Taylor Hall's hat trick leads Oilers over Avs 8-2
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Taylor Hall had a hat trick and an assist to help the Edmonton Oilers rebound from a lopsided defeat with an 8-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
Ales Hemsky, David Perron, Mark Arcobello, Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner also scored for the Oilers, who replaced a quarter of their lineup after a 6-2 loss to Phoenix on Tuesday.
The Oilers improved to just 4-9-0 at home, but they've won six of nine overall.
Nick Holden and P.A. Parenteau scored for the Avalanche, who had won two in a row and five of six.
DEL RIO'S NEXT CHALLENGE
Del Rio turns attention to fixing Denver's defense
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Jack Del Rio's plate remains full even with John Fox back on the job.
Del Rio won three of four games as the team's interim head coach during Fox's November sabbatical for heart surgery.
Denver's defensive coordinator handed the keys back to Fox this week after guiding the Broncos (10-2) into the driver's seat in the AFC playoff race.
The Broncos may be in the midst of a season for the ages behind Peyton Manning's 41 touchdown throws and their 38.6-point scoring average, but they're a disturbing minus-4 in turnover differential and Denver's defense ranks 27th in the league.
Titans DT Jurrell Casey having breakout season
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Jurrell Casey wants to record 19 sacks this year, one more than Titans assistant coach Keith Millard ever got in setting the NFL's single-season mark for defensive tackles.
Casey may not get there this year with four games left but insists he will someday.
With Elias Sports Bureau changing a sack in last week's game, Casey now has nine sacks tying him for the league-lead among defensive tackles with Jason Hatcher of Dallas. It's the most by a tackle for this franchise since Ray Childress had 13 in 1992 for the Oilers, and Albert Haynesworth had only 8 ½ in his best season.
Titans coach Mike Munchak said Thursday the third-year tackle just wants to be the best.
Casey's next challenge comes Sunday in Denver against Peyton Manning.
S DAKOTA-AIR FORCE
Air Force defeats South Dakota 94-86
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Max Yon scored a game-high 24 points, and his 3-pointer sparked a 13-8 final run to lead Air Force to a 94-86 victory Thursday night over South Dakota.
With the game tied at 78, Yon's 3-pointer capped his scoring and gave Air Force (4-4) an 81-78 lead with 3:03 remaining. Hayden Graham and Marek Olesinski followed with back-to-back 3-pointers to stretch the Falcon lead to 87-80 with 1:32 to play. Tre' Coggins made six straight free throws, and Nick Jorgensen hit 1 of 2 from the line to cap the scoring for Air Force.
Yon had a game-high five assists. Olesinski scored 19 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
The game was tied six times in the second half.
South Dakota (4-4) was led by Casey Kasperbauer, who made a game-high six 3-pointers to go with his 20 points.
Guay turns in fastest time in downhill training
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (AP) - Erik Guay of Canada turned in the fastest time in downhill training on Thursday in frigid conditions.
Guay found the quickest line through the modified Beaver Creek course, finishing in 1 minute, 43.48 seconds. Florian Scheiber of Austria was second and Peter Fill of Italy third on a clear but cold afternoon.
Travis Ganong had the top time for the U.S., 0.55 seconds behind Guay. Bode Miller was 66th as he returns from a knee injury that kept him out all of last season.
The downhill race is Friday.
This was the first chance the skiers had to try out the revamped course after the training session was canceled Wednesday when a snowstorm hit the area. Training also was postponed Tuesday because of travel issues for some teams.
Ganong looks for breakout year with Sochi looming
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (AP) - Travis Ganong has been this can't-miss talent for years, the U.S. downhill skier always on the precipice of big things.
That distinction arrived with good reason - he attacks a course a lot like former skiing great Daron Rahlves, the four-time Olympian that Ganong grew up idolizing.
Maybe a bit uncomfortable with that label in the past, Ganong embraces his "skier most likely to break out" title now.
And this would certainly be a good time for a breakout, with the Sochi Games two months away.
Ganong had a solid day in downhill training on Thursday, finishing seventh on a clear but cold afternoon.
Ledecky wins 500 freestyle at Winter Nationals
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Katie Ledecky beat Missy Franklin in a 500-yard freestyle matchup between Olympic gold medalists Thursday to highlight the first day of the Winter National Championships.
Ledecky, a 16-year-old from Bethesda, Md., won in 4 minutes, 32.37 seconds. Franklin, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, was second at 4:34.63.
Franklin also swam with her University of California teammates on the winning 400 medley relay team (3:29.91) and the second-place 200 freestyle relay team (1:28.44). Franklin, Elizabeth Pelton, Rachel Bootsma and Marina Garcia set a meet record in the 400 medley relay.
Pelton also won the women's 200 individual medley in 1:54.15.
Other individual winners included Nathan Adrian in the men's 50 freestyle (18.89), Natalie Coughlin in the women's 50 freestyle (21.51), Darian Townsend in the men's 200 individual medley (1:41.88) and Connor Jaeger in the men's 500 freestyle (4:14.05).
NATIONAL FINALS RODEO
Knowles takes lead in steer wrestling standings
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Trevor Knowles had a near-record run of 3.1 seconds Thursday night to take the lead in the steer wrestling season standings after the first round of the National Finals Rodeo.
Knowles, from Mount Vernon, Ore., was a tenth of a second off the Thomas & Mack Center record of 3.0 set by Steve Duhon in 1986 and matched by Bryan Fields in 2001. Knowles had the fastest first-round time in NFR history, breaking the mark of 3.3 set by Gary Green and Roy Duvall in 1985.
Knowles pushed his season money total to $120,158. Casey Martin of Sulphur, La., finished fourth in 4.2 to drop into second place at $116,750.
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