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Rookies Duck Hunting In Vegas

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks rookies showed plenty of spirit in the Sharks 4-2 scrimmage victory Sunday evening at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The rival squads will battle again on Monday with a complete game on Tuesday (tickets are available).

Forward Mike Morris scored twice, while Steven Zalewski tallied a goal and assist in the two-goal win for San Jose. Goalie Timo Pielmeier was strong in net, holding Anaheim scoreless for the first 44:43 and finishing with 28 saves on 30 Ducks shots. Center Matt Fornataro also scored in the Sharks victory.

“We saw a lot of good things tonight,” said Worchester Sharks Head Coach Roy Sommer. “We saw some players out there who kicked it into a high gear and made some high level plays. I thought our line of Morris, Zalewski and McGinn was probably the best line on the ice for both teams tonight. Goaltending was stubborn and I thought Timo played well.

“I think what really stood out in my mind tonight was the way the guys stood up for each other,” added Sommer. “If a guy got hit, the other guy would come in and back him up. Early on, you like to see that stuff. It’s a long season and a team that plays like that is a lot of fun to coach.”

The scrimmage started slow as far as the scoring was concerned, but both teams proved feisty. The two rivals combined for more fights than goals through the opening two periods. Left wing Frazer McLaren, a seventh-round pick in 2007(203rd overall), fought Anaheim left wing Jason Bailey in the first period and then took on defenseman Stu Bickel in the second period. San Jose defenseman Mike Moore traded blows with Anaheim winger Josh Britain later in the period before the Sharks tallied the first goal of the night.

2002 first round pick (27th overall) Mike Morris broke the scoreless tie with 58 ticks left in the second, poking in a rebound off a Zach Harnden shot. Anaheim goalie Marco Cousineau could not control the rebound as Morris jabbed the puck across the line.

San Jose extended the lead to 2-0 just 1:49 into the third frame as center Matt Fornataro finished off a crisp, cross-crease pass from left wing Jonathan Bonneau. Anaheim then cut the San Jose lead to 2-1 4:43 into the third period. Defenseman Eric Regan broke Pielmeier’s shutout bid with a wrist shot through traffic that went off the cross bar for the Ducks first score of the night.

Late in the third the Sharks regained their two-goal lead with Zalewski’s tally at 15:37. Sharks defenseman Jason Demers, a seventh round pick in 2008 (186th overall), made a spectacular cross-ice pass from the right wing corner, hitting Zalewski on the back door. The Sharks fifth round pick in 2004 (153rd overall) finished the play by tucking the pass into the back of the Anaheim net. The Ducks kept the game close down the stretch, answering back with their second goal of the night just 1:34 later. Right wing Nathan Day scored off a loose puck in the San Jose slot, trimming the Sharks lead to 3-2.

Morris capped off the night with his second goal of the evening for the 4-2 win, snapping in an empty-net tally with one minute left in regulation.

“I think both teams started off a little slow tonight,” said Zalewski. “I think everyone was just trying to get a feel for things. I think both teams started to get things going offensively in the third. For most of us, this is our first game since last season. I think it was good that things picked up and tomorrow night will be even better.”

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