WorSharks enjoy a dinner of Whale, beat Connecticut 4-3

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Saturday, December 31, 2011 - Save & Share - One Comment

The Worcester Sharks surrendered one goal leads three different times but made their fourth tally of the night stand up in route to defeating the Connecticut Whale 4-3 Friday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of a crowd of 5,091 fans.

Worcester has had some issues lately by giving up goals early, and it looked like that trend might continue after the WorSharks went shotless in their opening power play chance. But hockey is a game of bounces and Worcester got a good one to get on the board first. After some great work along the boards by Marek Viedensky the puck ended up on the stick of Brandon Mashinter, who fired a shot on Whale goaltender Cameron Talbot. The netminder quickly flashed out the glove but couldn’t catch the shot, and the puck bounced right to the stick of Tony Lucia who beat Talbot with a backhander at 5:20 of the first period.

Moments later Tommy Wingels was sprung on a breakaway bid but Talbot was able to make a great pad save. Not to be outdone WorSharks netminder Harri Sateri stoned two Connecticut bids within a handful of seconds of each other and got to make an easy save on a third thanks to a nice back check by Viedensky after a Worcester turnover at their own blue line.

Nathan Moon thought he had given the WorSharks a 2-0 when his shot broke through Talbot, but the puck rolled and hit the far post and stopped in the crease. No Worcester player could get a stick on the loose puck as several players converged on the crease. Talbot was able to fall back on the puck to stop the play.

Tempers were flaring the entire period, and with two minutes to go in the stanza Andre Deveaux dropped the mitts and started pounding on WorSharks defenseman Sena Acolatse. It took a few moments for the rookie to get free to start throwing punches in a bout that was generally scored even. Both received just fighting majors as both referees, Gino Binda and Ryan Hersey, chose to ignore textbook examples of an instigator minor for Deveaux and a continuing altercation misconduct for Acolatse.

The WorSharks survived a scare early in the second period when Pavel Valentenko boarded Lucia deep in the Worcester zone. Lucia, who missed a full season’s worth of games with a concussion last year was slow to get up but did eventually return. The WorSharks did everything but score on that man advantage and would soon regret not lighting the lamp when Valentenko blasted a shot on net that Jonathan Audy-Marchessault was able to tip at the top of the crease past Sateri at 5:02.

Just over two minutes later while the teams were skating four on four Worcester would reclaim the lead after converting a Whale turnover into a breakaway. Connecticut turned the puck over at the WorSharks blueline and while Mike Connolly struggled to control the puck John McCarthy broke straight toward the Whale end. Once Connolly settled the puck he hit McCarthy in stride as the forward outraced the defense into the zone, and McCarthy roofed a shot over Talbot at 7:10 for the 2-1 lead.

Jack Combs would be the next Worcester headed to the sin bin after mistiming a check and getting called for interference. Wingels had another great chance was shorthanded but Talbot again stoned him on a breakaway chance, and again that miss would come back to haunt the WorSharks when Tim Erixon buried a fifteen foot wrist shot past a partially screened Sateri to tie the game for a second time at 9:50.

The teams’ physical play would boil over again at the end of the period after Deveaux slashed Ryan Del Monte well after the whistle. Matt Pelech took exception to the cheap shot and went after Deveaux, but before he could get there Mashinter dropped the gloves with Jared Nightingale. Pelech and Deveaux got matching minors for their altercation.

In the third period Deveaux would make another trip to the penalty box, and just after his minor expired the WorSharks took the lead for the third time when Combs beat Talbot cleanly from the left side at 8:49. Mike Moore and Sean Sullivan had the assists on the play. It would then be the Whale’s turn to score just as a penalty expired when Sullivan was off for roughing. The defenseman was just on the ice when Andreas Thuresson tipped Erixon’s shot past Sateri at 13:32 to knot the game 3-3.

Connecticut really turned it on after the Thuresson goal and were it not for several great stops by Sateri the game would have likely had a different outcome. Mashinter made sure all those saves would mean something when he was all alone just outside the slot and buried a hard wrister past the blocker of Talbot, with assists going to Lucia and Del Monte, at 17:04 to give the WorSharks the 4-3 lead. Just moments later Viedensky almost made it a two goal lead but Talbot was able to make an incredible save to keep his team in the contest.

Unfortunately for Connecticut Worcester also managed to keep Talbot in his net for a lot longer than the Whale would have liked with a tenacious forecheck as time eventually expired with Connecticut being unable to muster much of a threat to tie the game.

The WorSharks injury list grew by one when Curt Gogol joined Ben Guite and Cam MacIntyre, although Gogol isn’t expected to be out long after suffering a minor head injury after being hit with a puck Wednesday. Worcester’s healthy scratches were Taylor Doherty and James Livingston. Tyson Sexsmith was the back-up netminder.

Looking at the boxscore one would think Nick Petrecki didn’t have much of a game as he’s listed with no shots, no penalty minutes, and being even for the game. Looking on the ice you could see Petrecki took being scratched for Wednesday’s game to heart and punished the Whale with several bone jarring checks. His huge open ice hit was what sprung the WorSharks second line into the Connecticut zone for the eventual game winner.

There was a Neil Diamond impersonator doing the National Anthem for the game…I kid you not. He was pretty bad. I hope the WorSharks decide to not bring him back.

Earlier this week the Whale recalled Jason Missiaen from Greenville (ECHL). It’s usually hardly worthy of a mention when an opponent recalls a back-up goaltender, but in this case it’s somewhat newsworthy as at 6’8″ Missiaen is tallest goalie in North American pro hockey. Watching him during warm-ups it was obvious the only place to beat him was on the glove side, and lots of shots were beating him there. Developmentally he’s a long way from surpassing Ben Bishop (6’7″) from the St. Louis Blues as the tallest goalie to play in the NHL.

Streaking WorSharks: Sean Sullivan has a six game scoring streak (g,6a), Ryan Del Monte has assists in two straight (3a total), and Gogol has a two game points streak (g,2a) that will continue when he returns from his injury. Doherty, Brian O’Hanley, and Sullivan have been even or better in 10 straight games. Gogol has been even or better in seven straight, and Brandon Mashinter has a six game streak going. Both Harri Sateri and Sexsmith are on personal four game winning streaks.

Mashinter’s Gordie Howe hat trick was the first one by a WorSharks player since Veteran’s Day in 2009 against Lowell. Not so surprisingly it was Mashinter who did it and it’s the third time in his pro career he’s had a goal, an assist, and a fight in the same game.

The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – Mashinter (gwg, Gordie Howe hat trick)
2. WOR – Lucia (g,a)
3. CT – Erixon (g,a)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Harri Sateri


Connecticut 0 2 1 – 3
Worcester 1 1 2 – 4

1st Period-1, Worcester, Lucia 3 (Viedensky, Mashinter), 5:20. Penalties-Deveaux Ct (boarding), 2:44; Deveaux Ct (fighting), 18:00; Acolatse Wor (fighting), 18:00.

2nd Period-2, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 11 (Valentenko, Newbury), 5:02. 3, Worcester, McCarthy 8 (Connolly), 7:10. 4, Connecticut, Erixon 2 (Newbury, Bell), 9:50 (PP). Penalties-Valentenko Ct (boarding), 1:24; Wingels Wor (holding), 6:30; Newbury Ct (interference), 6:34; Combs Wor (interference), 8:32; Pelech Wor (interference), 12:31; Bell Ct (tripping), 19:54; Deveaux Ct (slashing), 19:54; Nightingale Ct (fighting), 19:54; Mashinter Wor (fighting), 19:54; Pelech Wor (roughing), 19:54.

3rd Period-5, Worcester, Combs 4 (Moore, Sullivan), 8:49. 6, Connecticut, Thuresson 8 (Erixon, Bell), 13:32. 7, Worcester, Mashinter 4 (Lucia, Del Monte), 17:04. Penalties-McKelvie Ct (high-sticking), 4:17; Deveaux Ct (kneeing), 6:43; Sullivan Wor (roughing), 11:29.

Shots on Goal-Connecticut 10-8-16-34. Worcester 13-7-11-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 1 / 4; Worcester 0 / 6.
Goalies-Connecticut, Talbot 8-6-0 (31 shots-27 saves). Worcester, Sateri 7-4-0 (34 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Ryan Hersey (46), Geno Binda (22).
Linesmen-Ed Boyle (81), Bob Paquette (18).

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Time January 1, 2012 at 8:51 AM

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