Sports briefs: June 23

June 23, 2013 

Stanley Cup finals

Blackhawks beat Bruins to take 3-2 lead in series

Patrick Kane scored two goals, and the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins 3-1 to take a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup finals on Saturday night. Dave Bolland added an empty netter from center ice with 13.6 seconds left, and the Blackhawks moved within a win of their second championship in four years.

They'll try to wrap it up at Boston on Monday.

In a series that's seen three games go to overtime, this one had its tense moments and both teams were without star players down the stretch. Boston's Patrice Bergeron skated gingerly off the ice in the second period and was taken by ambulance to a hospital with an undisclosed injury, a huge blow for the Bruins. Chicago's Jonathan Toews, meanwhile, sat out the third period after getting clobbered by Johnny Boychuk late in the second.

The Blackhawks still had enough to get by, with Kane scoring in each of the first two periods. Now Chicago is one win away from the title, while the Bruins will need to force a seventh game if they're going to keep their hopes alive for a second Cup in three seasons.


Golf

St. X grad Thomas in hunt at Travelers

Justin Thomas, a St. Xavier graduate who just finished up his sophomore season with national champion Alabama, shot his second straight 66 and is four shots off the lead after three rounds at the Travelers Championship on Saturday in Cromwell, Conn. Thomas birdied four straight holes — 12 through 15 after posting two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine.

"It's no different than any other tournament, I'm just trying to go out there and make as many birdies as I can," Thomas told The Hartford Courant. "Any time you shoot 4-under it's awesome."

Bubba Watson made three bogeys in his last six holes to help create a three-way tie for the lead. Watson, Graham DeLaet, who tied for the low round of the day with a 65, and Charley Hoffman were all at 10-under par heading into Sunday's final round at the TPC of River Highlands. Watson shot an even-par 70.

Justin Rose, less than a week after his U.S. Open victory, is 7-under par and in a tie for seventh place after a second straight 68.

Thomas told The Hartford Courant he is considering turning pro before his junior season.

"Eventually, yeah," Thomas said. "But the Walker Cup is in September and that's a huge goal of mine, that's my main goal for now so until then, I don't really know yet."

Thomas told the newspaper that he welcomes the competition of PGA Tour events.

"Just the depth of players is a lot better," Thomas said. "It's still a golf tournament, that's the thing. A lot of people, like my friends at home, think, and it is a huge deal, it's the best in the world. But at the end of the day it's still a tournament. I still got to make birdies to be up on the top of the leader board and if I don't I'm going to be on the bottom."

Alexander Levy overcame two bogeys to shoot a 4-under 68 in the third round to pull into a three-way tie with Ernie Els and Alex Noren atop the leader board of the BMW International Open in Munich. The trio was at 15-under 201 heading into Sunday's final round.

Craig Stadler grabbed the outright lead at the Encompass Championship on Saturday in Glenview, Ill., birdieing three of the four par-5s in a 7-under 65 that put him two shots ahead of Bob Tway and Jeff Sluman in the Champions Tour event.

Stacy Lewis made four straight birdies and eight overall to shoot a 6-under 65 and join a group of four players atop the leader board at 10 under after the second round of the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship at Rogers, Ark.


Horse racing

Close Hatches cruises in Mother Goose

Close Hatches beat 1-5 favorite Dreaming of Julia by 7¼ lengths on Saturday to win the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park. Close Hatches took charge on the final turn and was alone in the run to the wire. It was the biggest win of her career, and the fourth in six starts. Joel Rosario was aboard for trainer Bill Mott for the 11⁄16 miles run in 1:41.36 on the fast track.

Dreaming of Julia was trying to rebound from a trouble-filled trip in the Kentucky Oaks in which she ran fourth as the 3-2 favorite. There were no apparent excuses in the Mother Goose. Sluggish most of the race, Dreaming of Julia made a belated run to get second.

Close Hatches paid $10.60, $2.60 and $2.10

Fiftyshadesofgold, a 10-length winner against Texas-breds in her debut at Lone Star Park, delivered a similar jaw-dropping performance in the $113,400 Debutante at Churchill Downs on Saturday. The 2-year-old filly, ridden ridden by Corey Lanerie and trained by Bret Calhoun, defeated More Than Beauty by 8 lengths.

Fiftyshadesofgold ran 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:10.63 for owner/breeder Clarence Scharbauer Jr. It was the first Churchill Downs stakes victory for the Scharbauer family since his late wife Dorothy and daughter Pam won the 1988 Breeders' Cup Classic with 1987 Kentucky Derby winner Alysheba.

"I thought it was a monster effort," Calhoun said. "She beat those horses pretty handily and I know there were some nice horses in there. To go what I thought was too fast and then keep running was very impressive."

Doinghardtimeagain finished 2½ lengths ahead of Iotapa to win the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks feature race at Hollywood Park. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Doinghardtimeagain earned the first graded victory of her career.


NFL

Police search Hernandez's home again

Massachusetts state police officers and dogs searched the home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez again Saturday as they continued to investigate the killing of a semi-pro football player whose body was found about a mile away. The search of Hernandez's sprawling home and vehicle in North Attleboro began in the afternoon and lasted for more than three hours. Locksmiths and several officers were involved, including one with a crowbar.

Detectives and uniformed officers who searched the home, its backyard and playhouse did not comment to reporters on what they were looking for or what caused them to return to the house located not far from where the Patriots practice and about a mile from where a jogger found the body of Odin Lloyd this past Monday.

Lloyd family members said Friday that he had been dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee for about two years. They said the two men were friends who were together the night Lloyd died.

Authorities have ruled Lloyd's death a homicide.


Minor-league baseball

Legends shut out Sand Gnats

The Lexington Legends scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to eke out a 2-0 victory against the Savannah Sand Gnats on Saturday night at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. Bubba Starling doubled in Mark Threlkeld for the for the first run and Michael Antonio added an RBI single. Legends starter Christian Binford pitched six scoreless innings and had nine strikeouts. Aroni Nina pitched two innings for the win and Kevin Allen got the save.


The last word

Archie Goodwin had many good things to say about former Kentucky teammate and possible No. 1 pick Nerlens Noel in a Sporting News report on Friday. Goodwin said he expects Noel to "dominate" in the NBA and that the center's offensive game will improve because of his work ethic. Goodwin said the pair have kept in contact during the draft process:

"I talk to him all the time. We check up on each other, he asks how I am doing, I ask how he is doing. It's just, a brotherly bond. It always will be. We might not go to the same team, or the same city or whatever, but that is a bond we will always have, for life. That's what playing at Kentucky is about."

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