WorSharks lose to Springfield 6-3; Niittymaki’s numbers don’t reflect his play on ice

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

The Worcester Sharks returned home Wednesday night after a seven game road trip and played one of their worst games of the season that resulted in a 6-3 loss to the Springfield Falcons in a game that wasn’t anywhere near as close as the score indicates. The less said about the contest the better, but for folks that have some interest in the happenings you can check out what Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette had to say about the game and in his notes column. Dan Hickling has the Springfield side of the story for Masslive.com. Both the WorSharks and Falcons have their unique perspectives on their official sites.

The big news was Antero Niittymaki’s first home game on his conditioning stint. Despite finishing with some numbers that don’t look that impressive his play on the ice was certainly NHL quality. His 1-2-0 record includes a loss for the WorSharks in Manchester where they had no legs left after a five hour bus ride the night before and Wednesday night’s contest where there were so many odd man rushes against it looked like a practice drill. His 3.38 goals against and .878 save percentage are also reflected in those two outings.

His first game, a 5-1 win in Albany last Friday, really showed that that rust wasn’t going to be a long term. He was so superior to his opponents that on more than one occasion he reacted too quickly to the shot and ended up having to make a much more difficult save as a result. He also looked very good in Manchester in a 3-1 loss where he was all alone on several chances against and still was able to make saves to keep the WorSharks in it.

Of the ten goals Niittymaki surrendered only one looked like a save he should have made, and that was late in the Springfield game where he had already made a half dozen incredible saves. The rest were all odd man rushes or deflections in front of him.

Now that San Jose has recalled Niittymaki it appears the Sharks will go with three goaltenders for the near future.


Springfield 2 3 1 – 6
Worcester 0 1 2 – 3

1st Period-1, Springfield, Garlock 2 (Atkinson, Calvert), 6:16. 2, Springfield, Kubalik 4 (Giroux, Savard), 14:47 (PP). Penalties-Mayorov Spr (roughing), 1:02; Thomas Spr (tripping), 10:12; Lucia Wor (hooking), 12:56; Lebda Spr (holding), 19:21.

2nd Period-3, Springfield, Garlock 3 (Calvert), 0:49 (SH). 4, Worcester, McCarthy 6 (Sullivan, Combs), 3:15. 5, Springfield, Kubalik 5 (Russell), 10:03. 6, Springfield, Mayorov 1 (Regner, Russell), 12:28. Penalties-Bogosian Spr (roughing), 8:29; Petrecki Wor (roughing), 8:29; Petrecki Wor (slashing), 10:24; Thomas Spr (fighting), 12:31; Mashinter Wor (fighting), 12:31; Gogol Wor (slashing, unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:48.

3rd Period-7, Worcester, Reid 4 (Mashinter), 2:01. 8, Springfield, Atkinson 15 (Garlock), 2:13. 9, Worcester, Wingels 12 (Acolatse, Reid), 18:40 (PP). Penalties-Bogosian Spr (holding), 3:21; Spencer Spr (slashing, fighting), 18:08; Gogol Wor (fighting), 18:08; Ruth Spr (roughing), 18:33; Combs Wor (roughing), 18:33.

Shots on Goal-Springfield 10-8-9-27. Worcester 4-11-13-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 1 / 4; Worcester 1 / 5.
Goalies-Springfield, Legace 7-9-0 (15 shots-14 saves); York 1-1-0 (13 shots-11 saves). Worcester, Niittymaki 1-2-0 (27 shots-21 saves).
Referees-Geno Binda (22), Francis Charron (46).
Linesmen-Todd Whittemore (70), Bob Paquette (18).

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