The Worcester Sharks used a rare three on five goal by John McCarthy and a great team defensive effort to defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3-2 in a Friday afternoon Veteran’s Day matinee at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 2,919 fans.
With the WorSharks having some issues lately on special teams things weren’t looking so bright early in the game when Taylor Doherty took a high sticking double minor five minutes into the contest. Despite killing off the first minor things looked even darker when Benn Ferriero was called for a slashing minor trying to break up a play in the neutral zone giving the Sound Tigers a five on three advantage for 1:09. But against the odds it would be Worcester that would come out ahead.
After a Bridgeport clear into the WorSharks zone the Sound Tigers attempted to return the puck back against the flow to the left point, but no one could control the bouncing puck. Matt Irwin was able to get enough of the puck to get it past former San Jose prospect Ty Wishart at the point where McCarthy picked it up and skated down the left wing side. With Irwin driving hard to the net McCarthy unleashed a blast that banked off Sound Tigers netminder Anders Nilsson’s glove and inside the far post at 8:32. The goal was announced as unassisted but Irwin should be credited with an assist on the play.
The WorSharks got their first power play chance of the day when David Ullstrom was sent to the sin bin for unsportsmanlike conduct for spraying snow at Worcester goaltender Harri Sateri as he covered the puck. The power play was slightly less than effective and resulted in no shots on goal, and when the WorSharks defense failed to cover Ullstrom as he came out of the box he was able to collect Casey Cizikas’ clear and fire a blast from the top of the circle to the right of Sateri. It looked like Sateri would make a glove save on the blast, but a slight misplay allowed the puck to hit off his glove and bounce into the net at 18:25.
Both teams were playing a very physical game, and after a huge hit by Mike Moore on Nino Niederreiter early in period number two Moore was challenged by Micheal Haley in the only fight in the contest. Before the puck could drop to start the next play Jimmy Bonneau and Tyler McNeeley got into a little scrum, but referee Chris Cozzan would have no part of that as he sent them both off for cross checking.
During the first promotional timeout of the second period there was a power surge at the DCU Center that knocked out some of the lights that delayed the game for several minutes. At one point Cozzan was ready to start play with some of them still off but Nilsson protested. He maybe should have protested a little harder a few moments later when play was resumed because just seconds after the puck was dropped it was in his net behind him. It was a clean face-off win by McCarthy that sent the puck back to the blueline to Irwin. The defenseman’s blast from the high slot into traffic hit Cam MacIntyre on the way by and deflected into the net at 7:48.
Brodie Reid would make it 3-1 WorSharks with a goal that looked a lot like McCarthy’s. After a Benn Ferriero blocked shot the puck bounced right to Reid who headed up the left wing side into the Sound Tigers zone. The rookie fired a shot from just above the face-off dot that beat Nilsson to the glove side at 4:43. It was his second goal in as many games.
The Sound Tigers would make it interesting when a Niederreiter shot through traffic beat Sateri at 17:01, but the netminder would come up big in the waning moments of the contest to give Worcester the one goal win and two points for the day.
Worcester had two healthy scratches, Tony Lucia and Matt Pelech. The injury list has two new names on it, with Ryan Del Monte and Ben Guite both suffering the dreaded “lower body injury” in last Saturday’s loss to St John’s. Del Monte is day to day with a charlie horse, while Guite broke his foot and is expected to be out until Christmas. Tyson Sexsmith was the back-up netminder.
During the week the Worcester Shuttle dropped of Benn Ferriero, and word arrived just prior to the end of the game that it will be returning soon with Frazer McLaren as the forward has been assigned to a conditioning stint with the WorSharks.
The WorSharks were a perfect 5-5–with a shorthanded goal–on the penalty kill, but their power play was less than spectacular going 0-3 and generating just a single shot on goal.
The power surge wasn’t the only odd thing that happened Friday at the DCU Center. At the beginning of the second period there was an issue with the pegs in the Bridgeport end that required the holes in the ice to be redrilled. Later in the period Mike Connolly, all 5’9” of him, checked a player hard enough to cause one of the player doors in the Worcester zone to open.
Both teams had a little extra help behind the benches in the contest, with Mike Ricci joining Roy Sommer and Dave Cunniff on the Worcester side and Trevor Gillies, who is still active for the Islanders/Sound Tigers, joining Bridgeport coaches Brent Thompson and Eric Boguniecki. The six must have set an unofficial record for most pro career penalty minutes behind the benches as the six combined for an incredible 10,407 minutes. Individually some of the totals are quite impressive too: Thompson 3033; Gilles 2880 (and counting); Sommer 1913; Boguniecki 1036; Ricci 979; and Cunniff 555. Perhaps when the two teams get together again San Jose will replace Ricci with frequent guest Bryan Marchment, who could add his 2625 into the mix.
The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – McCarthy (shg,a)
2. WOR – Sateri (23 saves)
3. WOR – Reid (gwg)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Matt Irwin.
Even strength lines
Power play lines
Penalty kill lines
Bridgeport 1 0 1 – 2
Worcester 1 1 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Worcester, McCarthy 1 8:32 (SH). 2, Bridgeport, Ullstrom 8 (Cizikas, Donovan), 18:25. Penalties-Doherty Wor (double minor – high-sticking), 5:01; Ferriero Wor (slashing), 7:52; Ullstrom Bri (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:14.
2nd Period-3, Worcester, MacIntyre 3 (Irwin, McCarthy), 7:48. Penalties-Haley Bri (fighting), 4:36; McNeely Bri (cross-checking), 4:36; Bonneau Wor (cross-checking), 4:36; Moore Wor (fighting), 4:36; Donovan Bri (hooking), 5:29; Wingels Wor (tripping), 10:52; Bonneau Wor (tripping), 13:59.
3rd Period-4, Worcester, Reid 2 (Ferriero), 4:43. 5, Bridgeport, Niederreiter 1 (Frischmon, Klementyev), 17:01. Penalties-Niederreiter Bri (slashing), 6:25.
Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 8-7-10-25. Worcester 6-14-9-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 0 / 5; Worcester 0 / 3.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Nilsson 4-2-0 (29 shots-26 saves). Worcester, Sateri 3-1-0 (25 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Chris Cozzan (18).
Linesmen-Ed Boyle (81), Brian MacDonald (72).