WorSharks Give Away Another Game; Goaltending Not Good Enough For Playoff Run

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Thursday, February 24, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks raced out to a two goal lead but again couldn’t hold that advantage, and suffered another third period collapse in a 4-2 loss to the Springfield Falcons Wednesday night at the DCU center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 3,306 fans.

The loss overshadowed what was a decent performance by the WorSharks on offense, who despite only getting two goals really controlled most of the game forcing Falcons netminder David LeNeveu to make several great saves. LeNeveu also got a little lucky in the contest, with T.J. Trevelyan finding the post to the right of the netminder early in the first, Frazer McLaren’s wrap around bid just missing the far post as it slid along the goal line, and Jamie McGinn having a sure goal taken away when his shot hit LeNeveu who wasn’t even aware the winger had the puck.

Worcester did have two nice goals in the opening period, the first by Johnathan Cheechoo on what looked like a lost scoring opportunity. After a turnover in the WorSharks end McGinn grabbed the loose puck on the left wing halfboards and hit Michael Swift, who had been banging his stick on the ice and yelling loudly for the puck as he streaked down the right wing side. McGinn’s pass was perfect, hitting Swift in stride as he broke into the zone. Swift left a nifty drop pass for Cheechoo, but the former Rocket Richard trophy winner bobbled the puck and couldn’t get a good shot off. But as the play continued no Falcons defender marked Cheechoo, who calmly got control of the puck and uncorked a laser toward the far post that beat LeNeveu at 4:13.

On a team where the scrappy goals tend to come from the Crazed Rats line, it was nice to see Worcester’s second line get a blue collar type goal. After a Matt Irwin clear in, Patrick Davis out muscled the Falcons defense and flipped a pass to the front of the net, where Brandon Mashinter tipped the puck high over LeNeveu for the 2-0 lead at 9:07.

But on a team that was built around All Star goaltender Alex Stalock, not having him–nor his backup Cater Hutton–available has started to cause problems for Worcester. And for the first time since Stalock’s injury, WorSharks fans saw first hand what those problems are when Worcester outshot Springfield 18-7 in the second period, but gave up two goals on odd man rushes. The first came at 13:52 of the second period when Trevor Smith and Nikita Filatov broke into the Worcester zone against Nick Schaus. The rookie defenseman played it well enough if there was an AHL calibre netminder behind him, but WorSharks goaltender Jeff Jakaitis is not by any stretch of the imagination an AHL level goaltender, and Filatov was able to light the lamp at 13:52.

There was one power play in the contest, and it went to Springfield. And the penalty kill for Worcester was a perfect microcosm of the WorSharks season. Worcester’s penalty kill looked incredible, keeping the puck mostly on the perimeter and away from Jakaitis. But in the span of three second Worcester turned that nearly perfect penalty kill into a tie game when the Falcons made on last rush up ice where Smith hit Tom Sestito with a pass on the right wing side. As Smith rushed to the net Sestito intentionally threw a wide shot to the far side that Jakaitis made the save on but couldn’t cover the puck. Smith swooped in to poke the lose puck home at 16:59.

The roof would finally cave in for Worcester on another odd man rush, this time against WorSharks captain Mike Moore. Again, Moore played it well enough had there been a decent goaltender behind him, but Jakaitis couldn’t handle Kyle Wilson’s wrist shot at 17:15 of the third. Dane Byers added an empty net goal–although several WorSharks fans might argue all of Springfield’s goals were empty net goals–at 18:58 for the 4-2 final.

The Worcester Shuttle made a stop on the east coast earlier this week and picked up John McCarthy. Cory Quirk was listed as the team’s only healthy scratch. Tony Lucia, James Marcou, Tommy Wingels, and Alex Stalock are all listed as injured. Curiously, goaltender Daren Machesney didn’t play but was not mentioned on either list. Tyson Sexsmith was Jakaitis’ back up. With Sexsmith on the bench wearing his jersey #31 Jakaitis switched to #1, making him the first goaltender in Worcester hockey history to play in consecutive games wearing a different number. One has to wonder how bad Sexsmith’s left hand, broken in a early season ECHL fight with Josh Tordjman, really is if he’s sitting on the bench while these two lesser goaltenders play and lose games.

In a humorous note, Jakaitis is generously listed at 5’10″. The presumption is he must have been measured wearing his skates while standing on a milk crate. He’s easily three or four inches shorter than what he is listed at.

This writer will be taking his usual late February long weekend, so there will likely not be any WorSharks updates from me until early next week.

The three stars of the game were
1. SPR – 29 Kyle Wilson (gwg)
2. SPR – 36 Trevor Smith (g,a)
3. WOR – 14 Jonathan Cheechoo (g)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Patrick Davis.

Even strength lines


Penalty Kill lines


Springfield 0 2 2 – 4
Worcester 2 0 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Worcester, Cheechoo 18 (Swift, McGinn), 4:13. 2, Worcester, Mashinter 11 (Davis, Irwin), 9:07. Penalties-No Penalties

2nd Period-3, Springfield, Filatov 5 (Smith, Sestito), 13:52. 4, Springfield, Smith 18 (Sestito, Goloubef), 16:59 (PP). Penalties-Loprieno Wor (holding), 14:59.

3rd Period-5, Springfield, Wilson 11 (Kubalik), 17:15. 6, Springfield, Byers 12 (Guite, Frischmon), 18:58 (EN). Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Springfield 10-8-9-27. Worcester 10-17-7-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 1/1; Worcester 0/0.
Goalies-Springfield, LeNeveu 14-13-2 (34 shots-32 saves). Worcester, Jakaitis 1-2-0 (26 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Chris Brown (86), Geno Binda (22). Linesmen-Jack Millea (23), Todd Whittemore (70).10000

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