WorSharks, Stalock More Than Hershey Could Bear In 3-2 Victory

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Thursday, November 25, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks played a Thanksgiving eve game and learned what they probably already knew, that they are very thankful Alex Stalock is their number one goaltender. Stalock made a season high 41 saves, many of which were highlight reel quality, to defeat the two time defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears 3-2 Wednesday night at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania in front of 9,506 fans.

For teams that play each other just twice a season there seems to be a little bad blood between the two franchises, with the WorSharks and Bears combining for 134 penalty minutes in their two meetings last season. For a short while it looked like that could be the trend again when Brandon Mashinter and Phil Oreskovic decided to introduce themselves at 2:08 of the first period, but two quick scores by Worcester while the majors were being served put the focus back on playing hockey.

The Crazed Rats, Worcester’s best line during the last couple of weeks, gave the WorSharks a 1-0 lead at 4:02 of the period when Andrew Desjardins threw a nifty pass to Dan DaSilva standing on the opposite side of the crease, and DaSilva’s backhander beat Bears netminder Dany Sabourin for his second goal in as many games. Kevin Henderson had the other assist on the play.

The WorSharks top line, which has struggled as of late, extended that lead to 2-0 when Sean Sullivan’s pass sent Tommy Wingles past Bears defenseman and 650 game NHL veteran Sheldon Souray on a breakaway down the slot. Wingles wrister, also assisted by Benn Ferriero, lit the lamp at 5:45 and gave Worcester a little bit of breathing room. And the WorSharks would need every bit of that as Hershey’s relentless attack forced Stalock to make incredible save after incredible save.

Despite Stalock’s heroics Hershey would finally break through at 11:43 of the second period when a bouncing puck went there way. After a Zach Miskovic blast from the point was blocked by Worcester the puck bounced off to the right of Stalock. Mathieu Perreault jumped on the loose puck and flipped a shot from just under the face-off circle over a downed Stalock and into the net.

After Stalock nearly single handedly killed Jonathan Cheechoo’s elbowing minor Sullivan would give Worcester its two goal lead back when Cheechoo fed him the puck to the top of the left circle. In what looked like a replay of his last two goals Sullivan ripped a booming one-timer on net past Sabourin with just 50.3 seconds remaining in the second. The goal was Sullivan’s third in as many games.

The Bears would get back within one when just 1:13 into period number three when Jay Beagle converted a rebound of Souray’s point blast on the power play, but that would be all Hershey could put past Stalock as he continued to add plays to his highlight reel. Hershey would have three more power play chances in the third after Beagle’s tally, but Stalock’s play allowed the WorSharks to feast on two important points.

With Wednesday being the busiest travel day of the year Worcester decided to head to the Keystone State on Tuesday. During the trip out west word reached the team bus Justin Braun had been recalled to San Jose, so a quick detour to the airport in Newark, NJ was arranged. Tony Lucia, Cam MacIntyre, and Frazer McLaren were the scratches for Worcester. Carter Hutton was the back-up netminder.

In a scheduling oddity, both Worcester and San Jose played against their league’s defending champions Wednesday night. San Jose’s 5-2 win over the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks allowed for a sweep of the defending champions. The last time an NHL team and it’s AHL affiliate both played their league’s defending champions on the same day was last season, and it also involved the Sharks organization. On March 14, 2010 the WorSharks defeated these same Bears 6-2 at the DCU center while San Jose lost a 4-2 decision in Anaheim to the Ducks.

Alex Stalock is undefeated in games where he makes 40 or more saves, going 4-0 in those contests. His career high for saves is 46 during a 2-0 win in Norfolk late last March.

The win improves Worcester all-time record against the two time defending Calder Cup champion Bears to 5-3-0-1. The loss for Hershey was their fifth in regulation at the Giant Center, a shocking stat considering they only had four regulation losses over their 40 game home schedule last season, going 34-4-0-2.

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 32 Alex Stalock (41 saves)
2. WOR – 37 Sean Sullivan (gwg,a)
3. WOR – 21 Benn Ferriero (2a)

Alex Stalock was also the AHL’s #2 star of the night.

The Sharkspage player of the game generally recognizes a player that isn’t one of the top two stars, and/or contributed in a manner that isn’t reflected in the boxscore. But Stalock’s performance was so far above and beyond anything we’ve seen this season he’s the clear cut player of the game.

Worcester 2 1 0 – 3
Hershey 0 1 1 – 2

1st Period-1, Worcester, DaSilva 3 (Desjardins, Henderson), 4:02. 2, Worcester, Wingels 5 (Sullivan, Ferriero), 5:45. Penalties-Mashinter Wor (fighting), 2:08; Oreskovic Her (fighting), 2:08; Trevelyan Wor (slashing), 19:17.

2nd Period-3, Hershey, Perreault 5 (Miskovic), 11:43. 4, Worcester, Sullivan 6 (Cheechoo, Ferriero), 19:09. Penalties-Trevelyan Wor (tripping), 8:01; Willsie Her (goaltender interference), 8:42; Cheechoo Wor (elbowing), 16:56; Schaus Wor (slashing), 20:00.

3rd Period-5, Hershey, Beagle 3 (Souray, Kane), 1:13 (PP). Penalties-Zalewski Wor (hooking), 4:09; Irwin Wor (delay of game), 8:02; served by Mashinter Wor (bench minor – too many men), 12:18; Greentree Her (slashing), 17:23; Greentree Her (goaltender interference), 19:42.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 10-7-4-21. Hershey 13-15-15-43.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0/3; Hershey 1/7.
Goalies-Worcester, Stalock 8-6-1 (43 shots-41 saves). Hershey, Sabourin 3-7-0 (21 shots-18 saves).
Referee-Jamie Koharski (84). Linesmen-Chris Allman (11), Bob Goodman (90).

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