WorSharks sunk by Pirates 4-2

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Sunday, January 1, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks ended 2011 against the team they started the year out against but unfortunately played the first period like it was the middle summer months to close out the year 4-2 losers against the Portland Pirates Saturday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine.

For the second game in a row the WorSharks came out flatter than a fast food pancake, and unlike Friday where they got the bounces on Saturday the puck worked against them. The Pirates would get on the board early when Brock Trotter threw a nice backhander past Worcester goaltender Tyson Sexsmith and just under the crossbar. After a Andy Miele dump in was collected by Brett MacLean behind the Worcester net MacLean’s wrap around attempt went across the slot right to Trotter, who despite skating backwards toward the endboards was able to roof a backhander from a bad angle into the net at 3:33.

Portland would convert on a WorSharks turnover to make it 2-0 at 5:17 of the period when Matt Irwin inexplicably threw a lazy backhander from the corner to the right of Sexsmith into the slot. The only player even close to the puck was Pirates defenseman Michael Stone, and his wrist shot beat Sexsmith low to the glove side. The goal should have been unassisted as Irwin had clear control of the puck in the corner, but hometown scoring in Portland has added assists to Ryan Duncan and Matt Watkins.

In an attempt to fire up his team and maybe get into the head of the opposing goaltender Nathan Moon gave Portland netminder Justin Pogge a pretty good two-hander a few seconds after the second Pirates tally, which drew the ire of Dean Arsene who jumped to Pogge’s defense and showed Moon what a true AHL heavyweight can do to a middleweight. It was all for naught as the WorSharks continued along with their lackluster play.

Miele would give the Pirates a 3-0 lead at 17:25 after another WorSharks turnover just outside of their own zone. MacLean stole the puck out of the feet of Mike Connolly and sent Miele all alone into the WorSharks zone. Taylor Doherty did manage to hook Miele from behind, but all that did was to cause the onrushing forward to crash into Sexsmith as the puck was going over the goal line.

The WorSharks would make a game of it early in the second period when Tommy Wingels banged home a rebound at the top of the crease when Pogge made a save on John McCarthy’s original bid, also assisted by Irwin, and the goal added a little bounce to Worcester’s step. That bounce would go away quickly when Duncan beat Sexsmith from 50 feet away on a shot the netminder most definitely should have had at 11:27.

Tempers would boil over at 15:13 of the period when a Maxim Goncharov hit put WorSharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau down behind the play. Matt Pelech jumped Goncharov in front of the Worcester bench to administer some frontier justice. While Bonneau was being helped up and back to the WorSharks bench he did battle with Mike Hoffman–there are conflicting reports on if Hoffman left the Pirates bench to engage Bonneau–and both were ejected for their brief altercation.

Jack Combs, who has been a great in-season signing, gave Worcester fans a little bit of hope when he beat Pogge five-hole at 6:31 of the third period, but three goal deficits are hard to overcome and the WorSharks couldn’t climb out of the hole the dug for themselves despite outplaying the Pirates over the last 20 minutes.

Worcester scratches were Cam MacIntyre, Tony Lucia, Brian O’Hanley, Ben Guite, and Curt Gogol. James Livingston was originally a scratch for the WorSharks but after warm-ups Lucia was unable to play, throwing Livingston back into the line-up. With Lucia’s previous concussion issue it’s hoped this is not related to the hard hit he took early in Friday’s game. Harri Sateri was the back-up goaltender.

The three stars of the game were:
1. POR – Stone (g,a)
2. POR – Miele (g,a)
3. POR – Pogge (33 saves)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Ryan Del Monte


Worcester 0 1 1 – 2
Portland 3 1 0 – 4

1st Period-1, Portland, Trotter 8 (MacLean, Miele), 3:33. 2, Portland, Stone 3 (Duncan, Watkins), 5:17. 3, Portland, Miele 9 (MacLean), 17:25. Penalties-Moon Wor (slashing, fighting), 5:32; Arsene Por (fighting), 5:32; Bloodoff Por (high-sticking), 13:31.

2nd Period-4, Worcester, Wingels 13 (McCarthy, Irwin), 4:18 (PP). 5, Portland, Duncan 7 (Hextall, Stone), 11:27. Penalties-Wingels Wor (high-sticking), 0:02; Watkins Por (roughing), 3:49; Bloodoff Por (holding), 12:07; Bonneau Wor (fighting, game misconduct – secondary altercation), 15:13; Pelech Wor (fighting), 15:13; Goncharov Por (fighting), 15:13; Hoffman Por (fighting, game misconduct – secondary altercation), 15:13; Arsene Por (holding), 17:42.

3rd Period-6, Worcester, Combs 5 (Sullivan, Del Monte), 6:31. Penalties-Miele Por (tripping), 3:23; Mashinter Wor (roughing), 4:05; Rome Por (roughing), 15:45; Livingston Wor (roughing), 18:56; Eckford Por (roughing), 18:56.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 11-12-12-35. Portland 12-9-4-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 6; Portland 0 / 3.
Goalies-Worcester, Sexsmith 8-6-3 (25 shots-21 saves). Portland, Pogge 5-3-3 (35 shots-33 saves).
Referees-David Banfield (44).
Linesmen-Joe Andrews (32), Landon Bathe (80).

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