Stalock, WorSharks Survive Falcon Attack, 3-2

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

The Worcester Sharks came off their extended holiday break at full steam and jumped out to an early two goal lead only to lose that lead in what has become an all too frequent third period collapse, but thanks to some very timely saves by goaltender Alex Stalock Worcester was able to grab the two points in a 3-2 shootout win over the Springfield Falcons at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts in front of 3,121 fans.

Worcester, playing its first game in ten days due to the Christmas holidays and Sunday evening’s contest against the Portland Pirates being postponed because of the latest “storm of the century”, came out of the gates like a team that has something to prove, and just 90 seconds into the opening period found themselves up 1-0 when Cory Quirk found Jonathan Cheechoo with an easy pass. Cheechoo faked his shot and then slid the puck over to Steven Zalewski, who fired a 15 foot blast by Falcons netminder Gustaf Wesslau.

With all the injuries and call-ups Worcester has had lots of players playing on different lines, but their second goal in Springfield is the reason why the Crazed Rats have generally been kept together after Andrew Desjardins took a Matt Irwin feed and fired the puck on net toward line mate Dan DaSilva. Wesslau made the save on the shot, but DaSilva was right there to corral the rebound and flip it over the netminder at 11:57. Worcester would out shoot the Falcons 14-4.

The WorSharks would enjoy a similar shot advantage in period number two, 19-9, but all the great scoring chances would go Springfield’s way. After a couple of nice saves by Stalock–including a nifty breakaway save on Maksim Mayorov–the Falcons would finally light the lamp at 13:41 when Matt Calvert threw a pass from the left wing side over to Mike Blunden all alone in the right wing circle. Blundin’s blast low along the ice beat Stalock to the far side to cut Worcester’s lead in half. With just over two minutes remaining in the period Lady Luck would rain down on Worcester when Nikita Filatov beat Stalock cleanly only to have his shot ring off the iron.

The third period began just as the second ended, with the ice tilted toward the WorSharks goal. Stalock continued to make great save after great save, including stopping Mayorov’s second clean breakaway attempt, but as Worcester has learned far too often this season when you play on your heels eventually a bad bounce will get you. After a clean face-off win by Springfield in the Worcester zone Falcons defenseman John Moore fired the puck on net. Stalock made the save but Springfield crashed the net for the rebound, and Trevor Frischmon was able to get his stick on it and flip it into the net to knot the game 2-2 at 12:22.

Despite two power play chances after the tying goal, one in regulation and one in overtime, Worcester could not regain the lead–they would go a pitiful 0-7 with the man advantage–as the game would head to a shootout. The Falcons would grab two goals against Stalock as Mayorov and Tomas Kubalik would both be credited with goals. Each was scored the same way, with Stalock making the initial save only to slide back into his net with the puck under him. Worcester would connect on three chances, with Cheechoo beating Wesslau to the high glove side and Quirk firing a laser past Wesslau’s blocker. The game winner by James Marcou was hardly a highlight type goal as the rookie winger lost control of the puck as he tried to go to the backhand just as he got to Wesslau’s crease. The puck must have had eyes as it continued forward toward the goal line and through the five hole to give Worcester the extra point.

In the last couple of days there has been enough transactions for Worcester to fill a notebook. The Worcester Shuttle has made a stop in the Bay State, picking up forwards Brandon Mashinter and Tommy Wingles while dropping off defenseman Justin Braun. The rookie defenseman isn’t counted as a healthy scratch as he didn’t make it back to the east coast by game time. To take Mashinter’s place the WorSharks have signed Ryan Del Monte from the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) to a PTO. It’s Del Monte’s second stint in the AHL under a PTO this season, with his first being with the Rochester Americans. As fate would have it Del Monte and WorSharks captain Jay Leach got into a fight when the Amerks and WorSharks played here on October 29. Del Monte and Nick Petrecki also mixed it up with both getting matching roughing minors.

Just as Jonathan Cheechoo comes off the injury list another name goes back on with Cam MacIntyre (groin) rejoining Tony Lucia (concussion) and Frazer McLaren (hip). Carter Hutton was the back-up netminder.

For the first time in the WorSharks era head coach Roy Sommer was not behind the bench for Team Teal as he was with his family in California at the funeral for his father Harold, who passed away on December 21 of pneumonia. He was 81. This writer didn’t know anything of Mr. Sommer until a few days ago when I heard he’d passed, and out of curiosity Googled his name looking for his obituary. I urge everyone to head to Google and check out the many, many articles written about his life. There are lots of great stories to be read. Assistant coach Dave Cunniff was joined by pro scout Jason Rowe behind the bench.

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 32 Alex Stalock (25 saves)
2. SPR – 40 Gustaf Wesslau (36 saves)
3. SPR – 19 Trevor Frischmon (g)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Jonathan Cheechoo.

Even strength Lines
Lizon/Del Monte/Loprieno


Worcester 2 0 0 0 – 3
Springfield 0 1 1 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Worcester, Zalewski 2 (Cheechoo, Quirk), 1:30. 2, Worcester, DaSilva 6 (Desjardins, Irwin), 11:57. Penalties-D’Alvise Spr (hooking), 12:35; Moore Wor (fighting), 15:04; Sestito Spr (boarding, fighting), 15:04; Henderson Wor (tripping), 17:32.

2nd Period-3, Springfield, Blunden 12 (Calvert, Clitsome), 13:41. Penalties-Holden Spr (cross-checking), 0:37; Sestito Spr (slashing), 14:16; Calvert Spr (interference), 17:53.

3rd Period-4, Springfield, Frischmon 3 (Tarnasky, Moore), 12:22. Penalties-Marshall Wor (high-sticking), 1:35; Goertzen Spr (hooking), 16:04.

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Holden Spr (holding), 1:48.

Shootout – Worcester 3 (Cheechoo G, Trevelyan NG, Marshall NG, Quirk G, Marcou G), Springfield 2 (Mayorov G, Calvert NG, Filatov NG, Kubalik G, D’Alvise NG).
Shots on Goal-Worcester 14-19-3-2-1-39. Springfield 4-9-13-1-0-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0/7; Springfield 0/2.
Goalies-Worcester, Stalock 14-11-2 (27 shots-25 saves). Springfield, Wesslau 3-5-1 (38 shots-36 saves).
Referee-Chris Brown (86). Linesmen-Chris Low (88), Derek Wahl (46).

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