Parker Thompson takes his first win in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA
Thompson Earns His First Sports Car Win in a Wet and Wild Weekend at Mid-Ohio
MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE, LEXINGTON, OHIO
In a weekend mired in rain and cool temperatures, Parker Thompson navigated treacherous conditions to win his first sports car race in Race 3 of the 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA at Mid-Ohio. For Race 4, the second of two races at the Acura Sport Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, Thompson finished 2nd. That result put him on the podium four times in four races to kick off his career in sports cars.
Weather was a big factor for official practice sessions on Friday, where many cars did not even venture out on track. Thompson however, showed promising pace in the #3 JDX Racing / Hertz / Byers Porsche, eclipsing the fastest lap time of his competitors by nearly 3 seconds.
With wet conditions continuing into Saturdays qualifying session, there were high expectations for Thompson. Multiple incidents on track however, ended the session with no timed laps completed. As a result, the starting order for Race 3 was determined by driver championship points standings. Thompson would start in third position, on the inside of the second row.
In steady rain, Thompson cleanly piloted the #3 car past championship contenders Riley Dickinson and Roman DeAngelis, before pacing away from the pack. In an incident filled race, with eleven out of 22 laps driven under a yellow flag, all except for five cars would fall a lap down to Thompson. In only his third race in the car, Thompson showed a dominant victory and solidified the fact that he is a contender for the overall championship.
With clearer conditions on Sunday, Race 4 began with Thompson on pole position, and championship leader Roman DeAngelis immediately behind him on the second row. The two Canadian drivers battled hard for ten laps before DeAngelis squeezed by to take the lead position. Thompson held second for the remainder of the race. Four races into the 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA season, and Thompson’s sports car career, he has found the podium in each of four races.
“The results this weekend are truly exciting. With the help of Hertz and Byers Porsche, the JDX Racing crew has put together a great race car. While I was happy with my pace right from the start of the season, there is still room for improvement. This weekend was a great indicator of progress, and a sure sign that we can contend for the overall championship. I’m honoured to work with a great team of people, and so excited for what the future holds.” – Parker Thompson
Now sitting second in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA championship standings, Thompson finds himself vying for two unique racing championships. He is the current championship leader in Indy Pro 2000,where he will be competing May 10th –12th at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. ThePorsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA season resumes June7th at the Montreal F1 Grand Prix.
Roy scores OT winner as Golden Knights tip Oilers 4-3
Vegas Golden Knights celebrate the winning goal on Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during overtime NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday March 25, 2023.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
By Shane Jones in Edmonton
The Vegas Golden Knights made sure to keep the Edmonton Oilers at arm’s length in the Pacific Division race.
Nicolas Roy scored the overtime winner and Jack Eichel had a goal and two assists as the Golden Knights won their fourth consecutive game, knocking off the Oilers 4-3 on Saturday night to give themselves a seven-point cushion atop the Pacific Division standings over third-place Edmonton with nine games to play.
Roy was left alone in front of the Edmonton net and deposited his own rebound past Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner 2:26 into OT.
“It’s a big win, big road trip,” said Knights defenceman Brayden McNabb. “They were sneaking up on us and we were able to get an extra point out of this game.
“We have that next-man-up mentality, it’s been that way all year. We’ve had injuries throughout the year, the guys are prepared, we have great depth, we have great goaltending and it showed tonight. It felt a little bit like a playoff game, for sure.”
Pavel Dorofeyev and Jonathan Marchessault also scored for the Knights (46-21-6) who have won eight of their last nine and sport a league-best 17-3-2 record since the NHL All-Star break.
“Gutsy win for us, it’s a divisional game and I thought we played well,” Eichel said. “It’s a really good team over there, they generate a lot of offence and I thought we did a really good job limiting them.”
Zach Hyman, Leon Draisaitl and Warren Foegele replied for the Oilers (41-23-9) who had a five-game winning streak snapped.
“It was a tight game. It was what you expect in the playoffs,” Draisaitl said. “It is obviously a team that we could face. I think we know how to handle these types of games. Obviously tonight didn’t go our way, but we will take the point.”
Vegas scored on the first shot of the game 61 seconds in as Eichel took a feed on a two-on-one from Ivan Barbashev and beat the Oilers’ starter stick-side for his 27th goal of the season.
Not to be outdone, the Oilers also scored on their first shot on Knights goalie Laurent Brossoit 3:28 into the opening frame, as Draisaitl put it right on the tape of Zach Hyman’s stick in front of the net and he redirected in his 31st. Draisaitl set a new career high for points on the play, hitting 111 after capping out at 110 points two previous seasons.
The Golden Knights regained the lead on the power play with 3:33 to play in the first period when the puck came to Dorofeyev on a broken play and he wired home his fifth of the campaign to the top right corner.
Edmonton’s lethal power play allowed them to knot the game up midway through the middle period as Connor McDavid sent it to Draisaitl in the slot and he took it on the backhand before spinning around and scoring his 45th goal of the season. It was also Draisaitl’s 28th power-play goal, the most by any player in a season since Mario Lemieux in 1995-1996.
Vegas found another gear to start the third and went ahead 3-2 almost seven minutes into the final frame as Eichel dropped a pass back in the lane to Marchessault, who beat Skinner with a one-timer.
Brossoit followed that up with a massive save on Mattias Ekholm.
Edmonton tied the game once again with 8:41 to play in the third as Foegele tied his career high by scoring his 13th on a long wrist shot to eventually send the game to extra time.
“It’s disappointing we didn’t get the two points,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft. “Some of the goals we gave up were preventable. We’re going to take the lessons from tonight and learn from it.”
Edmonton won both previous meetings between the two teams this season, both by 4-3 scores. … Vegas was missing a bunch of bodies in Mark Stone (back), William Carrier (lower body), Adin Hill (lower body), Logan Thompson (undisclosed), Reilly Smith (lower body) and Alec Martinez (personal). As a result, defenceman Ben Hutton returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past 21 games. Forward Keegan Kolesar also returned after missing six games with an upper-body injury. In net, Brossoit made his first start since Feb. 25. … Edmonton was without the services of Ryan Murray (back) and Ryan McLeod (upper body). … The Golden Knights and Oilers both boast 11 skaters with 10-plus goals — tied for second in the NHL in that category. … Oilers defender Cody Ceci played in his 700th career NHL game.
The Knights are off until Tuesday, when they will play the Oilers in a rematch in Vegas.
The Oilers make a quick trip to Arizona to face the Coyotes on Monday before playing the Knights on Tuesday in the final regular-season matchup between the two teams.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2023.
Toffoli’s two-goal effort leads Flames in 5-3 win over Sharks
San Jose Sharks goalie Kaapo Kahkonen, right, takes a drink as Calgary Flames players celebrate a goal during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, March 25, 2023.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
By Darren Haynes in Calgary
Led offensively by two guys with Stanley Cup rings, the Calgary Flames kept their faint playoff hopes alive on Saturday.
Tyler Toffoli scored two goals and Nazem Kadri notched the game-winner as the Flames won 5-3 over the San Jose Sharks to climb two points closer to a playoff berth.
“They’re a desperate team, they have some skill. And obviously with (Erik) Karlsson on the back end, he can take over games, and I thought we did a good job sticking together and finding a way to win,” said Toffoli, whose 31 goals equals a career high.
Combined with Winnipeg’s 4-1 loss to Los Angeles, the Flames moved to within four points of the Jets, who occupy the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Both teams have eight games remaining including one head-to-head.
“We can’t really worry about what other people are thinking,” Toffoli added. “We just have to win every game we can, and every game we win keeps us in it and gives us a chance.”
Toffoli played for Darryl Sutter in 2014 when he was the coach of the Stanley Cup-winning Los Angeles Kings.
“He’s a winner,” said Sutter. “Can’t teach it, thankful to have him.”
Kadri won his Stanley Cup last season with Colorado.
“Ideally you want to find yourself to not be in this position this late in the season,” Kadri said. “But it’s hard to win in months like these leading up to the playoffs and we’ve given ourselves a chance so that’s really all that matters.”
Tied at 3-3, Kadri scored the go-ahead goal 5:45 into the third period. On his first shift moved onto a line with veteran Milan Lucic and rookie Walker Duehr, he banged in a rebound from the side of the net after Kaapo Kahkonen had stopped shots from both of his linemates.
“Great work ethic by them,” said Kadri, who has goals in consecutive games after a 16-game goal drought. “That’s what Walks and Looch are good at, staying on pucks and being tenacious and I just tried to get simple and go to the net as that’s where most of the pucks are going.”
Toffoli put the game away scoring into an empty net with 1:10 remaining.
“It was a real gut-check game. We had nine games in 15-and-a-half days for everybody in this room that travels with us and it was hard for us,” said Flames coach Darryl Sutter.
MacKenzie Weegar and Duehr added the other goals for Calgary (33-26-15), which won for just the second time in its last nine games at the Saddledome (2-5-2). Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves.
Logan Couture, Nico Sturm and Martin Kaut replied for San Jose (19-39-15), which had its winless skid extended to nine games (0-6-3). Kahkonen had 25 stops.
Erik Karlsson had two assists to reach 68 on the year and surpass his previous career-high of 66 in 2015-16 and break the Sharks record for helpers by a defenceman. Brent Burns previously held it with 67 in 2018-19.
“We just want to come every day and work hard and make the most out of a bad situation,” said Karlsson. “Today everybody showed up and we tried to play the way we need to to be competitive and I think we were for the most part of 60 minutes.”
The Flames saw their 2-1 lead entering the second period disappear after surrendering two goals to the visitors.
Sturm drove hard to the net, got his outstretched stick on the end of a hard centring pass from Noah Gregor and neatly deflected it in at 4:52.
Twenty-two seconds later, Steven Lorentz ripped a shot off the goalpost and Kaut knocked in the rebound.
The lead was short-lived, though, with Duehr answering back for Calgary 25 seconds later. He buried a one-timer on a dish from Trevor Lewis.
“Losing sucks,” said Couture. “Tonight was one of our better efforts. We’re realistic in here. We know where we’re at. We lost a bunch of guys at the deadline. We moved out six or seven of our full-time players. I liked our compete. We fought to the end. We can be proud of that.”
The Flames opened the game with a bang, grabbing a 2-0 lead before the Sharks even got a shot on net.
Couture cut into the deficit at 14:27 when he went hard to the net and was set up for a tap-in thanks to a slick pass from Karlsson.
MILESTONE FOR BACKLUND
Mikael Backlund played in his 900th career game Saturday. A first-round pick by the Flames in 2007, the 34-year-old centre is third on the franchise’s all-time games played list behind Jarome Iginla (1,219) and Mark Giordano (949).
BLUE LINE SHUFFLE
The Sharks made two changes on the blue line, welcoming back Matt Benning (undisclosed) and Jacob MacDonald (upper body) from injuries that had sidelined them for one and nine games, respectively.
Flames: Conclude their home stand on Tuesday against the Kings.
Sharks: Return home to host Winnipeg on Tuesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2023.
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