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Nov 27, 2021

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022 - 18:20:10

Gore propels Southern Miss past FIU 37-17

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Frank Gore Jr. threw two touchdown passes and ran for two scores and Southern Miss started fast in a 37-17 victory over Florida International on Saturday.

Dajon Richards scored on a 29-yard run to finish off the first drive for the Golden Eagles (3-9, 2-6 Conference USA). Max Bortenschlager threw a pick on first down for the Panthers (1-11, 0-8) and Gore needed one play to fire a 34-yard scoring strike to Jason Brownlee — one of his two TD catches — for a 14-0 lead.

Southern Miss forced a three-and-out and Natrone Brooks returned the punt 77 yards to the Panthers’ 2-yard line. Gore ran it in on the next play for a 21-0 lead and the Panthers never got closer than seven points from there.

Bortenschlager got FIU on the scoreboard with a 91-yard TD pass to Tyrese Chambers with 58 seconds left in the first quarter. It was the longest TD pass in FIU history — topping an 87-yarder from Josh Padrick to tight end Samuel Smith in a 14-10 loss to Maryland in 2004.

FIU lost 10 straight games to close out the season after beating FCS-member Long Island University 48-10 in the opener.

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Two Sharks forwards snap long goal droughts in critical win over Capitals

Noah Gregor and Jonathan Dahlen both snapped long goal droughts and Nicolas Meloche scored his first career NHL goal as the Sharks began a critical four-game road trip with a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Gregor scored at the 7:41 mark of the first period for his first goal in 20 games and Meloche added an insurance mark at the 3:48 mark of the second off an assist from Matt Nieto as the Sharks survived some tense moments in the third period to win for just the second time in their last six games.

James Reimer made 19 saves through the first two periods before Daniel Sprong scored just 14 seconds into the third period to cut the Sharks’ lead to 2-1. Reimer, though, finished with 32 saves to help the Sharks collect an important two points with less than a week to go before the NHL all-star break.

The Sharks killed off a delay of game Logan Couture with 6:41 left in the third period, then Dahlen scored an insurance goal with 3:09 to go in regulation time. Dahlen’s last goal came Dec. 9 against Minnesota.

The Sharks did not have Rudolfs Balcers available Wednesday, as had been anticipated, as a team spokesman said he had not cleared NHL COVID-19 protocol. Balcers’ five-day isolation ended Tuesday before he flew with the Sharks to Washington, and he participated in the team’s morning skate Wednesday at Capital One Arena.

Balcers was set to be on a forward line with Jonathan Dahlen and Logan Couture against the Capitals but the Sharks had to adjust before the game.

It was thought that Gregor was going to start the game on the third line with Nick Bonino and Matt Nieto. But with Balcers out, Gregor was moved to the top line with Tomas Hertl and Alexander Barabanov. Couture and Dahlen played with Timo Meier.

It worked out for Gregor. Stationed beside goalie Ilya Samsonov, he redirected a pass from Brent Burns into the Capitals net for his second goal of the season and his first since Nov. 30.

The Sharks were playing their second straight game without Erik Karlsson and their first since he had surgery Monday to repair a tear in his left forearm.

Sharks coach Bob Boughner said Wednesday that Karlsson could miss up to 12 weeks, but was hopeful that he could be back by April, which would be more of a nine-to-10 week time frame.

“We’re hoping that with the break coming up here in February, it was the right time to do it and hopefully we see him back in the middle or to the end of March,” Boughner said. “I would think that’s the aggressive plan. Erik’s beat timelines before in other surgeries. He’s a quick healer, and so we’re hoping we get him back sometime in March.”

In the meantime, the Sharks will be challenged to stay in the mix for a playoff spot.

Starting with Wednesday’s game, the Sharks have 25 games between now and the end of March. They play three games in the next six days before their next game, Feb. 14 at home against the Edmonton Oilers.

San Jose entered Wednesday’s game with 44 points, four points back of the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division and two back of the Dallas Stars for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

The Sharks finish the road trip with games against the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, before they play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 1.

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