Orange Bowl: Harbaugh confident in turnout

Orange Bowl: Harbaugh confident in turnout

Dec. 8, 2010STANFORD PAGE

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) Jim Harbaugh is sure Stanford fans will show up for the Orange Bowl.Even though the Cardinal are playing some 2,500 miles away from the home stadium they don't always fill, Harbaugh is confident."We sold 8,000 tickets in one morning after the announcement,'' Harbaugh said. "That's more tickets than we sold last year to the Sun Bowl. And that was only the first 12 hours. Our fans and alumni are really excited about this trip, so I think they'll turn out for us.''No. 5 Stanford (11-1), whose only loss of the season was to undefeated Oregon (52-31), has already received ticket requests from alumni located as far away as Moscow after one of the best seasons in school history. RELATED: Stanford's Harbaugh has issues with BCS
For the 12th-ranked Hokies, an ACC title and Orange Bowl appearance is almost business as usual - this is their third trip to South Florida in four seasons.Led by ACC player of the year, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech won 11 straight after losing its opener to Boise State and FCS team James Madison."I think it's going to be two great quarterbacks, two teams who have really worked hard and play very similar - tough and hard-nose,'' Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "It has the makings of a great football game. We look forward to giving it our best shot.''Harbaugh's first Orange Bowl experience was as a 12-year-old when the family accompanied his father, then a coach at Michigan, to the game.For Harbaugh, that trip was as much about seeing his first coconut, and a visit to Disney World, as it was about football.This time, Harbaugh's Orange Bowl trip will be all business. RELATED: Orange Bowl tabs No. 5 Stanford, No. 12 VaTech
"To bring a team here, myself, is a great honor and to play in such a traditional bowl as the Orange Bowl,'' Harbaugh said. "Our single focus and purpose for coming down to this game will be to bring back the Orange Bowl trophy.''

Instant Replay: Sharks sweep back-to-back with win over Lightning

Instant Replay: Sharks sweep back-to-back with win over Lightning

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – After missing his first game of the season, Logan Couture returned to the lineup to score the game-winning goal as the Sharks downed the Lightning at SAP Center, 2-1, on Thursday night.

Couture, who was too sick to play against the Kings on Wednesday, got his 15th of the season early in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Linemate Kevin Labanc fished a puck out from along the end wall, while Couture got just enough of the puck to squeeze it through Andrei Vasilevskiy just 22 seconds into the final frame.

Backup goalie Aaron Dell made 24 saves, as the scuffling Lightning were held to two or fewer goals for the seventh time in their last eight games.

In the third period, Dell stopped Ondrej Palat with about 13 minutes left, getting his right pad on the Tampa Bay forward’s attempt from between the circles. He stretched to deny Valtteri Filppula’s wraparound try with less than seven minutes to go, preserving the Sharks’ slim lead.

The Sharks improved to 5-2-0 in their last seven games, and swept the two-game season series with the Lightning. San Jose is 16-6-0 overall against teams from the Eastern Conference.

After a dull first period, the pace picked up in the second as the teams traded scores.

Ryan Carpenter put San Jose ahead at 5:01, as his slap shot from the circle directed in off of Nikita Nesterov’s leg for his second career NHL score. The rookie was recalled on Tuesday after a brief stint with the Sharks in November, and was playing in just his fifth game this season.

Tampa Bay responded with a gorgeous power play score by Jonathan Drouin less than two minutes later. The 21-year-old took the puck from the neutral zone and charged ahead, going right around a flat-footed Marc-Edouard Vlasic and slipping it past Dell at 6:51.

Along with Couture’s return, Joonas Donskoi also played after missing the previous three games with an upper body injury.

The Sharks won the only other game between the two teams on Nov. 12 in Tampa Bay, 3-1.

San Jose improved to 5-3-0 in the second of back-to-backs.

Special teams

The Sharks had just one power play midway through the third period, and did not score.

The Lightning brought the NHL’s fourth-ranked power play into the game, although they hadn’t scored in their previous three games. They finished 1-for-3.

In goal

Dell was starting for the second time in nine days, the shortest length time off he’s had between games this season. He improved to 5-2-0 in his first NHL season, and has allowed two or fewer goals in five of his seven starts.

Vasilevskiy fell to 10-11-2 on the season, allowing two Sharks goals on 24 shots.

Lineup

Rookie Timo Meier was scratched for the first time since he was recalled in mid-December. Micheal Haley was surprisingly placed on injured reserve before the game with an upper body injury.

Tampa Bay remains without Steven Stamkos, who has been out since mid-November with a torn miniscus, while top defenseman Victor Hedman missed his third straight due to illness.

Up next

A pair of games against the putrid Avalanche, who are buried in last place in the Central Division and are the worst team in the NHL, is up next for San Jose. Saturday marks the SAP Center return of Matt Nieto, who was claimed off of waivers from the Sharks on Jan. 5.

The Sharks visit Pepsi Center on Monday for the second of the home-and-home, are in Winnipeg on Tuesday, and play their final game before the All-Star break at home next Thursday against Edmonton.

Cal falls to No. 11 Oregon; Ducks lose Brooks

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USATSI

Cal falls to No. 11 Oregon; Ducks lose Brooks

EUGENE, Ore. — Jordan Bell scored a career-high 26 points, Casey Benson had 15 on five 3-pointers and No. 11 Oregon rolled to an 86-63 victory over California on Thursday night.

The Ducks (17-2, 6-0 Pac-12) matched a 104-year-old school record with their 15th consecutive win, but they lost preseason All-America Dillon Brooks to a lower leg injury late in the first half.

Brooks, who had offseason surgery on his left foot, limped off the court as Oregon was building a 44-30 halftime lead. Oregon officials tweeted that Brooks had injured his lower left leg after he did not appear with his teammates for the second half.

Bell took up the scoring slack by shooting 11 of 12 from the field to go with six rebounds and four blocked shots.

Jabari Bird had 21 points to lead the Golden Bears (13-6, 4-3), who had won three straight and eight of their last 10 meetings with the Ducks.