WorSharks just can’t get the job done, lose again to Portland

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Sunday, November 27, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks returned to the DCU Center for the back half of a home and home with the Portland Pirates Saturday night and their continued inability to put the puck in the net cost them another two points in a 3-1 loss in front of 3,579 fans.

It’s becoming the same old song and dance for the WorSharks, with the defense and goaltending being more than good enough to win and the forwards being totally unable to score. It’s not that they aren’t working hard, it’s that they just aren’t that good. In Worcester’s first five games they scored 20 goals and went 4-0-1. In their last 12 they’re 2-6-4 and have scored just 24 goals. The WorSharks are now tied for the lowest shooting percentage (7.4%) in the AHL.

Of the 12 forwards dressed for the game only three of them–John McCarthy, Tommy Wingels, and Benn Ferriero–are legitimate AHL top 6 players. Two more, Curt Gogol and Jimmy Bonneau, aren’t here for their scoring abilities, so that leaves seven players who so far have yet to show they have any business playing in the AHL.

Nathan Moon had the goal for Worcester, picking up a rebound in the slot and bashing it past Portland goaltender Curtis McElhinney. It came at 17:12 of the opening period and knotted the game 1-1. And because it was Teddy Bear Toss night as soon as he scored it began raining stuffed animals at the DCU Center. Too bad it didn’t rain more goals.

At the other end of the ice the WorSharks are doing quite well even while some of their more veteran blue liners out of the line-up. Worcester played short a defenseman Saturday night, allegedly because Matt Pelech’s suspension was unexpected and was announced too late to being in another player. The five man rotation did make a couple of mistakes, but the grouping that included two rookies and a try-out player certainly played well enough to put the WorSharks in a position to win.

WorSharks netminder Tyson Sexsmith, who has an impressive 1.98 goals against average and .925 save percentage, is the one who is hurt the most by Worcester’s lack of ability to score. His record on the season so far is 3-5-2, but it really should be closer to 7-2-1. That’s a big difference.

Of the three goals allowed in the game Sexsmith had no chance on any of them. The first was a Dean Arsene slapshot from the left point that was going well wide until it hit Sena Acolatse and banked in past Sexsmith at 8:17 of the opening period. The second was while shorthanded and the WorSharks penalty killers lost track of Brett MacLean. Super rookie Andy Miele knew where he was and his pass to MacLean all alone at the back post made for an easy goal at 15:14 of the middle stanza. The real back breaker was Portland’s third goal after Worcester had put some sustained pressure on McElhinney. His kick save sent the Pirates out on an odd man rush, where Matt Watkins finished the play with a laser just under the crossbar at 4:14 of the third.

Worcester penalty killers had a good night killing six of seven chances, but their anemic power play went 0-7 with a woeful 6 shots on goal. It’s frustrating when your shots don’t go in, but it’s even more frustrating when you don’t take them.

With the exception of the suspended Matt Pelech every healthy WorSharks player was in uniform last night, which left Worcester playing a man short. The injury list for Worcester is Mike Connolly (unknown), Ben Guite (foot), Brandon Mashinter (unknown), Mike Moore (head), Sean Sullivan (lower body). The WorSharks expect Moore to ready to play Friday against Springfield. Harri Sateri was the back-up netminder.

Pelech’s suspension is the first for a Worcester player since Brad Staubitz earned himself five games off on February 28, 2009 when he punched Springfield’s Tim Sestito in the back of the head in a wild ten player scrum after Sestito had punched Staubitz from behind.

For the third time this season there was a pane of glass broken in warm-ups. The first two times it happened at the visitor’s end, so this was a first for fans on the Worcester end of the ice. No word on whose shot caused the problem. If it caused a delay in the start of the game it was minimal as the puck drop wasn’t much after the scheduled 7pm start time.

There was one fight in the contest, with Sena Acolatse taking on and absolutely pounding Brett Hextall after Hextall took a run at Tommy Wingels along the penalty box side at 18:53 of the third period.

The three stars of the game were
1. POR – Miele (2a)
2. POR – Watkins (g,a)
3. POR – McElhinney (29 saves)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Nathan Moon

Even strength lines
Bonneau/Del Monte/MacIntyre

Defense was a rotation of Irwin, Petrecki, Acolatse, Doherty, and O’Hanley


Portland 1 1 1 – 3
Worcester 1 0 0 – 1

1st Period-1, Portland, Arsene 1 (Eckford, Long), 8:17. 2, Worcester, Moon 3 (MacIntyre, O’Hanley), 17:12. Penalties-Lucia Wor (hooking), 1:15; Arsene Por (cross-checking), 9:22; Viedensky Wor (interference), 12:16; Gongalsky Por (goaltender interference), 15:06; MacLean Por (hooking), 17:35; Irwin Wor (hooking), 18:37.

2nd Period-3, Portland, MacLean 2 (Miele, Watkins), 15:14 (PP). Penalties-Summers Por (roughing), 1:50; Hollweg Por (elbowing, unsportsmanlike conduct), 4:28; Viedensky Wor (hooking), 8:28; McCarthy Wor (roughing), 14:42.

3rd Period-4, Portland, Watkins 4 (Miele, McElhinney), 4:14. Penalties-Ferriero Wor (hooking), 7:10; MacLean Por (hooking), 10:38; Doherty Wor (hooking), 13:02; Hextall Por (boarding, fighting), 18:53; Acolatse Wor (roughing, fighting), 18:53.

Shots on Goal-Portland 9-12-10-31. Worcester 9-12-9-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Portland 1 / 7; Worcester 0 / 7.
Goalies-Portland, McElhinney 6-7-0 (30 shots-29 saves). Worcester, Sexsmith 3-5-2 (31 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Jean Hebert (43).
Linesmen-Brian MacDonald (72), Ed Boyle (81).

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