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Notebook: Thoughts on 2021 Sharks Prospect Scrimmage

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The 2021 Sharks Prospect Scrimmage returned in a very high-scoring affair.

Thomas Bordeleau #47 of the U.S. Nationals skates up ice with the puck against the Switzerland Nationals during day-2 of game two of the 2018 Under-17 Four Nations Tournament at USA Hockey Arena on December 12, 2018 in Plymouth, Michigan. USA defeated Switzerland 3-1. Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Even though I couldn’t be in the SAP Center for this edition of the San Jose Sharks’ Prospect Scrimmage as I usually am due to COVID protocols, I still made sure to catch this year’s action via the team’s live-streaming of the scrimmage.

As usual, the game was contested by Team Marchment, who wore teal jerseys in the scrimmage, and Team Ricci, who wore white jerseys. Notable names on Team Marchment included William Eklund, Thomas Bordeleau and Ryan Merkley, while Team Ricci claimed Ozzy Wiesblatt, John Leonard and Artemi Kniazev. As the game went along, I took notes of what impressed me from this crop of prospects hoping to crack a roster spot on the Sharks or their AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda.


First Period

18:50: Dillon Hamaliuk already catching my eye, working hard in the corners.

16:07: Ozzy Wiesblatt with some speed and nifty moves and comes within just inches of the opening goal in this prospect scrimmage.

15:00: Gannon Laroque doing a great job of shutting William Eklund down not once, but twice. Not an easy task.

10:25: Joe Garreffa gets in the way of a 3-on-1 scoring chance for Team Marchment.

9:38: Ozzy Wiesblatt with a one-timer right off the face-off that is swallowed up by Zach Sawchenko.

7:00: Rocky Thompson’s son, Tyr Thompson, with a nice one-time opportunity.

5:48: A beautiful tic-tac-toe play by Brandon Coe to Thomas Bordeleau and who else but William Eklund gets the first goal of the scrimmage! Credit also goes to Brinson Pasichnuk, who had a nice zone entry.

1:10: Another big scoring chance for Team Marchment, once again it’s William Eklund in the middle of it. He made a great pass to Brandon Coe that was turned aside by Alexei Melnichuk

END FIRST: Team Marchment 1, Team Ricci 0

Second Period

As usual, the goaltenders change for both teams to start the period. In for Team Marchment comes University of Denver starter Magnus Chrona, and Benjamin Gaudreau takes over in net for Team Ricci.

18:17: Alex Young has been very noticeable so far for Team Marchment. All over the place, in a good way.

16:57: Artemi Kniazev ties this game up at 1 apiece. Great feed from Jasper Weatherby to set up that one-timer from Kniazev!

13:20: It seems the tables have turned in Team Ricci’s favor— and just as I type this they score!

13:12: Gavin White fires a puck into bodies in front of the net, and Krystof Hrabik is the man to put it home, giving Team Ricci a 2-1 lead.

12:48: Turn the sprinkler systems on because Team Ricci is on fire! Montana Onyebuchi jumps up in the play, catches a pass from Ozzy Wiesblatt, and fires it past Chrona for a 3-1 lead.

11:23: Well, this has not been the best period for Team Marchment. Southern California native Jake McGrew gets around Magnus Chrona and puts it in with the backhand to give Team Ricci a 4-1 lead.

10:05: Adam Raska gets tagged with the first penalty of the game after kneeing Ryan Merkley, and contrary to my previous belief, there WILL be special teams in this scrimmage. Team Marchment heads to the power play.

8:10: Kyle Topping has a good chance in front of the net, but nothing comes of it. Back to full strength.

7:27: Topping once again making an impact along with Timofey Spitserov, but Benjamin Gaudreau stands tall.

6:26: Adam Raska right in there in front of the crease trying to get rebounds. He’s been a big physical presence so far.

5:08: Not the best shift for Ryan Merkley, blowing a tire and then an unimpressive shot that ends up going the other way.

2:23: Adam Raska is just blood-thirsty for rebounds right now, but Magnus Chrona seems to have settled in after his shaky start to the period.

0:41: John Leonard went from his own zone to the offensive zone in a hurry. That is a lot of speed!

END SECOND: Team Marchment 1, Team Ricci 4

Third Period

The goaltenders have once again been swapped out. I can’t make them out but I believe it’s Zach Emond in for Team Ricci and Pierce Charleson in for Team Marchment.

18:35: Hard work pays off for Adam Raska! He goes short-side on Pierce Charleson and gets the goal he’d been working for to make it 5-1 in favor of Team Ricci.

13:37: Team Marchment seems to have a lot more fire in this period. Time will tell if it will translate to goals.

12:31: Montana Onyebuchi fires one on net that’s poked at by Ozzy Wiesblatt, but Charleson holds on. Onyebuchi’s a try-out name that has really impressed me so far.

12:16: Some nice passing by — I believe — Theo Jacobsson and — I know — Tyr Thompson.

11:11: Max McCue all alone on the right side of the ice goes post-and-in, and this game is getting out of hand. 6-1, Team Ricci.

9:09: Ozzy Wiesblatt with some nifty hand-work, but it’s Ryan Merkley who disrupts the play.

7:21: There’s gonna be a penalty and it looks like it’s going against Team Ricci. Not sure who it was just yet, but roughing will be the call and Team Marchment goes on their second power-play of the night.

5:29: Pretty good pressure by this Team Marchment power-play unit.

4:41: My goodness, it is 7-1 as Adam Raska scores his second goal of the game. He and Danil Guschsin have been creating havoc all game long.

3:12: We have a fight!!! It’s gonna be Macauley Carson and Montana Onyebuchi after Carson came in high with an elbow. Judging by the crimson all over Carson’s face, I’m definitely giving this one to Onyebuchi.

2:43: Jasper Weatherby scores goal number 8 for Team Ricci, via a great setup by Max McCue.

END OF REGULATION: Team Marchment 1, Team Ricci 8

But wait, there’s more! There will be a five-minute, 3-on-3 period before the shootout.

Overtime

3:45: Thomas Bordeleau displaying some good puck protection, but runs out of gas.

3:08: All game long I’ve been waiting for Ryan Merkley to show me something. Nice pass by Kyle Topping leads to a back-hand shot that’s corraled by Emond. I guess that’s something.

2:31: Team Teal finally scores again! Alex Young takes it all by himself, cuts in on Max McCue and tucks it behind Zachary Emond. The score is now 8-2, Team Ricci.

0:56.8: Timofey Spitserov fakes out Emond on a breakaway and slides it in with the back-hand, and Team Marchment continues to chip away at this now 8-3 Team Ricci lead.

FINAL: Team Marchment 3, Team Ricci 8

There was an additional shootout using AHL rules — five shooters, no matter what. This ended in a 2-2 tie.

Post-game musings

  • One name that really surprised me tonight was Adam Raska, who I’ll give my MVP vote to for this edition of the Prospect Scrimmage. A 2020 seventh-round pick, Raska would simply not be denied tonight, with two goals for Team Ricci, and was simply working his tail off in front of the net.
  • Raska’s linemate, Danil Gushchin, didn’t have any goals in regulation or the overtime period, but in the shootout portion of the scrimmage scored one of the most incredible shootout goals I’ve ever seen. Simply highlight-reel stuff:
  • For Team Marchment, you have your Eklunds and your Bordeleaus (who were both great, I might add), but the University of Vermont commit Timofey Spitserov also looked good out there along with another 2020 seventh-round pick, Alex Young, who both had goals in the overtime portion of the scrimmage.
  • Ryan Merkley was a player I was really hoping to see more out of from this scrimmage, but it’s worth pointing out that he was playing on his off-side for most of the game.
  • It was a little tough to get a read on all six goalies that featured on the night for both teams, because of how offensively-based the game was — at one point, Dan Rusanowsky pointed out that Team Ricci had 60 shots on goal. However, I was impressed by how Benjamin Gaudreau played, as well as Zach Emond. Magnus Chrona didn’t have the best of starts to his period, but seemed to settle down as the period went on.