(All photos: Cassie Houchin)
Fans donning teal and black (and also Star Wars gear) in support of the San Jose Sharks were delighted in an overtime win Saturday night. The traveling Philadelphia Flyers, who had the momentum of two wins against San Jose’s’ rivals Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks in their California road trip, did not make it easy for the Sharks. It truly was a battle in the hockey galaxy for two teams that are usually far, far away.
The Flyers and Nolan Patrick set the tone early by scoring only 37 seconds into the game. This would be a game of catch up for the Sharks from the start. Timo Meier got the Sharks started, less than three minutes after Patrick’s goal, his first of two on the night. The Sharks got a lot of offensive-zone time in the first period, notching 16 shots on goal to the Flyers’ 9 shots. Although having less shots, the Flyers scored just moments before intermission, this time Jordan Weal making it 2-1 for the Flyers at the end of the first. Not for the first time in the night the Sharks would go into the locker room in between periods behind in goals.
The second period had as much gusto, speed, and passing as the first, each team scoring a goal. Captain Claude Giroux’s hooking call put the Sharks on a power play and captain Joe Pavelski was able to even the score on a pass from Kevin Labanc, the first and only power play goal of the game. Already with 10 assists on the year, Jakub Voracek responded to Pavelski’s goal and getting the go-ahead goal for the Flyers, just a half a minute before the second period ended. The Sharks, once again, started the next period playing catch up.
Back from his nine-game hiatus on the injured reserved list due to a knee infection, Veteran Joe Thornton made up for lost time and scored his first goal of the season, tying up the score late in the game. This was Labanc’s second assist of the game and his tenth point on the young year. This would push the game into overtime, something longtime Sharks fans have dreaded. This time, they didn’t have to wait long, for victory came at only 13 seconds into the extra frame off the stick of Meier, his second goal of the night. Meier is having a phenomenal year with 11 goals and five assists in 14 games played.
Fans left the building with either a “Dark Side” rebel alliance or “Light Side” Jedi alliance t-shirt to commemorate Star Wars night, but every fan left with a story of the battle in which the Sharks were victorious.