Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sooners fall in Elite Eight to North Carolina

OU basketball fell to North Carolina Sunday in the elite eight, 72-60. The Tar Heels win earned them their 18th Final Four appearance, which ties them for most all time.

The loss ends the Sooners season, and possibly the collegiate career of sophomore Blake Griffin, who most believe will leave OU to go to the NBA.

Last year's national player of the year, UNC's Tyler Hansbrough, spoke about Griffin's game afterwards. 

"One thing about Blake is I think he's tough down low to box out," Hansbrough said. "I think one thing about him is he's one of the best rebounders I've played against and so that was very tough."

UNC will face Villanova in one of the national semi-finals, while Michigan State will play Connecticut in the other.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring snow possible for Norman

Flowers are planted, most jackets have been put away, and warm temperatures have prevailed over the month of March. Now, a massive early spring blizzard may bring snowfall to Norman Friday afternoon into early Saturday.

According to, Norman has recorded four days in March with temperatures in the eighties, which has led some students to think winter was over. 

"I was ready for summer," OU freshman Jason Zawacki said. "If it snows, I'm gonna be really upset, quite honestly." says there is a one hundred-percent chance of precipitation Friday, and Saturday, and predicts anywhere from 1-3" of snow in the OKC Metro area.

The winter snap should end late Saturday, when temperatures are expected to climb into the forties. 

Other states in the Mid-west will not be out of the woods, however. Massive flooding, is expected in North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota, in the next few days, as record snow totals begin to melt, and rivers continue to rise.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sooners fall in national quarterfinals

Senior Ryan Kenney cleans out his OU hockey locker stall for the final time (Photo by Jarrod Yost).

Hear Daryl Dee, in an interview with GNN's Jarrod Yost, following Oklahoma's loss to Illinois

The OU hockey team saw its season end early Tuesday morning, after falling to defending champion Illinois, 3-2 in double overtime.

 OU had defeated Kent State 9-4 in the opening round to advance to the quarter finals to face Illinois. The loss to Illinois marked the fourth consecutive nationals appearance in which OU failed to advance past the second round.

 Senior forward Doug Gebbie said this loss was particularly hard to swallow.

 “We really fought out there tonight,” Gebbie said. “To lose like we did, after dominating the whole game, is just really tough.”

Sooner hockey fans will have to wait until September to see their team in action again,  as the 2008-2009 season is now officially in the books. Gebbie said the players will move into their spring training workout routines, which usually focus on cardiovascular and weight training.

 The Fighting Illini of Illinois scored first in the quarter final matchup on a power play goal from Matt Jennings, which came late in the first period. Oklahoma picked up a goal from junior Robert Hetrick to tie the game at one before the first period ended.

 Illinois’ Johnny Liang put the Illini up 2-1, before the Sooners tied the game up with less than three minutes remaining in regulation.

 OU Captain Austin Miller scored the goal that tied the game up.

 “I really just blacked out,” Miller said. “I got the puck and then I remember celebrating the goal.”

 The first overtime was scoreless, forcing a second extra frame.

 “I had never been involved in a game like this one,” Gebbie said. “It was just a marathon out there, last man standing wins.”

 Just over one minute into the second overtime, Liang scored again to give Illinois a berth in the national semi-final game. Despite the Sooners’ claims that the net had been dislodged, the goal stood. 

Liang credited his teammate, Jordan Pringle, for the play he made on the game winner.

"[Jordan] Pringle made a great pass, and I had a wide open net, and was able to put it in." Liang said, as he struggled for breath directly following the game.

 According to the American Collegiate Hockey Association website, Liang was later named second team all-tournament. Illinois’ goaltender, Mike Burda, who was dominant against the Sooners, was named all tournament first-team

 “It’s certainly a tough way to end it,” Miller said. “We felt like that goal should not have counted, but regardless, it did.”

 Miller expressed his displeasure with the call made on the ice, breaking his stick over the net post when the referee signaled that the eventual winning goal would indeed count.

 Officials from the tournament later said that they stood by the call made on the ice.

 “I just felt like the guy [official] just wanted to get out of there,” Miller said. “He did not even discuss the call with the other officials on the ice.”

 Illinois defeated Penn State in the semi-final round, before falling to Lindenwood in the championship round, 4-1.

 Lindenwood’s website says the championship is a first for men’s ice hockey at the university, but not for hockey in general. The Lady Lions recently captured the ACHA division 1 women’s hockey title for the second straight season.

 For the Sooners, it will be an off-season of rebuilding, as the team will lose 8 seniors for the 2009-2010 season.  Miller said it will be up to this year’s junior class to carry the team next season.

 “We still have a lot of veteran guys who will have to step up next season,” Miller said.  

 Miller will be a senior next fall, as will defensemen Greg Curtiss and Robert Hetrick. Goalie Chad Helgason, who has lead the team to the past two nationals appearances, will also be a senior next season.

 Helgason said that the preparation for next season starts now.

 “Yeah, we have lost a bunch of great players going in to next season, but we need to begin our preparation to replace them,” Helgason said. “Each year teams have to replace guys, and it is off-season preparation which prepares a team for life without those players.”

 Sophomore Daryl Dee echoed Helgason’s sentiments following the loss.

 “Every team goes through the same issues every off-season, it is just our responsibility to deal with it,” Dee said.

 The team will clear out their lockers in the upcoming weeks, and prepare for off season training, and tryouts in the fall. Dee said that tryouts will be competitive, as there are many new recruits slated to head to Norman in early August.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sooners first game postponed

The Sooners hockey club was forced to leave the playing surface during warmups for their contest with Kent State, Saturday night in Gates Mills, OH.

Concerns with Carbon Monoxide within the ice arena hosting the national tournament caused authorities to evacuate the building.

Several people had called the fire department with complaints of headaches and dizziness. Once on the scene, firefighters measured the air and found far to much CO in the air. 

Sooner defenseman Greg Curtiss said he felt the effects during the warm up period. 

"I got a splitting headache, but just thought it was because of the energy supplements I had taken prior to the game," Curtiss said.

Oklahoma's first round match with Kent State has been moved to Sunday night, at 8:30.

Friday, March 13, 2009

OU Hockey prepares for Nationals

A sign sits outside the OU hockey locker room, as a reminder of what the team must due to prepare for Nationals(photo by Jarrod Yost).

The Oklahoma hockey club departed Thursday for greater Cleveland, OH, where it will compete in the 2009 American Collegiate Hockey Association national tournament. The nation’s top 16 clubs received invites to the tournament, which will begin Saturday, and conclude Wednesday night with the national championship contest.

This year’s tournament appearance marks the 4th consecutive appearance for the Sooners, who began their ACHA hockey program just five years ago.

At practice Wednesday, many players said the team has been looking sharp as of late.

“These final practices have been outstanding,” freshman forward Blake Martin said. “We really have been talking about what it’s going to take to win this tournament.”

Martin and the Sooners held a final practice Thursday prior to leaving, in order to fine tune the club’s power play and penalty kill tactics against first-round opponent, Kent State.

“It’s nothing too different from what we are used to,” Martin said. “We just need to stick with what has worked so far this season.”

Oklahoma and the Golden Flashes of Kent State face off Saturday night at 7:30 EDT at the Gilmour Acadamey in Gates Mills, OH.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

OU Baseball Dominates Arkansas-Little Rock

brothers Jamie and Casey Johnson converge in the outfield to discuss the situation in a 16-6 win over Arkansas- Little Rock (Photo by Jarrod Yost).
The OU baseball team took two games from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, Tuesday. The Sooners won the first game of the double-header 11-7, on the strength of a big game by sophomore outfielder Casey Johnson. Johnson was 3-for-5 with four runs batted in. 
The second game saw the Sooners dominate the Trojans of UA-LR, winning 16-6 in 8 innings, as the game was shortened due to the run-rule.
The two wins brought the No. 16 Sooners to 9-3 on the season, heading in to one of their biggest weekends of early season play.
OU will now remain at home to face UCLA this weekend for three-game set which will be their first real home test this season. 
Johnson said that UCLA is a good team, that brings to the table several solid pitchers.
"UCLA is a really solid club... with a number of power arms," Johnson said.
The Sooners face the Bruins Friday, at 3 p.m.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

OU Hockey prepares for Challenge Cup

The OU hockey team is practicing this week in preparation for its final game prior to the upcoming national tournament. Sunday, the Sooners will travel to Dallas' American Airlines Center to face-off against Texas Tech in the second annual Big 12 Challenge Cup.

The puck will drop at 7:30 for OU and Texas Tech, after the conclusion of the NHL game featuring the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars.

Texas Tech will look to defend its title in the game, having defeated Texas A&M in last year's contest.  

The game will mark the final regular season contest in which OU seniors, including Captain Mark Tylka, will slip on the OU jersey.

"It will certainly be emotional, Tylka said." "We are really gearing up for this one since for many of us it will be our last chance at this title."

The Challenge Cup expects to draw one of the largest crowds that either club has seen this season, as fans who buy a ticket to the NHL game will be allowed entry to the nightcap, as well.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Former Sooners get their hockey fix elsewhere

When Sooner football players graduate, some go to the NFL, but for others, they never put on the pads again. Sooner hockey players, like Matt Pangrac have the opportunity to continue playing hockey right here in Oklahoma.

Pangrac graduated from OU last spring, and was one of 4 seniors on the Sooners hockey club. Upon graduation Pangrac has landed a job in the Norman area, and now remains in south-central Oklahoma year-round.

Pangrac is one of many former OU hockey players who now play in the Oklahoma City adult hockey league.

"I play because I still love the game," Pangrac said. "There are a lot of guys on the team that used to play for OU, so we have a good group of former Sooners on the ice together."

League manager Larry Donavan is also the General Manager of the OU hockey program, and said he tries to help the former OU players get situated on the same teams.

Donavan said the summer adult session will involve even more former Sooners, as many come to live in the Oklahoma city metro area for the summer months.