Michael DiPietro’s NHL debut was one to forget.
The 19-year-old Vancouver Canucks goaltender allowed three goals on the first five shots by the Sharks in a 7-2 San Jose victory on Monday.
It took just 1:04 for the Sharks to put the puck past the youngster, with Timo Meier banging in a one-timer from point blank range to score on San Jose’s first shot of the game. Things went from bad to worse as Evander Kane and Melker Karlsson added their names to the score sheet with goals at 3:22 and 8:48 of the first period, respectively.
It wasn’t all DiPietro’s fault, however. The Windsor, Ont., native had very little help from his team on any of the three goals. Meier was allowed to set up shop in front of the Canucks’ net on the first goal, while Kane’s marker came in large part to a failed attempt by Vancouver defenceman Ben Hutton to catch the puck directly in front of his young netminder.
Karlsson’s goal was the result of a redirected shot through traffic, but Bo Horvat did little to hinder the Sharks forward from tipping the puck past DiPietro.
After surviving the second half of the first period unscathed, DiPietro gave up a second goal to Kane (San Jose’s fourth of the game) early in the middle frame. Tomas Hertl and Kevion Labanc also got in on the action as the second period went just as poorly for the young goaltender as the first.
The nightmarish first 40 minutes complete, DiPietro’s third period was relatively dream-like with just a single goal against. The teenager ended his night with with 17 saves on 24 shots.
A highly touted prospect who has split time this season between the Windsor Spitfires and Ottawa 67’s of the OHL, DiPietro was the starting goalie for Canada in the recent World Junior Championship in Vancouver. Even though the Canadians posted their worst-ever performance at the tournament on home soil, DiPietro won over the Rogers Arena crowd with his stellar play.
DiPietro was called up by the Canucks on an emergency basis on Feb. 5. He was drafted in the third round by Vancouver in the 2017 NHL draft.