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Colorado Avalanche beat San Jose Sharks 6-3 to close Vegas Rookie Faceoff

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The Avalanche kids won a one-goal game 6-3, and leave Vegas with their heads held high.

NHL: Preseason-Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche
Sep 21, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Sergei Boikov (42) holds his arm as he skates off the ice in the first period against the Dallas Stars at the Pepsi Center.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tough weekend for the Colorado Avalanche in Vegas, but what else is new. After dropping back-to-back games to the Vegas Golden Knights and Anaheim Ducks on Saturday and Sunday, the Baby Avs showed up on Tuesday afternoon and beat the San Jose Sharks prospects 6-3. Goaltender Petr Kvaca, who was taken in the fourth-round of the 2017 draft, got the win for the Avs in his second game.

Once again, thank you to Nathan Rudolph (@AvalancheReview on Twitter) for all the video clips of the game.

First Period

1-0

Speedy Ty Lewis kicked off the game with a brilliant rush from his own zone, through the neutral zone, and into the offensive zone. As Lewis circled around the back of the net, he fed ECHL-bound defenseman Nolan De Jong, who stepped up from the blueline when he noticed Lewis was drawing the opponents eyes, and buried the first goal of the game.

At first, I thought Lewis’ play was pretty selfish, he had multiple passing options in his own end, as well as when he reached the offensive blueline, but at a certain point, it became clear he was out-classing his opposition and just went for it. I can’t fault him for that.

Courtesy: Nathan Rudolph (@AvalancheReview)

1-1

Something I’ve noticed all throughout this tournament, is that the Avalanche forwards are really bad at finding their marks after the puck moves from behind the net to the front of the net. A defensive awareness issue like that is fairly common in younger players, but it consistantly killed them in this tournament.

Prime example, in San Jose’s first goal of the game, Vladislav Kamenev completely got caught puck-watching and wasn’t able to get back to cover the point in time to stop the shot by Cody Donaghey.

Courtesy: Nathan Rudolph (@AvalancheReview)

2-1

The Avalanche took the lead again near the end of the first period, and it all started with Sergei Boikov. He had the puck, waiting for his teammates to change lines and get set up. After assessing the entire ice he spotted Captain Kamenev streaking to a space between the two Sharks defensemen and shot the puck like a bullet right into his stick. From there, Kamenev used his soft hands and above-average wingspan and potted home the go-ahead goal for the Avs.

These are two of the more interesting prospects in Colorado’s system. Boikov is a big, left-shot defenseman, who didn’t get to have his age-21 season due to injury. Seeing where his level is at now that he’s healthy will be a big indicator as to his future. Kamenev is new to the organization after being traded from Nashville in the Duchene trade, he might make the NHL roster this year and be a very important piece down the road. Seeing them team up for a goal like this is very encouraging to see.

Courtesy: Nathan Rudolph (@AvalancheReview)

Second Period

2-2

Bah, this goal was a chuck-in-the-garbage-and-move-on kind of goal for the skaters and a head-banger for netminder Kvaca. The Avs are on the penalty kill and they are in good position to cover all the major plays that the Sharks could make from that angle. All of them except a shot from a bad angle that gets by the goalie on the far glove side. I don’t know who Jake Gricius is, he wasn’t drafted, but apparently he has a great shot.

Courtesy: Nathan Rudolph (@AvalancheReview)

Kvaca made up for his mistake pretty quickly when he made a few highlight-reel saves off rush chances. Those saves definitely deserve a hearty pat on the helmet after the play. *pat* *pat*

Third Period

3-2

A strong forecheck by the Avs fourth line forced the San Jose defense to try and weakly chip the puck over the blueline. This allowed Alex Breton to keep the puck in the zone and shovel it towards ECHLers Matthew Boucher and R.T. Rice. Rice made a quick pass to the middle of ice, which is now in chaos as the Sharks tried to get their players back into the zone. Tim McGauley picked up the pass and gave the Avs their third lead of the game, at the perfect time.

Courtesy: Nathan Rudolph (@AvalancheReview)

Sharks top pick Ryan Merkley showed off why his stock dropped so far from the start of the 2017-18 season until the draft. As the puck leaves the Avs zone, Merkley gets caught not moving his feet and loses the puck swiftly to ATO winger Robbie Holmes. The Avs quickly transition through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone with numbers. Fourth-rounder Nick Henry takes Holmes’ pass and tries to feed him at the front of the net for a tap-in, but the puck gets caught up in some feet. Brandon Saigeon gets to the puck first and buries home the brace that seals the win for the Avalanche.

Courtesy: Nathan Rudolph (@AvalancheReview)

From there, the Avs shut down the Sharks pretty well. Saigeon got a empty-net goal to bring the score to 5-2 before giving up a 6-on-5 goal that brought the Sharks back within two. Martin Kaut would have the last laugh, getting the final empty-net goal and sealing the 6-3 win for the Avalanche.

And with that, the Avalanche arrive to training camp on a Happy Gilmour!