WorSharks Lose More Than Just The Game In 3-2 Overtime Loss to Whale

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Saturday, December 18, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks missed several golden opportunities in regulation to put away the Connecticut Whale but couldn’t capitalize on any of them, and then gave up the game winning goal with just 29.5 seconds left in overtime to drop a 3-2 contest Friday night at the XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Hartford, Connecticut in front of 5,307 fans. To add injury to insult, WorSharks leading scorer Jonathan Cheechoo had to leave the game with an injury after being boarded by Mats Zuccarello in the opening moments of the second period and he did not return. His status is unknown for tonight’s game in Bridgeport.

The last two times these teams met they combined for 138 penalty minutes, so everyone was expecting a very physical game. And that’s exactly what happened with the teams getting together in the opening period for more fights than goals, three vs two, and for more penalties than total shots on goal, twelve against ten. Kevin Henderson and Jared Nightingale would kick off the dance card at 1:35 of the opening period in the Whale’s zone, and unfortunately for Worcester they seemed back on their heels after the scrap. Connecticut winger Kelsey Tessier would give the Whale a 1-0 lead at  5:40 of the period when he fought off a Cory Quirk check just outside the crease and banged a rebound home past WorSharks netminder Alex Stalock.

After a hit from behind on T.J. Trevelyan by Justin Soryal that went uncalled by referee Geno Binda, Brandon Mashinter and Soryal went at it in a lengthy bout at 6:36. Worcester then went on three consecutive power plays where they generated very little offense. Frustration was beginning to mount for the WorSharks, and it boiled over with just 56 seconds remaining in the period when Jay Leach showed that “C” on his chest wasn’t there just for show when he pulled Nightingale out of a pile of players and pounded the winger to fully earn his fighting major. Despite having his arm up before the scrum referee Binda somehow determined that there would be matching penalties, although Worcester did end up with a four on three power play a few seconds later when Zuccarello was called for interference.

Matt Irwin would get Worcester even on a goal officially listed at 19:59. With the puck being passed around and the WorSharks bench yelling out to its power play to shoot as the clock wound down Irwin fired a 45 foot blast on Whale goaltender Chad Johnson. With Mashinter setting a screen Johnson never got a good look at it and the puck went past him just as the horn sounded, with the green light going on instead of the red goal light. But referee Binda, standing right on the goal line to the left of the net, emphatically signaled the goal was good and after a brief consultation with his linesmen Binda confirmed his call. The AHL does not use replay for disputed goals, although in this case it wouldn’t have mattered as it was inconclusive and the call on the ice would have stood in either case. This writer thinks the WorSharks may have gotten an early Christmas gift. Cheechoo and Sean Sullivan had the helpers on the goal.

Worcester would take the lead at 7:13 of the second period after Mashinter grabbed a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated down the left wing, firing a shot over the glove of Johnson from the face-off circle for the unassisted tally.

Connecticut got the game back to even with a power play goal at 16:05. With Andrew Desjardins playing without a stick the Whale was able to move the puck around the zone with relative ease, and Jeremy Williams was able to find an open shooting lane. Williams shot went through traffic and hit Stalock and bounced into the net. In the final fight of the contest Dan DaSilva and Ryan Garlock went at it at 17:25.

The WorSharks controlled play in the third period, including almost thirty seconds of five on three power play time, but they couldn’t put the puck past Johnson. After charging the net trying for the overtime winner the WorSharks surrendered an odd man rush the other way when a Johnson kick save was collected by Wade Redden and sent out to Chad Kolarik. With three Worcester players trapped deep in the Whale zone Kolarik waited for Redden to catch up as they went two on one on Mike Moore. Moore played Redden the entire way allowing Kolarik to go in on Stalock, and Kolarik’s wrister beat the netminder high to the glove side and just inside the corner.

Earlier this week forward Jason Pitton asked to be released from his PTO and be returned to Stockton, and the WorSharks complied with his request. In his place Worcester signed Erick Lizon from the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) to a PTO. Lizon is more known for his physical play as opposed to his point scoring abilities. After the game Worcester signed Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) forward David Marshall to a PTO, presumably to replace an injured Jonathan Cheechoo. Marshall had two goals, including a game winner, in nine games with the Rochester Americans earlier this season. Friday night’s scratches for Worcester were Joe Loprieno (healthy), Tony Lucia (concussion), and Frazer McLaren (hip). Carter Hutton was the back-up netminder.

Current point streaks for Worcester are Matt Irwin at 4 games (3g,2a) and Cheechoo at 3 games (2g,3a). Pitton has a two game streak going (2g), but it’s probably safe to say that streak won’t make it to three games with Worcester. Nick Schaus has been “even” or better for eight straight games.

Last night was the first time in AHL history all thirty teams were playing on the same day. The next time every club is scheduled to play on the same date is Saturday, January 8.

The three stars of the game were
1. CT – 42 Chad Kolarik (gwg)
2. CT – 36 Mats Zuccarello (a)
3. WOR – 53 Brandon Mashinter (g)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Jay Leach.

Worcester 1 1 0 0 – 2
Connecticut 1 1 0 1 – 3

1st Period-1, Connecticut, Tessier 5 (Niemi, McDonagh), 5:40. 2, Worcester, Irwin 6 (Cheechoo, Sullivan), 19:59 (PP). Penalties-Henderson Wor (fighting), 1:35; Nightingale Ct (fighting), 1:35; Mashinter Wor (slashing), 2:18; Mashinter Wor (fighting), 6:36; Soryal Ct (fighting), 6:36; Eizenman Ct (tripping), 12:59; Kundratek Ct (hooking), 15:21; Leach Wor (roughing, fighting), 19:04; Kennedy Ct (roughing), 19:04; Nightingale Ct (fighting), 19:04; Zuccarello Ct (interference), 19:38.

2nd Period-3, Worcester, Mashinter 6   7:13. 4, Connecticut, Williams 16 (Newbury, Zuccarello), 16:05 (PP). Penalties-Zuccarello Ct (boarding), 0:34; Wingels Wor (holding), 9:42; Mashinter Wor (holding), 14:36; DaSilva Wor (fighting), 17:25; Garlock Ct (fighting), 17:25.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Leach Wor (roughing), 6:08; Dupont Ct (double minor – high-sticking), 10:14; Nightingale Ct (delay of game), 13:46.

OT Period-5, Connecticut, Kolarik 11 (Redden, Johnson), 4:30. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Worcester 5-9-13-3-30. Connecticut 5-12-5-4-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1/7; Connecticut 1/4.
Goalies-Worcester, Stalock 13-10-2 (26 shots-23 saves). Connecticut, Johnson 9-10-3 (30 shots-28 saves).
Referee-Geno Binda (22). Linesmen-Jim Briggs (83), Glen Cooke (6).

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