Around The Bases – Your trip around the world in sports for April 24, 2019

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The daily sports news cycle is crazier than ever. Don't have the stamina to keep up to speed? Around The Bases is your daily morning destination to stay in the know on the biggest stories in both local and professional sports. We’ll start at first base with an intriguing story or event, and bring you home with a must-read story in the North Peace sports scene.

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First Base - NPSS girls rugby team off and running

After years without a girls rugby team, or enough interest to field a full 15-person team, NPSS has a very committed and promising girls rugby team this season. Every player is new to the sport, and has had just more than a month to learn and practice the sport with coach Mark Rogers. The team had a great first showing at a sevens tournament in Williams Lake, and opens the high school season tonight. 

Second Base - Leafs fall short again in Game 7

New season, same story. The Toronto Maple Leafs lost 5-1 to the Boston Bruins last night and were eliminated from the playoffs, while the Bruins will play the Columbus Blue Jackets in the next round. The game was much closer than the score suggests, it was a 2-1 game for most of the second period, and the Leafs still had a chance down just 3-1 for the entire third, but two empty net goals, including one in the final second, make the game look more lopsided than it was. Still, for the second straight year, and third time in seven years, the Leafs lost a Game 7 to the Bruins. It's also the third straight season the Leafs have lost in the first round. However, this is the best the Leafs have looked in all three series against the Bruins, and really only had one bad game out of the seven. Still, it's not enough to offset the frustration many fans have. Yes, it was clear the Leafs were going to have a tough time beating Boston before the series started, but fans expect more from their team and we all have to sit through a couple of days of finger pointing as people debate Mike Babcock and Mitch Marner's playoff performance. 

Third Base - Lillard heroically puts Blazers into the second round

Between the two great hockey games last night, there were some NBA playoff games. Two of them sucked — both the 76ers and Raptors blew out their opponents to advance to the next round, but the game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder was unreal. Damian Lillard had 34 points at the half for the Blazers, but his team trailed by 15 in the fourth quarter. Portland clawed back, and with the game tied in the dying seconds, Lillard elected to hold the ball at the top of the three point line, with no plans in place to try to get a good, open shot. Instead, he took a step-back three from 37 feet for seemingly no purpose than it would have been the coolest way to win and most painful way for the Thunder to lose, and that's exactly what happened. It probably wasn't the smartest decision, but it was one of the coolest things I've ever seen and now the Thunder are going home. 

Home Base - Sharks erase 3-0 deficit in stunning fashion to eliminate Vegas

The Vegas Golden Knights were up 3-0 on the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 last night with just over 10 minutes left to play. Then, Cody Eakins cross checked Joe Pavelski, and the Sharks captain fell awkwardly onto his head and had to leave the game. The Knights were given an unfair five-minute major penalty, instead of a two-minute minor, and the game completely changed from there. The Sharks scored not once or twice, but four times on the powerplay. Even crazier, the Golden Knights still managed to regroup and score to take the game into overtime, where Barclay Goodrow scored the game winner for the Sharks with two minutes left in overtime. It was one of the wildest third periods I've ever seen, made more so by it being in a Game 7. Vegas got a raw deal, but they still should have been able to prevent the Sharks from scoring four times in five minutes. Instead, they are going home while the Sharks came back from a 3-1 series deficit and will face the Colorado Avalanche. 

Around the Bases runs Monday through Friday. If you have a news tip or story to share, email Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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