The Sharks escaped Penticton with a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames' top prospects Sunday night behind a marker from Christopher Lalencette late in the second period. San Jose's prospects and tryouts finished 1-2 in the Young Stars tournament, playing competitively in all but the Winnipeg game on Friday.
Playing without Tomas Hertl, Konrad Abeltshauser, Rylan Schwartz and Mirco Mueller surely made San Jose the underdogs in this game, but gave opportunities to many of the players invited to Penticton on a tryout basis. Great nights from Eriah Hayes (eight shots and an assist), Max Iafrate (three shots and an assist) and Matthew Nieto (two shots, one goal) sent the Sharks to their only victory in the tournament.
Six of the Flames' top 10 prospects played in the tournament, including number one prospect Sean Monahan and number two prospect Sven Baertschi. Number seven prospect Markus Granlund made his presence known early with a goal at 3:51 in the first period. He and Baertschi led the Flames with three shots apiece.
Despite the early tally from Granlund, the Sharks controlled much of the play in the first two periods. They outshot the Flames 26-9 through the first two periods. All five goals were scored in the opening two periods as the third period went scoreless and was the only frame where the Sharks were outshot by Calgary (14-8).
San Jose evened the game at one halfway through the first on a Colby Cave deflection of a Max Iafrate shot on the first of four Sharks' powerplays. Two of Iafrate's three shots generated scoring chances, with both shots coming from the point.
Nieto gave the Sharks the lead 12 seconds in to the second period up an assist on an assist from Hayes; it seemed to catch the Flames' players (and broadcasters) by surprise as the Sharks took their first lead of the Young Stars tournament. It was his first goal (and point) of the tournament. The Sharks number four prospect took five shots over three games.
Calgary wasn't finished scoring, though. A giveaway right in front of the net by Sharks' goalie J.P. Andersson allowed Calgary's number four prospect Corban Knight to tie the game for the Flames at 4:13.
The Sharks scored the final goal of the game as a booming shot from Nikolas Brouillard was deflected by Lalencette at 18:08 of the second period. Flame's netminder Laurent Brossoit had no chance on the two tipped shots. Calgary allowed plenty of traffic in front of the Canadian goalie and the Sharks were more than happy to take advantage.
Riley Brace played a solid game and notched four shots for the Sharks, second only to Hayes in shots taken.
Number eight prospect Dylan Demelo took one shot and had a solid night for the Sharks defensively, particularly late in the game when the Flames' attack became more aggressive.
The Sharks went 1-4 on the powerplay Sunday and finished the tournament 2-19 on the man-advantage. San Jose gave up one goal on 14 penalty kills and were outscored 10-8 over the three game run.
Kyle Bigos and Keegan Kanzig engaged in the only fight of the game with Kanzig getting the best of it. The broadcasters seemed to indicate that this was far from the 18-year-old's first rodeo, while we have been reminded all weekend of Bigos' penalty minute prowess -- 125 minutes in his final season with Merrimack College.
Pre-season hockey begins on Sept. 16 and will also be in British Columbia as the Sharks will battle the Vancouver Canucks.