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COYOTES LOSE FIRST ROOKIE GAME 2-1

Wednesday, 09.17.2008 / 12:14 AM / Features
By Russell Brooks
The Coyotes lost 2-1 Tuesday night in the first game of a two-game rookie series with the Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.com Arena.

Though he took the loss, tryout goalie Kurtis Mucha has impressed coach Wayne Gretzky at training camp. (Courtesy L.A.Kings)
Tyler Johnson, who is playing on an amateur tryout agreement, scored the only goal for the Coyotes. Oscar Moller and Wayne Simmonds each scored a goal and added an assist for the Kings.

“I thought it was a good hockey game, especially for the first game of the year,” Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said.
 
Tied at 1, the Kings scored the only goal in the third period when Simmonds finished a shot past Coyotes goalie Kurtis Mucha.
  
The line of Chad Kolarik, Viktor Tikhonov and Kevin Porter impressed Gretzky by creating several opportunities and reeking havoc on the Kings' defense all night.

“The three have a strong work ethic,” Gretzky said. “I thought they had a strong game. They were a little snake bitten around the net, but overall they had a strong game.”

Porter feels the line had good chemistry.

“We seemed to click tonight,” said Porter, who won the Hobey Baker Award last season. “We had a couple chances that we should have buried tonight.”

The Kings scored the first goal when Moller finished a rebound off a shot by Simmonds. The Coyotes responded 30 seconds later when Johnson snuck a backhand past Kings goalie Martin Jones to notch the score at 1.

Mucha, who is with Phoenix on an amateur tryout agreement, made 25 saves.

“I thought he was really strong,” Gretzky said. “I think he has had a real strong training camp for us.”

Mucha is happy he's received an audition with an NHL team.

“It’s a huge opportunity for me,” said Mucha, who played with Portland in the Western Hockey League. “Any time you can go to a pro camp is a good thing for me. I’m trying to do my best out there.”

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