The San Jose Sharks were edged by the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in a rookie game in front of 2,304 fans at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.
Anaheim jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second period and hung on for the one-goal win with a solid performance in net by Ducks goalie J.P. Levasseur, who finished with 22 saves. Draft picks Mike Morris and P.J. Fenton both scored in the losing effort for the Sharks. San Jose goalie Tyler Sexsmith suffered the loss, stopping 18 of Anaheim’s 21 shots on net. Ducks forwards Ryan Dingle, Charlie Kronschnabel and Nicolas Descamps each scored in the win.
“We got ourselves into a little of penalty trouble early on and it gave them some momentum in the first period,” said Worchester Sharks Head Coach Roy Sommer. “I did not think we did a good job of moving back and helping our defense at times. We also did some really good things out there. Our skill showed on that five-on-three power-play goal. The guys did a good job of moving the puck around. Our power play also gave us some good opportunities later in the game. Their goalie played very well tonight. He made some desperation saves, kept them in the game and got them the win.”
The Ducks opened the scoring with 1:20 remaining in the first period. Left wing Ryan Dingle scooped up a loose puck in the San Jose zone near the right-wing circle. Dingle quickly snapped a wrist shot past the blocker of Sharks goalie Tyson Sexsmith
for the 1-0 Anaheim lead.
In the second period, Ducks winger Charlie Kronschnabel picked off an errant pass at center, leading a 2-on-1 rush for Anaheim. Kronschnabel fired a wrist shot that was deflected by the glove of Sexsmith, but managed to slip into the net. Kronschnabel’s shorthanded goal gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead at 9:19 of the middle frame. Less than three minutes later, Anaheim’s Nicolas Deschamps picked off a puck at center ice and zipped into the San Jose zone for a breakaway. Deschamps tucked a wrist shot under the cross bar for the final Ducks goal of the night and a 3-1 Anaheim lead.
The Sharks answered back just 1:39 later with a five-on-three power-play goal by Mike Morris. The 2007 first round pick scored for the third time in the last three days, finishing off a well executed power play. At 14:09, the Sharks worked the puck down low to the right of the net for center Steven Zalewski, who snapped a quick, cross-crease pass to Morris on the back door. Morris rifled a one-timer between the legs of Levasseur, trimming the Ducks lead to 3-1 after two periods of play.
“It was a pretty simple play, we had some great puck movement,” said Morris. “Our defenseman moved it down low to Steve (Zalewski) and he made a great pass to me. I just tapped it in.”
The Sharks closed in on the Ducks in the third period with P.J. Fenton’s second goal in as many nights. Winger Tyler Shattock played the puck off the end boards to the right-wing corner. Fenton snapped an odd-angle shot that banked off the skate of Levasseur and into the Anaheim net at 7:49, pulling San Jose within a goal at 3-2. The Sharks outshot the Ducks 6-1 in the final period, but fell short of their comeback.
“I think the last three days were good for a lot of us,” said Fenton. “We all benefit from playing here in front of all the Sharks management and scouts. For those of us who are going to training camp, it is something that we can take with us. For the guys who aren’t going to camp, it is still a great experience and should help their confidence whereever they may end up going to play.”
All three goalies played during the rookie session in Las Vegas. In Sunday’s scrimmage, Timo Pielmeier held Anaheim scoreless for the first 44:43 and finished with 28 saves in a 4-2 Sharks win. Monday, Kyle Jones stopped 14 of 16 in a 2-1 loss to the Ducks. Coach Roy Sommer believes they all showed plenty of promise for San Jose.
“They all played pretty good,” added Roy Sommer. “You can’t really fault Sexsmith for all the goals tonight. I’m sure he’d like to have at least one of those back. The good thing was they didn’t give up a ton of goals. They kept us in it and gave us an opportunity to win and that is all we can ask of them.”