Weekend Sports In Brief
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — After years of playoff disappointments, the Colorado Avalanche are back atop hockey’s mountain after dethroning the two-time defending champions.
Behind a goal and an assist from MacKinnon, the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup for the third time in franchise history and first in more than two decades by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 of the final Sunday night.
It’s the first title for the Avs’ core group led by MacKinnon, captain Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar, and it follows several early postseason exits — in the second round each of the past three seasons and the first round in 2018. With a mix of speed, high-end talent and the experience gained from those defeats, Colorado broke through this time — earning every bit of the championship by knocking off a deep and gritty team that hoisted the Cup the past two years.
An early turnover by Makar led to an easy goal by Steven Stamkos, putting Colorado in a hole and several more bumps and bruises followed. The Avalanche tied it when MacKinnon beat 2021 playoff MVP Andrei Vasilevskiy with a near-perfect shot and went ahead on another big goal by trade deadline acquisition Artturi Lehkonen. They locked things down by holding on to the puck and held Tampa Bay without a shot on Darcy Kuemper until midway through the third period.
When the Lightning finally did, he was there. Brought in from Arizona in a trade last summer to shore up the sport’s most important position, Kuemper was solid again and made his most important save with under seven minutes left when he slid over to deny star Nikita Kucherov. His teammates finished the job and Colorado improved to 9-1 on the road this postseason.
LEBANON, Tenn. (AP) — Chase Elliott salvaged a crummy day for Hendrick Motorsports and interrupted a potential Toyota rout by winning the rain-drenched race at Nashville Superspeedway on Sunday night.
Elliott recovered from an early issue that dropped him deep into the field to take the lead with 38 laps remaining and hold off three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers for his second Cup victory of the season.
It took NASCAR’s most popular driver nearly seven hours and a late four-lap shootout to get to victory lane. NASCAR moved the start up by 12 minutes because of looming bad weather, then sat through an hour-long stoppage for lightning in the area, followed by a later rain delay that stretched a tick past two hours.
The race resumed right at the halfway point with teams unsure if the full 300 laps would be completed or if the race would be stopped early because of more rain. Toyota controlled almost the entire event — four of its drivers combined to lead 254 laps — but the No. 5 Hendrick crew brought Elliott’s Chevrolet to life in the closing stretch.
He had the race in hand when a caution came out with nine laps remaining and Elliott didn’t pit from the lead for fresh tires. Nine other drivers stayed on track with him to create a pack of traffic that prevented the Toyotas from catching Elliott after they stopped for fresh tires.
NEW YORK (AP) — Cristian Javier, Héctor Neris and Ryan Pressly combined on the first no-hitter against the New York Yankees in 19 years, shutting down the best team in baseball and pitching the Houston Astros to a 3-0 victory on Saturday.
Javier (5-3), a 25-year-old right-hander without a complete game in 84 professional starts, was clearly tired when manager Dusty Baker brought in a reliever to start the eighth. Javier set career highs for strikeouts (13) and pitches (115), and he matched his longest start with seven innings.
Pressly, who gave up a tying three-run homer to Aaron Hicks in a 7-6 loss Thursday night, retired three straight batters in the ninth for his 15th save in 18 chances. After Giancarlo Stanton hit into a game-ending groundout, the Astros walked onto the field and gathered near the mound for a brief celebration.
Rookie J.J. Matijevic gave Javier a lead in the seventh when he hit his second big league homer, driving a fastball from Gerrit Cole (6-2) into the right-field second deck. Jose Altuve homered into the left-field second deck in the eighth against Michael King, and pinch-hitter Yuli Gurriel added an RBI single off Lucas Luetge in the ninth.
In a matchup of the teams with the top two records in the American League, New York didn’t come close to a hit before a silenced crowd of 45,076. The major league-best Yankees lost consecutive games for the first time since May 28-29 against Tampa Bay, getting their only runners on three walks and an error.
BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — In Gee Chun rallied after losing the rest of her once-sizeable lead, overcoming a bogey-filled front nine to win the Women’s PGA Championship on Sunday when Lexi Thompson faltered with her putter.
Chun shot a 3-over 75 for the second consecutive day at Congressional, but that was enough to win her third major title by a stroke over Thompson and Minjee Lee.
Chun, after leading by six at the tournament’s midway point, lost a three-shot advantage in the first three holes of the final round. Thompson was two strokes ahead of her after the front nine, but Thompson’s putting problems were just beginning.
The 27-year-old Floridian botched a par putt from a couple feet on No. 14, but a birdie on 15 restored her lead to two. Then she was just right of the green on the par-5 16th, chipped over the green and made bogey while Chun made birdie, leaving them tied.
Thompson three-putted for bogey on 17, and after an impressive approach from the rough on 18, her birdie putt wasn’t hit firmly enough.
Chun’s approach on the par-4 18th bounced past the hole and just off the back of the green, but she putted to within about 5 feet and sank her par attempt for the win.
CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Xander Schauffele won the Travelers Championship with a three-stroke swing on the final hole, hitting to 3 feet for birdie after rookie Sahith Theegala took two shots to get out of a bunker and made a double bogey in the group ahead.
A stroke in front entering the final day, Schauffele finished with a 2-under 68 at TPC River Highlands to beat Theegala and J.T. Poston by two strokes. The Olympic champion had a 19-under 261 total.
Theegala shot a 67, and Poston had a 64.
Schauffele won for the sixth time on the PGA Tour and the second this season after teaming with Patrick Cantlay to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The last team to get into the NCAA baseball tournament was the last team standing.
Mississippi scored twice on wild pitches in a three-run eighth inning and the Rebels won their first national baseball title, sweeping Oklahoma in the College World Series finals with a 4-2 victory Sunday.
The Rebels (42-23) became the eighth national champion since 2009 to come out of the Southeastern Conference and third straight, and the trophy will stay in the Magnolia State for another year. Mississippi State won last year.
Ole Miss benefited from a runner-interference call that took a run away from Oklahoma (45-24) in the sixth inning. The Rebels also overcame a spectacular pitching performance by Cade Horton, who set a CWS finals record with 13 strikeouts.
Brandon Johnson struck out the side in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to set off a celebration on the field and in the stands where the majority of the 25,972 were Rebels fans dressed in Ole Miss powder blue. Catcher Hayden Dunhurst ran to the mound to embrace and then tackle Johnson after Sebastian Orduno swung and missed on the final pitch.