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Roenick reaches historic milestone
11/10/07 - by Mike Lee

The wait is finally over. Now the Sharks can focus on winning. Jeremy Roenick scored his 500th career NHL goal on Saturday night to become only the 3rd American born player to reach the historic milestone, and in doing so, helped the Sharks knock off the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1. The 2nd period tally helped San Jose break a 1-1 tie and leapfrog back into the Pacific Division lead.

Roenick vowed earlier this week that he wouldn't break the record with an empty net goal, but he got a little help from the HP Pavilion glass and the Coyotes goaltender Alex Auld to reach number 500. The 19-year veteran's big goal found it's way into the net after Roenick fired a dump-in from outside the Coyotes blueline, bouncing it off the end board glass and Auld. The puck trickled along the goal line, before Auld pushed it into his own goal after trying to sweep it clear with his own stick.

It took a second for the sellout crowd to figure out what had happened, but once they saw the red light come on, HP Pavilion erupted. Roenick circled in front of the Sharks bench with both arms stretched out in triumph. He hugged several teammates, then acknowledged a standing ovation. After signaling his family in the crowd, it appeared as if he teared up, mouthing "thank you" to all those that were there to witness the feat.

The goal gave the Sharks the lead for good, and helped them knock off a division rival, something they've had an issue with lately.

Things didn't start so festively for the Sharks. Steven Reinprecht gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead midway through the 1st period, chipping a shot past Evgeni Nabokov after Peter Mueller setup the goal with a pass on a bang-bang play on a Phoenix break.

The Sharks seemed edgy for most of the opening period. Marc-Edouard Vlasic took a holding the stick penalty just 9 seconds into the contest.

San Jose would kick things into gear with help from two of the new guard, and the veteran prodigal defenseman.

Devin Setoguchi tied the game at 1-1 with a wrist shot that beat Auld from 2 feet after Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton setup the play with a series of passes in the Coyotes zone. The Sharks controlled the puck before finally beating Auld.

Roenick would bag his goal 3 minutes later to give the Sharks the lead for good.

Rather than allowing the opposition to get back into the game, like they did in Anaheim on Thursday night, the Sharks kept up the offensive pressure. That would pay dividends when Torrey Mitchell scored his second goal of the season early in the 3rd period.

Mitchell took a feed from Christian Ehrhoff before beating Coyotes defenseman Keith Ballard around the right wing, then backhanding the puck past Auld with a highlight reel shot. Mitchell scored his first NHL goal on Friday against Anaheim and followed it up with one of the prettier goals of the season.

The Sharks would tack on a 4th goal midway through the period after a series of penalties put the Sharks on a 4-on-3 man-advantage. Daniel Carcillo and Milan Michalek took offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after the two mixed it up at 10:01 of the period. Ballard would take a hooking penalty 19 seconds later to put the Sharks on the power play.

Sharks defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh would convert on the power play immediately, rifling a shot from the point, past Auld. Patrick Marleau screened the Coyotes netminder, allowing Ozolinsh to score his first goal for San Jose in 12 years. Ozolinsh was traded to Colorado in 1995 for Owen Nolan.

The only thing that remained was Roenick's curtain call at the end of the game. The unspoken forward even accentuated that opportunity, by carrying his 10-year old son out on to the ice, piggy back style as he circled the ice as the evening's 1st star.

Games Notes:

Ehrhoff and Curtis Brown returned to the lineup after spending the last two games in the press box as healthy scratches. Marcel Goc and Matt Carle took their place high above the ice on Saturday night.

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1 2 3 T
PHO 1 0 0 1
SJ 0 2 2 4
1st period - 1, PHO, Reinprecht 5 (Mueller, Doan), 9:00.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Setoguchi 3 (Pavelski, Thornton), 3:11. 3, SJ, Roenick 5 (inassisted), 6:35.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Mitchell 2 (Ehrhoff), 5:26. 5, SJ, Ozolinsh 1 (Thornton), 10:29, (pp).
1st period - Vlasic, SJ (holding the stick), 0:09.
2nd period - Kapanen, PHO (hooking), 1:07; Carcillo, PHO (cross checking), 8:36; Ballard, PHO (hooking), 18:31.
3rd period - Rissmiller, SJ (roughing),, 3:22; Carcillo, PHO (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:01; Michalek, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:01; Ballard, PHO (hooking), 10:20.
Shots Saves
PHO - Auld 28 24
SJ - Nabokov 23 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
PHO 8 9 6 23
SJ 7 14 7 28
Power Play Conversion
PHO 0 of 3
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Jeremy Roenick
Torrey Mitchell
Sandis Ozolinsh
Referees: Chris Lee, Ian Walsh. Linesmen: Shane Heyer, Tim Nowak.

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