SAN JOSE 0 (OT)
It didn’t take long for the NHL’s new three-on-three overtime format to be needed. And what a homecoming stage it provided for Victoria’s Adam Cracknell, who buried the overtime winner at 1:39 from the slot in a 1-0 Vancouver Canucks victory over the San Jose Sharks in the annual Kraft Hockeyville pre-season game at the Q Centre in Colwood.
Cracknell played his minor hockey just up the hill in the Juan de Fuca Arena.
“It was exciting. I had a lot of time, with a delayed penalty called, and the corner open,” said Cracknell.
“I was not passing it up. Not here. Not now.”
It was only exhibition, but it was a goal that will be long remembered.
“Usually, I can hear my mom whistling. But not tonight because there was too much noise [when he scored],” said Cracknell.
The Island product was brought in to provide depth up the middle for the Canucks and he laid a pretty good hit on Jeremy Roy in the corner earlier in the game. Cracknell later survived incurring a third-period penalty with San Jose pressing. He then saved the best for last on his old stomping grounds.
“This is a chance to showcase myself,” said the centre, who has worked his way up from the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL, where Cracknell and Canucks assistant coach Glen Gulutzan went to the Kelly Cup final together.
Exhibition games are meaningful for players, such as Cracknell, with things to prove and statements to make. So too other members of the Canucks.
“I’ve got a year under my belt,” said sophomore forward Bo Horvat, about his aim of trying to build on that rookie season.
The 26-year-old Brandon Sutter is new to the Canucks and needs to state his case, too.
“I’m going to be the same player [he was in Pittsburgh],” said Sutter, a third-line centre and penalty-killing ace acquired in an off-season trade from the Penguins.
“That is: A two-way player. That’s why I’m here. I’m not going to be a 50-goal scorer.”
Jakob Markstrom of the Canucks and Troy Grosenick of the Sharks started in the crease Monday and both played shutout hockey in their half games of action, with the 26-year-old Union College-product Grosenick stealing a goal on a glove save off Canucks forward Brendan Gaunce in the best play of the first half of the game. Interestingly, of Grosenick’s two NHL career games, one was a shutout.
Richard Bachman, the former Idaho Steelheads ECHLer who played six games for the Edmonton Oilers last season, and Aaron Dell came on in relief to close out the game for the Canucks and Sharks, respectively. Dell stopped Nicklas Jensen on a third-period breakaway while Bachman denied Dylan Sadowy with a fine glove save.
Vancouver finished with 21 shots on net and San Jose 20 through regulation time.
“It was a little sloppy but I was happy with our guys,” said Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer.
I was really happy with the experience [Hockeyville]. It was an awesome day. I was glad we took part in it. It was a great experience.”
The teams meet again tonight in Vancouver, with the bubble loaded with players needing to prove they belong.