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Schaefer Enjoys His First NHL Victory

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks

He was simply supposed to sit.  Simply sit on the bench and back up Vesa Toskala until Evgeni Nabokov returned to health.  Instead during the Dallas contest, Toskala tweaked his groin following Dallas' third goal and Nolan Schaefer entered his first NHL game - and got the victory.

 

"It feels great," said Schaefer. 

 

Called up just this week, Schaefer received more than he could have asked for.  Upon entering, San Jose had just surrendered the go-ahead goal and the tide was definitely turning in Dallas' favor.

 

Schaefer was forced to come up with a big save right off the bat and in his 13 minutes of second period action, he surrendered one goal on three shots.

 

"The first part of the game, I was really nervous and kicking rebounds all over," said Schaefer. 

 

In the third period, the game began to slow down for the rookie netminder as he stopped all eight shots.

 

"I relaxed a little and felt better in the third," said Schaefer.  "Everyone just kept telling me to keep it up.  There was a lot of positive reinforcement from the bench and the defensemen."

 

In the overtime stanza, Schaefer stopped both shots, including a pivotal save on a pinching Phillipe Boucher that Marco Sturm cleared and turned into Patrick Marleau's breakaway winner.

 

Needless to say there were quite a few messages on the cell phone.

 

"I got about 10 messages congratulating me after the game," said Schaefer. 

 

The irony is that Schaefer's older brother, Peter, who plays for Ottawa, only caught a portion of the game.  Just not the portion that Schaefer played.

 

"He watched the first period and then put in a movie," said the Sharks Schaefer.  "He missed most of it, but he got a message on the phone and caught the end."

 

The game was very similar to a preseason contest for Schaefer that he won this year in Vancouver when he was pulled for an extra skater.

 

"With about two minutes left, I started looking down," said Schaefer.  "I knew we wanted the extra attacker out there.  It was the same as the exhibition game in Vancouver and the guys scored.  It's a lot of fun to win like that in overtime."

 

Toskala's status will be evaluated on Thursday, but it is expected that San Jose will call up Dimitri Patzold from Cleveland.

 

NABOKOV ON LONG LIST

Not surprisingly, Nabokov was named to Russia's long list for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.  Nabokov has previously been selected to play for Russia in the 2002 Olympics and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

 

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