The Mighty Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes rookie teams met for the first time in this rookie tournament on Saturday afternoon at Logitech Ice in San Jose, California.
The Mighty Ducks would leave the building with a 5-2 victory.
“It was another workman like effort,” said Kevin Dineen, Head Coach of the Ducks rookie team. “I think in every game so far, we have been a little slow out of the shoot in the first period. Tonight was no different. It took us a little bit to get going. But once we got the work boots on in the second period. We just kept on plugging away and plugging away.”
“There were some high skill plays,” added Dineen, whose team is 3-0 in this event. “There were some working goals. It’s been a real pleasure to work with these guys. They are a good bunch of kids and they come to play hard every night.”
It was the third game of the “Pacific Division Shootout” rookie tournament for the Mighty Ducks, who had posted two previous wins versus Los Angeles and San Jose.
Phoenix had defeated San Jose in their first round game, and then suffered an overtime loss to the Kings rookies on Thursday night.
Now the stage is set for Sunday, the final day of the four-game, five-day tournament. In the first game at 1:00pm, it’s San Jose against Phoenix. In the nightcap, the Mighty Ducks rookies take on the Kings squad at 4:30pm in the championship contest. Anaheim is the defending tournament champions heading into their second consecutive title game.
“It’s been a total team effort,” mentioned Dineen. “That’s the kind of feedback they are looking for. They know they are going into an NHL camp where there are a lot of bodies. They aren’t going to get the kind of opportunities like they can in rookie camp, as far as exposure. They are really trying to take advantage of that. There are a lot of eyes on them. And they are doing everything they can to get noticed and to make a statement.”
Early in the first period, the Mighty Ducks played a man short due to a penalty assessed to Nathan Saunders for tripping. Phoenix would convert on their initial power play chance of the game at 4:08 of the first period. Center Aaron Gagnon would get the goal to put the Coyotes ahead, 1-0.
With the Ducks playing a man short due to a minor called on defenseman Eric Lundberg, Anaheim would tie up the game at 1-1. Left Winger Simon Ferguson put a shot behind Phoenix goaltender Pier-Olivier Pelletier at 10:29 of the period.
At 12:08 of the opening frame, Nathan Saunders of the Mighty Ducks and Kevin Cormier of the Coyotes squared off in the initial fisticuffs of the contest.
One of the biggest checks of the opening period was turned in by the Ducks defenseman Jonathan D’Aversa on the Coyotes forward Jakub Koreis near center ice. Seconds later, off a face-off, Anaheim defenseman Jordan Smith took on Phoenix forward John Hecimovic in a bout that lasted about forty seconds with both players throwing plenty of punches.
The period ended with the Ducks applying great pressure on the power play with a two-man advantage. San Jose received a bench minor for having too many men on the ice and a hooking penalty to Jakub Koreis seven seconds apart late in the period. There were sixteen penalties called by referee Dean Sanborn in the first period of play.
The second period began with the Ducks still holding a two man advantage over the Coyotes. Phoenix would kill the remaining time on those two minors.
Anaheim goaltender Michael Wall made one of his best saves during a Phoenix power play with center Derek Edwardson in the box for slashing. He stopped Aaron Gagnon at the side of the goal with a right pad save when it appeared that the Phoenix forward had put them ahead.
The Ducks would take a 2-1 lead at the 7:36 mark on a pretty passing play from Ryan Shannon to Curtis Glencross, who was streaking down the left side and took the pass from the right wing side. Defenseman Michael Knight was credited with the second assist on the even strength goal.
Moments later, Phoenix was given a slashing penalty and the Ducks went on the power play. With Randall Gelech in the penalty box, left wing Bobby Bolt scores another special team goal from Jonathan D’Aversa and Ryan Shannon. It was 3-1 in favor of the Ducks.
Near the end of the second period, the Ducks are able to secure a two-man advantage. When the period ends, the scoreboard has Ducks-3 and Coyotes-1.
The third period starts with Anaheim having that two man advantage continue and a chance to put the game out of reach. Just after Phoenix kills off the first of those two minors, they were penalized again. With defenseman Matt Jones in the box for boarding, the Ducks take advantage with a power play tally by defenseman Brett Festerling on assists from Dustin Penner and Bobby Bolt. It occurred at 55 seconds of the final period. The Ducks led 4-1 at that point.
The Coyotes would get an opportunity to inch closer with a 5 on 4 situation just before the midway point of period three. At 8:25 of the frame, Phoenix would do just that. A power play goal by forward Randall Gelech cuts the lead to 4-2.
Seconds after the Phoenix tally that cut the Ducks lead in half, Anaheim is penalized again. Nathan Saunders received a holding penalty near the halfway mark. Once again, Coyotes go on the power play, but this time they failed to score.
Ryan Shannon, who scored 14 goals at Boston College last season roofed a shot past Pelletier at 16:50 of the third to secure a 5-2 lead and the win for the Mighty Ducks.
“With Ryan Getzlaf out of the lineup tonight, we had a lot of guys who had to step up,” added Curtis Glencross, Ducks left winger. “We had to play a little more physical and with finesse. Some of us grinders had to step up and play more of a game like Getz. And try to find a way to get the puck in the net.”
On playing the rookies from Los Angeles in the championship game on Sunday, Dineen says it’s a team they are looking forward to playing.
“We’ll have them ready to roll,” says Dineen.
Glencross says it should be rough and tough against the Kings.
“It’s a good rivalry,’ says Glencross. “We are going to come out flying and hopefully we can take it to them early. Hopefully our power play keeps producing like it is.”
In the first game on Saturday afternoon, Los Angeles defeated San Jose 5-4. Six of the nine goals that were scored in the game occurred on special teams. The Kings had two shorthanded goals while the Sharks tallied all four of their goals on the power play. There were a total of 25 penalties assessed in the Kings-Sharks contest. San Jose out shot Los Angeles by a margin of 47-28, but still lost their third consecutive contest in the tournament.
MIGHTY DUCKS NOTES and QUOTES
Before Saturday’s battle with Phoenix, Anaheim Head Coach Kevin Dineen said the Coyotes provided a formidable opponent.
“I think they are pleasantly surprised with the way their team has played so far. They have some real high-skilled defensemen that move the puck very well. So, we are going to have to be very conscious. I feel like this will be the first game where we are really going to acknowledge the lack of a red line. Before this particular game, we said, let’s just feel it out and see how it’s played out. But this one against Phoenix with their mobility on the back end, we are going to have to be pretty cautious of them sneaking through there.”
The starting forward lines for Anaheim going into the Saturday afternoon affair with Phoenix consisted of Bobby Bolt, Derek Edwardson and Corey Perry, Dustin Penner with Tim Brent and Shane Hynes, Simon Ferguson along with Jonathan Lihue and Scott May, and Curtis Glencross playing with Ryan Shannon and Nathan Saunders. On defense, Jonathan D’Aversa and Jordan Smith, Brett Festerling with Eric Lundberg and Brendan Mikkelson joined by Michael Knight.
Healthy scratches for the Mighty Ducks included forwards Ryan Getzlaf and George Davis, defenseman Aaron Rome and goaltender J- Philippe Levasseur.