Despite a strong third period from the Sharks, the Los Angeles Kings earned a 3-2 victory in game two of the Pacific Division Shootout on Saturday night.
The Sharks gave the Kings twelve power plays in the first two periods and when the dust settled after 40 minutes of play, the Sharks were down 3-1.
“We had 13 minor penalties in the first two periods,” said Worcester Sharks Head Coach Roy Sommer. “We committed eight of them in the second period alone. That really buried us.”
With the referees front and center, it was a good learning experience for both teams who combined for 24 penalties in the game. With many of the players coming from major junior or college hockey, the Pacific Division Shootout is the first opportunity they have to see the crack down on obstruction, interference and stick-on-body in the professional game.
“The guys that played in other leagues don’t really know how the game is going to be called,” said Sommer. “They grew up clutching and grabbing and when they start playing here, they find out real quick that it’s a penalty.”
In the third period, the light turned on for the Sharks. Team Teal out-shot the Kings 10-6 and did not record a single penalty. Their comeback hopes were stemmed from a beautiful goal from Lukas Kaspar.
“We really outplayed them during the entire game,” stated Sommer. “We just fell behind by letting in two five-on-three goals and one four-on-three.”
GREISS CHIPS Thomas Greiss
appeared in net for the Sharks. The native of Germany performed admirably as the team was hindered by playing the majority of the first two periods shorthanded.
“I think we played well, we just had too many penalties and it cost us the game,” said Greiss.
Looking to play his first season in North America, Greiss was patient between the pipes, showing the ability to get square to the puck.
“He played pretty well,” said Sommer. “He only had to face 23 shots on net, so he wasn’t really tested. He really didn’t have a chance because of the penalty kill situation.”
While many of the skaters are adjusting to the way the game is called, Greiss had his own adjustments to make. In Europe, the rinks are larger and the goaltender has the ability to play the puck where he wants. In North America, goaltenders are now forced to play in the restricted trapezoid area behind the net.
“I had some problems earlier in the game controlling the puck behind the net,” said Greiss. “In Europe the rinks are bigger and I wasn’t really used to the tight space behind the goal.”
WHEN IN ROME
One of the most unique picks in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Ashton Rome, showcased his puck-handling ability weaving through three Kings to get through the neutral zone.
“I thought their defenseman was going to step up, so I made a quick move around him and was able to push the puck up to Joe,” said Rome.
After getting held up, he dropped the puck off to Joe Pavelski
who made his way up the slot. Pavelski’s wrist shot would give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
“I didn’t know it went in right away,” Pavelski said in describing his first goal. “Our defenseman made a good pass to Rome and he put some good moves on their D men and was able to slide the puck behind them. I was able to get the puck and shoot it through the goalie’s legs.”
Rome was originally selected by the Boston Bruins in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. After not signing with the Bruins, he was re-entered into the draft.
TREMBLAY: ROUND TWO
For the second consecutive game, enforcer Jonathan Tremblay dropped the gloves. In the first period, he fought 6-foot-4, 225-pound Frazer McLaren. After an uneventful fight with Phoenix’s Kevin Cormier the night before, Tremblay was quick to land a thundering straight left to start the fight. The opening punch set the tone and Tremblay earned the upper-hand in the tussle.
Devin Setoguchi, the first round selection of the Sharks in 2005, was held out of the Pacific Division Shootout as a precautionary measure due to a lower body injury. The right wing who has spent the past two seasons in Saskatoon should be ready to compete in training camp.
PACIFIC DIVISION SHOOTOUT
The Sharks already know that they will play Anaheim on Monday at 4:00 p.m. What the loss against Los Angeles solidified is Tuesday’s schedule. The Sharks are now assured of playing in the consolation game at 4:00 p.m.