Ducks win one for Vaakananien 4-1; First Sharks loss of the pre season

The San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks faced off in pre season action at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Fri Sep 30, 2022 (@AnaheimDucks photo)

~ By Pearl Allison Lo

~ September 30, 2022

~ ANAHEIM– After losing Urho Vaakanainen to a scary collision midway into the first, the Ducks propelled forward in front of a crowd of 13,616, backing goalies John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz over the San Jose Sharks’ split squad Friday.

Though Vaakanainen had to be stretchered off after his momentum literally headed him into the boards, he fortunately had full consciousness and movement as he eventually made it to UCI Medical Center.  

Four was the magic number this time in a reversal of fortune between tonight’s game and the teams’ last meeting on Tuesday. Anaheim matched their goal total from that game (preseason high), which they lost 5-4, but this time the one goal they relinquished was a low for San Jose this preseason along with their first loss. 

Both of the Sharks’ split squad games started at 7pm, with the other half playing Northeast in Vegas, winning 7-3 over the Golden Knights with Danil Gushchin´s hat trick.

The Ducks scored first at 9:46 but the celebration was short-lived as this was when Vaakanainen got hurt after securing the primary assist. Derek Grant´s goal was his first of the preseason and Max Jones had the secondary assist. 

Three missed shots and two penalties later from San Jose, Anaheim took advantage as Max Comtois made it 2-0. Comtois scored over goalie Kappo Kahkonen´s right shoulder two seconds after Kahkonen saved Ryan Strome´s shot on the left. The Ducks had strung together eight shots since the Sharks’ last shot and Comtois´ goal occurred on the fourth shot of the 5-on-3 power play. Strome and Troy Terry obtained their second assists of the preseason.

Just over a minute later, Anaheim made their lead triple. With a defender in front, Frank Vatrano was able to score from the inside edge of the left faceoff circle. 

The Sharks finished the period with the last five shots. 

Forty-four seconds into the second, San Jose kept rolling as they obtained a power play advantage.  The teams then traded as it became a period of penalties. with Derrick Pouliot called for slashing at 3:30, Drew Helleson holding at 6:02, and Comtois and Montana Onyebuchi simultaneously served at 10:05. 

Logan Couture broke through Gibson´s wall, when he scored during the holding penalty, making it 3-1. Nathan Beaulieu took the goal back though during even strength at 9:21 as he pulled up going down the slot.

Stolarz took Gibson´s spot and the Ducks then committed and fought through three straight penalties, one 37 seconds into the penalty at 12 minutes and the third at 15:29. 

The period ended with the Sharks called for the last penalty of the second, with 31 seconds left. 

In the extra free shootout for fun, Couture was second up for San Jose and scored again, but Anaheim won it in the fifth round. 

Game notes: With these last games stateside over for the Sharks, just more than half of the team will reunite after cuts, before they head to Berlin, Germany as part of the 2022 NHL Global Series Challenge. San Jose will first face Eisbaren Berlin Tuesday October 4 to cap the preseason before starting the 2022-2023 regular season in Europe as well.

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