WorSharks, Connolly stage comeback to crown Monarchs 4-2

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

The Worcester Sharks found themselves trailing in a game for the first time this season, but the young team never panicked and instead continued to play their usual high intensity game to overcome the deficit and defeat the Manchester Monarchs 4-2 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 2,925 fans.

The WorSharks continued their streak of scoring first when Nathan Moon jammed at a lose puck and flipped it over Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. The play started up high when Sean Sullivan collected a feed from defensive partner Mike Moore along the blueline. Sullivan blasted the puck on net where Zatkoff made the save but couldn’t control the rebound. Moon was there at 13:43 to collect the rebound and just managed to get it enough of it to put it into the net for the 1-0 lead.

Unfortunately for Worcester it took just 17 seconds for Manchester to get the equalizer when defenseman David Kolomatis dumped the puck deep into the corner to the left of WorSharks netminder Harri Sateri. Winger Ray Kaunisto collected the puck and fired a hard pass into the slot where Cam Paddock stuck his stick out and deflected the puck high over the stick side of Sateri and just inside the far corner.

Soon after Manchester’s Jordan Nolan would be given the rest of the night off for throwing an elbow at Matt Irwin behind the Worcester net. The WorSharks were unable to convert on the major penalty that straddled the first intermission, and in fact didn’t have many legitimate chances with the extended man advantage.

Worcester’s perfect penalty kill would end at 15 straight attempts when Manchester converted on the power play at 7:04 of the second period. With Sean Acolatse in the box for an automatic delay of game minor for flipping the puck into the stands from his defensive end Manchester defenseman Andrei Loktionov threw a pass across the ice to Jake Muzzin who beat Sateri short side to give the Monarchs a 2-1 lead and Worcester’s first deficit of the season.

In the span of about six minutes Brodie Reid had three great chances to get the WorSharks even, but the snakebit rookie winger was stoned twice by Zatkoff and the one blast that beat the netminder rang off the near post and bounced away harmlessly with about five and a half minutes left in the middle period.

Mike Connolly would finally get Worcester back to even after the Manchester defense lost track of him deep in their zone. With the Monarchs in control of the puck and Worcester changing ahead of the play the Manchester defense attempted a bank pass off the endboards to start a break down the penalty box side when Connolly, who was likely hidden from the defender by Zatkoff, picked off the pass and flipped the puck in off the netminder for the unassisted tally at 18:08.

Nick Petrecki had a golden chance to give Worcester the lead about three minutes into the third period when he took a John McCarthy feed and blasted a one-timer that just missed a yawning open net. The WorSharks would continue to pressure Manchester for the go-ahead goal, and it would be Irwin extracting a little revenge that gave them back the lead.

With Worcester skating on their third man advantage of the closing period Ben Guite fed the puck back to Irwin at the left point. As several players converged on the net to screen Zatkoff Irwin unleashed a blast into the traffic that made it all the way through and deflected off Monarchs defenseman Muzzin and into the net at 8:05. Connolly had the second helper on the goal.

Moon almost gave Worcester an insurance goal with six minutes to go when a bouncing puck from the deep left wing corner found him all alone at the far post with Zatkoff looking the other way, but Moon couldn’t fully corral the puck and could only jam it into Zatkoff’s left pad just as the netminder became aware of where the puck was.

With an extra attacker on late in the game Loktionov had the best scoring chance for Manchester, but Sateri’s kick save was collected by James Livington who bounced a clearing pass off the right wing side boards into the neutral zone to Connolly. The rookie forward hit the empty net as referee Tim Mayer had his arm up to award the goal should the shot have missed as a Monarchs player had thrown a stick at the puck.

Matt Pelech was the only healthy scratch for Worcester as Jimmy Bonneau and Marek Viedensky continue to recover from injuries. The Worcester Shuttle ran in an odd direction yesterday, coming west to drop off Tommy Wingels and after picking up Justin Braun went east to bring him to Boston where San Jose was playing.

If there was a referee that got hit by the puck and players more often in a game than Tim Mayer was last night this writer doesn’t remember it. Luckily none of the encounters resulted in any game changing moments. Mayer also didn’t have a great game with a handful of questionable calls in both directions, but he did get a rare chance to correctly call boarding penalties on both teams after Ryan Del Monte checked a player into the boards on an icing call and was then boarded himself by Rob Mignardi. None of the players seemed worse for wear from the hits that were not very violent in nature.

Playing in first action since early preseason for San Jose — a shutout for those that don’t remember– Harri Sateri looked a little rusty but still played a pretty solid game. Neither of the goals he gave up would be considered “soft” by any means.

Sena Acolatse played his first game at defense for the WorSharks this season, and looked a little over-matched at times. His delay of game minor looked like a failed clearing attempt off the glass so the rookie gets a pass on that one, but his hooking minor in the third period was an unneeded foul and gave the Monarch a chance to tie the game.

Fellow defenseman Mike Moore had a “Jekyll and Hyde” type game, with several head scratchingly poor plays followed by some NHL quality defense. Moore also had the best open ice hit of the season so far when he blew up Marc-Andre Cliche at the Monarchs blueline on a “captain on captain” hit with just over four minutes to go in the opening period.

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – Connolly (2g,a)
2. WOR – Irwin (gwg)
3. MCH – Muzzin (g)

Mike Connolly was also the third Star of the Night in the AHL

For the second game in a row the Sharkspage player of the game was Nathan Moon.

Even strength lines
Lucia/Del Monte/Gogol


Penalty kill lines
Del Monte/Gogol

Moore (Petrecki)/Doherty

Power play lines



Manchester 1 1 0 – 2
Worcester 1 1 2 – 4

1st Period-1, Worcester, Moon 2 (Sullivan, Moore), 13:43. 2, Manchester, Paddock 1 (Kolomatis, Kaunisto), 14:00. Penalties-Moore Wor (holding), 9:17; Muzzin Mch (hooking), 11:40; Nolan Mch (major – elbowing, game misconduct – elbowing), 16:46.

2nd Period-3, Manchester, Muzzin 3 (Loktionov, Mullen), 7:04 (PP). 4, Worcester, Connolly 3 18:08. Penalties-Acolatse Wor (delay of game), 6:51; Meckler Mch (fighting), 7:39; Paddock Mch (hooking), 7:39; Moon Wor (fighting), 7:39; Petrecki Wor (interference, roughing), 7:39; Mignardi Mch (boarding), 10:53; Del Monte Wor (boarding), 10:53.

3rd Period-5, Worcester, Irwin 2 (Guite, Connolly), 8:05 (PP). 6, Worcester, Connolly 4 (Livingston, Sateri), 19:52 (EN). Penalties-Loktionov Mch (delay of game), 0:39; Hickey Mch (tripping), 4:31; Hill Mch (hooking), 7:52; Acolatse Wor (hooking), 9:44.

Shots on Goal-Manchester 5-12-10-27. Worcester 7-13-15-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Manchester 1 / 4; Worcester 1 / 5.
Goalies-Manchester, Zatkoff 0-2-0 (34 shots-31 saves). Worcester, Sateri 1-0-0 (27 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Bob Paquette (18), Ed Boyle (81).

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