SAVAGE SCORES TWICE - DUCKS BEAT COYOTES IN OVERTIME
By:_ Damon Markiewicz
When Phoenix Coyotes left wing Brian Savage arrived at training camp this season, he was just looking to forget about the past and was focused on having a healthy and productive 2003-04 campaign._ If Sunday night is any indication, Savage is well on his way.
Savage scored two goals for the Coyotes on Sunday, but it was Rob Niedermayer’s goal 51-seconds into overtime that gave the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim a 4-3 win in front of 10,369 at the Arrowhead Pond.
“There is nothing you can do about what happened last year,” said Savage, who is entering his 11th National Hockey League season._ “All I want to do is go out each day and work as hard as I can and help this team be successful._ Everything else will take care of itself.”
The Coyotes held a one-goal lead three times during the game, but the Mighty Ducks on each occasion battled back._ The two teams combined for five second period goals and it was Anaheim defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh’s power play goal at 18:56 of the second period that tied the score at 3-3 and eventually sent the game to overtime._
“Ozolinsh is a great player and adds an offensive element to their blueline,” said Savage._ “You have to make sure you know where he is on the ice because with his offensive skills, he is not afraid to jump into the play.”
Ozolinsh’s tying goal came just 2:52 after Coyotes rookie defenseman Matthew Spiller scored his first professional goal at 16:04 of the second period giving Phoenix a 3-2 lead._
The 6-foot-5, 221-pound Spiller was making his pro debut tonight.
“It felt good to score a goal in my first professional game,” said Spiller._ “I received a bit of good luck, the puck took a funny bounce off of the glass and ended up in the back of the net, but I will take it._ It was my first game so I was nervous, but as the contest progressed I started to feel more comfortable.”
Anaheim tied the score at 2-2 when Jason Krog notched his first marker of the preseason at 14:16 of the second period._ Krog’s goal came just 2:43 after Savage had given the Coyotes a 2-1 lead when he took a nice pass from Chris Gratton and slid a one-timer past Anaheim goaltender Ilja Bryzgalov at 11:33 of the middle period.
The Mighty Ducks tied the score at 1-1 just 41-seconds into the second period when Joffrey Lupul scored his first goal of the preseason assisted by Kurt Sauer and Vaclav Prospal._
The Coyotes opened the scoring at 7:48 of the first period when Savage redirected a Goran Bezina slapshot past Anaheim goaltender Martin Gerber on the power play._
“I just tried to setup a screen in front of the net,” said Savage._ “Jan (Hrdina) made a nice pass to Goran (Bezina) and as the shot came through I was able to deflect it enough to get it past their goaltender.”
Each team split the minutes between both of their netminders._ Brian Boucher started in goal for Phoenix stopping 18 of the 19 shots he faced in 30:45 of action._ Jean-Marc Pelletier stopped 14 of the 17 shots in 30:06 of playing time.___
The Coyotes next preseason game
will be on Wednesday, September 24 when they travel to the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon for a 7:00 PM Arizona time start against the San Jose Sharks.
NEWS AND NOTES
OSSI LEADING THE WAY – Coyotes defenseman Ossi Vaananen led the team in minutes played on Sunday with 24:24 of ice time._ Blueliner Radoslav Suchy was second with 21:55 minutes played.
BACK HOME FOR PRACTICE – The Coyotes return to practice on Monday, September 22 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the ALLTEL Ice Den in Scottsdale.
The Coyotes have four injured players that are listed as day-to-day:_
Right wing Landon Wilson left Sunday’s game early with a groin strain._ Defenseman Bryan Helmer suffered a bruised shoulder against the Mighty Ducks._ Center Chris Ferraro missed the game against Anaheim with flu-like symptoms._ Rookie Mike Stutzel injured his wrist in Saturday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings._ Stutzel completed Saturday’s game, but missed Sunday’s contest.