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Monday's Sports Briefs

By: Bruce Luebke
Posted: January 13, 2014 07:58

Winnipeg Jets' GM Kevin Cheveldayoff announcing the dismissal of head coach Claude Noel on Sunday.

- The Winnipeg Jets will have a new face behind the bench Monday night when they host the Phoenix Coyotes.  Paul Maurice is replacing Claude Noel, who was fired Sunday with the Jets mirred in a five-game losing streak.  Noel had an 80-79-18 record in his tenure with the Jets but, this year, the club is four games under .500 and ten points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.  Assistant coach Perry Pearn was also relieved of his duties. - A key win for the Brandon AAA Midget Wheat Kings Sunday.  Tanner Kaspick scored twice in regulation and then notched the shootout winner as Brandon defeated the Winnipeg Wild 3-2.  The victory improves Brandon to 30-3-0-1 and moved the Wheat Kings back into sole possession of first-place, one point ahead of the Wild.  Both teams have ten games remaining in the regular season.  Meanwhile, the Interlake Lightning topped the Yellowhead Chiefs 2-1 in another MMHL game Sunday.  Morgan Geekie scored the lone goal for the Chiefs.  Yellowhead is 15-16-0-2 and tied for 8th-place and the final playoff spot. - Nathan Park made 25 saves for the shutout as the Selkirk Steelers blanked the Neepawa Natives 3-0 in Manitoba Junior Hockey League action Sunday night.  The loss was the Natives' fifth in a row and 11th in their last 12 games.  However, Neepawa remains just two points behind Waywayseecappo for fifth-place and the final playoff spot in the Sherwood Division. - A bit of an embarassing situation in the North Central Hockey League.  The Virden Oil Kings showed up for a regular season game in Grandview Sunday night with just seven skaters.  Predictably, the Oil Kings were crushed by the Comets 21-2.  T.J. Warkentine had four goals and three assists and Kaine Morran a goal and seven assists for Grandview. - The Olympic dream is now reality for Virden-based figure skaters Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers.  The duo were two of 17 skaters officially named to the Canadian Olympic team for the Sochi Games on Sunday.  Lawrence and Swiegers finished third in the Senior Pairs competition at the National Skating Championship in Ottawa over the weekend to earn their trip to the Games.  Not only will they compete in Senior Pairs, but they'll also compete in the Team Figure Skating competition that is making its Games debut in 2014. - A second straight gold medal for Brandon's Cassie Hawrysh Sunday.  Hawrysh slid to top spot in the Intercontinental Cup women's skeleton race in Park City, Utah in a time of 51.79 seconds.  Sunday's race was shortened to just one run because of snow and high winds.  Hawrysh also won gold on the same track on Saturday, with the two wins moving Hawrysh up to 17th in the world rankings.  She's one spot and two points behind fellow Canadian Robyn Thompson, here main competition for a possible third and final spot on the Canadian Olympic team. - Defending Olympic gold medalist Jon Montgomery slid to an 18th-place finish at a World Cup men's skeleton event in St. Moritz, Switzerland Sunday.  The Russell product was making his return to the World Cup circuit after spending all of this season on the second-tier Intercontinental Cup circuit.  Montgomery also finished 29th in the World Cup race that was held on Friday. - The wait is finally over for Chelsea Carey.  After losing in the Provincial Final two of the last three years, Carey broke through on Sunday at Tundra Oil & Gas Place in Virden, beating Kerri Einarson 6-2 in the final of the Provincial Women's Curling Championship.  Three in the ninth end broke open a tight game and helped Carey earn her first trip to the National Scotties Tournament of Hearts.  The Carey team members have all lost finals before.  Carey and second Kristen Foster have lost two, lead Lindsay Titheridge has lost three and third Kristy McDonald have lost four previous Manitoba finals.  The Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian Women's Curling Championship will be held in Montreal from February 1-9.  For more on this story, please click here. - A solid weekend of preparation for Steve Irwin has he captured his first ever Brandon Men's Bonspiel title.  Irwin stole a pair in the fourth end and got past Rob Fowler 6-4 in Sunday's Final.  Irwin defeated Glenn Parrott 5-1 while Fowler knocked off Kelly Marnoch 6-5 in the semifinals.  Irwin, Fowler and Marnoch already have their spots in the Safeway Championship so Parrott was the highest eligible finisher and secured the available berth into the Provincial Men's Curling Championship.  The Safeway Championship will be held from January 29 - February 2 at the MTS IcePlex in Winnipeg.  More on the Brandon Men's Bonspiel is available by clicking here. - Jeff Stoughton edged Kevin Martin in a sudden-death finish to win the Travelers All-Star Curling Skins final Sunday, along with $70,500 in prize money.  Stoughton beat Brad Gushue in Saturday's semifinal while Martin downed Canada's 2014 Olympic representative Brad Jacobs to advance. - The Denver Broncos are listed as the early six-and-a-half-point favourites over New England in next Sunday's AFC championship game in Denver.  Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady is 10-and-4 lifetime in head-to-head matches against Broncos' QB Peyton Manning.  Denver is coming off a 24-17 win over San Diego Sunday. The home team is only a three-point favourite in the NFC title game. The Seattle Seahawks will host San Francisco, which is coming off a 23-10 win at Carolina Sunday. - Two Canadians are through to the second round of the Australian Open after winning their matches early Monday.  First up was 30th seeded Eugenie Bouchard of Montreal.  She struggled at times, but prevailed with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Chen Tang Hao of China.  Later, 28th ranked Vancouver native Vasek Pospisil scored an easy 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 decision over unseeded Sam Groth of Australia.

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