Same Old Song And Dance For WorSharks In 6-3 Loss

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Sunday, January 23, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks added another game to the already long list of third period collapses after turning a two goal lead into a three goal deficit and dropping a 6-3 contest to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Saturday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of a record crowd announced at 9,803. The night was celebration of the hockey history in Worcester, with an induction ceremony for the inaugural class of the Worcester Hockey Hall of Fame during the second intermission and the WorSharks wearing IceCats throwback jerseys. It’s too bad there weren’t actual IceCats players in those jerseys because that may have given Worcester a victory.

Despite Worcester carrying the play throughout the opening period, including a huge open ice hip check thrown by Nick Schaus on Olivier Labelle that drew the overflow crowd to its feet, it was the Sound Tigers that would strike first when former WorShark Jason Pitton threw a backhand pass from behind the goal line to Dustin Kohn at the blue line that the defenseman one timed past Worcester goaltender Alex Stalock at 14:16.

The WorSharks would get themselves even as time wound down on the open period when Ryan Lannon threw an pass over to his defensive partner Justin Braun. The rookie blue liner held the puck for a second looking for a clear shooting lane, but when none could be found fired a low easy shot into a screen of players. Tommy Wingles was able to bat the loose puck past Bridgeport netminder Joel Martin with 25.1 seconds remaining to make it 1-1.

Matt Irwin would give Worcester the lead with a power play tally at 4:37 of the second period after blasting a Jonathan Cheechoo pass through traffic and past Martin to light the lamp. Cam MacIntyre had the second assist on the play. Braun and Dan DaSilva combined to give the WorSharks a two goal lead when the defenseman rushed up ice through traffic and found DaSilva along the right wing boards. Braun continued on to the net as DaSilva held the puck, and then the winger fired a laser on net that just snuck inside the far corner at 7:02. It looked from this writer’s position that the puck hit Braun’s stick on the way by into the net, but no matter who it hit it counts the same.

Jesse Joensuu would begin the comeback for Bridgeport on a goal that is officially listed as unassisted but unofficially should include an assist to WorSharks captain Jay Leach. After a Wingles forecheck found him with no way to advance the puck he passed it back to his defensive pairing at the Worcester blue line. But while the pass was heading toward the WorSharks zone Leach fell down preventing Joe Loprieno from fielding the puck cleanly, and Joensuu was able to scoop up the loose puck and break in on Stalock. His low wrist shot beat the netminder to the low stick side to make it 3-2 at 11:08.

It looked to everyone in the building that Worcester regained their two goal lead at 17:32 as the WorSharks put the puck in the net, but referee Terry Koharski made what might be the single worst call in recent memory by whistling T.J. Trevelyan for goaltender interference after he was tripped into the net preventing Martin from making a save on the shot from the blue line. How bad was the call? After the whistle the visiting penalty box attendant opened the door and Bridgeport was starting to put their penalty killers on the ice. Of course the bad call would come back to bite Worcester in the backside when Rob Hisey converted on a rebound opportunity at 19:17 to even the score.

So again Worcester found themselves in the familiar position of entering the third period tied and outshooting their opponent, needed just a solid twenty minutes to give themselves a great chance to grab two points against a division rival. And like too many times before, the WorSharks failed.

Joensuu would give the Sound Tigers the lead at 10:07 of the period on the softest goal Stalock has ever given up in a Worcester jersey after the winger drove down the left wing side and fired a bad angle shot on net. Stalock attempted to make a stick save on the shot but had drifted off the near post so when the puck rebounded off his stick it took a bad bounce over the netminder and off the post and in. Justin DiBenedetto would make it 5-3 with a power play tally 11:27 to make any chance of a comeback look bleak, and Kohn’s 200 foot empty netter put the nail in the coffin.

The three tallies by Bridgeport in the third period runs the WorSharks total to 60 goals against in the final 20 minutes of a game, and their goal differential drops to minus 25 in the stanza. The loss dropped Worcester’s record to 2-8-1-2 when tied after two periods. All three stats are the worst in the AHL, and the minus 25 is also the worst goal differential in any period by any team in the league.

Tony Lucia, James Marcou, Mike Moore, Nick Petrecki, Cory Quirk, and Sean Sullivan were all injury scratches. Carter Hutton was the back-up goaltender.

Prior to the star of the game AHL President Dave Andrews recognized Roy Sommer’s 1,000th game as an AHL head coach. The ceremonial puck drop was conducted by “”Mr. IceCat” Terry Virtue. He, along with Kelly O’Leary, Scott Young, Larz Anderson, and Marvin Degon are the inaugural class of the Worcester Hockey Hall of Fame. Courtesy of the Worcester Sharks, here’s a brief bio of each inductee

Larz Anderson – the late Larz Anderson built the first ever hockey rink in Worcester at Webster Square providing the first enclosed skating rink in central Massachusetts. He was the owner of the Worcester Warriors (EHL) in the mid 1950’s which paved the way to bring professional hockey to Worcester.
Eddie Bates – a coach in youth sports for 48 years, the late Eddie Bates was nicknamed the Father of Youth Hockey in the United States after he started the first Youth Hockey program in Worcester and it spread throughout the country. He organized North High School’s first hockey team in 1917, and was the former coach of North High School, Worcester Academy, and Holy Cross.
Marvin Degon Sr. – the all-time leading scorer at Worcester State and one of the all-time leading scorers in NCAA Division 3 hockey, Marvin was known for his legendary hard slap shot. He is the father of Marvin Degon Jr. who is currently playing professional hockey in the DEL.
Kelly O’Leary – born in Auburn, MA, Kelly played at Providence College and won four silver medals in the women’s World Ice Hockey Championships (1990,92,94, and 97). Kelly was the final cut from the gold medal winning team for the 1998 Winter Olympics women’s hockey team.
Terry Virtue – The former Worcester IceCats captain and all-time leader in games played with 455, Virtue was a fixture in Worcester for six hockey seasons accumulating 210 points and 1083 penalty minutes. With over 1,100 professional games played, he suited up in five games in the NHL (4 with Boston, 1 with New York Rangers) and is currently the assistant coach with Owen Sound in the OHL.
Scott Young – born in Clinton, MA, Young played 1181 games in the NHL scoring 342 goals and winning the Stanley Cup in 1991 (Pittsburgh) and 1996 (Colorado). The three-time U.S. Olympian played his prep school hockey at St. Mark’s School in Southborough and skated with the BU Terriers before turning pro in 1998. He is currently the head coach at St. Mark’s.

A quick couple of stories about why Terry Virtue is still a fan favorite in these parts. Virtue was never the most talented player on any team he played on, but there was no player with more heart. Once in late 2002 after the IceCats had jumped out to a pretty large lead but saw Portland starting to creep back into it because the ‘Cats stopped playing head coach Don Granato threw Virtue out on a shift at forward and told him to “make something happen”. Virtue threw two huge hits and started a line brawl. It got the job done. The second story is a game that is ingrained in every IceCats fan’s memory. On 3/30/2003 the Manchester Monarchs had a 6-1 lead after 40 minutes, but after two quick goals by Worcester made the score 6-3 Virtue, who has assisted on Johnny Pohl’s goal at 6:11 of the period skated by the Monarchs bench and laughingly asked “You guys getting worried yet?”, and continued to chirp at the Manchester bench. Two Monarchs attempted to go after Virtue as the game progressed and Worcester was able to get back to even as the Monarchs seemed to be more interested in going after Virtue than winning the game. Worcester went on to win 7-6 in overtime.

Allow this writer a moment to vent some frustration. This is Jay Leach’s comment to WorSharks beat writer Bill Ballou of the Telegram & Gazette about his fall to the ice that allowed Bridgeport to score a goal. ““My skate hit a rut or something and I bailed. And I think the puck bounced over Joe’s stick. I think we’d both like to have it back, but it was one of those weird plays that happens.” How about manning up and take some responsibility and not blame “a rut”? Leach’s play has been nothing short of pathetic for much of the season, so there must be a lot of “ruts” in the ice.

The three stars of the game were
1. BRI – 6 Jesse Joensuu (2g,a)
2. WOR – 27 Justin Braun (2a)
3. BRI – 26 Rob Hisey (g,a)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Ryan Lannon.

Even strength lines
McLaren/Del Monte/(everyone)


Penalty kill lines
Del Monte/McLaren


Power play lines


Bridgeport 1 2 3 – 6
Worcester 1 2 0 – 3

1st Period-1, Bridgeport, Kohn 1 (Pitton, Svendsen), 14:16. 2, Worcester, Wingels 8 (Lannon, Braun), 19:34. Penalties-No Penalties

2nd Period-3, Worcester, Irwin 8 (Cheechoo, MacIntyre), 4:37 (PP). 4, Worcester, DaSilva 9 (Braun), 7:02. 5, Bridgeport, Joensuu 5   11:08. 6, Bridgeport, Hisey 5 (Joensuu, Kohn), 19:17 (PP). Penalties-Katic Bri (cross-checking), 3:43; Haley Bri (fighting), 7:04; MacIntyre Wor (fighting), 7:04; Svendsen Bri (tripping), 8:45; DaSilva Wor (tripping), 14:29; Trevelyan Wor (goaltender interference), 17:32; Marcinko Bri (tripping), 19:37.

3rd Period-7, Bridgeport, Joensuu 6 (Hisey, Pitton), 10:07. 8, Bridgeport, DiBenedetto 5 (Katic, Wishart), 11:27 (PP). 9, Bridgeport, Kohn 2   18:15 (EN). Penalties-Hisey Bri (roughing), 4:28; Lannon Wor (roughing, roughing), 4:28; Cheechoo Wor (hooking), 11:03; Labelle Bri (holding), 12:33.

Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 7-11-12-30. Worcester 15-13-14-42.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 2/4; Worcester 1/4.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Martin 1-1-0 (42 shots-39 saves). Worcester, Stalock 17-17-3 (29 shots-24 saves).
Referee-Terry Koharski (10). Linesmen-Jack Millea (23), Bob Paquette (18).

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