Meier gets his second goal after all; Sharks pull off OT win 4-3 over Ducks

Photo credit: @NBCSSharks

By: Pearl Lo

ANAHEIM, Calif. — After an overturned goal, Timo Meier scored the game-winner in a 4-3 victory Sunday over the Ducks.

It was Meier’s second career multi-point game and fourth straight game with at least one goal. Meier scored his second of the night at 13:06, but it was ruled offsides after a Coach’s Challenge.

In overtime, Meier passed behind to Joonas Donskoi before falling after he was hit by Ryan Getzlaf. Meier then received the pass after getting back and shot at goalie John Gibson. The three Anaheim players on the ice plus Donskoi also got involved in the battle of the puck before Meier won at 2:12.

Joking occurred in the locker room after, as Evander Kane interjected, “You’re welcome for dinner last night,” and Meier echoed that was the “…success. That’s what helped…”

It was a bit of familiar territory with San Jose’s second straight game beyond regulation after losing a two-goal lead.

Head coach Peter DeBoer commented, “I don’t know about a comeback. I thought we deserved to win. There was a big swing in the second period when our goal was disallowed and then they got the ‘seeing eye’ one. I thought we had an opportunity there to probably put them away and we wouldn’t have come down to what it did, but that’s hockey. You gotta give them credit for hanging around. Gibson gave them the chance to do that. I liked our 60 minutes. Unlike Carolina, where we started to panic a little with the puck and feed into what they were doing, I thought we did a much better job tonight.”

The Sharks got back to their shooting ways, sending 49 pucks Gibson’s way after putting up 23 shots on net versus the Hurricanes.

It was a game that pitted two teams at both ends of the shot spectrum.

The Ducks went back to three years ago, having now lost five in a row like that stretch as they fell beyond .500. During their current stretch in a game, Sunday’s three goals are the most they have scored, but they are also still giving up at least three. San Jose now have points and have scored at least three goals in their last five games. It was Martin Jones’ fourth straight win in net, as he made 27 saves on 30 shots.

Meier also had an assist, Logan Couture had a goal and assist and rookie Rourke Chartier scored his first career NHL goal. For Anaheim, Pontus Aberg scored two goals to bring Anaheim back into the game, Josh Manson scored and Ryan Getzlaf had two assists for the second time this season. The last time was versus the Sharks.

The first two periods had goals in the second and fourth minutes.

San Jose outshot the Ducks 19-8 in the first and had 11 of their shots blocked as both sides had early goals.

Couture led off at 2:34, scoring as the puck went off Gibson’s back. Tomas Hertl passed along the left boards to Brent Burns near the point, who bounced the puck to Couture off the boards. Hertl made his return from injury after missing the third period of the previous game.

Less than two minutes later, Manson potted his first goal of the year from the slot as it went through traffic on Jones’ stick side.

The Sharks started the second with another second minute goal to retake the lead. It started as Chartier won the race to the puck and passed to Hertl at the end boards. Hertl tried a wraparound goal and from Hertl’s rebound off Gibson, Chartier spun around in front of the net to score at 2:13.

San Jose then extended their advantage, unlike the first period. Meier shot from the slot through traffic, as the puck glanced Gibson’s upper left arm.

Aberg made it 3-2 when he took a pass from Getzlaf and shot, touching Burns and poked the top left corner of the net. It was Aberg’s first goal for Anaheim as a former Edmonton Oiler.

Aberg relayed, “I got a lucky bounce on the first goal. It was a confidence builder. It’s been a while since I’ve scored in this league. I’ve shown I can [score] in the American [Hockey] League.”

The Sharks fought off their first penalty that resulted in a power play starting at 4:02 of the third.

A scary moment happened when a puck hit Ryan Kesler up high with 13:33 left. Luckily, he was able to get up on his own power, but headed to the dressing room.

Aberg re-tied the game with his second goal of the night at 8:36, putting the puck behind Jones who was in front of the crease.

Less than a minute later, San Jose had opportunity as Brandon Montour took a hooking penalty. Kesler returned during the penalty kill with 9:56 left.

The Sharks outshot the Ducks 5-0 in overtime.

Up Next: San Jose returns home for four games, kicking things off against the New York Rangers Tuesday at 7:30 pm PT.

A’s Rally Just Short in 8-5 Loss to Angels

Photo credit: @athletics_fanly

By Matthew Harrington

The opener concept officially backfired for the Oakland A’s Friday night in Anaheim despite the offense’s best attempt at a trademark eighth inning rally. Following an 8-5 loss to the Halos, A’s manager Bob Melvin has some tweaking to do with his pitching staff with just two days left in the regular season.

The notion seemed to be that either Mike Fiers or Edwin Jackson would start the one-game Wild Card playoff Tuesday against the New York Yankees, but Fiers’ final appearance of the season might not inspire much confidence in a do-or-die situation.

Fiers entered the game after opener Lou Trivino fired a scoreless first inning. The waiver trade acquisition gave up a trio of runs in the second inning after surrendering a run-scoring fielder’s choice and coughing up a two-run homer to Taylor Ward. Mike Trout pulled a pair of homers shy of his career-best in homers, taking Fiers deep in the bottom of the third for his 39th homer of the year and a 3-0 Halos lead.

Fiers departed the game after 3 1/3 innings of work, surrendering another run in the fifth inning. He’d wind up the losing pitcher after coughing up six hits, but he didn’t issue any walks. September call-up Dean Kiekhefer also gave up two runs in the bottom of the seventh, crucial runs for the Angels following the top of the eighth.

The eighth inning has been the A’s best inning offensively and the Green and Gold lead the world in runs scored in that inning. They tacked on a quintet Friday three hits and two walks as well as a timely error. Matt Chapman, Jed Lowrie, and Ramon Laureano knocked in a run each while Marcus Semien doubled in a pair. The A’s would go quietly in the ninth to all, but guarantee the Wild Card contest will be a road game Wednesday at 5:05 pm PT.

Trevor Cahill is slated to start tomorrow’s contest, but Sunday may be a mixture of call-ups and relievers as the A’s try to prepare for the must-win post-season contest.

Sharks feast on the Ducks to ultimately get 7-3 win

Photo: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

By Pearl Allison Lo

ANAHEIM — The San Jose Sharks fell behind three times, but came up on top for their second straight victory over the Anaheim Ducks, 7-3, at the Honda Center Thursday night.

Anaheim came looking to even things up as they met San Jose for the second time in a row.  It was the first home game for the Ducks and first road game for the Sharks. Moreover, the Ducks kicked off their 25th anniversary on their turf.

On Tuesday, the Sharks were the 4-1 victors.

San Jose scored at least four goals for the second game in a row and have scored in each of their last five periods. Anaheim picked up their scoring since the previous game, but stalled after 7:01 of the second period. The Sharks followed with a five-goal streak. All of their goals on the night except the last one were scored by different players.

Antti Suomela scored the first and the last goal, playing in his second game straight out of Finland. He also had an assist during Kevin Labanc’s goal.

Suomela commented, “Last game was the first game in about four months so it’s always difficult, but tonight’s game was a little easier.”

Head coach Peter DeBoer commented on Suomela, “He makes plays and I know that sounds simple, but it is hard to create offense in this league and he finds a way to do that.”

Joonas Donskoi had a goal and two assists, Rourke Chartier had three straight assists, Labanc and Lukas Radil each had a goal and an assist, and 11 Sharks had at least a point.

For the Ducks, Ondrej Kase had two goals and Adam Henrique had two assists, both on Kase’s goals.

The two teams went scoreless on the power play. The Sharks were 0-for-3 and the Ducks were 0-for-1.

San Jose got the first power play at 2:18, but Anaheim got the first goal.

Henrique started the play on the other end by winning a faceoff and ended up feeding Kase from the boards as Kase found one of Aaron Dell’s holes at 4:53.

Just over a minute later, the Sharks evened the score in a bit of a similar fashion. Suomela won the faceoff and ended up tipping in Joakim Ryan’s shot from the blue line as the puck soared just above Ryan Miller’s left glove.

The next goal took a while. After several near chances which elicited gasps from the crowd, the Ducks finally broke through again when Jakob Silfverberg scored from the left faceoff circle at 16:57 to give Anaheim the 2-1 lead.

In the second, Labanc added a goal to his night’s repertoire at 4:53. Donskoi used nifty stick work and a slick pass to the right as Labanc took the puck inside the goalpost for the 2-2 tie.

A turnover cost the Sharks though. Giovanni Fiore intercepted the puck after it left Ryan’s stick and Kase again took the puck to their bank to take back the lead at 7:01.

The Sharks got another power play at 9:08, but were unable to convert.

San Jose scored the game’s first consecutive goals though when Radim Simek’s end line goal wormed its way under Miller and Jacob Middleton scored from in between the blue line and the right faceoff circle. It was Simek and Middleton’s first goals for the team, coming at 12:08 and 13:45 to give their first lead. Goodrow got his third assist during Middleton’s goal, which made the score 4-3.

The Sharks kicked off their three-goal third period at 11:31. Miller was unable to control the rebound off Chartier’s shot and it eventually found its way to Radil.

Donskoi and Suomela scored less than 30 seconds apart, starting at 16:27 to cap off the scoring.

On executing early on in preseason, the Ducks’ Josh Manson relayed, “At the end of the day, it comes down to structure and work ethic. They played a better structure than we did. That’s why they won the game.”

Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle pointed out, “San Jose did a good job of tracking and winning their fair share of battles…The score wasn’t indicative of the game. I think it was more like a one-goal hockey game than what actually happened out there.”

Up Next: The Sharks (2-0-0) and Vegas Golden Knights (2-0-0) will pit their perfect records against each other in a playoff rematch Saturday at 7 pm PST. Both teams scored seven goals apiece Thursday night.

The Cespedes Runs-and-Guns Show Snaps Angels Streak at Five

By Matthew Harrington

The Oakland Athletics emphatically avoided a sweep at the hands of their Southern California rivals by thumping the Los Angeles Angels 7-1 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes nabbed a pair of runs batted in along with an outfield assist Wednesday night and catcher Stephen Vogt continued his torrid stretch since a call-up from Triple A Sacramento earlier this month.

Vogt launched a two-run home run into the bleachers in right field with one out to chase Halos ace Jered Weaver (7-5, 3.51 ERA) with the A’s leading 4-1. Oakland (40-26) also scored three runs in the ninth inning to firmly secure the victory for starter Tommy Milone while tagging Weaver with the loss. Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp also picked up RBIs in the contest.

Milone (4-3, 3.47) went 6 2/3 against the Halos, yielding the lone run on an RBI double off the bat of Josh Hamilton with the A’s up 1-0. Other than that he proved perfect in the stopper’s role, striking out four Angels while only walking two. Ryan Cook pitched a scoreless third of an inning and Luke Gregerson and Jim Johnson fired a shutout frame each to close out the win and snap a five-game winning streak for LA.

Third-string catcher Vogt, a Visalia, Calif. native, had the pleasure of hitting his first homer of the season in front of a crowd of friends and family. The real highlight of the night, however, came in the sixth inning after Albert Pujols ripped what appeared to be a surefire double into the corner in left field. Cespedes bobbled the ball when fielding it to allow Pujols to attempt to advance to third base. Cespedes, however, threw a bullet reminiscent of his webgem throw to home plate Tuesday night to gun down the Angels first baseman for his second assist in the three-game set.

Also adding to his defensive highlight reel was Crisp, who robbed Josh Hamilton of a second-inning homer after scaling the wall in the left-center. After a premature fireworks display exploded out of the rock pile in center, Crisp gave a discerning finger wag.

The A’s managed to wrap the series up with a 3.5 game lead over Anaheim (36-29) in the American League West standings after narrowly seeing it creep down below two games. Oakland takes an off-day Thursday before returning to O.Co Coliseum to face David Phelps and the Yankees. Sonny Gray gets the ball for the green and gold in game one.

A’s Flounder Against Richards, Angels as Trout Makes Splash

By Matthew Harrington

Starter Garrett Richards and the Los Angeles Angels stifled the Oakland Athletics offense Monday night at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, besting the A’s 4-1 while limiting the visitors to four hits. Yoenis Cespedes and Stephen Vogt combined for all the Oakland offense, collecting two hits apiece. The A’s (39-25) scored one run for just the sixth time this season a day after exploding for 11 runs at Camden Yards.

Jesse Chavez (5-4, 3.04 ERA) pitched gave six strong innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits against the Halos, but the A’s offense failed to figure out Richards in support. The 26-year-old righty (6-2, 3.09) stymied the green and gold to only four hits over his seven innings.

The A’s took the lead in the top of the second after Yoenis Cespedes scored on a softly-hit Stephen Vogt single to left with two outs. Vogt proved steady at the plate and behind the dish in place of starting catcher Derek Norris. Norris sat out Monday night after taking a Manny Machado backswing to the back of the head yesterday afternoon in Baltimore.

Angels superstar Mike Trout collected his 44th and 4t5th RBIs on a sac fly in the third and a controversial fifth-inning ground-rule double respectively. With Hank Conger on second, Trout aboutfaced a 2-2 Chavez delivery to deep right field that looked labeled for the bleachers. Originally called a home run on the field, an umpire review revealed a fan reached below the railing to catch the ball for fan interference. Crew chief Bob Davidson overturned the play, placing Trout back on second base to the chagrin of Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia. Scioscia argued the play, resulting in an ejection from Davidson with the Angels leading 3-1. Hank Conger and Raul Ibanez also plated runs for the Halos.

After Richards, Joe Smith and Closer Ernesto Frieri locked down the A’s bats, pitching a scoreless inning a piece. Smith struck out two while Frieri k’d the side to pick up his 11th save of the season. Ryan Cook and Fernando Abad pitched a third of an inning a piece and Jim Johnson wrapped up the A’s pitching performance, allowing an unearned run in his 1 1/3 innings of work.

With the win, the Angels (35-28) move 3.5 games back of the A’s for the lead in the American League West. They’ll look to put together a fifth-consecutive victory Tuesday night, sending Hector Santiago to the mound in his return. Santiago seeks his first win of the season in his return to the rotation after Los Angeles placed Tyler Skaggs on the disabled list Monday afternoon with a right hamstring strain.

The A’s counter with Drew Pomeranz fresh off a bounce-back outing in which he narrowly outdueled Yankees sensation Masahiro Tanaka in a 2-1 loss in the Bronx. Pomeranz pitched seven innings, his longest start of the season, just one appearance after allowing five runs to the same Angels in a fortunate 9-5 home field triumph May 30th.

Jaso’s Pinch-Hit Heroics Continue A’s Dominance in Anaheim

By Matthew Harrington

Jesse Chavez once again produced a quality start, his third of the season, Monday night in Anaheim, but yet again the converted reliever-turned-starter headed off to the showers without a chance at being named the winning pitcher. Just like his previous two starts, Chavez’ offense rallied in its last at-bat to give the Athletics (9-4) a win. The A’s, owners of the best record in the American League, triumphed in their starter’s previous two efforts in extra innings.

Backed by a pinch-hit, two-run home run by John Jaso in the top of the ninth inning, Oakland stole a 3-2 come-from-behind victory to open up a three-game series against the Angels (6-7)at Angel Stadium. Yoenis Cespedes also homered, deposed closer Jim Johnson (1-2, 9.95 ERA) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for his first win in green and gold and Luke Gregerson’s one-two-three ninth-inning save closed the door.

Chavez struggled in the bottom of the first, surrendering a two-strike single to leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun. The lefty caught phenom Mike Trout watching a nasty curveball for strike three, but Calhoun had already advanced to second when miscommunication between catcher Derek Norris and Chavez resulting in a passed ball earlier in the at-bat. Albert Pujols laced a single through the left side to plate Calhoun for a 1-0 lead.

Chavez cruised through the rest of his appearance, pitching seven innings, surrendering four hits and only one earned run on nine strikeouts. The lone earned run came off the bat of Pujols who crushed a homer to center field in the third inning, his 496th long ball of his career. Pujols now moves into lone possession of 26th place on the all-time long fly list.

Angels starter Hector Santiago countered Chavez, pitching seven innings of one-run ball with five hits and three punch-outs. Cespedes’ third homer, a solo shot to right center to make it 2-1 Angels in the fourth inning proved the lone blemish to Santiago’s ERA. The A’s outfielder now has home runs in consecutive games after going yard off Charlie Furbush in the A’s 3-0 win in Seattle Sunday.

The Halos Joe Smith and Oakland’s Johnson pitched scoreless eighths for their respective clubs, opening the door for Jaso’s fireworks in the ninth. Josh Donaldson, owner of a now eight game hitting streak, welcomed Angels closer Ernesto Frieri to the top of the ninth with a single. Cespedes then hit a deep fly out to center for the first out on a 2-2 count. Cespedes had asked for time from home plate Tim Welke, but was denied his request on the pitch. A’s manager Bob Melvin then called on Jaso to pinch hit for Norris after the backstop went 0-for-3 against Santiago.

Last season, Oakland finished dead last in batting average for pinch hitters with 20 hits in 139 substitute at-bats. Jaso entered Monday hitting .200 as a pinch hitter with a lone home run. He turned on a 1-2 offering from Frieri and deposited deep in the right field bleachers to put the A’s ahead 3-2. With Frieri (0-1, 6.75 ERA) lifted after his first blown save of the season, Jose Alvarez finished off the final two-thirds of the ninth.

Melvin tabbed Gregerson to be the closer-by-committee candidate Monday evening, and the right-hander reward his manager with a perfect inning. Gregerson produced ground outs by Ibanez and Howie Kendrick, the latter of which came on a bang-bang play challenged by Angels Manager Mike Scoscia but upheld after replay proved inconclusive to overturn the out call on the field. Gregerson coaxed a fly out from former World Series MVP (then with the St. Louis Cardinals)David Freese to notch his second save of the campaign and pick up the A’s 14th win in their last 20 games at Angel Stadium.

Oakland and Los Angeles faceoff in game two of the three-game set Tuesday night, with Dan Straily (1-1, 2.77 ERA) tabbed by Melvin to take the slab. He’ll be countered by Garret Richards (2-0, 0.75 ERA) who enters play Tuesday with only one earned run allowed over 12 innings.

Ducks win New Year’s Eve battle

(Photo: Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports)

By Pearl Allison Lo

 

ANAHEIM– Matt Belesky’s goal was the first consecutive goal for either team as the Ducks left for New Year’s Eve celebrations with a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks.

Belesky’s goal came at 18:30 of the second period, as he was aided by Nick Bonino, who had just scored about three and a half minutes earlier.

Anaheim’s now 15-0-2 record at home is their best such start in franchise history, as they snapped the Sharks’ four-game winning streak after losing to them Sunday.

San Jose’s Logan Couture commented, “We didn’t play very well tonight, you know, the second period, we were awful, one of the worst periods for our season, if not the worst…”

The 5-on-5 on ice with two players in the box became a 5-on-4 when the Sharks’ Matt Irwin was called for holding at 5:38 of the first period.

The Ducks’ Kyle Palmieri scored the first and lone goal of the period at 16:24, aided by Beleskey and Cam Fowler.

Antti Niemi made consecutive saves against Anaheim’s Corey Perry with just over 2:47 left in the period. As the first shot bounced off Niemi, Niemi’s second save became a glove catch from straightaway.

Perry then had a slashing penalty with 15 seconds to go to give San Jose a power play.

After a faceoff with about 14.7 seconds left, Couture thought the puck went in the net but it bounced off the goal post and then after a teammate’s missed attempt, Patrick Marleau got the rebound off Jonas Hiller and put the puck inside. However, the goal went under review and it was ruled that time expired before Marleau made the shot.

The Sharks made up for it though by scoring 35 seconds into the second period to tie the game. Dan Boyle was helped by Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton on the continuing power play.

A bouncing puck on top of the net as Niemi tried to find it and Boyle tried to prevent the puck from going in, almost led to an own goal.

The Ducks thought they scored later near the net but Niemi was able to stop the puck with his leg against the goal post.

Anaheim ended up outshooting San Jose 25-8 in the second period, after the Sharks outshot the Ducks 17-8 in the first.

Francois Beauchemin’s first goal of the season put Anaheim up 2-1 at 11:00 of the second. It was the third attempt by the team during the possession and went between Niemi’s legs. Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg assisted on the play.

About a minute and a half later, Couture switched stick sides and then aimed at the top of the net to retie the game, aided by Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The Ducks scored on the power play when Bonino was able to go around Niemo’s leg. Getzlaf and Fowler got their second assists of the game with Bonino’s goal to make it 3-2. This would be the first of four straight goals for Anaheim.

Before Beleskey’s goal, Thornton had an empty net but Ben Lovejoy was able to come up from behind and block Thornton with his stick.

Getzlaf got into a semi-breakaway and shot off the goal post and into the net to make it 5-2 at 1:14 of the third period. This gave him his fourth career 20-goal season and took Niemi out of the game.

Down shorthanded about 15 seconds later, Saku Koivu went into a clean breakway about a minute into San Jose’s power play. Koivu’s shot missed and Andrew Cogliano scored off the rebound against Alex Stalock, Niemi’s replacement.

The Sharks scored their second power play less than a minute later. Bracken Kearns got his second goal in two games against the Ducks as he tipped in Matt Irwin’s shot from the blue line in front of the net.

 

Game notes: Cogliano has started 500 straight NHL games, the fifth to do so in NHL history. San Jose starts the New Year playing the Edmonton Oilers January 2 at 7:30pm.