The early 2012 summer was one of unease for Minnesota Wild fans. The team was fresh off a disappointing 2011-2012 campaign and the NHL lockout loomed. The signing of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise ignited the fan base. After the lockout ended in January, expectations were high for the 2012-13 season. The Wild made the playoffs, but a disappointing regular season finish, including home losses to Calgary and Edmonton, put Minnesota in the eighth spot with the daunting task of facing the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the NHL playoffs.
BARROWS — It has been a series of near-misses for Tim Johnson reaching the winners’ circle at North Central Speedway in the early part of the 2013 season. Car issues and weather conditions have made it difficult for consistency, but Saturday’s weather and track conditions were ideal, and the racing was the same, as Johnson took the win in the 20 lap A-Modified feature event while finishing second to Shane Sabraski in the Super Stock feature.
BARROWS — Shane Sabraski has visited the winners’ podium many times at North Central Speedway, and he has also swept all three of his feature events before. But Saturday night was a little different as Sabraski won the Midwest Modified and A-Modified race when the leader broke down. “I thought I had Dennis (Czech) in the Midwest Modified race, but then the caution came out,” Sabraski said. “Then the next time I tried it again and he ended up losing a spring so I was able to get by him for the win.”
NISSWA — Paxton Beadle had a big offensive night but his ninth-inning at bat was the loudest hit of all as Nisswa defeated Bemidji on Friday in the season opener 5-4. Beadle recorded two hits and three RBI and scored a run, but his bunt in the bottom of the ninth drove in Nathan DeChaine and made a winner out of pitcher T.J. Graumann. “I knew I had to get it down there,” Beadle said. “I saw Nathan coming as soon as I squared to bunt so I knew that I had to get it down,”
BARROWS — The 2012 season ended abruptly for Dave Read as he suffered a back injury after an accident in his Street Stock car at North Central Speedway (NCS) last August. He was able to get back in the car for late-season races along with the Wissota 100 to close out the season. Saturday night, May 25, was his first race back at NCS as the season finally got under way with the first night of the WWE hosted by Brandl Motors. Winning drivers received belts and the racing was scheduled to continue with all classes competing again Sunday, May 26.
A national champion and a rookie are just two of the drivers defending 2012 titles as North Central Speedway gets ready to kick off the 2013 dirt track racing season. Originally scheduled to start April 27, the season opener was pushed back to May 11 due to a snowy, cold spring. Veteran driver Tim Johnson won the points championship in the Modified and Super Stock classes in 2012, and was also the Wissota national champion in his Super Stock car.
For the first time since 2008-09, the Central Lakes College Raiders are in postseason play and how far they go will depend largely on the play of freshman Lindsay Monson. The forward from Pierz finished the regular season with a 33-point performance in a home loss to Northland Feb. 25. She finished the Northern Division season as the leading scorer with an average of 16.7 points per game, and her field goal percentage of .542 also led the division.
The Central Lakes College Raiders are the hottest team in the Northern Division, riding a 10-game winning streak entering this weekend’s Minnesota College Athletic Conference/Region 13 tournament at Anoka-Ramsey. However, they are relishing the role of underdog as they are the No. 2 seed in the division behind No. 1 Vermilion. The Raiders also face the prospect of going up against the Southern Division’s No. 1-seeded Rochester in the semifinal round.
The ups and downs of Jalynn Lamb’s sophomore season mirror those of the Central Lakes College Raiders. Lamb struggled to find her shot on a consistent basis in the early part of the season while the Raiders struggled offensively as a team. In the second half of the season, Lamb’s shot has started to fall on a regular basis, and the Raiders have won 12 of their last 14 games. They stayed red-hot on Saturday with an 81-67 victory over Hibbing, raising the Raiders’ division record to 8-2, keeping them in a second -place tie with Rainy River.
Bryan Gichaba and the Central Lakes College Raiders proved that hard work pays off with an 81-67 win over Hibbing on Saturday. The Raiders pushed the tempo against a Cardinals team that likes to slow down the game, and gained revenge for a 54-53 loss to the Cardinals in January. It was CLC’s seventh straight Northern Division win and moved the Raiders to 8-2, good for second place behind Vermilion.