|Goalie Chirstopher Gibson (photo by: Cikiri)|
Rookie game tournament or not, the Kings brass can’t be pleased with what they saw on Wednesday night – especially in the third period.
Leading 6-3 after 40 minutes, the Kings came from ahead to lose the game 8-7 after a disastrous final period – where goalie Christopher Gibson gave up five goals.
Brandon Kozun, one of the assistant captains in the game, called the loss “unacceptable” and declared, “We cannot let leads like that get away.”
What happened? Well, “there were a lot of nervous guys in that dressing room,” Kozun surmised.
Martin Jones started in net for the Kings and stopped 28 of the 31 shots he faced in two periods. Coach Mark Morris (of Manchester) elected to put Gibson in for the third – a move he had planned out even prior to the game starting.
Gibson gave up five goals on 13 shots – three of them were with the Coyotes on the power play.
“All those goals weren’t one guy’s fault,” said Kozun. “They were the entire team. I feel bad for Gibby because we put him in a pretty tough spot out there. It’s tough, but everyone has to be reliable out there. It’s not one guy, it’s the whole team.”
On the positive side, Kozun had a pair of goals and led all Kings players with three points.
Joining him with a pair of goals was a player who is quickly growing on coach Terry Murray, 2011 draft pick Andy Andreoff.
The 6-foot-1 center was exactly as Murray had advertised during his MayorsManor interview earlier in the week – gritty and a goal scorer.
Andreoff first scored midway through the first period, then just five seconds later got into a scrap off the ensuing faceoff.
After the game he said “I’m just trying to play hard and get used to the experience here at the camp – getting used to the speed and size and toughness here.”
In response to the nerves, Andreoff admitted – “Everyone has some butterflies in their stomach, it’s our first NHL experience, for some of us. I got the butterflies out in the first period by getting off a few shots and battling hard in the corners. If I keep playing hard, I’ll be fine.”
As for the fight – “The energy was going after I scored and I wanted to show everything I could. So, I asked him (Harrison Ruopp) to fight and he obliged.”
He also tied for the team lead with five shots. That number was matched by Rob Mignardi and Ray Kaunisto.
Michael Schumacher assisted on both of Andreoff’s goals and had a solid all around game – including using his body and letting his size be a factor when members of the Coyotes would try to get advantageous position around the net. Schumacher also led all players win the game ith a plus-3 rating.
In addition to Kaunisto’s shots on goal, he also tied for the team lead in hits (five, matched by Michael Kantor and Rob Mignardi) and posted one goal and one assist.
He wasn’t satisfied with his overall play though, saying “I don’t think my defensive game was all there and that’s kind of what I wanted to come here and focus on. I had a couple of turnovers in the d-zone and one of them ended up on a goal against. I think I need to sharpen up on that. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll bounce back.”
Sadly, he said nobody was chirping much out there. Thus, he didn’t get to put any of his quick wit to work.
Jake Muzzin, team captain for the tournament, and Nic Deslauriers looked the most impressive among the defenseman. However, it should be noted that camp invitee Pierre Durepos was the star of the first period. He made several spectacular defensive plays and blocked a shot by laying on the ice after his partner was beat by one of the Coyotes. Unfortunately, he tailed off as the game went on and finished the night minus-2.
Kozun later said, “You have to make mistakes to get better. So, hopefully we can learn from it and get off to a better start (on Thursday).”
The MayorsManor three stars of the night from the Kings side were:
1. Kozun – two goals, one assist, four shots
2. Andreoff – two goals, plus-2, nine PIM, five shots
3. Schumacher – two assists, plus-3
Over on the Coyotes side, Brett Hextall – son of Ron – netted two goals and hit just about everything on the ice. Andy Miele, former Hobey Baker winner (top college hockey player), also looked good. He had two points (1 goal, 1 assist) and played exceptionally strong in the third period.
Game two is scheduled for 2pm PST today and can be seen LIVE on MayorsManor via a stream provided by Kings Vision. Log on early, the pre-game starts at 1:45pm…and I hear they have a special guest lined up.
Finally, if you watched the game, please vote in today’s poll – Which Kings prospect was most impressive in game one? – vote here.