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Preseason opens with OT thriller
Sharks tie game late, then win in extra session
9/27/16 - By Mike Lee -

The longest summer on record in San Jose is officially over. Hockey is back. Considering the way things finished on SAP Center ice, everyone in the south bay wants to get things moving, so Tuesday night's preseason opener popped the top off the 2016-17 NHL season. It was only a preseason game, but the Sharks got off to a winning start by taking a 3-2 decision in overtime over the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

Kevin Labanc sent the home crowd home happy by firing a rebound past Canucks goaltender Michael Garteig 1:05 into the extra period to turn what is typically mundane preseason hockey into a bit of a thriller.

The Sharks overcame a 2-1 deficit late in the 3rd period, when Tommy Wingels punched home a rebound with 22.8 seconds left in regulation. New Sharks defenseman David Schlmemko setup the goal with a shot from the blueline that wove through traffic, deflecting off of Garteig.

Yes, it was a preseason game. Yes, it was two lineups filed with prospects. It was still a nice way to kickoff a season. San Jose raised the bar last season, so more should be expected of those prospects. San Jose is trying to establish a consistently successful mindset within their organization, so even preseason games should be taken seriously.

Labanc, along with a slew of other young hopefuls turned in a gritty comeback after staking the Canucks to a pair of leads in the game.

Markus Sorensen emerged as a player to keep an eye on. He was consistently in the mix early in the contest. Centerman Ryan Carpenter earned the game's second star with a nice two way game all night.

Nikolay Goldobin got off to a nice start in the opening period, flashing his offensive skills with a trio of scoring chances. Goldobin seemed to fade in the latter periods, which is exactly what led to his demotion last season. The young Russian needs to bring more intensity and consistency if he wants to land a spot on this season's roster. There's simply too much competition.

Fans didn't even get a chance to see Goldobin's competition, which includes former first round draft pick Timo Meier.

In addition to Wingels, the only regulars in the Sharks lineup include Matt Nieto, Brenden Dillon and Chris Tierney. Schlemko is a lock to make the Sharks defensive corps, so throw him into the pool of everyday players that saw the ice on Tuesday night.

With so few roster spots available with the big club, it was an opportunity to some of San Jose's young hopefuls to make an impression. Forwards Barclay Goodrow and John McCarthy did little to make the grand statement that would lead to much beyond spot filler duty this season.

Defenseman Mirco Mueller is the guy everyone hopes will emerge as a defensive option for San Jose, but his game looks much the same as it has the past two seasons. The clock is ticking on Mueller's opportunity, so he needs to more of a shutdown defenseman that's eluded his repertoire.

Goaltender Troy Grosenick turned in a reasonable performance, but his replaceemtn Mantas Armanis has some work to do. Armanis looked a but lost in net, and was overwhelmed by the pace of the game.

Grosenick fooled everyone into believing that he was injured toward the end of his 35 minute stint in net, when he was pushed back across the goal line and got his helmet stuck in the netting. As he flailed around trying to free himself, it looked as if he was writing in pain. Grosenick got a chuckle out of the trainer that was halfway to the net by the time he pried himself out of the net.

One other point to call out was the Sharks perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. San Jose did misfire on three power play chances of their own.

Ticket Jam

The unveiled some of their Sharks 365 program for season ticket holders, which included early entry, and concession credits. The credit varies by the cost of the ticket, ranging from $5 to $15 dollars. The lower end credit is good for about 80% of the cost of a drink.

The other big change this season is the elimination of printed tickets. Season ticket holders can access games via barcodes accessible from a mobile device, or tickets printed at home. The jury is still out on how well the new program will work.


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1 2 3 OT T
VAN 1 0 1 0 2
SJ 0 1 1 1 3
1st period - 1, VAN, Horvat 1 (Virtanen), 2:06.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Goodrow 1 (Labanc, Carpenter), 14:00.
3rd period - 3, VAN, Baertschi 1 (Sautner, Subban), 8:24. 4, SJ, Wingels 1 (Schlemko, Tierney), 19:37.
Overtime - 5, SJ, Labanc 1 (Nieto, Schlemko), 1:05.
1st period - Virtanen, VAN (interference), 8:55; Billins, VAN (holding the stick), 12:45; Billins, VAN (holding the stick), 15:26; Wingels, SJ (holding the stick), 16:26.
2nd period - Sorensen, SJ (holding), 9:13; Haley, SJ (interference), 14:49.
3rd period - Goodrow, SJ (hooking), 4:47; Nieto, SJ (high sticking), 9:45.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
VAN - Bachman 20 20
VAN - Garteig 13 10
SJ - Grosenick 8 7
SJ - Armalis 7 6
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
VAN 4 6 4 1 15
SJ 15 11 6 1 33
Power Play Conversion
VAN 0 of 5
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Chris Tierney
Ryan Carpenter
Bo Horvat
Referees: Leggo, Brenk. Linesmen: Gawryletz, Heyer.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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