Ducks fall 8-4 to Flames’ rookies.

Playing their second game in less than 24 hours, fatigue seemed to catch up to the Ducks’ rookies in an 8-4 loss to the Calgary Flames at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, British Columbia.

Tied at 3 midway through the second period, the Flames rallied for five straight goals against Anaheim goalie Marco Cousineau, who allowed all eight in his first appearance of the tournament. Forward Jon Rheault, who split last season between the AHL and ECHL, had three goals and an assist for Calgary.

John Kurtz, Jake Newton, Devante Smith-Pelly and Jake Carrick scored for the Ducks, who were outshot 41-22. Calgary had four power-play goals to the Ducks’ two. Cam Fowler and Peter Holland had assists on the goals by Kurtz and Newton, respectively.

“Penalty kill is a hard thing. You have to have special people that are
committed to doing it – guys that are committed to blocking shots all
the time,” Mark Holick, coach of the rookie Ducks, told the team’s website. “We didn’t
jump on loose pucks and we didn’t put enough pressure on their power
play. Your goalie is your best penalty killer and I thought maybe a
couple of those he would like back too.”

The Ducks will play their third and final tournament game Wednesday against the host Vancouver Canucks (4 p.m.), a game that will be streamed live on the Ducks’ website.

A few snap judgments:

Not all the Ducks’ rookies had played the day before, in a 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks, so not all could hide behind fatigue as an excuse for the loss.

If there’s been a recurring problem for the youngsters, it’s that both the Sharks and the Flames have had no trouble creating traffic around the crease. Cousineau probably didn’t see several of the eight goals go by, and Timo Pielmeier was bothered similarly on Sunday. Puck-moving defensemen Cam Fowler and Jake Newton aren’t crashers and bangers. The guys you would expect to be clearing out the crease – Mark Mitera (6-3, 210), Mat Clark (6-3, 211), Benn Olson (6-4, 215) and Scott Ramsay (6-4, 215) – must not be doing so. Rheault is a fearless 5-11 and 200 pounds, but one wouldn’t expect him to be getting in close that easily.

It would be nice to see if defenseman Jake Gardiner, whom the Ducks drafted in the first round (17th overall) in 2008, could have an impact here. But he is currently preparing for the upcoming NCAA season at the University of Wisconsin, where he was recently named an assistant captain.

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