WorSharks bounce back to defeat Falcons 4-3

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Saturday, December 3, 2011 - Save & Share - One Comment

The Worcester Sharks found themselves trailing by a goal on three separate occasions and all three times battled back to tie the game, and then used a lucky bounce in overtime to defeat the Springfield Falcons 4-3 Friday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.

With goals being at a premium lately the WorSharks know that falling behind early is something that’s not easy for them to overcome. But sometimes when you do everything right the puck still ends up in your net, and that’s exactly what happened on the Falcons first goal when Springfield defensemen Brett Lebda made a good play to intercept Taylor Doherty’s backhand clearing attempt. Lebda gloved the puck out of the air and fired a pass along the blue line to Aaron Bogosian standing sixty feet in front of Worcester netminder Harri Sateri. Bogosian’s shot was streaking wide of the far post when Sateri noticed Wade MacLeod heading to the net from the right sideboards. The puck, Sateri, and MacLeod all arrived at the same point at almost the exact same time, but unfortunately for Worcester MacLeod and the puck connect first as the forward deflected it into the net just before MacLeod flew over the sprawling Sateri at 3:10 of the opening period.

Cam MacIntyre almost tied the game just a few moments later on a great individual rush up ice when his hard blast from the right wing side deflected off Falcons goaltender Manny Legace and tricked toward the goal line, but the WorSharks couldn’t jump on the loose puck and Springfield was able to clear it away. Worcester would end up with a power play soon after when Maksim Mayorov was sent off for hooking, but despite spending almost the entire two minutes in the Falcons zone Legacy held the WorSharks at bay. Worcester would have more success on Mayorov’s second hooking minor of the period a few minutes later.

The power play stared off a lot like the first, with Justin Braun captaining the man advantage and setting up several good scoring chances. After some sustained pressure Braun fired a pass over to Matt Irwin as the WorSharks forwards converged on the net. Irwin then unleashed a blast that Legace was able to get a good look at and he made the easy save. The rebound went back through the slot and almost out of harm’s way when John McCarthy pounced on the puck and flipped a backhander through traffic and past Legace at 11:02.

Both teams would have a chance in the second half of the period for the lead but some good luck for the WorSharks had Alexandre Giroux’s shot ringing off the iron to the right of Sateri and some bad luck had Benn Ferriero’s great outlet pass to Tommy Wingels coming out of the penalty box got lost in the snow along the sideboards to prevent a clean two on zero break-in.

The second period saw both squads with short tempers as nearly every whistle resulted in a scrum somewhere on the sheet, and the Falcons would take advantage of Jimmy Bonneau’s roughing minor with a power play goal at at 5:25 after Sateri made a great save but couldn’t control the rebound. Martin St. Pierre threw a pass across the slot to Cam Atkinson low in the left wing circle that was one-timed at at the sprawling Sateri, but the rebound went right back to the shooter who didn’t miss the second time.

Tempers would flare in the next shift when Ferriero took Ryan Russell to the ice as Russell turtled, and in the ensuing gathering Falcons captain and tough guy Dane Byers thought he could throw his weight around a little. WorSharks rookie Sena Acolatse took exception to the Byers’ actions as the two skated to center ice to do battle. Acolatse showed the poise of a grizzled veteran and out waited Byers until he found and opening and pummeled his opponent with several hard shots as Byers went to the ice. A short while later Doherty and Bogosian would exchange some gloved punches to earn themselves a two minute rest.

Despite not playing particularly well throughout most of the second period the WorSharks would eventually draw themselves back to even, and it came from their fourth line when Tony Lucia threw a nice pass between both Falcons defensemen and sprung Ryan Del Monte into the offensive zone all alone. Del Monte skated in and roofed a shot over the glove of Legace at 14:55. Bonneau had his first point as a WorShark with the second assist on the play.

Springfield would retake the lead at 18:13 of the period on a very controversial goal where it appears the puck did not completely cross the goal line. The play began with Lebda firing a blast on the net went well high and hit the glass behind Sateri. The puck bounced to the front of the net where Russell banged at the puck as Sateri was gathering the puck at the goal line. The Falcons celebrated but the red light did not go on, and Sateri jumped to his feet to argue the call. Referee Francis Charron, who was on the correct side of the ice to have seen the play clearly, consulted with the linesmen and eventually ruled it a good goal. Dan Hickling, who was covering the game for Springfield’s newspaper The Republican, was at ice level for the play and reported to press row that he believed the puck did not enter the net.

The AHL does not use instant replay to determine if goals are good or not, and that again would come into play on the goal that would tie the game for the third time for Worcester at 1:23 of the third period when MacIntyre’s shot was deflected high above the crossbar. Nathan Moon made a move to bat the puck out of the air but, as the replay shown to fans in the arena confirmed, missed the puck as it dropped to the ice and into the net. Charon called on his linesmen again but eventually correctly ruled the goal good. Nick Petrecki and Brodie Reid had the assists on the play.

Both teams would have chances to end the game in regulation but both Legace and Sateri withstood a couple of barrages to get the game to overtime, and after a missed opportunity for Springfield Braun picked up a loose puck at the WorSharks blueline and carried it into the Falcons zone. Instead of heading to the net he dropped the puck to Del Monte who wasn’t expecting it. With one of his defensemen in front of him and the Springfield ready to pounce on him he did the only thing he could and fired the puck on net. The shot went well wide and ended up in the corner to the left of Legacy, where Irwin swept in unmolested to grab the puck. With no one between him and the front of the net the defenseman went hard to the slot where players were now fighting for position. Irwin shot the puck toward the net and moved to go around the net to a potential rebound on the back side, but his shot hit Lebda and just tricked over the goal line to give Worcester the 4-3 victory.

With the Worcester shuttle dropping off Justin Braun the WorSharks were able to field a full complement of 18 skaters. Scratches were Mike Connolly (unknown), Ben Guite (foot), Matt Pelech (final game of his two game suspension) Brandon Mashinter (unknown), Mike Moore (head), Sean Sullivan (lower body). Tyson Sexsmith was the back-up netminder.

Two more panes of glass were broken at the DCU Center during the pre-game skate, making it five so far this season. At an estimated cost of $800 to $1,000 per pane it’s starting to get expensive for the building. It’s been the same two panes behind the nets that are breaking, so it’s a safe bet that some investigating will be done to see if some changes will need to be made in those areas.

How poor was the month of November for the WorSharks? Of the five suggestions on the Booster Club player of the month ballot none of the skaters were plus for the month and goaltender Tyson Sexsmith had a 1-5 record despite a 2.18 gaa and .923 S%. I chose to write in Nick Petrecki, who had an outstanding month on the blueline and was one of the only players to be “even” for the month.

Yesterday morning former San Jose Sharks draft pick Niko Dimitrakos (1999 5th round, #155 overall) was released from his PTO with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Dimitrakos is from the Boston area and would be a good addition to the team, although word is he asked for his release from the Penguins because he’s looking for an NHL contract and Pittsburgh wasn’t going to offer him one. He likely wouldn’t get one from the San Jose organization either, but with Worcester being close to home he may be more open to playing here under an AHL contract. As is the long running standard in the Sharks organization there was no comment from hockey operations here about the situation other than to say they were aware of the transaction.

Bruce Landon, who is the President and GM of the Springfield Falcons, is one of the most approachable guys in the AHL. Sharkspage had a great conversation with him about his “must read” blog post on Masslive.com about how hockey is a cruel business sometimes. In his post he mentions how tough it is to cut guys that compete hard and play well but because of a numbers game there’s no spot for them. The goalie mentioned, Danny Taylor, did land on his feet though as he was signed to an AHL contract by the Abbotsford Heat very soon after his release from the Falcons.

The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – 20 Matt Irwin (gwg,a)
2. WOR – 16 Ryan Del Monte (g,a)
3. SPR – 21 Brett Lebda (2a)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Justin Braun

Even Strength Lines
Lucia/Del Monte/Livingston



Springfield 1 2 0 0 – 3
Worcester 1 1 1 1 – 4

1st Period-1, Springfield, MacLeod 2 (Bogosian, Lebda), 3:10. 2, Worcester, McCarthy 3 (Irwin, Braun), 11:02 (PP). Penalties-Mayorov Spr (hooking), 5:31; Mayorov Spr (hooking), 9:37; Wingels Wor (goaltender interference), 13:42; Atkinson Spr (interference), 18:58.

2nd Period-3, Springfield, Atkinson 10 (St. Pierre, Giroux), 5:25 (PP). 4, Worcester, Del Monte 1 (Lucia, Bonneau), 14:55. 5, Springfield, Russell 9 (Lebda), 18:13. Penalties-Bonneau Wor (roughing), 5:07; Byers Spr (fighting), 5:53; Russell Spr (roughing), 5:53; Acolatse Wor (fighting), 5:53; Ferriero Wor (roughing), 5:53; Bogosian Spr (roughing), 7:43; Doherty Wor (roughing), 7:43; Goloubef Spr (hooking), 10:58.

3rd Period-6, Worcester, MacIntyre 4 (Petrecki, Reid), 1:23. Penalties-No Penalties

OT Period-7, Worcester, Irwin 7 (Del Monte, Braun), 2:22. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Springfield 6-13-6-0-25. Worcester 18-12-8-2-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 1 / 2; Worcester 1 / 4.
Goalies-Springfield, Legace 3-6-0 (40 shots-36 saves). Worcester, Sateri 4-4-0 (25 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Francis Charron (46).
Linesmen-Matt MacPherson (83), Scott Whittemore (96).

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Time December 3, 2011 at 1:32 PM

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