WorSharks Power Themselves To Victory Over Falcons, 3-1

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Saturday, January 15, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks found themselves in the all too familiar territory of being scoreless and trailing in the third period, but three quick strikes allowed the WorSharks to celebrate Roy Sommer’s 1000th game as an AHL head coach with a 3-1 win over the Springfield Falcons at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts in front of 3,799 fans.

Despite the opening period seeing no goals it may have been the best period of hockey Worcester has played in some time. The WorSharks were very physical on the defensive end and swarmed the net on offense, outshooting the Falcons 15-6 over the opening 20 minutes. But it still could have been better as a handful of turnovers and absent minded passes eliminated as many scoring chances as the Falcons defense did. Worcester’s physical play boiled over late in the period when Chris Lawrence (6’4″ 210#) took on “heavyweight” Dane Byers (6’3″ 204#) in the Springfield zone. Lawrence, not known for his fighting ability, held his own against Byers to earn a draw in the bout. Worcester killed off the phantom slashing minor that went along with the majors. They would not be so lucky in the next bout.

At the 20:00 minute mark of the first period Tommy Wingles took exception to Mike Blunden shooting the puck on WorSharks netminder Alex Stalock after the first period horn sounded earning them both unsportsmanlike conduct minors. Blundin would not return to the game with a shoulder injury. Those tempers would continue to smolder until 3:15 of the second period when Joe Loprieno (6″3″ 220#) took on Steve Goertzen (6’2″ 215#) behind the Worcester net in another even bout. But again Worcester would find themselves shorthanded when Loprieno was assessed an additional well deserved slashing minor.

It took the Falcons just six seconds on that man advantage to make it 1-0 when Tom Sestito forced a Mike Moore turnover behind the WorSharks net and jammed the puck past Stalock at 3:21.

The WorSharks seemed to lose a bit of steam after the goal with the errors and poor shot selection that have plagued Worcester over the last month or so popping up again. And when the WorSharks were able to get some momentum to their play Falcons goaltender Gustaf Wesslau was there to keep Worcester off the board. While Worcester’s shot advantage continued to rise as the game progressed the momentum was really in Springfield’s favor and were it not for Stalock the game would have been out of hand for the offensively challenged WorSharks. But sometimes all it takes to break a scoring funk is a lucky bounce, and Worcester got one of those.

With Ben Guite in the box serving a major penalty for boarding David Marshall, Byers had a breakaway on Stalock with the netminder holding his ground and making the save. Stalock jumped to his feet and grabbed the rebound and fired it 100 feet up ice to Jonathan Cheechoo. The former Rocket Richard winner broke into the Falcons zone and fired a shot on net that Wesslau made a tough save on, but the rebound bounced right on the stick of Cam MacIntyre, who flipped a backhand into the yawning net to break a 133:03 scoreless streak and a 23 power play attempt scoreless streak at 12:17.

Guite’s major penalty would continue and the WorSharks would capitalize again to take a 2-1 lead when MacIntyre and Cheechoo teamed up for another power play tally. After a timeout by Worcester kept its number one power play line on the ice MacIntyre fed the puck to the blue line where Matt Irwin bombed a one-timer on net through traffic. Wesslau made the save, but Cheechoo was there to bang the puck home at 14:22. The two power play tallies were the first time Worcester has scored goals on consecutive power play attempts since November 6th against Manchester.

Dan DaSilva would cap off the scoring for Worcester at 14:57 after a clean Ryan Del Monte face-off win. The draw went right to DaSilva, who fired a backhander that surprised Wesslau as it found the back of the net. The WorSharks would play great defense the rest of the way–and got a little help from the post to the left of Stalock–to keep Springfield off the board to preserve the 3-1 win.

The Worcester Shuttle was in full swing this week, with Brandon Mashinter moving back went only to head back to San Jose the next day. The shuttle also picked up Justin Braun and Andrew Desjardins in separate transactions. Worcester has had its own injury issues and signed defenseman and Grafton, Massachusetts native Ryan Lannon to a PTO. Lannon is considered a veteran by AHL rules, but Worcester is under the veteran game day limit so there was no issue in dressing Lannon. With Frazer McLaren returning from injury Erick Lizon was released from his PTO and returned to Bakersfield(ECHL). Worcester’s scratches were Tony Lucia (concussion), James Marcou (healthy), Nick Petrecki (back), and Sean Sullivan (lower body) . Carter Hutton was the back-up netminder.

Stalock’s assist on MacIntyre’s goal was his first of the season, but not the first for a WorSharks goaltender this season. Hutton had one in his first game for Worcester on October 16. The assist ties Stalock with Thomas Greiss for the WorSharks career lead in goaltender assists at four. Other Worcester netminders with assists are Tyson Sexsmith and Dmitri Patzold with two each, and Hutton, Frank Doyle, Taylor Dakers, and Nolan Schaefer all have one. No WorSharks goaltender has an assist in playoffs.

A large contingent of Worcester fans made the trip down the Mass Pike for the game and were seated in the section behind the net the WorSharks shoot at twice. Their cheers were incredibly loud on the three Worcester goals, so much so it was hard to tell the visiting team has scored. This writer usually prefers a vantage point somewhere between the blue lines, but the sight lines at the MassMutual Center are so good that sitting high in one of the corners might be a better view of the ice than many of the older buildings give you from along the sides. If you ever visit the MassMutual Center, get the warm kettle chips sold behind section 27. You won’t be disappointed.

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 14 Jonathan Cheechoo (g,a)
2. WOR – 41 Cam MacIntyre (g,a)
3. SPR – 21 Tom Sestito (g)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Alex Stalock.

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

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Sestito Spr (tripping), 14:00; Lawrence Wor (slashing, fighting), 17:54; Byers Spr (fighting), 17:54; Wingels Wor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00; Blunden Spr (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00.

2nd Period-1, Springfield, Sestito 7 (Guite), 3:21 (PP). Penalties-Loprieno Wor (slashing, fighting), 3:15; Goertzen Spr (fighting), 3:15; Tarnasky Spr (tripping), 5:39; Moore Wor (interference), 11:34; Goloubef Spr (delay of game), 18:05.

3rd Period-2, Worcester, MacIntyre 2 (Cheechoo, Stalock), 12:17 (PP). 3, Worcester, Cheechoo 14 (Irwin, MacIntyre), 14:22 (PP). 4, Worcester, DaSilva 7 (Del Monte), 14:57. Penalties-Guite Spr (major – boarding), 9:38.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 15-12-15-42. Springfield 6-10-6-22.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2/6; Springfield 1/3.
Goalies-Worcester, Stalock 16-15-3 (22 shots-21 saves). Springfield, Wesslau 6-6-1 (42 shots-39 saves).
Referees-Jamie Koharski (84). Linesmen-Rich Patry (52), Frank Murphy (29).

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