Sharks rookies learn how to pummel Anaheim early, earn 4-1 win over Ducks at Vancouver Rookie Tournament
T/O GOALIE J.P. ANDERSON STOPPED 26 OF 27 SHOTS - CANUCKS.COM
Goal number one for the San Jose rookie squad at the Vancouver Young Stars prospect tournament was to beat Anaheim, and make an impression in doing so. Unlike the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks prospects earlier Sunday, there was no feeling out process between the Sharks and Ducks. The players scrambled to make contact and make plays early, and the San Jose prospects took advantage of 12 Anaheim penalties, a sparkling 26-save performance by tryout goaltender J.P. Anderson, and goals by Nick Petrecki, John McCarthy (PP), and two by Brandon Mashinter to earn a 4-1 win.
Media attention will invariably focus on the players with the best opportunity to make an impact on an NHL lineup, but in the San Jose Sharks camp the offseason has stressed development and growth. With a veteran and talent-laden NHL team, available roster spots are at a minimum. The Young Stars prospects are not only playing in front of NHL eyeballs, but AHL, ECHL, junior and even international teams are paying close attention as well. The 5-team tournament allows players to ramp up competition against quality talent their own age, prepares many of them to hit full NHL training camps in stride, and allows organizations to gauge their development systems against each other. Many fans in San Jose simply want the Anaheim Ducks to lose, whatever their incarnation.
“The guys don’t have a whole lot of time before to practice together and understand the system,” San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson said during an intermission interview with Stockton Thunder announcer Mike Benton. Wilson was asked what he looks for from prospects during the tournament. “Their instincts, their hockey sense. You have guys playing against their same age group. That is what is really attractive to us. Often a player will come into camp a little bit wide eyed, or physically dominated by some of the older guys. Too see some of the guys here who can figure it out, play this game, it is a pretty high level right now. I think there are a group of players here who will be playing in the NHL this year.”
Former Miami University forward Tommy Wingels, and 6-foot-4, 235-pound Worcester Sharks winger Brandon Mashinter made their presence felt early. Wingels knocked over a defenseman en route to the puck, and showed a solid burst of speed and a quick snap shot later in the first. In his first year of pro hockey in 2009-10, the 21-year old Brandon Mashinter registered 22 goals, 37 points and 117 penalty minutes. Off the stat sheet, Mashinter recorded two Gordie Howe hat tricks, nine multi-point games, and 12 fights according to Sharkspage’s Darryl Hunt. Mashinter and Frazer McLaren may be the two favorites heading into the Sharks NHL training camp to replace the services of Jody Shelley and Brad Staubitz.
In one of his early shifts in the first period, Mashinter ran over #81 Jason Akeson, collided with another defenseman at the side of the net, and then checked #78 Tomas Zaborsky off-camera as he headed back to the bench. The largest foward on the Sharks team, and larger than any Ducks forward or defenseman by 20+ pounds, Mashinter was a bit of a roving destructive force early. Sharks tryout defenseman Cameron Brodie tried to step into Anaheim right wing Josh Brittain with a hip check as he entered the zone, but Brittain avoided the bulk of the collision and landed the hardest elbow of the game to Brodie’s head.
6-foot-0, 180-pound forward Curt Gogol stepped up against the much larger 6-foot-4, 215-pound Anaheim defenseman Scott Ramsay for the first fight of the game in the opening period. Gogol landed a quick left off the bat, and two looping rights before Ramsay gained his bearings and started using his reach. Ducks defenseman Jake Newton sparked a breakaway on a subsequent shift, forcing goaltender J.P. Anderson to make a hard push left-to-right to make the save. There was an opening 5-hole, but Anderson’s stick was in position to make the save. The Sharks carried the momentum until that breakaway, but it quickly swung back on a goal by defenseman Nick Petrecki at 19:27. Benn Ferriero passed the puck back to the point, and Petrecki unloaded a shot with Mashinter providing a screen in front.
Defenseman Nick Petrecki, the Sharks lone first rounder participating in the tournament (28th, 2007), was one of the standout figures during the rookie games and training camp last season. The youngest player on the Worcester Sharks roster, the physical presence he cultivated while winning an NCAA championship with Boston College did not immediately translate to the AHL. One of the pitfalls of online and new media coverage is the immediacy and pressure put on young players. In an excellent interview this summer with the Fear the Fin blog, Petrecki showed maturity and poise discussing some of the problems he had in his first year as a professional.
Defenseman often take years to develop into NHL caliber professionals, and Petrecki seems to have taken directions to simplify his game to heart. “What you want is consistency,” Doug Wilson said Sunday night. “When you are a big physical guy you are used to dominating guys because of your size. You are not often going to dominate guys with your size in the NHL. We went through this with Douglas Murray and Ryane Clowe… we worked very hard with him, especially with Bryan Marchment, and the details he needs to play the hardest position in this league. Nick is well on his way.”
Last year Benn Ferriero impressed the Sharks coaching staff enough to earn a roster spot at training camp. With 24 NHL games on his resume, Ferriero was the most experienced player on either Ducks or Sharks prospect roster. That experience came out when he beared down on loose pucks. Instantly transitioning on offense, Ferriero drove wide right and fed Brandon Mashinter across the slot. 2:21 into the second period Mashinter picked the far corner (aka high cheese) on Timo Pielmeier and gave the Sharks a two goal lead. Much like their NHL counterparts, the Ducks parade to the penalty box continued. San Jose capitalized with a power play goal by John McCarthy at 8:47. Tommy Wingels beat a defenseman off the boards to get the puck to Philip Varone, and a point shot by Nick Petrecki could not be covered by Pielmeier. McCarthy banged home a goal from in tight.
There were 3,500 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, British Columbia watching the all-California matchup. They saw their second fight of the night when Ducks defenseman #75 Scott Valentine hip checked 6-foot-3, 210-pound forward Kevin Henderson. Henderson, #71 for the Sharks, has a bit of a mean streak in him. Valentine immediately dropped the gloves and landed a punch, but Henderson pummeled him and held him up as he fell to land a few more blows. Ill advised penalties on Maxime Macenauer (hooking) and Rob Bordson (hooking) gave the Sharks a 5-on-3 power play for 40 seconds. Tony Lucia made a nice move to free up space with the puck, and found a trailing Matt Irwin for the best scoring opportunity.
The bounces were not going in Anaheim’s direction. After an Emerson Etem shot was stopped by the right leg pad of J.P. Anderson, Jason Akeson picked the puck off his pads and could not bury it in the empty net. It would be a costly missed opportunity. The Sharks would answer at the other end of the rink to make it 4-0 with 55 seconds left in the period.
The conversation heading into the third centered around Sharks goaltender J.P. Anderson, and the possibility of a shutout bid. The conversation became a little more difficult when the Sharks took a pair of penalties, giving Anaheim a 5-on-3 man advantage for just over a minute. After a solid effort by Anderson, the Sharks took another penalty as Spencer Humphries earned a tripping call at 3:22. This gave the Ducks a second 5-on-3 man advantage, this time for 40 seconds. San Jacinto, California native Jake Newton, only the second California born prospect playing in this game, fed Nick Bonino for a quick shot on goal. More of a shovel pass than a shot, Long Beach native Emerson Etem and Bonino both took whacks at the puck on the goal line. Bonino was credited for the only Ducks goal of the game. 4-1 Sharks.
The Sharks still had to finish off the remainder of the 5-on-4 penalty kill, and a Ducks defenseman simply leveled Benn Ferriero with a hit against the boards. With his helmet off, Ferriero continued his extended shift on the point of the PK, pressuring the puck carriers with his stick in the shooting lane. Despite a few hit crossbars and posts, one by Peter Holland, a second by Sharks defenseman Domink Bielke, and a third by Ferriero, the game got a little sloppy at the end of the third period. Ducks center Maxime Macenauer tried a lazy spin move to the left of J.P. Anderson, but was hammered to the ice by defenseman Spencer Humphries. Another Ducks center Peter Holland could not finish on a 2-on-1 breakaway, and both teams engaged in a pushing and shoving after physical play around the net.
The final straw for Anaheim was a 2-on-0 breakaway by center Tomas Zaborsky and right wing Josh Brittain. After getting behind the Sharks defense uncontested, Zaborsky tried to pass across the crease instead of letting go with a shot. Brittain fired the puck over the net from point blank range. Then the game devolved into more physical play. Kevin Henderson laid out Jason Akeson with a borderline hit against the glass, resulting in the first 5-on-5 scrum between the teams, also mirroring their NHL counterparts. According to Eric Stephens of the OC Register, Henderson was tossed from the game for checking from behind.
The Sharks prospects will face Vancouver Monday night at 7:30PM, and the Edmonton Oilers prospects Wednesday night at 7:30PM. All games will be streamed online at sjsharks.com. The Oilers-Sharks prospect game will feature the first prospect contest between the two teams after both entered into a co-affiliation agreement with the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder. The only other professional hockey team in Northern California, Stockton is about 80 miles away from the Sharks home ice in San Jose. According to the Stockton Thunder, goaltender Bryan Pitton and defenseman Jordan Bendfeld will be suiting up for the Oilers prospects. Matching them against the San Jose Sharks prospects will be a good way to jump start the intra-organizational rivalry. OHL forward Luke Judson was scratched from the Sharks prospect roster with an injury that occured before camp. Goaltender Tyson Sexsmith will not be on the prospect roster, which could allow J.P. Anderson, Thomas Heemskerk and Carter Hutton to each start an individual game. Free agent signee Cam MacIntyre was not probable for the tournament according to the Sharks.
The San Jose Sharks have never won a preseason rookie tournament. In four years of the Pacific Division Shootout featuring SJ, ANA, LA and PHO, the Coyotes (2003, 2006) and Ducks (2004, 2005) each won twice. The Sharks prospects swept the Ducks in three head-to-head rookie games last year, with Anaheim defenseman Luca Sbisa providing the highlight of the series with a full speed train wreck hit on Nick Petrecki. Without Sbisa in the 2010 prospect lineup, the attention for Anaheim focused on 2010 first round draft pick Cam Fowler.
The hockey gods smiled on Anaheim at the first NHL draft in California, as one of the top defensive prospects available fell into their wheelhouse at #12. Adding Long Beach native Emerson Etem with the second to last pick in the first round was a selection that worked on many different levels. Joining Fowler and Etem on the Anaheim prospect roster were three other Anaheim first round draft picks including Peter Holland (2009), Kyle Palmieri (2009) and Mark Mitera (2006). The Anaheim team also included NCAA champion and former Sharks 6th round draft pick Nick Bonino and German goaltender Timo Pielmeier. Bonino and Pielmeier were traded to the Anaheim Ducks in March, 2009 for veterans Travis Moen and Kent Huskins.
“We got off to two really bad periods,” Nick Bonino told the official Ducks website. “The first couple of periods we couldn’t stay out of the box and played maybe two even strength shifts in the first period. It hurts. We need to be a bit sharper from start to finish.”
[Update] Sharks Earn 4-1 Victory, Worcester Teammates Provide Win Against Anaheim – SJsharks.com.
[Update2] Ducks open rookie tourney with 4-1 loss to Sharks. – Quackalackin blog for InsideSoCal.
[Update3] Cam MacIntyre among three rookies who won’t be skating in Penticton tournament — and Niemi arrives in San Jose – David Pollak’s Working the Corners blog.