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Rookie Faceoff Roundup: Day One

by Gordon Weigers @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Game One: Sharks 4, Coyotes 0
The San Jose Sharks and the Arizona Coyotes opened the Vegas Rookie Faceoff with a quiet first period. It appeared that the frame would end without a goal before San Jose's Ivan Chekhovich provided the game's first goal at 19:11 of the period. San Jose tacked on another goal midway through the second period off the stick of Jacob McGrew. The lead grew to 3-0 late in the third period as Jayden Halbgewachs shelfed a wrist shot at the end of a penalty kill. The Sharks scored again in the final minute to cap off the score at 4-0. San Jose goaltender Zachary Edmond shut the door on the Coyotes as he made 33 saves while Merrick Madsen stopped 22 shots for Arizona.

Game Two: Ducks 8, Kings 3
The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings rookie teams squared off in the second game of the Vegas Rookie Faceoff. After allowing a power-play goal to Jaret Anderson-Dolan late in the first period, Anaheim scored three times in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Isac Lundestrom, Deven Sideroff and Josh Mahura each found the back of the net in the middle period for the Ducks. Mark Rassell brought L.A. to within one early in the third, but five-straight Anaheim goals put the game out of reach. Lundestrom buried the eventual game-winning goal at 6:53 of the period and Max Comtois, Hunter Drew, Jack Kopacka and Simon Benoit followed suit with goals of their own. Anderson-Dolan potted a late goal, but it was too little too late for the Kings.

Game Three: Golden Knights 7, Avalanche 6
In the final event of day one of the Vegas Rookie Faceoff, the Vegas Golden Knights put on a show for the home crowd at City National Arena with a 7-6 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

Las Vegas native Gage Quinney led the Golden Knights with three points (1G, 2A) while Nic Hague (2G), Reid Duke (1G, 1A), Erik Brannstrom (1G, 1A) and Cody Glass (2A) recorded multiple-point games for Vegas.

The first period saw the Golden Knights feed off the home crowd and pounce out to a 5-0 lead. Hague buried a pass from Quinney on Vegas' first power play to make it 1-0 Golden Knights at 2:59 of the opening frame. Just under eight minutes later, Quinney fed Duke a crisp pass which Duke deflected in for the two-goal lead.

Quinney notched his third-consecutive point with a breakaway goal at 13:06 to make it 3-0 for the Golden Knights. Brannstrom increased the lead to 4-0 with a dazzling power-play goal as he used a fake slapshot to dodge an Avalanche defender before wiring a wrist shot top-shelf. Xavier Bouchard cleaned up the first period with a final-minute goal to cap off the five-goal frame.

"I thought we did a really good job in the first period," Glass said. "They were kind of flat, and as the game went on I thought we were getting a little bit flat, but that's hockey."

After Logan O'Connor got Colorado on the board early in the second, Keegan Kolesar made it a 6-1 game on a hard wrist shot from the slot. Ty Lewis provided the Avalanche with one more goal before the conclusion of the second period to cut the lead to 6-2.

Brandon Saigeon wasted little time adding another goal for Colorado in the third period and he cashed in on a big rebound to cut Vegas' lead to three goals. Hague scored his second power-play goal of the game at the 4:26 mark but only 16 seconds later, Saigeon struck again for Colorado. Matthew Boucher and O'Connor each scored to bring the Avalanche to within a goal, but their comeback bid fell short as the Golden Knights held on for the 7-6 victory.

Despite all of the offense, the physical aspect was apparent throughout the game.

"I thought it was a hard fought game, both teams, every guy is fighting for the opportunity to be at the next level so everyone is going to be playing their hardest," said Tyler Wong. "If you're a physical guy you're going to be physical. I love contact, being a smaller guy I have to pick my battles, but it fires me up so it was a lot of fun out there."

Chicago Wolves Head Coach Rocky Thompson was behind the bench for Vegas during the game and helped the team through the late surge from Colorado.

"Our power play looked really good, but in the second period, we got away from it a little bit," Thompson said. "We started defending more, we got tired and started extending our shifts."

Vegas returns to the City National Arena ice tomorrow night to play the San Jose Sharks rookies at 7 p.m.

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