Sexsmith, WorSharks put Syracuse in dog house with 3-2 shootout win

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Monday, January 16, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks played uninspired hockey for most of their game against the Syracuse Crunch Sunday afternoon but thanks to an outstanding performance from goaltender Tyson Sexsmith were able to steal a point when the game went to overtime, and then thanks to a little slight of hand by the rookie netminder were able to steal the win in a 3-2 shootout decision at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 4,287 fans including 75 dogs on Pucks and Paws Day.

It was fitting that the house included canines because Syracuse should have dog tired after playing their third game on the road in 43 hours, but it was the WorSharks that looked like mutts in the first period by being outshot 14-7 and being beaten in every aspect of the game. Were it not for Sexsmith the Crunch could have put the game away early, but time and time again he rose to the challenge to keep the WorSharks close to even. Only one shot beat Sexsmith in the opening twenty minutes, a highlight reel worthy backhander by Luca Caputi over Sexsmith’s blocker that just snuck inside the far corner at 8:24.

The goal seemed to fire up Worcester a little, and a turnover in the neutral zone sent Mike Connolly in all alone on Syracuse goaltender Iiro Tarkki. Connolly was caught from behind by the Crunch defense and didn’t get a good chance off, but in the ensuing play the puck ended up on the stick of Sena Acolatse at the right point. His blast was easily handled by Tarkki, but the rebound went right at Jack Combs. The puck was heading toward his backhand so Combs pulled a min spin-o-rama to get the puck on his forehand and buried it into the net at 10:15.

Fans were also looking forward to seeing the WorSharks extend their consecutive games in fight streak but in two opportunities during the period the Crunch player, in both cases Matt Smaby, played the role of “tough guy” until the altercation was to start and turtled both times. He ended the period with three stays in the sin bin, two roughing minors and an elbow. The rest of the game he spent staying away from the WorSharks tough guys.

The Smaby elbowing minor toward the end of the period gave the WorSharks a five on three advantage to start the second period, but passed the puck around far too much getting only a single non-threatening shot on goal. Most of the remaining 45 seconds on Smaby’s elbowing minor were just as poor for the WorSharks, but at the tail end of power play Mike Moore began a rush up ice that would eventually result in an even strength goal. After Moore entered the Syracuse zone with the puck he hit Brodie Reid with a pass to the left wing circle. His blast on net was saved by Tarkki, and after a misfire on the rebound by Brandon Mashinter John McCarthy lit the lamp at 2:00.

It looked like Sexsmith was going to steal the win for Worcester with his play until the middle of the third period when Crunch winger Patrick Maroon fired a shot on goal that was going well wide. Center Peter Holland was crashing the net and deflected the wide shot into the goal with his skate. Worcester protested but the goal at 7:03 stood and the game was tied. From that point on in the game Sexsmith put on a goaltending exhibition, making every type of save imaginable to keep the WorSharks in the lead. And he had to make a lot of them as the WorSharks went the entire second half of the third period without a shot on goal.

As the game went into the overtime period the WorSharks carried the play but could not get another shot past Tarkki, and with Worcester being winless in the shootout fans weren’t all the excited about the prospects of grabbing the extra point. Holland scored first for the Crunch, but consecutive goals by McCarthy and Mashinter sent Worcester to the 5th round leading by one. Dan Sexton connected to get Syracuse back to even, and Tarkki made the save on Marek Viedensky’s game winning bid.

The shootout headed into the sudden death rounds, and as Crunch forward Mark Bell came in on Sexsmith the netminder got caught a little to deep in his crease and as he made the save slid on to and over the goal line. Nearly all of Sexsmith was in the net, but with a little flick of his foot the rookie was able to slide the puck out of the net–video shows it was clearly all the way over the goal line–before Referee Ryan Fraser could catch sight of it as he ruled no goal. The replay shown in the building, which the AHL does not use to determine if the puck is in the net or not, raised the ire of the Syracuse bench. As they were yelling and complaining Reid swooped in on his attempt and buried a wrist shot for the 3-2 victory.

Worcester went with the same line-up as Sunday’s shutout wins over the weekend. The only change was Tyson Sexsmith getting the start in net and Harri Sateri being the backup.

Prior to the start of the game the WorSharks held their first “State of the Sharks” meeting between fans and San Jose hockey operations. You can check out Sharkspage’s coverage of the event here.

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – Reid (SO gwg)
2. WOR – Sexsmith (40 saves)
3. WOR – McCarthy (g)

Tyson Sexsmith was the AHL’s number one star of the night.

The Sharkspage player of the game was Jack Combs.

Even strength lines
Bourret/Del Monte/Livingston



Syracuse 1 0 1 0 – 2
Worcester 1 1 0 0 – 3

1st Period-1, Syracuse, Caputi 4 (Jacques, Carle), 8:24. 2, Worcester, Combs 6 (Acolatse, Connolly), 10:15. Penalties-Smaby Syr (roughing), 0:19; Bonneau Wor (roughing), 0:19; Smaby Syr (roughing), 13:34; Pelech Wor (roughing, high-sticking), 13:34; Zimmerman Syr (interference), 19:11; Smaby Syr (elbowing), 19:56.

2nd Period-3, Worcester, McCarthy 11 (Mashinter, Reid), 2:00. Penalties-Pelech Wor (cross-checking), 15:53; served by Mashinter Wor (bench minor – too many men), 19:38.

3rd Period-4, Syracuse, Holland 13 (Maroon), 7:03. Penalties-Petrecki Wor (holding), 5:20; Jacques Syr (high-sticking), 6:15; Del Monte Wor (goaltender interference), 11:54.

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

Shootout – Syracuse 2 (Holland G, Maroon NG, Caputi NG, Jacques NG, Sexton G, Bell NG), Worcester 3 (Connolly NG, Combs NG, McCarthy G, Mashinter G, Viedensky NG, Reid G).
Shots on Goal-Syracuse 14-12-15-1-0-42. Worcester 7-9-4-3-1-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Syracuse 0 / 5; Worcester 0 / 3.
Goalies-Syracuse, Tarkki 9-11-2 (23 shots-21 saves). Worcester, Sexsmith 9-7-4 (42 shots-40 saves).
Referees-Ryan Fraser (14).
Linesmen-Ed Boyle (81), Bob Bernard (42).

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