In Sports from United Press International

May 30, 2002 at 12:39 AM
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Red Wings force Game 7

DENVER, May 30 (UPI) -- Brendan Shanahan capitalized on a mistake by Patrick Roy for his first goal of the series and Dominik Hasek stopped 24 shots Wednesday night as the Detroit Red Wings forced a decisive seventh game in the Western Conference finals with a 2-0 blanking of the Colorado Avalanche.

With time running down in the first period, Detroit captain Steve Yzerman snagged defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom's shot out of the air at the left side of the net and skated in front. Roy was able to smother Yzerman's shot in the crease, but thinking the puck was in his glove -- and attempting to showboat -- the three-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner accidentally knocked it toward the goal line.

Shanahan tapped it in just before it crossed the line for his fifth postseason goal and first since Game 5 of the conference semifinals against St. Louis. The goal also marked the first time Detroit had scored first in the series.

Hasek made 11 saves in the second period, including several during a Colorado power play, en route to a fourth postseason shutout that tied the NHL record. The six-time Vezina Trophy winner became the 14th goaltender to accomplish the feat and the second this season.

Patrick Lalime of Ottawa blanked Philadelphia three times in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals before shutting out Toronto in Game 1 of the second round.

Hasek shut out Vancouver in Game 5 of the conference quarterfinals and blanked St. Louis twice in the semifinals.

Darren McCarty scored the other goal for the Red Wings, who host Game 7 Friday night.

Nets fight off another Celtics comeback

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 30 (UPI) -- The New Jersey Nets nearly squandered a double-digit lead for the third consecutive game Wednesday night, but bounced back with a dominant fourth quarter led by Keith Van Horn and rolled to a 103-92 victory over the Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

New Jersey, which took a 3-2 series lead, fell victim to the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history in Game 3 and blew a 14-point lead before narrowly holding on to win in Game 4.

The Nets returned to their home court Wednesday night and again wasted a cushion in the second half only to respond in overwhelming fashion.

Boston rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit and pulled within 74-73 with 10:50 remaining in the game. But New Jersey scored 20 of the next 21 points.

Jason Kidd scored six points early in the run and Keith Van Horn capped it with consecutive three-pointers, which sent the capacity crowd at Continental Airlines Arena into a frenzy.

Kidd has 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists and Van Horn and Kenyon Martin scored 19 points apiece as New Jersey moved within one victory of the first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.

Paul Pierce had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Antoine Walker added 13 and 13 for Boston. But Boston's high-scoring duo made only 10 of 33 shots and was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.

The Celtics host Game 6 at the FleetCenter on Friday night.

Capriati begins French Open with win

PARIS, May 30 (UPI) -- Jennifer Capriati began defense of her French Open crown with a straight-sets victory Wednesday as tournament officials tried to catch up following Tuesday's rain-interrupted session.

The first match as defending champion is a special one at a Grand Slam event, but persistent rain through the first two days of the tournament delayed completion of Capriati's debut.

After the top-seeded American's match against countrywoman Marissa Irwin was suspended with Capriati leading in the opening set, 4-2, the battle resumed Wednesday under sunny skies and Capriati completed a sloppy, 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Rain and finally darkness left several first-round matches unfinished Tuesday, creating a hectic third day around Roland Garros.

In a second-round encounter, second seed Venus Williams crushed Wynne Prakusya of Indonesia, 6-0, 6-1, in 39 minutes.

Williams was a surprising loser at the French Open last year after reaching the quarterfinals in 1998 and 2000. She currently leads the WTA Tour with four singles titles.

Williams' younger sister, third-seeded Serena, continued her hot streak by routing Martina Sucha of Slovakia, 6-3, 6-0, to reach the second round.

In first-round action, seventh seed Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia topped Emmanuelle Gagliardi of Swtizerland, 6-4, 6-2; ninth seed Silvia Farina Elia of Spain rallied past Russian teenager Elena Bovina, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4; and Spanish qualifier Conchita Martinez Granados ousted No. 12 Meghann Shaughnessy of the United States, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3.

On the men's side, second seed Marat Safin of Russia, who is battling a back ailment, got past Michael Llodra of France, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, in a first-round battle.

Fourth seed Andre Agassi returned to the site of one of his greatest achievements, cruising past French qualifier Eric Prodon, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1. Agassi won the title here in 1999 to become only the fifth male to complete the career Grand Slam.

But No. 13 Andy Roddick fell, 4-6, 7-6 (16-14), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, to Australian Wayne Arthurs in a battle of hard servers.

Burkett stays unbeaten for Red Sox

TORONTO, May 30 (UPI) -- Brian Daubach's tie-breaking, three-run homer off reliever Felix Heredia in the seventh inning Wednesday night powered the Boston Red Sox to a 7-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Lou Merloni also homered for Boston, which won its third straight game and fifth in a row at SkyDome despite getting just five hits.

After Merloni led off the seventh with a homer off reliever Scott Cassidy (0-1), Rickey Henderson was hit by a pitch and Johnny Damon walked. One out later, Heredia was brought in to face Daubach, who launched a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall for his eighth homer.

John Burkett (6-0) remained one of two undefeated Red Sox starters -- Pedro Martinez, undefeated in seven starts, is the other -- despite allowing four runs and seven hits over 6 2/3 innings.

Other American League results: Baltimore 10, Oakland 5; Detroit 9, Cleveland 5; Seattle 5, Tampa Bay 2; New York 6, Chicago 3; Anaheim 12, Kansas City 2; Texas 9, Minnesota 8.

Piazza delivers winning homer

NEW YORK, May 30 (UPI) -- Mike Piazza's solo home run with one out in the seventh inning snapped a tie Wednesday night and lifted the New York Mets to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Piazza crushed a 2-2 pitch from Phillies reliever Jose Santiago over the center field wall for his 10th homer of the season but first in 11 games. The homer capped a four-run rally for New York, which improved to 13-8 in one-run games.

Piazza also drove in a run in the fifth on a groundout to first. The Mets scored three times in the inning, erasing a 3-0 deficit.

Santiago (1-3) relieved starter Randy Wolf, who allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings.

Scott Strickland (5-2) entered the game with runners on first and second and one out in the seventh and threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings for his third win in the last seven contests.

Other National League results: Los Angeles 4, Milwaukee 3; Montreal 4, Atlanta 3; Cincinnati 8, Florida 2; Pittsburgh 5, Chicago 0; Houston 10, St. Louis 5.

World soccer president re-elected

SEOUL, South Korea, May 30 (UPI) -- Sepp Blatter, president of soccer's world governing organization (FIFA), won re-election to a new four-year term Wednesday after a contentious campaign that included allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

Blatter, in a secret ballot, registered a 139-56 victory over Issa Hayatou, president of the sport's African governing body and a vice-president of FIFA. Blatter easily received the needed two-thirds majority.

The election came two days prior to the start of soccer's biggest show, the month-long World Cup.

France will meet Senegal in the opening match of the competition Friday night in Seoul. The 32 nations involved in the event will play round-robin matches within eight groups for two weeks with the top two from each group then advancing to the knockout rounds.

The championship match will be in Yokohama on June 30, climaxing the first World Cup ever hosted by two countries. Matches will be played in 16 cities throughout Japan and South Korea.

Blatter's re-election came at the end of a two-day meeting laced with rhetoric and ill will. During Blatter's speech Tuesday, in which he again denied any wrongdoing involving FIFA's finances, boos rang out in the meeting room.

"The people of football do not lie," Blatter said when the vote was announced. "I register your deep trust, your deep trust in FIFA and me. I have to install peace in this family here and I will do it."

Blatter's opponents have said they will take legal action against him in Switzerland.

NCAA track championships open

BATON ROUGE, La., May 30 (UPI) -- Tennessee sprinters, led by Justin Gatlin, helped the Volunteers take a big first step in the direction of the national title Wednesday night and Andras Haklits of Georgia won the hammer throw for the third time to highlight the opening evening of action at the NCAA Track and Field Championships.

Only two men's and three women's finals were conducted on the campus of LSU and the biggest moments came in preliminary events.

Gatlin and teammate Leonard Scott turned in the top two times in advancing to the finals of the 200-meter dash and the Tennessee sprint relay team survived a bad pass to also make it to Saturday's finals.

Tennessee's cause was further helped when both Mississippi State and Texas Christian, expected to challenge the Volunteers in the sprint relay, dropped the baton and were disqualified.

The defending champion Volunteers are among the pre-meet favorites and the success of their sprinters Wednesday night was critical for those title hopes.

Haklits, meanwhile, opened the four-day meet by capturing the hammer throw with a heave of 253-8. The Croatian, who has claimed NCAA titles for both Louisiana-Monroe and Georgia, won the event on his last throw to edge SMU's Libor Charfreitag.

The only other men's final Wednesday night was won by LSU's Walter Davis in the long jump with a leap of 26-6 1/4.

Georgia emerged from the opening night with the lead in the team race with 15 points while LSU had 11.

In women's action, UCLA took the early lead with 15 points thanks chiefly to a victory by Tracy O'Hara in the pole vault. Jamine Moton of Clemson won the women's hammer throw and Kristin Price of North Carolina State captured the 10,000-meter run by seven seconds over Tara Quinn of South Florida.

Michael Peca undergoes knee surgery

UNIONDALE, N.Y., May 30 (UPI) -- New York Islanders captain Michael Peca underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and is expected to be sidelined for the next six months.

Peca suffered a torn ACL and torn medial collateral ligaments in Game 5 of the Islanders' Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against Toronto when Maple Leafs' right wing Darcy Tucker low-bridged him in the second period. No penalty was called on the play and Peca missed the remainder of the game and the final two contests of the seven-game series.

The Islanders are hoping that Peca will be able to return by mid-December or in January of the 2002-03 season.

Faldo given Open exemption

FAR HILLS, N.J., May 29 (UPI) -- Nick Faldo will be able to extend his streak of consecutive majors after being granted a special exemption to play in next month's U.S. Open.

Faldo has played in 59 consecutive majors, winning six times. He has played in 15 U.S. Opens, finishing in the top 10 four times with his best finish being second in 1989, when he lost a playoff to Curtis Strange.

A three-time British Open and Masters champion, Faldo is the second player to receive a special exemption for the 2002 U.S. Open, which will be played at the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y. from June 13-16.

Three-time U.S. Open champion and Senior Tour member Hale Irwin also received an exemption.

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