WorSharks Use Special Teams To Beat Back Pack, 4-3

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Monday, October 11, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks sandwiched two Benn Ferriero first period power play goals around an even strength Jonathan Cheechoo tally to take an early lead against the Hartford Wolf Pack Sunday afternoon at the XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and then held on for dear life before surviving a final Hartford onslaught to win 4-3 in front of a crown announced at 2,912.

Unlike Saturday night where the WorSharks continually shot themselves in the foot, Sunday afternoon’s first period saw a much better team effort and more disciplined play on Worcester’s part. By playing smarter hockey it put the WorSharks in a better position to take advantage of any mistakes Hartford might make.

And in the first period, the Wolf Pack made plenty of them.

Ferriero would make Hartford pay for their first mistake–a lazy hooking penalty at center ice by Jeremy Williams–by banging home the rebound of a Nick Schaus shot past Hartford goaltender Chad Johnson for a 1-0 lead at 3:27 of the first period. T.J. Trevelyan had the second assist on the goal.

Cheechoo would take advantage of rookie defenseman Ryan McDonagh to grab Worcester’s only even strength goal in the game. McDonagh was unable to mark Cheechoo in front of the net as the veteran calmly deflected Justin Braun’s shot past Johnson from the top of the crease. Ferriero had the second assist on the goal at 11:27.

Worcester would convert on a five on three at 15:34 to make 3-0 after Ferriero was able to jab a loose puck past Johnson. Johnson had made two stops just before the goal, one on Cheechoo and the other on Ferriero, but couldn’t gather the puck in on either chance. Defenseman Sean Sullivan had the second helper on the play.

The WorSharks ended the period with as many goals as Hartford had shots, heading to the break outshooting the Pack 11-3. The bad news for the WorSharks was Hartford woke up during that first intermission and Worcester fell asleep with the shot totals swinging decidedly in Hartford’s favor over the last 20 minutes, 30-13. In the good news department for the WorSharks, netminder Alex Stalock was in mid-season form.

Hartford grabbed the only goal of the second period off a lucky bounce. Stalock had made a save on a blast by Kelsey Tessier, but the puck took a big bounce off the end boards and bounced right back into the crease. Evgeny Grachev was there to jam it home to get Hartford to 3-1. The Wolf pack would make a game of it by lighting the lamp early in the third, and this time it was Tessier jamming the puck home after Stalock had made a save on Dane Byers’ shot from the left circle at 2:54.

James Marcou would give Worcester its two goal lead back when he flipped Cheechoo’s centering pass over Johnson and just under the crossbar for Worcester third power play goal of the night at 6:47. Brandon Mashinter had the other assist on the play.

Tessier would grab a stat killer with just 4.6 seconds remaining when he banged a lose puck home through a scrum of players for the 4-3 final.
Head coach Roy Sommer went with the same line-up as Saturday night in Bridgeport with one exception, dressing Matt Irwin in place of Joe Loprieno.

For anyone that may not know, earlier this season the New York Rangers assigned Wade Redden and his 6.5 million dollar salary to Hartford. Redden still has NHL talent, but because the Rangers needed to clear cap space Redden was waived and sent to the AHL. Redden will need to clear recall waivers to go back to the NHL, so it looks like he may be in the Nutmeg State for some time to come.

There were two fights in the contest, with Sean Sullivan (6′ 190#) taking on Dale Weise (6’2″ 209#) and Nick Petrecki (6’4″ 220#) scrapping with Brodie Dupont (6’2″ 210#). The less said about the third period battles, the better.

Although Worcester plays Hartford seven more times this might be the last game against the Wolf Pack for the WorSharks. At some point during the season which hasn’t been announced yet the Hartford Wolf Pack will become the Connecticut Whale. The next meeting between the two franchises is December 1st, so it’s possible this could be the last game against the Wolf Pack.

Next weekend Worcester embarks on one of its longest road trips–at least mileage wise–of the season. Worcester will head off to Norfolk, Virginia for a pair against the Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In an interview a couple of seasons ago Mike Mudd, now the President for the Worcester Sharks, talked about how having such long trips early in the season was good for getting a team to gel. When asked about the trip a few days ago his opinion didn’t change. “Being able to get away for a weekend this early in the season is great for the guys”, Mudd said. “Even though most of these guys played together last season it’s never hurts to have an opportunity to get everyone on the same page.”

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 21 Benn Ferriero (2g,a)
2. WOR – 14 Jonathan Cheechoo (g,2a)
3. HFD – 90 Kelsey Tessier (2g,a)

Benn Ferriero was the AHL’s #1 star of the night.

The Sharkspage player of the game was Alex Stalock.

Even strength lines

The defensive pairings rotated a lot to the point where it was nearly impossible to keep track.

Worcester 3 0 1 – 4
Hartford 0 1 2 – 3

1st Period-1, Worcester, Ferriero 1 (Schaus, Trevelyan), 3:27 (PP). 2, Worcester, Cheechoo 2 (Braun, Ferriero), 11:27. 3, Worcester, Ferriero 2 (Cheechoo, Sullivan), 15:34 (PP). Penalties-Williams Hfd (hooking), 2:25; Newbury Hfd (unsportsmanlike conduct), 4:22; Mashinter Wor (roughing), 9:01; Dupont Hfd (slashing), 13:39; Newbury Hfd (high-sticking), 15:08.

2nd Period-4, Hartford, Grachev 1 (Tessier, Byers), 16:29. Penalties-Baldwin Hfd (delay of game), 6:16; Schaus Wor (delay of game), 9:00; Williams Hfd (boarding), 9:23.

3rd Period-5, Hartford, Tessier 1 (Byers), 2:54. 6, Worcester, Marcou 1 (Cheechoo, Mashinter), 6:47 (PP). 7, Hartford, Tessier 2 (Redden, Newbury), 19:55. Penalties-McDonagh Hfd (holding), 5:24; Petrecki Wor (cross-checking), 14:57; Sullivan Wor (fighting), 15:52; Weise Hfd (fighting), 15:52; Petrecki Wor (fighting), 19:43; Dupont Hfd (fighting), 19:43.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 11-9-4-24. Hartford 3-11-19-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 3 / 7; Hartford 0 / 3.
Goalies-Worcester, Stalock 1-0-1 (33 shots-30 saves). Hartford, Johnson 1-1-0 (24 shots-20 saves).
Referee-Chris Brown (86). Linesmen-Brent Colby (7), David Spannaus (8).

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