Capitals

Mount Union beats St. Thomas 28-10 in Stagg Bowl

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Mount Union beats St. Thomas 28-10 in Stagg Bowl

SALEM, Va. (AP) Mount Union is back on top of Division III football, and failure was the inspiration.

Kevin Burke led two second-half touchdown drives and the Purple Raiders ended a three-year losing streak in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl with a 28-10 victory over St. Thomas of Minnesota on Friday night.

Those three straight losses, coach Larry Kehres said, gave him a sense of urgency to win again, and keep his seniors from being his first class in 20 years to leave without a title.

``It was a difficult three years to see the seniors experience loss in the final game,'' Kehres said. ``I felt for them. This group inspired me to do everything I could coaching to make sure we got every chance to win the championship this year.''

The victory gave Kehres his 11th national title in 16 appearances in the Stagg Bowl, all in the past 20 years. He's staggering 332-24-3 in 27 seasons, and those seniors did a lot of the heavy lifting.

Linerbacker Charles Dieuseul blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown as the Purple Raiders (15-0) took an early 14-0 lead, and wide receiver Chris Denton rebounded form fumbling a punt away with a 17-yard TD catch on a fourth down play.

``It's the best feeling in the world,'' Dieuseul gushed after also having six tackles and a sack. ``We worked all summer to get to this point right here. All the hard work - 6 a.m. lifting, practicing in the snow - and it paid off tonight.''

Burke, the game's most outstanding player, threw the scoring pass to Denton on fourth down late in the third quarter to give the Purple Raiders a 21-10 lead, then directed a 14-play, 87-yard drive for the clinching score with 4:28 to play.

``I think it was these guys kind of buckling down,'' Burke said. ``You looked at where you are and kind of realized that this is it. This is our last second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter. That hits you hard and you've got to step up at that point.''

The sophomore quarterback stepped up, too, completing three third-down passes to keep the final drive alive. Burke finished 21 for 28 passing for 222 yards with the touchdown, and avoided the turnovers that often alter title games.

The Tommies (14-1), making their first appearance in the championship game and playing in the Eastern time zone for the first time since 1949, managed only 35 yards of offense in the second half against Mount Union's top-rated defense, and couldn't stop the Purple Raiders' top-ranked offense after Paul Graupner's 38-yard field goal made it a 14-10 game.

``I do think for sure one of the pivotal points of the game was when we did get within those four points and then they came back and they answered and I think that's the mark of a championship team,'' fifth-year coach Glenn Caruso said.

The Tommies seemed poised to make it a game down to the wire until Burke and Co. took command.

``We're crushed,'' wide receiver Dan Ferrazzo said, ``and like coach said, we're going to own this pain and we're going to get better from it.''

Mount Union's offense, stymied for several series, came alive after Graupner's field goal midway through the third quarter. The scoring play was set up by the game's first turnover, a fumble by Denton recovered by Zach Novaczyk at the 27.

The Purple Raiders took over at their 19 and went 81 yards in 12 plays. Burke hit Julius Moore for 12 yards on a third-and-four and Jasper Collins for eight yards on a third-and-12 from the St. Thomas 25.

Kehres opted to go for it on fourth-and-four, and Burke hit Denton in the left corner for the TD.

A leaping, fingertip interception by Isaiah Scott at the Purple Raiders' 13 ended the Tommies' attempt to answer, and Burke completed three passes on third down to keep the ensuing nearly 9-minute drive alive.

The third one, on third-and-6 from the St. Thomas 43, went to Jasper Collins, who juked Sean Hamlin after the short catch, turning it into a 38-yard gain. Two plays later, Jake Simon's second 1-yard TD run made it 28-10.

The Tommies struggled early, but used a trick play to get untracked, and on the scoreboard.

Facing fourth-and-10 from the Purple Raiders' 10, they lined up for a 27-yard field goal. The snap came to Ferrazzo, the holder, who bolted for the right pilon, diving for the touchdown to make it 14-7 just 1:29 into the second quarter.

The Tommies should have tied it later in the quarter when Matt O'Connell hit Matt Misiewicz in the hands a few steps from the end zone, but the ball glanced off the big tight end's hands and the drive stalled.

O'Connell finished 15 for 35 for 116 yards. He was sacked five times and under pressure all game.

The Purple Raiders looked intent on reclaiming their perch atop Division III football from the start. From its own 18, Mount Union needed just seven plays, the biggest a 41-yard pass from Burke to Collins, to go ahead 7-0. They actually scored twice, too, because the officials said they needed to review Burke's 10-yard pass to Denton to the 1, but didn't decide to do it until after Simon scored on a 1-yard run. After a lengthy review, Simon ran it in again on the do-over.

Mount Union made it 14-0 after an exchange of punts. The Purple Raiders held again, and when Tommies' 6-foot-6 punter Garrett Maloney had to jump to catch a high snap, he was swarmed as he tried to punt.

``I was going to score regardless, even if I had to drag 20 people,'' Dieuseul said.

It was Mount Union's fourth punt block, and third return for a TD, in the past three games.

---

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2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals vs. Islanders starts Aug. 12, schedule, opponents, format, odds

2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals vs. Islanders starts Aug. 12, schedule, opponents, format, odds

The Stanley Cup playoffs are finally here after qualifying and round robin play concluded in Toronto and Edmonton on Sunday.

Five months after the season paused for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NHL has whittled 24 teams down to 16. The Capitals will play the New York Islanders and old coach Barry Trotz in the first round. They celebrated winning the Stanley Cup together two years ago.

Trotz left to take the job in New York and famously said after receiving his championship ring in an emotional meeting with his former players that he wished them well and that they could win it all again "but you'll have to go through the [explitive] Island, OK?"

So 24 teams are down to 16 with games set to continue in Toronto and Edmonton. The first round begins on Tuesday. This year's road to the Cup will look significantly different than past seasons, but it won't be any less meaningful to the players pushing for the Cup.

For the latest Capitals news and analysis from NBC Sports Washington, download the MyTeams App.

RELATED: 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs opponent set: How Capitals fared vs. ex-coach Barry Trotz and Islanders

How does the bracket look?

Well, you see....there is no bracket. Not in the traditional sense. The NHL has re-seeded teams No. 1 through No. 8. So the Chicago Blackhawks, the No. 12 in the qualifying round, upset the No. 5 seed Edmonton Oilers in their home city and are now listed as the No. 8 seed.

None of it really matters. Whichever four teams advance to the Eastern and Western Conference semifinals will be re-seeded again. If No. 4 Boston is the best seed remaining after the first round, it would play the lowest-seeded remaining team. In this case, No. 8 Montreal.

But we are back to a best-of-seven format. The qualifying round was best-of-five - except for the top four teams in each conference who played round-robin games against each other for seeding. That's how Presidents' Trophy-winner Boston ended up No. 4 in the Eastern Conference.

What does this mean for the Capitals?

The Capitals finished the regular season with a 41-20-8 record and 90 points. They barely claimed the Metropolitan Division title for the fifth consecutive year, edging out the Flyers by one point. They rank third in the Eastern Conference behind the Bruins and Tampa Lightning.

But they weren't playing well in February and March and looked suspect during round-robin play. Norris Trophy finalist John Carlson is injured and missed the final two round-robin games, third-line center Lars Eller left the Toronto bubble for the birth of his son and has to quarantine at least until Wednesday.

But re-seeded tournaments are inherently unpredictable and beating the Islanders could suddenly mean a second-round series against a beatable opponent instead of another date with the No. 2 Lightning.  

Where will the Stanley Cup Playoffs take place?

Eastern Conference games will continue to be held at Scotiabank Place in Toronto while Western Conference games will still take place at Rogers Place in Edmonton. These two hub cities will serve as respective bubbles for each conference. The Stanley Cup Final will join the conference champs together in Edmonton

Who is here?

The 2019 champions (St. Louis Blues), the 2018 champs (Capitals), a Bruins team that came within a game of the title last season and a Tampa Bay squad that just never can get over the hump in the playoffs. Oh – and the fading dynasty that is the Chicago Blackhawks still has some fight left in it. The Philadelphia Flyers are a legitimate darkhorse despite being the top seed. The Colorado Avalanche have so much talent just hitting its prime. There’s tons of intrigue with this tournament and it could easily go haywire. Just the way we like it.

Who is missing?

Sideny Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins for one. They went out in the qualifying round to Carey Price and the Canadiens. The Pens might have a 12.5% chance at the No. 1 overall pick, but the NHL loses a meal ticket.

Also gone is superstar Connor McDavid and the Oilers. All the NHL wants is its most dynamic player on its biggest stage and it just rarely seems to happen.

And say goodbye to the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose fans face a long, cold Fall for once instead of summer. The 1967 champions and their star-studded roster will have to wait until next year. Again.

Who never made It

Twenty-four teams took part in the expanded postseason. The seven that did not make the cut were the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE

FIRST ROUND

(No. 1) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (No. 8) Montreal Canadiens

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Canadiens vs. Flyers, 8pm

Friday, Aug. 14: Canadiens vs. Flyers, 3pm

Sunday, Aug. 16: Flyers vs. Canadiens, 8pm

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Flyers vs. Canadiens, 3pm

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Canadiens vs. Flyers, TBD*

Friday, Aug. 21: Flyers vs. Canadiens, TBD*

Sunday, Aug. 23: Canadiens vs. Flyers, TBD*

 

(No. 2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (No. 7 ) Columbus Blue Jackets

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning, 3pm

Thursday, Aug. 13: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning, 3pm

Saturday, Aug. 15: Lightning vs. Blue Jackets, 7:30pm

Monday, Aug. 17: Lightning vs. Blue Jackets, 3pm

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning, TBD*

Friday, Aug. 21: Lightning vs. Blue Jackets, TBD*

Saturday, Aug. 22: Blue Jackets vs. Lightning, TBD*

 

(No. 3) Washington Capitals vs. (No. 6) New York Islanders

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Islanders vs. Capitals

Friday, Aug. 14: Islanders vs. Capitals

Sunday, Aug. 16: Capitals vs. Islanders

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Capitals vs. Islanders

Thursday, Aug. 20: Islanders vs. Capitals, TBD*

Saturday, Aug. 22: Capitals vs. Islanders, TBD*

Sunday, Aug. 23: Islanders vs. Capitals, TBD*

 

(No. 4) Boston Bruins vs. (No. 5) Carolina Hurricanes

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Hurricanes vs. Bruins, 8pm

Thursday, Aug. 13: Hurricanes vs. Bruins, 8pm

Saturday, Aug. 15: Bruins vs. Hurricanes, 12pm

Monday, Aug. 17: Bruins vs. Hurricanes, 8pm

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Hurricanes vs. Bruins, TBD*

Thursday, Aug. 20: Bruins vs. Hurricanes, TBD*

Sunday, Aug, 23: Hurricanes vs. Bruins, TBD*

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

FIRST ROUND

(No. 1) Vegas Golden Knights vs. (No. 8) Chicago Blackhawks

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights, 11:30pm

Thursday, Aug. 13: Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights, 5:30pm

Saturday, Aug. 15: Golden Knights vs. Blackhawks, 8pm

Sunday, Aug. 16: Golden Knights vs. Blackhawks, 6:30pm

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights, TBD*

Thursday, Aug. 20: Golden Knights vs. Blackhawks, TBD*

Saturday, Aug. 22: Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights, TBD*

 

(No. 2) Colorado Avalanche vs. (No. 7) Arizona Coyotes

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, 5:30pm

Friday, Aug. 14: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, 2pm

Saturday, Aug. 15: Avalanche vs. Coyotes, 3pm

Monday, Aug. 17: Avalanche vs. Coyotes, 5:30pm

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, TBD*

Friday, Aug. 21: Avalanche vs. Coyotes, TBD*

Sunday, Aug. 23: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, TBD*

 

(No. 3) Dallas Stars vs. (No. 6) Calgary Flames Sunday

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Flames vs. Stars, 4:30pm

Thursday, Aug. 13: Flames vs. Stars, 10:30pm

Friday, Aug. 14: Stars vs. Flames, 10:30pm

Sunday, Aug. 16: Stars vs. Flames, 2pm

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Flames vs. Stars, TBD*

Thursday, Aug. 20: Stars vs. Flames, TBD*

Saturday, Aug. 22: Flames vs. Stars, TBD*

 

(No. 4) St. Louis Blues vs. (No. 5) Vancouver Canucks

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Canucks vs. Blues, 10:30pm

Friday, Aug. 14: Canucks vs. Blues, 6:30pm

Sunday, Aug. 16: Blues vs. Canucks, 10:30pm

Monday, Aug. 17: Blues vs. Canucks, 10:30pm

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Canucks vs. Blues, TBD*

Friday, Aug. 21: Blues vs. Canucks, TBD*

Sunday, Aug. 23: Canucks vs. Blues, TBD*

*If necessary

Updated odds to win the 2020 Stanley Cup

An impressive showing in round robin play has the Golden Knights as slight favorites to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Capitals in 2018 in five games in their first season as an expansion club, according to one sportsbook. The Caps rank seventh with +1278 odds.

Vegas Golden Knights: +606

Colorado Avalanche: +617

Philadelphia Flyers: +617

Tampa Bay Lightning: +667

Boston Bruins: +747

St. Louis Blues: +956

Washington Capitals: +1278

Dallas Stars: +1600

Carolina Hurricanes: +1678

Calgary Flames: +1978

Vancouver Canucks: +2389

New York Islanders: +2611

Arizona Coyotes: +3078

Chicago Blackhawks: +3167

Montreal Canadiens: +3233

Columbus Blue Jackets: +3911

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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020: Capitals vs. Islanders first round schedule, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020: Capitals vs. Islanders first round schedule, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

The Washington Capitals will take on the New York Islanders in the first round of the newly formatted 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After winning their round robin finale against the Bruins, Washington earned the No. 3 seed and a date with former head coach Barry Trotz. The first round of the  Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on Tuesday, April 11 in Toronto for the eight remaining Eastern Conference teams. Game 1 of the Capitals-Islanders series is on Wednesday, August 12 at 3:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Arena. 

RELATED: 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs opponent set: How Capitals fared vs. ex-coach Barry Trotz and Islanders

Game coverage on NBC Sports Washington begins at 2:00 p.m. ET with Caps Pregame Live. After the game ends, tune in to Caps Postgame Live, with Capitals Overtime following the game broadcast. There will be extended hour-long Caps Pregame and Postgame Live shows throughout the series. 

You can watch every game on the MyTeams by NBC Sports App. Download the MyTeams app here, and then stream the Capitals playoff games right here

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CAPITALS vs. ISLANDERS FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF SCHEDULE 2019

Game 1: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Wednesday, August 12
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To WatchStream Game 1 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 2: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Friday, August 14
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To Watch: Stream Game 2 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 3: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Sunday, August 16
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET 
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To WatchStream Game 3 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 4: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Tuesday, August18
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To WatchStream Game 4 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 5 (If necessary): Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Saturday, April 20
Time: TBD
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To Watch: Stream Game 5 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 6 (If necessary): Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Saturday, August 22
Time: TBD
TV Channel: TBD
How To WatchStream Game 6 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Game 7 (If necessary): Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Date: Sunday, August 23
Time: TBD
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
How To WatchStream Game 7 of Capitals vs. Islanders on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: