MSU scoring hero Taro Hirose signs two-year entry level deal to skip senior season to join Detroit Red Wings


  DETROIT (CCN) —  The Michigan State Spartans have learned that their biggest scoring threat won't be returning for his senior season of college hockey. Junior forward Taro Hirose has agreed to sign a two-year entry-level contact with the Detroit Red Wings, according to a Tuesday press release by the NHL club. 

 Hirose, who signed as an un-drafted free agent, scored 33 goals and drew 83 assists during 106 college hockey games with MSU for 116 points. The Calgary native was runner-up in the Big 10 scoring race a year ago as a sophomore when voted as an  All-Big 10 Second Team selection. Hirose was named the Ron Mason Team MVP and MSU's Outstanding Offensive Player after his team-leading 42 points were the most by a Spartan since Corey Tropp's 42 points during the 2009-10 campaign.  He was the Big 10 scoring champion this winter with 34 points (10 goals and 24 assists in 24 games) and is a Hobey Baker candidate after putting up an NCAA-best 50 points in 36 games overall. He was also named Tuesday as a finalist for Big 10 Player of the Year honors this season.  READ MORE

Princeton's all-time leading goal scorer signs to play with Detroit Red Wings


DETROIT (CCN) — The all-time leading goal scorer in Princeton University's hockey history signed a two-year entry level contract on Tuesday to join the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL. Senior forward Ryan Kuffner was signed as an un-drafted free agent.

The 22-year-old Kuffner scored 75 career goals in 132 college hockey games at Princeton during a four-year career there. His 22 goals this season was tops in the Eastern College Athletic Conference  and he was the No. 4 scorer in the nation. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound product of Ottawa, Ontario was best in the nation in points per game with 1.419 per contest. 

 He led the Tigers to a berth in the NCAA tournament as a junior when scoring 29 goals with 52 points and earning second team All-American honors. READ MORE

Pistons coach says it's back to drawing board as red-hot Detroit Pistons cool off with worst shooting night of season


 BROOYLYN (CCN) — The red-hot Detroit PIstons took a step backward Monday night in Brooklyn. That's how Coach Dwane Casey  explained it to the media after a 103-75 loss to the Brooklyn Nets in a battle for the No. 6 spot in the NBA's Eastern Conference. Detroit had built a half-game lead by beating the Chicago Bulls in back-to-back home games at Little Caesars Arena in Downtown Detroit.

Blake Griffin scored 27 points in one victory and 28 in the other one as the Pistons ran their winning streak to five in a row. They had reeled off victories in 12 of their last 14 games before heading to Brooklyn for a road game on one day of rest.

 “If you walk, tiptoe through the zone, any zone is going to stop you,” Casey said. “We didn’t attack it. We didn’t set screens against it. We didn’t move the ball against it. We settled for the easiest way out. We’ll go back to the drawing board. We’ve got a multitude of zone offensive plays but tonight I don’t think it was the plays. It was our execution of them.”  

Cashius Winston leads MSU to big victory over UM in front of sellout crowd, national TV audience on ESPN


  EAST LANSING (CCN) — Cashius Winston started slow but turned on the jets in the second half to send a sellout crowd of 14,797 fans into a frenzy Saturday night in East Lansing as the Michigan State Spartans rallied to beat their arch rivals from Ann Arbor. The 75-63 victory came in what many labeled the biggest college basketball game in Breslin Center history with a share of the Big 10 Conference championship on the line.  READ MORE

Detroit Red Wings lose 3-2 affair in Tampa to team with NHL's best record

TAMPA (CCN) — Some are hoping the Detroit Red Wings finish with the NHL's worst record to help themselves in their chances to win the Jack Hughes sweepstakes. They looked more like NHL title contenders, however, Saturday night on the road as they gave the Tampa Bay Lightning all they wanted. The Red Wings lost a 3-2 heart-breaker to the team with the NHL's best record at 52-13-4. It was Detroit's 14th straight loss to Tampa Bay and it was the 13th loss in a row in Tampa.

Jonathan Bernier had a 30-save performance to highlight Detroit's effort. Thomas Vanek and Anthony Mantha scored for the Red Wings who were playing their second straight game without best defenseman Mike Green and top scorer Dylan Larkin. Both have been ruled out for the rest of the season to help Detroit's chances at a lower finish. The lower a team finishes helps its chances at getting the No. 1 draft choice in June. The overwhelming favorite to be the top pick is Jack Hughes from the Team USA national development program in Plymouth.

Michigan Wolverines ousted in two straight at Minnesota in Big 10 hockey tournament Best-of-3 series

MINNEAPOLIS (CCN) — The Michigan Wolverines saw their college hockey season come to an end Saturday in Minneapolis. They lost 4-1 to drop two straight in their Best-of-3 series in the Big 10 tournament.

The Wolverines, who finished 13-16-7, were hoping to win the Big 10 tourney to punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament where they made it all the way to the Frozen Four a year ago. They were ahead 2-0 on Friday night before Minnesota's Golden Golphers rallied to win 3-2 in overtime.

 The loss marked the final chapter in the careers of three seniors for the Wolverines. Joseoph Cecconi, Nicholas Boka and Brendan Warren were 72-59-18 as Wolverines with a combined 137 points. They won a Big Ten championship together as well as the Great Lakes Invitational title during their freshman year in addition to reaching two NCAA tournaments,  including last winter's run to the NCAA Frozen Four before losing a 4-3 thriller to Notre Dame on a last-second goal.

Blake Griffin dominant again with 28 points as red-hot Detroit Pistons win 5th straight game, 12th in last 14


DETROIT(CCN) — Blake Griffin came up big again against the Chicago Bulls in a Sunday afternoon matinee to help the Detroit Pistons take two straight from them at Little Caesars Arena in Downtown Detroit. The Pistons won 131-108 on Sunday for their fifth straight victory and 12th in the last 14 games. They beat the Bulls 112-104 on Friday night.

Griffin, who scored 16 of his game-high 27 points Friday night in the fourth quarter, added a 28-point day on Sunday to delight 19,356 fans at LCA.

The Pistons have taken a one-half game lead over the Brooklyn Nets for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. The top eight teams make the playoffs. The Pistons play next on Monday night in Brooklyn.

Langston Galloway gave Griffin strong support on Sunday with 21 points, including 6-of-6 accuracy from 3-point land where he has now made 12 in a row over the past three contests. Reggie Jackson also added 21 points for the Pistons who got another double-double effort from Andre Drummond. He scored 16 points and grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds.

Boys basketball's March Madness tournament reaches Quarterfinals stage

(CCN) — Michigan's high school boys' basketball season is down to the elite eight in all four classes.

Games in the quarterfinals are set for Tuesday with the winners moving on to Final Four action on Thursday or Friday at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. All four state championship games are on tap on Saturday at the Breslin Center.  The Class A and Class D games will be played during the morning session which starts at 10 am. The Class B and Class C games will be played during the evening session which begins at 4:30 pm. Tickets are $10 for each session.

Two defending state champions are still alive. Southfield Christian continues its drive for a repeat in a 6 pm battle at West Bloomfield against Burton's Genesee Christian while Detroit Edison will be at Port Huron's St. Clair Community College for a 7 pm showdown against No. 1 ranked Flint Beecher. The Bucs are gunning for their sixth state title in eight years as they aim to de-throne the defending state champs.

Flint Beecher takes a 23-2 record into the contest against an 18-7 Detroit Edison squad. 

Southfield Chistian puts an 18-6 record on the line against an 18-7 Genesee Christian club.

Two of the Class A quarterfinals games are at Calihan Hall on the campus of the University of Detroit Mercy. Ypsilanti Lincoln (20-4) faces Detroit King (20-4) at 5:30 pm there and the nightcap game will feature U-D Jesuit (23-2) against Roseville (20-4) at 7:30 pm. The other Class A match-ups feature Saginaw High (22-3) against Howell (19-6) at Grand Blanc High School at 7 pm and East Kentwood (16-9) against Okemos (22-2) at Caledonia High School at 7 pm.

The Class B quarterfinals match-ups are at Mount Pleasant High School, Calvin College, Chelsea High School and Ortonville Brandon High School. Ludington (13-10) faces Alma (19-3) in a 6 pm game at Mt. Pleasant. Grand Rapids South Christian (22-3) faces Hudsonville Unity Christian (23-2) at Calvin College in a 7 pm tip-off. Haslett (20-5) faces River Rouge (21-2) at Chelsea in a 7 o'clock contest. Harper Woods Chandler Park (20-0) faces New Haven (24-1) at Ortonville-Brandon in another 7 pm tip-off.

Besides the Beecher-Detroit Edison showdown in Class C, Tuesday's other quarterfinals action has Iron Mountain (24-0) against Sanford-Meridian (23-1) at Petoskey High School in a 6 pm tip-off; Hanover-Horton (23-1) faces Erie Mason (22-2) at Tecumseh High School in a 7 o'clock game; and Pewamo-Westphalia (25-0) faces Cassopolis (23-1) at Richland Gull Lake High School in another 7 o'clock contest.

Besides the Southfield Christian-Genesee Christian match-up at West Bloomfield, Tuesday's other Class D action has Dollar Bay (20-4) against Pellston (23-2) at Escanaba High School in a 7 pm game; Frankfort (19-5) against Big Rapids Crossroads (23-1) at Cadillac High School in a 7 pm game; and Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (21-3) against Bellevue (24-1) at Charlotte High School in a 7 o'clock ballgame.

Detroit Catholic Central, Hartland, Detroit Country Day prevail with state championships in prep hockey


PLYMOUTH (CCN) — Detroit Catholic Central, Hartland and Detroit County Day were crowned as state champions in high school hockey Saturday at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.  Detroit Catholic Central beat Saginaw Heritage 3-1 to win the Division 1 title, Hartland blanked Trenton 4-0 to win the Division 2 championship and Detroit Country Day prevailed in Division 3 with a 4-1 triumph over Houghton.

Detroit Catholic Central won Friday in the Division 1 semi-finals at Plymouth over Rochester United,  4-2. Saginaw Heritage advanced with a 5-2 triumph Friday over Traverse City Bay Reps.

Hartland won Thursday in the Division 2 semi-finals over Birmingham Brother Rice in a 6-2 romp. Trenton blanked Marquette 4-0 Thursday to reach the finals.

Detroit Country Day reached the finals in Division 3 by beating East Grand Rapids in a 3-1 decision on Friday. Houghton made it to the finals in an 8-0 romp over Riverview Gabriel Richard.

Detroit Catholic Central's closest game in March Madness came in the Quarterfinals at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube where they nipped Salem in a 1-0 thriller. Saginaw Heritage beat Dewitt 5-2 in its Quarterfinal match-up at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing. In other Division 1 Quarterfinal games, Traverse City Bay Reps won 4-3 in overtime at Ferris State University and Rochester United won a 4-3 thriller over Orchard Lake St. Mary at Suburban Ice in Macomb.

Hartland had an easy time of it the Division 2 Quarterfinals at Dort Federal Credit Union Arena in Flint where the Eagles blasted Forest Hills Northern/Eastern 6-0. Brother Rice won a 6-5 thriller over Port Huron Northern in its Quarterfinal contest at Suburban Ice in Macomb. Marquette advanced by winning 4-1 over Petosky at Otsego County Sportsplex in Gaylord and Trenton won a 3-2 barn-burner over Livonia Stevenson at Dearborn Ice Skating Center.

Detroit Country Day blasted Detroit U-D Jesuit 6-1 in its Division 3 Quarterfinals match-up at Farmington Hills Ice Arena while Houghton beat Alpena 4-1 at Big Bear Ice Arena in Sault Ste. Marie. East Grand Rapids reached the semis by blanking Big Rapids 6-0 at The Summit in Dimondale while Riverview Gabriel Richard made it to the Final Four by winning a 4-3 overtime thriller over Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard.