WorSharks steal point in 3-2 overtime loss to Manchester

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Sunday, January 29, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks were completely dominated by the Manchester Monarchs in every aspect of the game except for shots on goal, and it looked like they were heading toward being shutout for just the second time this season when in the span of 28 seconds late in the third period the WorSharks stuck twice to stun the Monarchs faithful and force the game into an extra session where they gave up a power play goal to lose a 3-2 overtime contest Saturday night in Manchester, New Hampshire.

To say the two teams don’t like each other might be the understatement of the year, so fans on both sides knew it wouldn’t take long for some fisticuffs to break out. After a couple of encounters where the linesmen stepped in Curt Gogol and Richard Clune finally got the dance party started at 3:31. Two seconds later Frazer McLaren and Justin Johnson went at it in a battle of heavyweights. It took eleven more seconds for fight number three to break out, this one between Sena Acolatse and J.D. Watt. Acolatse was the clear winner in his bout by continuously pounding Watt, with Watt not landing a single punch. Sharkspage has both Gogol and McLaren on the wrong end of their contests.

There was still a lot of hockey to be played, and unfortunately for the WorSharks they would find themselves down 1-0 after twenty minutes when Justin Azevedo scored at 15:49 on the power play. Monarchs defenseman Patrick Mullen began the play with a pass to winger Stefan Legein at the Worcester blueline. Legein skated to the left wing halfboards and threw a nice backhand pass to Azevedo standing all alone at the far post. Azevedo, who had beat WorSharks defenseman Mike Moore to the spot, knocked the bouncing puck into the open net behind Worcester netminder Tyson Sexsmith to light the lamp.

It could have been worse than that one goal deficit but luckily for the WorSharks Jordan Nolan somehow missed a wide open net in the final few seconds of the period. Worcester outshot the Monarchs 10-7, but the scoring chances were tilted far in Manchester’s favor as most of Worcester’s shots were long ranged and seen clearly by Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. The same would hold true in the second period as the WorSharks had a 9-8 shots advantage but the scoring chances were again owned by Manchester, and they would convert on one to make it 2-0 after two.

A few moments after a Manchester goal was disallowed because it was kicked in, Dwight King collected a neutral zone pass and broke into the WorSharks zone and skated around a flatfooted Nick Petrecki and beat Sexsmith five hole with a backhander at 5:56. Worcester had a few chances in the middle stanza but as has been an issue all season seem to show a reluctance to shoot the puck and instead make an extra, unnecessary pass. The WorSharks had three odd man rushes in the period that resulted in no shots on goal as Manchester broke up that extra pass.

About nine minutes into the third period the WorSharks were certain they’d gotten on the scoreboard when Jack Combs beat Zatkoff, but the netminder was apparently able to reach behind and grab the puck before it slid completely over the goal line. WorSharks forward John McCarthy, who was standing just outside the crease, told Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram that the puck was completely over the goal line. The video is inconclusive on if the puck went over the line or not, but it was conclusive that referee Jean Hebert was well out of position to make any sort of call. McCarthy would make sure there was no question on the WorSharks next scoring opportunity.

With Worcester was on the power play the WorSharks circled the puck along the perimeter, ending with Chad Costello finding Combs alone behind the net. Combs, who is one of the best Worcester players ever behind the goal line, saw McCarthy all alone in the slot and hit him with a nice pass that McCarthy could one-time on net. Zatkoff made the quick save but the rebound bounced right back to McCarthy who didn’t miss the second time, cutting the Monarchs lead to 2-1 at 16:06.

Twenty-eight seconds later Worcester would light the lamp again after Zatkoff stopped Marek Viedensky’s backhand bid. After taking a Taylor Doherty feed to the left wing side Viedensky skated hard to the net and tried to force a backhander home but Zatkoff, who plays like a sheet of plywood in front the goal, made the save. The puck dropped into the top of the crease where it became a race between Zatkoff’s glove and James Livingston’s stick. Zatkoff won, but Livingston was still able to jam the puck home at 16:34. The assist was Doherty’s first pro point.

Both teams slowed the play down as neither looked to be willing to give up a scoring chance to lose the point they’d gain in overtime, but Worcester threw it into high gear in the extra session with two great chances. Manchester would get a power play chance when Mike Connolly slashed the stick out of Monarchs player to break up an odd man rush, and Jake Muzzin would take advantage of the extra space and beat a screened Sexsmith on Manchester’s only shot of overtime at 3:56.

The WorSharks had a couple of transactions over the last week, with defenseman Sean Sullivan being traded by San Jose to Florida in exchange for forward Tim Kennedy. With Sullivan leaving Worcester decided to release defenseman Brain O’Hanley from his pro-out contract and sign him to an AHL standard contract. That transaction was almost a forgone conclusion based on previous comments made by WorSharks GM Wayne Thomas and head coach Roy Sommer, who had both expressed how impressed they were with O’Hanley’s play and knew that should he be released from his PTO and sent back to the ECHL he wouldn’t be there for long as many AHL teams were showing interest in the defender.

For the first time in weeks the WorSharks had three healthy scratches, with Nathan Moon, Brodie Reid, and Jimmy Bonneau all sitting out. Worcester’s injury list remains the same as Ben Guite, Cam MacIntyre, and Tony Lucia are all sidelined. Matt Pelech left the game in the second period after colliding with teammate Curt Gogol behind the Manchester net, but the defenseman turned forward indicated he was not significantly injured and should be ready for next weekend’s trip to Canada to take on the St John’s IceCaps.

Interesting stat: All of WorSharks rookie James Livingston’s points (4 goals, 4 assists) this season have come in the third period.

The three stars of the game were
1. MCH – Muzzin (OT gwg)
2. WOR – Livingston (g)
3. MCH – Zatkoff (33 saves)

The Sharkspage player of the game was John McCarthy.

Even strength lines
Gogol/Del Monte/Livingston



Worcester 0 0 2 0 – 2
Manchester 1 1 0 1 – 3

1st Period-1, Manchester, Azevedo 8 (Legein, Mullen), 15:49 (PP). Penalties-Gogol Wor (fighting), 3:31; Clune Mch (fighting), 3:31; McLaren Wor (fighting), 3:33; Johnson Mch (fighting), 3:33; Acolatse Wor (fighting), 3:44; Watt Mch (fighting), 3:44; Kennedy Wor (cross-checking), 7:49; McCarthy Wor (tripping), 15:16; Vey Mch (slashing), 17:13; McLaren Wor (roughing), 20:00; Clune Mch (roughing), 20:00.

2nd Period-2, Manchester, King 10 (Kozun, Mullen), 5:56. Penalties-McCarthy Wor (hooking), 9:35; Clune Mch (hooking), 12:40.

3rd Period-3, Worcester, McCarthy 12 (Combs, Costello), 16:06 (PP). 4, Worcester, Livingston 4 (Viedensky, Doherty), 16:34. Penalties-Acolatse Wor (hooking), 1:12; Azevedo Mch (interference), 6:44; Clune Mch (slashing), 14:09.

OT Period-5, Manchester, Muzzin 4 (Kozun, Azevedo), 3:56 (PP). Penalties-Connolly Wor (slashing), 3:28.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 10-9-13-3-35. Manchester 7-8-7-1-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 4; Manchester 2 / 5.
Goalies-Worcester, Sexsmith 9-8-5 (23 shots-20 saves). Manchester, Zatkoff 13-8-1 (35 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Jean Hebert (43).
Linesmen-Scott Whittemore (96), Bob Paquette (18).

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