Sports briefs – March 15

Brady Nydokus and Taylor Steele combined to stop all 27 shots they faced as the Red Deer ProStitch Chiefs blanked visiting Okotoks 5-0 Saturday to compete a two-game sweep of the Oilers in a South Central AA League North Conference semifinal.

Minor Hockey

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Brady Nydokus and Taylor Steele combined to stop all 27 shots they faced as the Red Deer ProStitch Chiefs blanked visiting Okotoks 5-0 Saturday to compete a two-game sweep of the Oilers in a South Central AA League North Conference semifinal.

Nydokus, who picked up the win, made 25 saves while Steele stopped two shots. Reid Stoyberg, Chris Rauckman, Karsten Banack, Lucas Diebert and Jordan Pratt scored for the Chiefs.

ProStitch will face Wheatland in the North final.

Midget Girls

Haley Cramer scored twice for the Red Deer Sutter Fund A Chiefs in a 6-1 win over the Sylvan Lake Lakers Sunday at the Collicutt Centre.

Also scoring for the Chiefs, who took the two-game, total-goal series, were Beatiz Landavert, Chelsey Weatherill, Whitney Sveinson and Haley Poch. Elissa Spieglemann was the winning netminder, giving up a lone goal to Taylor Krentz.

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Matthew Stegmaier fired three goals to lead the Lacombe Rockets past the Red Deer KFC Chiefs 6-3 in A playoff action Saturday.

Also scoring for the winners, who led 3-0 after one period and 5-1 after 40 minutes, were Chase Broderson, Elijah Funkhouser and Layne Harty. Hunter Leslie, Connor Dawes and Ben LeBlanc replied for the Chiefs.

Lacombe netminder Justin Verveda stopped 17 shots, while Eric Johnson made 18 saves for KFC.


Wranglers to host Cochrane in B semi

The Blackfalds Wranglers will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak when they host the Cochrane Generals in a Heritage Junior B Hockey League semifinal contest tonight at 7:30 p.m.

The Wranglers dropped the final two games of the North Division final against the Red Deer Vipers, then — as a wild card — fell 7-6 to the host Generals in Sunday’s opening game of the best-of-five league semifinal.

Blackfalds led 6-3 after 40 minutes Sunday, then surrendered a trio of unanswered third-period goals and the winning marker to regular-season scoring champ Danny McSween at 7:01 of overtime.

Jonny Pictin fired three goals for the winners, while McSween scored a pair.

Chance Abbott and Kyle Mass each tallied twice for the Wranglers, who got singles from Wyatt Fraser and Jared Lenz.

Blackfalds netminder Tanner Schalin was extra busy while facing 68 shots. Garrett Fraser and Kenny Quinn combined to make 26 saves for Cochrane.

Elsewhere tonight, the Vipers will take on the host Okotoks Bisons in Game 2 of the other semifinal. Okotoks won the opener 4-3 in overtime in Red Deer Sunday and will be back at the Arena for Game 3 Thursday at 7 p.m.


Inglis named Athlete of Week

Andy Inglis, who was the RDC Kings most consistent player at the Canadian colleges men’s volleyball nationals, was awarded the Boston Pizza RDC male athlete of the week award.

Inglis, in his third and final season with the Kings, switched from the outside into the middle during the nationals, and finished with 18 kills, four stuff blocks and three aces in less than three matches while making only three hitting errors.

l In other news, RDC will host the Central Alberta Schools Athletic Association Senior Bowls March 22 and 23.

The 1A-2A game will take place March 22 with the 3A-4A contest March 23.

The girls tip off at 6 p.m. with the boys to follow both nights.


Thompson wins division

STONY PLAIN — Lindsay Thurber’s Kayla Thompson turned in an impressive performance at the provincial wrestling championships during the weekend.

Thompson won the girls’ 56-kilogram division in dominating fashion after coming back following a loss to top-seeded Amber Maschke of Olds in the semifinals. The Grade 11 student faced Maschke again in the cross-over and dominated the match to set up a final against Calgary city champion Kate Godfrey of Sir Winston Churchill.

Thompson came close to winning in the first round when she slammed her opponent to the mat, then came back and pinned Godfrey in the second round to win gold.

Maschke won the bronze.

Meanwhile, Kelsey Raab of Ponoka won the girls’ 70kg title while Aiden Inkster of Hunting Hills was sixth in the girls’ 53kg division.

On the boys’ side, Chris Lubinkhof of Rocky Mountain House won the 108kg title with Eliot Mahood of LTCHS sixth in the 82kg class.


Crimtech wins silver

The Red Deer Crimtech Shock settled for silver in the under-14 provincial A ringette championship at Calgary during the weekend, falling 6-4 to the Medicine Hat Intensity in the gold-medal game.

Megan Phillips tallied twice for the Shock, who got single goals from Isabel St. Pierre and Kristin Demale.

The Red Deer squad opened round-robin play with a 7-2 win over the Fort McMurray Fuel as Phillips, St. Pierre and Kaylee Domoney each scored twice and Demale had a single marker.

The Shock, with Domoney striking for two goals and Phillips, Demale, Kendra Teiken-Maerz and Mackenzie Lindholm also scoring, then downed the Calgary NW Tenacity 6-5.

Crimtech finished first in its round-robin pool with a 3-1 win over the Beaumont Bam while getting goals from Lindholm, Demale and Domoney, and then recorded a 7-6 semifinal win as Lindholm scored her second goal of the game in overtime. Demale and Teiken-Maerz also had two goals apiece and St. Pierre had a single.


Halford in top spots at Wildrose

OKOTOKS — Claire Halford of the Red Deer Synchronized Swim Club placed second in routine and first in the championship in the U10 solo competition at the Wildrose qualifier during the weekend.

Emma Dickman was fourth in routine and fifth in the championship in the U12 solo while in the 13-15 year-old solo Larissa Kaube was ninth in routine and eight in the championship.

Dickman and Halford placed seventh in routine and fourth in the championship in the U12 duet while the U12 team was sixth in routine and the championship.


Iditarod leader on pace to break race record

NOME, Alaska — John Baker was leading Monday in what could turn out to be an Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race record-breaker as he turned his team toward Nome and familiar territory for the Alaska native musher along the western coast.

If the Kotzebue musher keeps up the pace, slightly faster than the other top teams, Baker and his dogs could break by two hours the Iditarod record of eight days, 22 hours and 46 minutes for the 1,850-kilometre race by four-time champion Martin Buser in 2002.

“They are going to shatter that record,” said race judge Jake Berkowitz in the Elim checkpoint about 193 kilometres from the finish line in Nome.

Baker was the first musher out of the Elim checkpoint on Monday morning. Ramey Smyth arrived in Elim about an hour behind Baker, and he was followed about two hours later by Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt. Sebastian Schnuelle of Whitehorse was sixth and Michelle Phillips of Tagish, Yukon was 18th.

Veterinarians at the Elim checkpoint said Baker’s team looked strong and his dogs were running well.

At this late point in the race, it is Baker’s to lose, Berkowitz said.

Baker has had 11 top-10 finishes in 15 years of Iditarod racing, but has never finished first.


Warrener wins three medals

JASPER — Megan Warrener of the Central Alberta Freestyle Ski Club picked up three medals in the F4 division at the Canada Post Junior Nationals during the weekend.

Warrener was second in the big air and slopestyle and third in moguls.

Meanwhile, Aly Matthies was third in the F2 big air and slopestyle with Dustin Cressey 17th in the M2 big air and slopestyle.

Several of the club’s athletes will compete in the final provincial halfpipe event of the season at Canada Olympic Park today.


Martin died of heart disease

BUFFALO, N.Y. — An autopsy performed on Rick Martin determined that the former Buffalo Sabres star forward died of hypertensive heart disease.

New York State Police issued the findings of the autopsy performed Monday, a day after Martin was found unresponsive after the car he was driving left the road and struck a utility pole in suburban Buffalo.

Dr. Diane Vertes conducted the autopsy at Buffalo’s Erie County Medical Center, and ruled the cause of death to be Hypertensive Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease, which is related to high blood pressure and clogged arteries.


Botterill retires

For Jennifer Botterill, the time just felt right to announce her retirement from the Canadian women’s hockey team.

The 31-year-old forward from Winnipeg was the longest-serving member on the team alongside Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford.

Botterill, one of only four Canadians to take part in all four Olympic women’s hockey tournaments, has won three gold medals at Winter Games. She’s also played on five world championship teams.


Pondexter apologizes for Twitter post

about Japan earthquake and tsunami

New York Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter apologized for Twitter postings over the weekend about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Pondexter tweeted on Saturday: “What if God was tired of the way they treated their own people in there own country! Idk guys he makes no mistakes.”

She later tweeted: “u just never knw! They did pearl harbour so u can’t expect anything less.” Pondexter posted an apology Monday:

“I wanna apologize to anyone I may hurt or offended during this tragic time,” the tweet said. “I didn’t realize that my words could be interpreted in the manner which they were. People that knw me would tell u 1st hand I’m a very spiritual person and believe that everything, even disasters happen 4 a reason and that God will shouldn’t be questioned but this is a very sensitive subject at a very tragic time and I shouldn’t even have given a reason for the choice of words I used.

The WNBA declined to comment on Pondexter’s tweets, but the Liberty released a statement later Monday.

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