Panthers pull out needed victory over Varsity Reds in AUS men's hoops
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The UPEI Panthers have a spark. Now can they keep it going?
The Prophet picks New England to break 5-5 tie
Fred (Fiddler) MacDonald canvassed some locals, including, from left, Hubert (Sock) MacDonald, Gary Kennedy and Mike Lyriotokis, on who they were picking for the Super Bowl
CHAROTTETOWN, P.E.I. – My annual Super Bowl poll, featuring ex-football greats, celebrities, a Hockey Hall of Famer and, of course, The Sports Prophet, offers views on Sunday’s 51st edition of the Super Bowl, which will be played in Houston, Tex.
It should be a thriller and Las Vegas oddsmakers agree with the spread just three points. It has stayed that way since opening odds two weeks ago.
The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons are coming off impressive wins and it likely will be a high-scoring game, maybe the highest scoring Super Bowl ever because of the talented quarterbacks and their weapons.
Here’s what my pollsters think:
Shane Dowling, the former UPEI football great, likes Atlanta by a touchdown. “The Falcons have a great QB in Matt Ryan and Atlanta is young and ready to put away the Patriots.”
Ian (Tex) MacDonald, the recent P.E.I. Hall of Fame inductee, hasn’t picked the winner the last two outings, but I’ll give him one last try. “Atlanta is the now team, the Patriots are in the past. Youth wins this one, I’ll take the Falcons by a touchdown.”
NHL Hall of Famer Serge Savard Sr. thinks Atlanta will get the job done. “Matt Ryan reminds me of a young Tom Brady, the way he handles himself. This is a young, up-and-coming Atlanta club that will surprise New England. Atlanta by seven points,” says the man Canadians alumni call “The Senator.”
UPEI Panthers great linebacker Mike Lyriotokis, who played in the first Can-AM Bowl featuring USA and Canadian players, thinks Atlanta’s speed and offence is too much for New England’s overrated defence. “A tight game with Atlanta winning by a field goal,” says Tokis.
“Atlanta’s fast defence will force Tom Brady out of the pocket where he’s not nearly as accurate on the run. Atlanta by a touchdown in an upset,” says ex-UPEI headhunter and “the pain dispenser” Gary Kennedy.
On the other side:
Hubert (Sock) MacDonald, who starred with those very good Ed Hilton-coached Panthers team of the late 1970s and signed with the Montreal Alouettes in 1979, sees the game going this way, “Brady will nullify the great Atlanta pass-rush by going with misdirection plays all day. The Patriots by at least two touchdowns.”
Multi-sports standout Neil MacFadyen calls the Super Bowl a New England victory by at least 15 points. “The Patriots have the best defence in the NFL, and that’s the difference. Defence wins championships,” says the Augustine Cove resident.
Former St. Dunstans standout at QB and on defence Fred Ripley of Summerside can’t wait to see the look on Commissioner Roger Goodell’s face when he has to present the Super Bowl trophy to Brady and head coach Bill Belichick. “Give Belichick two weeks to prepare and he’ll nullify Atlanta’s super receiver Julio Jones. Pats by 10 points.”
Souris native and star linebacker Roger Outhouse thinks Atlanta does not have enough experience to handle the veteran New England club. “Pats by a touchdown.”
Former UPEI quarterback Jim Revelle was one of three who called last year’s Super Bowl correct. “Defence wins championships and I expect the Patriots will be able to shut Atlanta down early. . . Pats prevail 34-24,” says the Insurance Company of P.E.I. top executive.
The Sports Prophet has, by far, the highest winning percentage of any sports handicapper (Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, World Series etc.) on the continent so listen up. Belichick and Brady have two full weeks to prepare for the Falcons. The Pats will smother Atlanta and win by at least a touchdown. The poll of 10 is split right down the middle, so The Prophet makes the deciding vote.
The Spud minor hockey tournament drew top teams from across the Maritimes last weekend and there were thrilling finishes. Western Regals goaltender Colin Gaudette and Charlottetown Abbies Ava Boutilier were outstanding as the Alberton-based club won 4-3 in overtime for the midget crown. In the peewee ranks, Truro dumped Charlottetown in another tight game. One of the standouts for the city club was defenceman Nathan Mossey. If he continues to progress, maybe he’ll be with the Islanders one day. Great to see Island youngsters stepping up their game.
Local harness racing is dark during the next two months but there’s plenty of simulcast action available in Charlottetown. At Woodbine tonight, Drivingthedragon N, who is owned by Don MacRae, is coming off a 1:54-and-change win and steps up to the $18,000 class where he can win. Proven Desire has the 10 hole and is coming off a pair of deuces.
At Yonkers tonight, Somewhere in LA has the outside post in the $45,000 open handicap. Earlier in the week, Howmacsblackjack was sixth by three in the $25,000 class while Elm Grove Inarush was first in 1:54.4 in the $10,500 class.
At the Meadowlands, Doctor Butch is short odds in the $16,000 Big M top class.
Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at email@example.com.