Sports Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, January 08, 2002

KPHA PeeWee records sweep of Wolves

The Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association PeeWee B Ice Hawks picked up a sweep of the Alaska Wolves Saturday and Sunday at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Saturday, KPHA rolled to an 8-0 victory. Goals came from Jed McGlasson on an assist from Brad Fusaro, McGlasson on an assist from Clayton Glick, Whitney Ischi on assists from Dean Howell and Travis Temple, McGlasson unassisted, Matt Sutherland on assists from McGlasson and Fusaro, Owen Dukowitz on an assist by Ischi, JD Gray on an assist from Paul Delago and Dukowitz on assists from Keagen Kiel and Temple. Micah Perletti made seven saves for the shutout.

Sunday, the Ice Hawks held off a late comeback attempt for a 3-2 victory. Kiel recorded a pair of goals, both on assists from Dukowitz, while Temple also found the back of the net. Nick Hawkins had 13 saves for the victory.

KPHA Mite C second at Wasilla tourney

The Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association Mite C team took second place at received the sportsmanship award Saturday night at the Brett Memorial Mite Shootout in Wasilla. Defenseman Connor Hamman was the KPHA MVP in the championship game, while right wing Daniel Roberts and goalie William Granger received MVP awards in previous tournament games.

King takes Knik 200

Jeff King, a musher from Denali Park, won the Knik 200 Sunday, holding on to defeat DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow. King, who has announced he will attempt to defend his Tustumena 200 title in late January, finished in 21 hours, 59 minutes and 7 seconds.

Jason Mackey of Ninilchik led peninsula mushers with a ninth-place finish.

Lemieux delays comeback until Saturday

CANONSBURG, Pa. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins must wait a little longer for Mario Lemieux's latest comeback.

Lemieux, who said last week he was planning to return Tuesday against Boston, isn't expected back until a Saturday home game against St. Louis. As a result, he will also miss Thursday's game at Buffalo.

Lemieux said Monday there is no problem with the surgically repaired hip that has sidelined him for the last 22 games, but he still isn't where he wants to be in his conditioning.

The Penguins' owner-captain got in a strenuous skating session Sunday with fitness trainer and former teammate Jay Caufield, and plans another such workout Thursday. He will practice with the team Wednesday and Friday.

''It's more conditioning; my hip's doing great,'' Lemieux said Monday. ''It's just a matter of doing a few more drills, practicing with the team a lot more and getting my skating in.''

If Lemieux is being cautious, it is for a reason. He admittedly rushed himself back after sitting out only five games following his Oct. 29 operation and quickly began having pain again. After appearing in three games, he stopped again and hasn't played since Nov. 14.

''I have to be patient this time and make sure I'm 100 percent when I get back,'' Lemieux said. ''It's always tough to sit out, especially when you're close, but my conditioning is not quite there yet and you've got to be careful with it.''

Penguins coach Rick Kehoe was disappointed upon hearing the news, but said he understands Lemieux's thinking.

''I was hoping he would play tomorrow (Tuesday), but he's not ready yet and when he's ready, he'll let us know and he'll be there,'' Kehoe said.

It's obvious why Kehoe is so eager for Lemieux to return. With Lemieux missing 31 of 42 games, the Penguins (15-19-5-2) are stuck in last place in the Atlantic Division at the midpoint of the season.

A 2-8-2 slide the last 12 games has put the Penguins in real danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since the 1989-90 season. Coincidentally or not, that was the last season until now they played without the traded Jaromir Jagr.

The offense that traditionally is the Penguins' greatest strength is largely to blame for their disappointing season. With 89 goals in 42 games, they are on pace for the worst offensive season in club history.

By comparison, they have nearly 100 fewer goals in only six fewer games than the 1994-95 Penguins, who scored 181 goals in a labor strife-shortened 48-game season.

Still, Lemieux isn't panicking, saying the Penguins have plenty of time to climb back into the playoff race, as long as they don't wait too long.

''We've still got a lot of talent -- (Robert) Lang and (Alexei) Kovalev and (Jan) Hrdina,'' he said. ''If I get back, we'll get another line going and get the team going in the right direction. I still feel we're good enough to make a run at it.

''But we've got to start putting a few games together.''



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