Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Drop Preseason Opener 4-0

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Thursday, September 30, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


The Worcester Sharks–or maybe more correctly, a bunch of guys wearing Worcester Sharks jerseys–dropped their exhibition opener 4-0 to the Providence Bruins Wednesday night at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Massachusetts. Worcester continues its exhibition schedule Friday night in Springfield against the Falcons.

The WorSharks used a line-up that contained just two players that saw any time in Worcester last season, defensemen Joe Loprieno and Matt Irwin, and only one other player penciled on to this season’s roster, goaltender Carter Hutton. The rest of the team consisted of players from San Jose’s new ECHL affiliate, the Stockton Thunder, and players from lower levels trying earn a spot on what appears to be on paper a tough roster to crack. When you take that sort of line-up into a game, along with just one day of practice, it’s probably going to be a long night if you’re just interested in the score.

And it was.

Providence would connect for two in the opening period, with Brandon Gentile beating WorSharks starting netminder Hutton five-hole at 7:16 on the power play and Yannick Riendeau firing a wrist shot over Hutton’s right shoulder and under the crossbar at 15:41. Both were shots Hutton probably should have saved.

Sandwiched between the P-Bruins tallys was a five minute power play for the WorSharks after Providence defenseman Todd Perry was given a major and a game misconduct for throwing a check to the head of Worcester forward Chris Auger. Andrew Smale jumped to Auger’s defense resulting in the first of three fights between the teams in the contest.

Despite that five minute man advantage and two additional power plays Worcester didn’t generate any good scoring chances in the period, and that trend continued into the second period as both teams clamped down defensively in the first half of the middle stanza.

Near the midpoint of the game Hutton gave way to Kevin Reiter. The goaltender, sporting a very cool looking Basingstoke Bisons mask, received a rude welcome to the AHL level when Antoine Roussel flipped the first shot Reiter saw over him and into the net for a 3-0 P-Bruins lead at 12:37.

After taking exception to an earlier slash against him, Joe Loprieno took out some frustration on Providence forward Jordan Smotherman by delivering an NHL-level cross check to the left winger in the corner to the right of Reiter. Smotherman and Loprieno then wrestled in the corner for the second fight of the contest.

The P-Bruins took away any chance of a miracle comeback, not that there really was one with Worcester showing an anemic offense and Providence netminder Matt Dalton looking in mid-season form, when Casey Haynes batted a loose puck out of the air and into the net for a 4-0 lead at 12:13 of the third.

Worcester’s best scoring chance came with just over six minutes remaining in the contest when Garet Hunt—no relation to this writer that I know of—wheeled the net and tried to stuff the bouncing puck just inside the far post. Dalton, who had gotten hung up in a little traffic in front of the net, was still able to get to the puck to keep the WorSharks off the board.

However, Hunt wasn’t done trying to create some highlights for Worcester. With just 10.2 seconds remaining in the contest Hunt, who is generously listed at 5’8” and 190 pounds, took on 6’2” 225 pound Jack Christian, Christian, who played for Harvard last season, probably wanted to have taken a closer look at the line-up card as the smaller Hunt has averaged over 230 penalty minutes his last two ECHL seasons in Stockton. The result was exactly as one would expect, and was posted on YouTube by SharksVision.

GAME NOTES
SharksVision also interviewed WorSharks head coach Roy Sommer and Hunt after the game.

With the glut of goaltenders in the San Jose organization one name has been conspicuously absent from  training camp rosters–Tyson Sexsmith. Sexsmith, the highly rated prospect who started last season in Worcester but never really got his legs under him at the AHL level, had season ending hernia surgery in March. Questions about Sexsmith to hockey operations in San Jose and Worcester have resulted in some fairly cryptic answers about what Sexsmith’s condition is and what their plans for the second year pro are, but Sharkspage has learned that Sexsmith will be starting the season in Stockton. Questions as to why he was not at San Jose’s or Worcester training camps have still gone unanswered.

The WorSharks went with just two assistant captains for the contest, with Joe Loprieno and ECHL veteran Ryan Constant wearing the letters. WorSharks beat writer Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette has a nice feature about the game that focuses on Constant. They also have a photo gallery of the contest you can see from the main sports page.

The even strength lines, in no particular order:
Michael Dubuc/Chris Lawrence/Rob Bellamy
Leigh Salters/Chris/D’Alvise/Derek Patrosso
Garet Hunt/Andrew Smale/Chris Auger

Ryan Constant/Jody Penderson
Cameron Brodie/Dominic D’Amour
Joe Loprieno/Matt Irwin

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