left in regulation.

2. The goalies

Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov both played about a half of the game. It is really hard to evaluate a goalie on just 30 minutes of work, so I will give a shoutout to both as both played very well.

Vanecek got the start. He looked a little awkward at first, but settled in as the game went along for a solid performance. He stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced with the only goal he allowed a weird deflection off of Brett Leason’s skate.

Samsonov took over about halfway through the second period and within minutes found himself defending the net on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. The penalty killers helped out their young netminder allowing only one shot on goal, but it was a good one. Colton Parayko one-timed a slap shot, but Samsonov was there to stop with no rebound. Soon after the penalty was over, Vladimir Tarasenko was all alone in front of the net, but was denied by Samsonov’s who stretched the blocker to deny the high shot.

Sanford scores on the PP. Samsonov wasn't tight against the post. Showed him too much daylight and Sanford made him pay.

Samsonov finished with 11 saves on 12 shots.

3. Connor McMichael

Boy, somebody got a confidence boost from Monday’s game. 

McMichael was given a second preseason game as a reward for his solid performance on Monday and he definitely showed off the confidence that comes along with being a first-round draft pick.

In the first period, McMichael found himself all alone with the puck on a mini-breakaway on Jordan Binnington. Just a reminder, this is the Binnington who was the starting goalie for the Stanley Cup champions.

So what did McMichael do? He skated to the front and tried the stick between the legs shot. It may not have worked, but you have to respect the confidence this kid had just to try, though no doubt the coaches probably had a few words for him in the locker room about it.

There was one area in which McMichael struggled, however, and that was on the faceoff where he lost all five draws he took on the night.

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

After a thrilling back-and-forth contest to start the WNBA Semifinals, the Washington Mystics and Elena Delle Donne are back in action to host the Las Vegas Aces for Game 2.

Washington took Game 1 97-95 over Las Vegas in their first game in nine days to start the series. Rusty and stuttering out of the gate, the Mystics were able to gut out a win after an explosive run in the third and early fourth quarter. 

Emma Meesseman (27 points) led the charge for Washington. In the third quarter, she took over the game totaling 13 of the team's 26 points and got the Mystics back in control of the contest. Elena Delle Donne finished with 24 points and hit the game-clinching basket in the final minute of regulation.

A'ja Wilson had 23 points in a losing effort, despite playing all but three minutes. Off the bench, Kelsey Plum emerged with 16 points to give the Aces an additional spark. 

Game 2 is on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The best-of-five series features the high-powered and No. 1 seeded Mystics against the most defensively sound squad in the No. 4 seeded Aces.

The Aces entered the series with a ton of momentum, fresh off one of the craziest wins in WNBA history. They gut-punched the top seed in the opening half and nearly stole it in the closing seconds. Nevertheless, it appears the Mystics with the third-best offense in the WNBA's existence found their footing and will be better prepared for Game 2. 

ACES VS. MYSTICS GAME 2:

Who: Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics

What: WNBA Semifinals Game 2

When: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington D.C.

TV Channel: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

MYSTICS vs. ACES WNBA SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE:

Game 1: Mystics 97, Aces 95 (Mystics lead 1-0)

Game 2: Thurs, Sept. 19: Aces at Mystics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 3: Sun, Sept. 22: Mystics at Aces, 5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 4: Tue, Sept 24: Mystics at Aces, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

Game 5: Thurs, Sept. 26: Aces at Mystics, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

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