WorSharks all defensive in 3-2 loss to Providence

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Saturday, January 21, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks took their rag tag roster down to Rhode Island to take on the Providence Bruins, but with a line-up comprised of more punchers than scorers couldn’t overcome several late mental errors and sub-par goaltending in dropping a 3-2 decision Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

With the recall of John McCarthy prior to the game Worcester was forced to dress all eight of their defensemen and use two at forward. Nick Petrecki joined fellow blueliner Matt Pelech and enforcer Jimmy Bonneau to form quite a musclebound fourth line–with Pelech centering no less–but after several shifts on the ice it appeared referee Terry Koharski had seen enough of the smash and bash show and whistled Petrecki for a borderline boarding call after several big hits. Going in to the game the WorSharks had one of the best penalty kills in the league and Providence had the lowest ranked power play in the AHL, so it came as quite a shock when the P-Bruins’s opening goal came on that man advantage.

McCarthy is one of the WorSharks best penalty killers so missing him was likely going to cause problems, but throughout much of Providence’s power play Worcester did a good job of limiting their chances. The P-bruins would finally connect at 16:22 when Matt Bartkowski fired a shot intentionally wide of the net and when WorSharks netminder Antero Niittymaki failed to hold the post Andrew Bodnarchuk was able to get it past him and into the net for the 1-0 lead. It was even more shocking when Providence connected on their second power play chance at 2:53 of the second period when Yannick Riendeau beat Niittymaki with a blast from the left wing circle. Despite it being a three on one break the WorSharks defense played it well in forcing a longer range shot, and it was one an NHL calibre goaltender should have made the save on.

Despite all the fighters in the line-up for the WorSharks it seemed the Baby-Bs tough guys wanted no part of them and instead used the last change to their advantage and threw their weight around when there was no chance at retribution. In the middle of the second period after Lane MacDermid boarded Nathan Moon all ten players got together in a large scrum, but instead of MacDermid challenging one of the Worcester tough guys on the ice he took on rookie Taylor Doherty. The WorSharks bench took notice.

With most of their offensive weapons in San Jose it would be up to everyone to pick up the slack, and Ryan Del Monte was able to do just that at 14:15 of the middle period when he tipped Matt Irwin’s blast from the blue line past Providence netminder Anton Khudobin to cut the deficit to 2-1. Alex Bourret had the second assist on the goal. On the ensuing face-off just one second later Pelech was able to show why the Providence “tough guys” were avoiding the WorSharks fighters when he dropped the mitts with Bobby Robbins and pummeled his opponent so badly Pelech stopped throwing punches and waved in the linesmen.

The P-Bruins would again increase their lead to two goals at 3:28 of the third period when Craig Cunningham beat Niittymaki high glove after collecting a rebound of a Bodnarchuk attempt. The WorSharks would return the favor of a rebound goal when Marek Viedensky threw a nice backhander past Khudobin at 10:51 after he made the original save on Mike Connolly’s bid. Irwin had the second assist on that play.

Unfortunately for the WorSharks a couple of silly penalties late in the game, one to Jack Combs for interference and another on Connolly for hooking in the final minutes, prevented any sort of legitimate attempt to get back to even.

As noted above, prior to the start of the game the Worcester Shuttle stopped in the Bay State to pick up John McCarthy and drop off Antero Niittymaki to finish his conditioning stint. The shuttle is starting to rack up some miles and it’s expected to drop off Frazer McLaren Saturday presuming the winger passes through waivers. There are also rumors the WorSharks have signed a player out of the ECHL, although as of posting time there was no further information. WorSharks injury scratches were Ben Guite, Cam MacIntyre, Tony Lucia, & Curt Gogol. Harri Sateri was a healthy scratch, and Tyson Sexsmith was the back-up goaltender.

EDIT: Just after the original posting it was announced the WorSharks had signed Chad Costello from the Colorado Eagles to a PTO. He has 22 goals and 57 points in 34 ECHL games this season.

The three stars of the game were
1. PRO – Cunningham (gwg,2a)
2. PRO – Bodnarchuk (g,2a)
3. WOR – Irwin (2a)

The Sharkspage player of the game is Marek Viedensky.


Worcester 0 1 1 – 2
Providence 1 1 1 – 3

1st Period-1, Providence, Bodnarchuk 4 (Bartkowski, Cunningham), 16:22 (PP). Penalties-Hennessy Pro (holding), 3:37; Petrecki Wor (boarding), 14:43.

2nd Period-2, Providence, Riendeau 3 (Cunningham, Bodnarchuk), 2:53 (PP). 3, Worcester, Del Monte 3 (Bourret, Irwin), 14:15. Penalties-Connolly Wor (slashing), 0:59; Moon Wor (high-sticking), 8:22; Doherty Wor (fighting), 10:56; MacDermid Pro (boarding, fighting), 10:56; Pelech Wor (fighting), 14:16; Robins Pro (fighting), 14:16.

3rd Period-4, Providence, Cunningham 8 (Bodnarchuk, Caron), 3:28. 5, Worcester, Viedensky 3 (Connolly, Irwin), 10:51. Penalties-Riendeau Pro (hooking), 8:28; Combs Wor (interference), 14:51; Connolly Wor (hooking), 18:05; Combs Wor (roughing), 19:54; Khudobin Pro (roughing), 19:54.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 12-6-12-30. Providence 8-10-8-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 3; Providence 2 / 5.
Goalies-Worcester, Niittymaki 1-3-0 (26 shots-23 saves). Providence, Khudobin 14-14-3 (30 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Bob Paquette (18), Brian MacDonald (72).

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