WorSharks’ Pair Of Threes Beats Devils, 6-3

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Sunday, December 12, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks entered the final twenty minutes of Saturday night’s contest leading 3-0 and then had another third period collapse that allowed the Albany Devils to tie the game at 3-3, but the WorSharks stormed back over the last five minutes to take the game 6-3 at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York in front of an announced crowd of 2,403.

Worcester would have two great back to back chances at the mid point of the first period but couldn’t convert on either of them. The first was a great goal scorer’s move by Cam MacIntyre, who was standing with the puck in the slot facing away from the Devil’s net. With no other better option available to him MacIntyre fired a backhander through his own legs and through the legs of the defenseman marking him. Albany netminder Mike McKenna never saw the puck until it was just under him and managed to get the pads closed to keep the puck just outside the net. The play was whistled dead as Worcester crashed the net looking for the loose puck and knocked the net off the moorings. Seconds later after the face-off Jay Leach blasted the puck on net through a screen that rang off the iron to the left of McKenna.

Andrew Desjardins would get the WorSharks on the board at 12:43 of the opening period with a goal off a rebound. After Kevin Henderson fed Nick Schaus to the far point, the rookie defenseman fired a blast on net into a little traffic that McKenna had all the way. But the netminder couldn’t control the rebound, and Desjardins swooped in to bang the puck home into a wide open net.

Sean Sullivan made it 2-0 with a power play tally late in the period, and it was how many of his previous eight tallies have been, off a booming one-timer from the face-off circle. After a Matt Irwin feed to James Marcou, the rookie winger saw Sullivan set up all alone across the ice in the right circle and threw a nice pass that the defenseman ripped on net to beat McKenna with 43.3 ticks left in the opening stanza. Sullivan now leads all AHL defenseman with nine goals.

Jonathan Cheechoo would make it 3-0 at 2:55 of the second period after a nice feed by T.J. Trevelyan. While standing behind the net looking for an opening to the front Trevelyan spied a passing lane to Cheechoo all alone just outside the crease to the left of McKenna. As he was being checked Trevelyan threw an easy pass to Cheechoo, who fired a quick wrist shot that McKenna had no chance on.

Unfortunately for Worcester, third period collapses have started to become common place, and Saturday night was no exception. Albany made it 3-1 at 2:24 of the third after a nice pass by Tyler Eckford from his own zone off the right wing glass that sent Matt Anderson in all alone on WorSharks netminder Carter Hutton. Anderson fired a wrist shot that beat Hutton to the glove side.

The WorSharks seemed to wright the ship after that goal despite the edge in play starting to favor the Devils, but it took just sixty seconds of letdown to get Albany back to even. With Joe Loprieno and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond in the box for matching roughing minors and the teams skating four on four Devils captain Stephen Gionta beat Hutton at 13:02. Exactly one minute later Tim Sestito would light the lamp to make it 3-3.

But the three goal comeback looked to take everything Albany had, and the WorSharks seemed to realize that as they picked their play up several notches and took it right back at the Devils. Tommy Wingles would get Worcester’s lead back at 15:28 after grabbing a loose puck behind the Albany net and jamming a wrap-around home. After an Irwin dump in Cheechoo held the puck behind McKenna’s net, and left the puck exposed so Wingles could skate through and grab it. McKenna was on the post guarding the short side, but Wingles wouldn’t be denied and jammed the puck home.

Jason Pitton, playing on Worcester’s fourth line on a PTO, gave the WorSharks a little breathing room at 17:04 with his first of the season. Just a few moments earlier McKenna had stoned the winger on a breakaway, but Pitton must have seen enough to make his second chance count. After a turnover in the neutral zone Marcou grabbed the loose puck and sent Pitton into the offensive zone down the left wing. Pitton held the puck into the circle and fired a shot that beat McKenna in the five hole. Brandon Mashiner grabbed Worcester first empty net goal of the season at 18:15 to allow the WorSharks to leave The Empire State with two pints.

Worcester’s injury list remains unchanged and the team had no health scratches. Alex Stalock being lifted in Friday night’s contest had nothing to do with his sitting out Saturday’s game, it was a scheduled night off for the netminder.

This is the second franchise the WorSharks have played in Albany. In previous seasons the team there was the River Rats, most late the affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes. When Carolina purchased and moved that franchise to Charlotte, North Carolina the New Jersey Devils moved their franchise from Lowell, Massachusetts to Albany. Previous to their owning an AHL franchise the Devils were affiliated with the River Rats. This writer wishes to thank the Lowell Devils Booster club, who shared their bus with several Worcester Sharks fans on the journey to Albany. The 2,403 number looked to be a generous count, which is a shame because the Times Union Center is a great place to watch a game and a favorite stop for many of the Worcester faithful.

Mike Ricci joined head coach Roy Sommer and assistant Dave Cunniff behind the bench. WorSharks General Manager Wayne Thomas was also in attendance, and gave several Worcester fans a thumbs up when he saw them walking along the concourse prior to the start of the second period.

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 17 Tommy Wingels (gwg)
2. WOR – 14 Jonathan Cheechoo (g,a,+2)
3. ALB – 29 Matt Anderson (g)

The Sharkspage player of the game was James Marcou.

Worcester 2 1 3 – 6
Albany 0 0 3 – 3

1st Period-1, Worcester, Desjardins 4 (Schaus, Henderson), 12:43. 2, Worcester, Sullivan 9 (Marcou, Irwin), 19:16 (PP). Penalties-Robitaille Alb (holding), 13:52; Gionta Alb (holding), 17:37.

2nd Period-3, Worcester, Cheechoo 10 (Trevelyan), 2:55. Penalties-DaSilva Wor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 0:40; Nagy Alb (hooking), 15:26.

3rd Period-4, Albany, Anderson 10 (Eckford, Zharkov), 2:24. 5, Albany, Gionta 3 (Swift), 13:02. 6, Albany, Sestito 2 (Magnan, Wiseman), 14:02. 7, Worcester, Wingels 6 (Cheechoo, Irwin), 15:28. 8, Worcester, Pitton 1 (Marcou), 17:04. 9, Worcester, Mashinter 5   18:15 (EN). Penalties-Robitaille Alb (roughing), 6:43; Loprieno Wor (roughing), 12:09; Letourneau-Leblond Alb (roughing), 12:09.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 19-13-10-42. Albany 5-8-7-20.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1/4; Albany 0/1.
Goalies-Worcester, Hutton 2-0-2 (20 shots-17 saves). Albany, McKenna 2-5-0 (41 shots-36 saves).
Referee-Chris Ciamaga (41). Linesmen-Jim Harper (59), Mike Emanatian (69).

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