SAN JOSE – For the first 18 minutes of the first period of the Sharks-Canucks meeting on Tuesday night, goaltender Troy Grosenick was the loneliest guy in the cozy minor league arena.
Competing in his first-ever NHL preseason game, Grosenick watched as the Sharks dominated territorially in recording 13 of the first 14 shots on goal.
Late in the frame, though, with the game still scoreless, Grosenick stood tall after a Justin Braun turnover led to Vancouver’s only sustained pressure of the frame.
His best save of the night came when he got his right pad on an attempt from close range by Brendan Gaunce, and the Sharks eventually broke through on the scoreboard to take control with three goals in the second period of a 5-2 win.
“I felt like that gave the guys a little bit of confidence that even though [Canucks goalie Jakob] Markstrom was standing on his head at the other end, that we weren’t going to be behind in a game that really, if you look at it, we were completely dominating,” Grosenick said.
He picked up the win, playing the whole game and needing to make just 10 saves on a dozen Vancouver shots.
“It was more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge last night. I felt pretty good about it,” he said.
Grosenick sits third on the Sharks’ depth chart behind Antti Niemi and Alex Stalock (or is it Alex Stalock and Antti Niemi?) and will likely get the bulk of the time in Worcester.
He outplayed Harri Sateri there last season, posting an 18-14-0 record with a 2.63 goals-against average and .903 save percentage, so the Sharks weren’t all that traumatized when Sateri decided to bolt for the KHL this offseason.
A Wisconsin native, Grosenick played three seasons at Union College from 2010-13, and was signed as a free agent by the Sharks on April 8, 2013. His agent, Dan Plante, also represents Joe Pavelski, Tommy Wingels and Matt Tennyson.
At 25 years old, Grosenick is a bit older than your average prospect. Could that extra experience aid him if the Sharks need to call on him during the season?
“I think age is just a number, it has to do with maturity,” he said. “There’s guys that are 18, 19 that are mature enough to do it and there’s guys that are 27 and 28 that aren’t mature enough to do it.
“I feel like my experiences in hockey have taught me that patience is a virtue. Hard work eventually pays off. That’s the way I’ve been going and the way I’ll continue to go forward.”
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The Sharks made three cuts on Wednesday morning, sending forward Jimmy Bonneau and goalie Aaron Dell to Worcester’s training camp. Goalie Ben Meisner was released from a tryout.
Further cuts could come as soon as later Wednesday or Thursday.