|Jomphe had three goals in helping the Ducks Alumni to victory.
By Matt Vevoda
A unique exhibition pitting the Anaheim Ducks Alumni against Russian Hockey Legends hit the mark with fans as a soldout crowd of more than 900 turned out at The Rinks – Anaheim Ice.
The standing room only attendance was treated to an 8-5 victory for the Ducks Alumni, who were powered by a hat trick from JF Jomphe and some solid goaltending from Steve Shields. Those were just two of many recognizable faces who had previously suited up in the NHL for Anaheim.
“It was really good,” Jomphe said of the game that benefited the Anaheim Ducks foundation. “Look how many people showed up, I think it was 1,000 people. I think it was a very successful event. I’m very pleased with everything that happened. It’s very positive, especially to see head coach Bruce Boudreau and David McNab here.”
Just as if he were coaching in a normal NHL contest, Boudreau was clad in a suit behind the Ducks Alumni bench. He watched the team get out to a fast start in the first of three 15-minute periods. Defenseman Chris O’Sullivan opened the scoring when he ripped a slap shot past Russian netminder (and also former Duck) Mikhail Shtalenkov 4:55 into regulation.
Jomphe would soon follow with his first of three goals on the night, as he managed to knock in a puck fluttered toward the net by his former teammate Sean Pronger. A member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, Richard Costello made it 3-0 after a nice deke move by Shtalenkov.
The Russians, who had a small, but boisterous section of their fans in attendance, had trouble getting anything past Ducks Alumni goalie Steve Shields in the early going. They finally managed to get one by the former Anaheim netminder when Igor Mishukov converted on a breakaway with 6:38 left in the first period.
After Craig Johnson scored on a nice feed from Jomphe, the Russians countered with a penalty shot tally from Nikolay Kopytin to end the first stanza, the highest scoring 15 minute frame of the night, trailing the Ducks Alumni 4-2. (Penalty shots were awarded in lieu of power plays.)
“Just to get out there and move the puck around and skate, it was a lot of fun tonight,” said Todd Marchant, who received the loudest ovation of any Duck during introductions. “I really enjoy doing these events with the guys. Some of the guys I played with, a lot of guys I played against. It was great that we had a Russian team who wanted to come and play.”
While the scoring began to slow down in the second period, Jomphe was just getting started. He potted his second goal of the night on a nice give-and-go with Johnson with 7:05 left in the middle frame. Jeff Friesen, who along with Shields was once acquired in trade that sent Teemu Selanne to San Jose in 2001, buried a penalty shot attempt just over a minute later, while the Russians would get one back on a Roman Ilyin tip-in goal.
|“Just to get out there and move the puck around and skate, it was a lot of fun tonight,” said Todd Marchant, who received the loudest ovation of any Duck during introductions. “I really enjoy doing these events with the guys. Some of the guys I played with, a lot of guys I played against. It was great that we had a Russian team who wanted to come and play.” |
Both teams traded goals against to start the third period before Jomphe finished off Anaheim’s scoring with his hat trick goal with three minutes left in regulation. A late penalty shot goal from Russian (and the first-ever Ducks All-Star) Alexey Kasatonov would be all the visitors could manage the rest of the way in an 8-5 win for the Ducks Alumni.
More important than the result on the scoreboard was the fun time had by all on the night, from the players to the fans. The future should hopefully remain bright for more Ducks Alumni events in the future. “I think this year should be four or five events,” Jomphe said. “After that, we’ll build from there. At some point, Teemu Selanne is going to retire and we’ll have him on board. We have a good group guys, about 20-25, that we can use for the alumni.”
Said Marchant, “Our Duck fans are fantastic. They are some of the best in the league. They are always going to hold a special place in my heart. That was one of the big reasons why we decided to stick around. Hopefully, this can continue to grow. (Ducks Senior Manager of Hockey Operations) Maureen Nyeholt is fantastic at it. She does a lot of work for it. She deserves a lot of this credit.”
NOTES: Anaheim’s prospects appearing in the ongoing conditioning camp at The Rinks – Anaheim Ice watched the game from behind the glass near the locker room. They also met fans who bought VIP tickets during the second intermission and signed autographs outside the rink after the game. Another part of the festivities included a clinic for youth players before the game, held by members of both teams.