San Jose, CA - The Phoenix Coyotes finished out round robin play of the 2005 Rookie Tournament on Saturday with a 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. The Coyotes took the fight to the Ducks, but they were plagued by untimely penalties and missed opportunities all game long.
For the third game straight, the Coyotes got on the boards first, when Aaron Gagnon scored a power play goal at the 4:08 of the first period. Mike Kompon was working the puck out of the right corner and made a move on Mighty Ducks goalie Michael Wall. As Wall committed to his left, Kompon found Gagnon on the backside, parked at crease. Gagnon wasted no time slamming the puck home for the 1-0 lead.
Anaheim would catch a lucky break and tie the game with a short-handed goal at 1-1 at 10:29 in the first. Phoenix was working the 5-on-3 advantage when Keith Ballard took a shot from the high slot. A Ducks defender moved up and blocked Ballard's shot. The puck bounced all the way through the neutral zone. Ducks forward Simon Ferguson, broke out of the penalty box and picked up the puck just inside the Ducks zone. He moved in on Coyotes goalie, Pier-Olivier Pelletier and beat him five-hole for the marker.
"Ballard's shot ends up going off a pair of pads and the player comes flying out of the box, goes into the breakaway," Head Coach Pat Conacher recounted about Ferguson's goal. "Stuff like that happens. You take it with you and move on."
Both teams opened the second frame trading power plays, but Anaheim would take the 2-1 lead on an even strength goal from Curtis Glencross at 7:36 in the second. The Ducks were in the middle of a line change, but Anaheim forward invitee Ryan Shannon was able to control the puck in the Coyotes end. From the near side half boards, Shannon found Glencross jumping into the play from the bench. Glencross would go on to beat Pelletier with a solid snap shot.
"We started off good with the goal, but we got into penalty trouble after that," Coyotes center Aaron Gagnon explained. "The penalties hurt us bad and the they capitalized on that."
A little more then a minute later and on the power play, the Ducks would increase their lead to 3-1 at 8:48. As the Ducks enter the zone on the attack, they took a shot that Pelletier initially blocked. The rebound dropped to his left in the crease. Ballard jumped back to try and clear the puck, but Anaheim forward Bobby Bolt got his stick under Ballard's and edged the puck into the net.
"Anaheim has a lot of skilled guys on their roster, who will put the puck in the net," added forward Randall Gelech. "They did just that and they made us pay for our mistakes."
Anaheim opened the scoring in third, while on a 5-on-3. The Ducks power play unit continued to flutter Pelletier with shot after shot, as the Coyotes were unable to clear the zone. Brett Festerling would finally knock home the lose puck to give the Ducks a 4-1 lead with almost the entire period left to play.
Phoenix forward Randall Gelech would cut the Ducks lead in half with a power play goal at 8:25 of the last frame. The Coyotes were cycling the puck around the zone, when Keith Yandle found Gelech in the left corner. Gelech would come in tight on Wall moving right to left. Wall tried to pick up Gelech's shot but it was too late. The power play goal made it 4-2.
"We weren't going to give up in the third no matter what," Gelech explained. "Even after they scored to make it four one, we got one back on the power play to make it 4-2"
At 16:50 of the third period, the Ducks again took a three goal lead when Ryan Shannon added his first goal and third point of the game, to make it 5-2. Shannon took a pass from Glencross in neutral zone and took off into the Coyotes end. Using his speed to his advantage, he got by the Coyotes defender and beat Pelletier for the goal.
"We stuck with them and I thought we played really well," summarized Conacher. "We were forcing them to play with us and we out-shot them. At the end of the day though, they got the power play goals and the shorthanded one and you can't give that up."
Scoring: 4:08 - PHX - Gagnon, PP (Kompon, Schwabe), 10:29 - ANA - Ferguson, SH (unassisted)
Penalties: 2:39 - ANA - Saunders (2 min., tripping), 5:48 - PHX - Gagnon (2 min., elbowing), 6:44 - ANA - Perry (2 min., roughing), 6:44 - PHX - Ashton (2min., roughing), 7:54 - PHX - Jones (2 min., hooking), 8:22 - ANA - Ferguson (2 min., interference), 9:25 - ANA - D'Averson (2min., hooking), 12:08 - ANA - Saunders (5 min., fighting), 12:08 - PHX - Cormier (5min., fighting), 12:45 - PHX - Ashton (2 min., cross checking), 12:50 - ANA - May (2 min., hooking), 14:51 - PHX - Latendresse (2 min., holding), 17:37 - ANA - Smith (5 min., fighting), 17:37 - PHX - Hecimovic (5min., fighting), 18:58 - PHX - Bench (2 min., too many men), 19:05 - PHX - Koreis (2 min., hooking)
Scoring: 7:36 - ANA - Glencross (Shannon, Knight), 8:48 - ANA - Bolt (D'Averson, Shannon)
Penalties: 1:13 - ANA - Edwardson (2min., slashing), 4:46 - PHX - Gagnon (2min., hooking), 8:23 - PHX - Gelech (2min., slashing), 11:17 - PHX - Kurceba (2min., roughing), 11:17 - ANA - Mikkelson (2min., roughing), 15:56 - ANA - Festerling (2min., hooking), 18:07 - PHX - Koreis (2min., hooking), 19:35 - PHX - Ashton (2min., cross checking)
Scoring: 00:55 - ANA - Festerling, PP (Penner, Hynes), 8:25 - PHX - Gelech, PP (Yandle, Latendresse), 16:50 - ANA - Shannon (Glencross)
Penalties: 3:59 - ANA - Ferguson (2min., elbowing), 6:51 - ANA - Bolt (2min., roughing), 6:51 - ANA - Perry (2min, slashing; 2min, roughing), 6:51 - PHX - Kurceba (2min., slashing; 2min., roughing), 9:53 - ANA - Saunders (2 min., holding)
PHX - Pelletier: 22 for 27; ANA - Wall: 35 for 37
In earlier action
The Los Angeles Kings fought off a late rally by the San Jose to win, 5-4. Led by 2002, ninth round draft pick Connor James (2 goals, 1 short-handed) and invitee Brendan Bernakevich (2 goals, 1 assist), the win puts the Kings in the Championship game against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. This will be the second year in a row that both the Ducks and Kings square off in the finals.
Up next for the Coyotes
The team will face the San Jose Sharks in the Consolation game tomorrow, Sunday, September 11th. The game is scheduled to start at 1:00pm, PST.