WorSharks run out of gas in Manchester, lose 3-1

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks had tired legs after playing last night in Binghamton, New York while their opponent had the night off and it showed on the scoreboard as the WorSharks end their season long seven game road trip with a 3-1 loss to the Manchester Monarchs Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire. The WorSharks finished the road trip with a 5-1-1 record.

When the AHL released their schedule over the summer WorSharks fans knew this game was going to be one of the toughest on the schedule because of the travel before the game and the Monarchs getting the previous night off. Unfortunately it turned out they were right, and the WorSharks dug their hole deeper when Matt Irwin failed to clear the puck out of their zone and after a couple of nice passes Brandon Kozun was able to tip a Dwight King feed past Worcester netminder Antero Niittymaki and just inside the far post on their first shot on goal of the game at 2:01.

Jimmy Bonneau did what he could to try to fire up his teammates by taking on Justin Johnson in what was basically a wrestling match, and Curt Gogol followed by beating up Chris Cloud. It worked for a short while when after swarming the offensive zone Jack Combs banged one home past Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff at 7:23. The goal was assisted by Tommy Wingels and Mike Moore, although it did look like the second assist might belong to Brandon Mashinter.

As the game wore on Worcester would get its chances, but their road weary legs prevented the WorSharks from mounting any sort of prolonged attack. Worcester ended the game outshooting the Monarchs 41-28, but Zatkoff wasn’t truly tested that often. At the other end of the ice Niittymaki was stellar, many times making saves as open attackers had clean shots on goal.

Niittymaki could do nothing on Manchester’s second goal when Kozan and King broke in on a two on none. Matt Pelech did eventually catch Kozan, but it was after he made a pass to King. Niittymaki had no chance on the tip in at 5:59 of the middle period. The Monarchs third goal was very similar as Ray Kaunisto threw a pass under a diving Nick Petrecki to Linden Vey, who held it to freeze Niittymaki and then beat him to light the lamp at 8:47 of the third.

Worcester would pull Niittymaki with just over two minutes to go in the game but could muster just two shots, but at least didn’t lose one in goal differential when Manchester hit the crossbar on their only attempt at the empty net.

Scratches for the WorSharks were Mike Connolly (lower body), Ben Guite (concussion), Cam MacIntyre (unknown), Brian O’Hanley (healthy), Nathan Moon (unknown), Tyson Sexsmith (healthy), and Sean Sullivan (unknown). Harri Sateri was the back-up netminder.

Tommy Wingels (7g,3a) has a six game point streak. Jack Combs (3g,2a) and Mike Moore (3a) three game streaks.

The three stars of the game were
1. MCH – King (g,a)
2. MCH – Kozun (g,a)
3. MCH – Zatkoff (40 saves)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Jack Combs.


Worcester 1 0 0 – 1
Manchester 1 1 1 – 3

1st Period-1, Manchester, Kozun 8 (King, Czarnik), 2:01. 2, Worcester, Combs 3 (Wingels, Moore), 7:23. Penalties-Bonneau Wor (fighting), 2:41; Johnson Mch (fighting), 2:41; Gogol Wor (fighting), 2:44; Cloud Mch (fighting), 2:44.

2nd Period-3, Manchester, King 4 (Kozun, Hickey), 5:59. Penalties-Combs Wor (tripping), 1:28; Muzzin Mch (tripping), 3:25; Hill Mch (delay of game), 19:31.

3rd Period-4, Manchester, Vey 7 (Kaunisto, Hickey), 8:47. Penalties-Legein Mch (tripping), 3:18; Moore Wor (hooking), 14:31.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 15-14-12-41. Manchester 9-9-10-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 3; Manchester 0 / 2.
Goalies-Worcester, Niittymaki 1-1-0 (28 shots-25 saves). Manchester, Zatkoff 9-3-1 (41 shots-40 saves).
Referees-Keith Kaval (40), Jarrod Ragusin (54).
Linesmen-Jeremy Lovett (78), Brian MacDonald (72).

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