The start of the National Hockey League pre-season felt a little like the playoffs for the Vancouver Canucks. They lost again to the San Jose Sharks. With new coach John Tortorella watching from high above in the press box area a Canuck lineup littered with youngsters dropped a 3-2 decision in their exhibition opener Monday night to the Sharks at Rogers Arena. But the evening was not a total loss for the Canucks even though they were outshot 42-16. Tortorella wanted the youngsters to make an impression and at least three of them did. First-rounders Hunter Shinkaruk and Brendan Gaunce each scored a goal and goaltender Eddie Lack was solid in two periods of work stopping 25 of 27 shots. Shinkaruk a late first-round pick this summer out of Medicine Hat tied the game 2-2 at 1:15 of the third period with a beautiful goal. The 18-year-old took a pass from defenceman Yannick Weber broke down the left wing and beat San Jose goalie Alex Stalock high to the short side with a nifty wrist shot that came from below the left faceoff circle. “I saw a little bit of corner up there” Shinkaruk said. “It’s not all the time that goes in. I try it every now and then. I’m lucky enough it just worked out ... It was a game I’ll never forget it was a lot of fun.” Shinkaruk celebrated the goal by leaping into the glass. Seconds later the scoreboard screen at Rogers Arena showed his parents Roger and Patricia beaming from the stands. “I glanced up there and saw my parents” Shinkaruk said. “That was pretty cool. They are the biggest reason why I am here so it was cool they got to experience that.” Gaunce Vancouver’s first-round pick in 2012 tied the game 1-1 at 17:46 of the first when he scored off the rush on a rebound. Dale Weise’s shot from the right circle was stopped by Stalock but the rebound went directly to Gaunce who put a shot under the Shark goalie’s stick. “I was just going to the net kind of back door and he (Weise) made an awesome play off the pad and I was just in the right spot and it went in for me” Gaunce said. “Any time you score it feels good and that early in the game it felt good.” Gaunce also did some little things that likely caught the attention of the coaches like drawing a penalty on San Jose defenceman Dylan Demelo early in the second period.
Shinkaruk, Gaunce make an impression as Canucks drop 3-2 decision to San Jose
Vancouver Sun | Sep 17