WorSharks fight their way to 3-2 overtime win in Portland

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

The Worcester Sharks started their post holiday schedule about 20 minutes after their opponents did but after falling behind 2-0 early battled back–both literally and figuratively–to defeat the Portland Pirates 3-2 in overtime Monday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine to send home most of the 5,230 fans disappointed.

It would take just 52 seconds for the Pirates to capitalize on a WorSharks mistake when Jack Combs lost his man in front of the Worcester net. Brett MacLean spotted Portland “super rookie” Andy Miele streaking toward the net and after wheeling the net threw a nice pass into the slot. Miele was all alone and his shot beat WorSharks netminder Tyson Sexsmith to blocker side for the 1-0 lead.

Marc-Antoine Pouliot had two great chances to give the Pirates a two goal lead but Sexsmith was able to stone him twice in the span of a couple of shifts. On the other end Portland goaltender Justin Pogge was stellar, stopping consecutive bids by Brodie Reid and Nathan Moon and then later in the period holding the post on Brandon Mashinter’s attempt to jam home a lose puck at the far post.

Portland would eventually get that two goal lead while on the power play after the WorSharks again lost track of a player when Sena Acolatse passed off forward Brett Hextall to the other penalty killers and went after Brock Trotter along the left wing halfboards. No one picked up Hextall and Trotter just waited until Acolatse couldn’t retreat and threw a pass to Hextall heading toward the net. Sexsmith made the save on the first bid but had no chance on the second as his penalty killers stood around and watched the lamp being lit at 12:25. Both goaltenders made big saves soon after to keep the score at 2-0, with Pogge making stops on bids by Tommy Wingels and Mike Connolly and Sexsmith turning aside a Matt Watkins bid.

Jimmy Bonneau, seeing his team playing without a lot of spirit, did what he does best and took on Mike Hoffman in a center ice battle that looked to be pretty even but did light a fire under his teammates. The fire was so bright that with eight seconds left in the period a huge line brawl nearly exploded with John McCarthy and Tommy Wingels both taking on opponents after referee Terry Koharski let play continue along the boards for maybe a few seconds too long. McCarthy took on Miele and landed several clean shots, and even though Miele came on in the end McCarthy gets the decision as the referees were forced to jump in to break up the battle. Wingels took on former WorSharks Ashton Rome off screen in a fight that was broken up by the linesmen.

As time expired in the period James Livingston went after Pirates defenseman Chris Summers along the boards at center ice and threw a tremendous haymaker that unfortunately connected with linesman Joe Andrews. That didn’t stop Livingston who continued to throw bombs at Summers. Order would soon be restored and Andrews looked no worse for wear.

The Pirates had two great chances early in the second period to put the game away, but Jordan Szwarz shot rang off the post to the left of Sexsmith and the goaltender was able to get across the crease to stop Hextall’s one-timer that was going five hole. Seconds later Sean Sullivan had a shorthanded breakaway but Pogge was just able to get his left skate on the puck.

The WorSharks would finally get on the scoreboard at 11:10 on their first chance with the extra man in a play that worked just like head coach Roy Sommer drew it up. Combs won a face-off in the left circle cleanly back to Mike Moore at the blue line. Moore threw a pass over to Sullivan, who blasted a shot on net. Both Combs and Moon were in front of the net jamming at the rebound, and while the goal was credited to Moon it looks on the video like Combs was the last to touch it.

Two minutes later the WorSharks would get the tying goal from a very unlikely source when their fourth line was swarming the Pirates zone. The puck would end up on the stick of Moore at the left point, and the defenseman rifled a shot on net that Pogge got a piece of but couldn’t stop completely. The puck lay in the crease for a second or two until Bonneau jammed it home for his first goal in a Worcester uniform. Marek Viedensky was originally credited with the secondary assist, and later in the game it was changed to Curt Gogol. This writer thinks it needs to be changed again to Sullivan.

Sexsmith was the reason the WorSharks escaped the rest of the period still tied as he made several key stops to keep the Pirates from retaking the lead, including stoning Evan Bloodoff on a breakaway attempt and and a great pad save on MacLean’s quick one-timer. Early in the third period sexsmith came up big again stopping Ryan Duncan’s. Both goaltenders came up big in that third period to keep the score even, but as time was winding down Combs would beat Pogge cleanly to the glove side, but his shot found iron.

The overtime period started three on three with Moon and Nathan Oystrick getting matching roughing minors as regulation expired, and Worcester would eventually earn a four on three advantage when Maxim Goncharov was called for hooking Wingels. Sullivan and Moore would again assist on a goal, this time hooking up McCarthy for the short side game winner from the right wing dot at 2:56 of overtime.

WorSharks scratches were Ben Guite, Tony Lucia, Cam MacIntyre, Brian O’Hanley, and Matt Pelech. Harri Sateri was the back-up netminder.

Jimmy Bonneau’s goal was his first since May 6, 2011 when he tallied the game winner for the Bulldogs in game five of the divisional finals series between Hamilton and Manitoba. His last regular season goal was February 21,2011 for Hamilton against Rochester.

Worcester was called for a too many men minor in the second period, and with two linesmen and two referees on the ice one has to wonder why it took over eight seconds for them to notice the WorSharks had six skaters on the ice.

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – McCarthy (OT gwg)
2. POR – Miele (g,a)
3. WOR – Sexsmith (33 saves)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Mike Moore.


Worcester 0 2 0 1 – 3
Portland 2 0 0 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Portland, Miele 8 (MacLean, Duncan), 0:52. 2, Portland, Hextall 4 (Trotter, Goncharov), 12:25 (PP). Penalties-Moore Wor (hooking), 10:42; Bonneau Wor (fighting), 14:40; Hoffman Por (fighting), 14:40; McCarthy Wor (roughing, fighting), 19:52; Wingels Wor (fighting), 19:52; Miele Por (fighting), 19:52; Rome Por (unsportsmanlike conduct, fighting), 19:52; Livingston Wor (fighting), 20:00; Summers Por (fighting), 20:00.

2nd Period-3, Worcester, Moon 5 (Sullivan, Moore), 11:10 (PP). 4, Worcester, Bonneau 1 (Moore, Gogol), 13:11. Penalties-Viedensky Wor (hooking), 2:37; served by Gogol Wor (bench minor – too many men), 6:07; Moore Wor (interference), 7:57; Summers Por (holding), 11:03; Combs Wor (cross-checking), 17:59; Wingels Wor (slashing), 20:00.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Watkins Por (slashing), 14:00; Combs Wor (interference), 14:46; Moon Wor (roughing), 20:00; Oystrick Por (roughing), 20:00.

OT Period-5, Worcester, McCarthy 7 (Moore, Sullivan), 2:56 (PP). Penalties-Goncharov Por (hooking), 2:25.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 8-8-7-2-25. Portland 11-15-8-1-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 3; Portland 1 / 7.
Goalies-Worcester, Sexsmith 8-5-3 (35 shots-33 saves). Portland, Pogge 3-3-2 (25 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Terry Koharski (10), Mark Lemelin (41).
Linesmen-Joe Andrews (32), Landon Bathe (80).

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