The Worcester Sharks carried the momentum of a shootout win Saturday night against the Hershey Bears on their six hour bus ride home early in Sunday morning and took it to the Portland Pirates, beating their Atlantic Division rivals 5-2 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 6,859 fans in the “PINK in the RINK” game where the WorSharks wore pink jerseys and skated on pink ice.
With both teams making the trek to Worcester from Pennsylvania during the overnight hours fans were uncertain what to expect from teams that should have been dead tired. What the home crowd saw was a pretty entertaining game with neither team showing rubbery legs in the opening minutes. Just after the WorSharks killed off a tripping penalty to captain Mike Moore they themselves went on the power play, and it took just 13 seconds for them to get on the board when Jack Combs gathered a loose puck from–where else?–behind the goal line to the left of Pirates netminder Justin Pogge after a missed shot by Tim Kennedy. Combs fired the puck off Pogge and into the net at 6:29 for his team leading seventh opening period goal. Mike Connolly had the second assist.
Portland would get the equalizer at 7:29 of the second period when Patrick O’Sullivan rushed down the left wing side and somehow managed to get the puck past WorSharks goaltender Harri Sateri and into the net.
Kennedy would get Worcester its lead back with their second power play goal of the game when he picked up a loose puck at the right wing halfboards and skated in on Pogge, beating the netminder between his stick arm and body with a wrist shot from the right circle. Matt Irwin and Connolly assisted on the play at 11:18. Brandon Mashinter would make it a two goal advantage at 16:15 with an absolute laser from the left side circle after a feed from James Livingston during an odd man rush into the Pirates zone. Ryan Del Monte would have the second assist on the goal that chased Pogge from the game.
Seconds later Worcester would beat the Pirates newly inserted goaltender Marc Cheverie, but the puck rang off the iron and bounced away harmlessly. Del Monte would beat Cheverie with one that counted as the clocked ticked down on the second period after he, Livingston, and Mashinter worked the circle play to perfection to give Del Monte a wide open shot from the slot with just 23.6 seconds remaining in the period.
Brock Trotter would give the Pirates a little bit of hope when he beat Sateri at 5:16 of the third period, but from there on Sateri and the WorSharks defense shut the door. Portland would pull Cheverie for an extra attacker late, but after twice preventing empty net goals by onrushing Worcester forwards the WorSharks would prove the third time is the charm when Andrew Murray hit the empty net from the Pirates blueline for the 5-2 final. Kennedy and Combs, who each had bids foiled by Portland, had the assists.
WorSharks scratches were Ben Guite, Tony Lucia, Sena Acolatse, Chad Costello, Marek Viedensky, and Frazer McLaren. This was a “planned” day off for Acolatse, who is playing with a full face cage after an injury last weekend in St John’s. Had Curt Gogol been unable to play after being boarded Saturday night in Hershey Acolatse would have been available. Tyson Sexsmith was the back-up netminder.
Prior to the opening puck drop the WorSharks played a video in tribute to head coach Roy Sommer’s 500th career coaching victory and, Worcester Sharks President Michael Mudd presented him a road Worcester jersey with “500″ on the back as Sommer received a standing ovation from fans and players alike.
The start of the game was delayed about five minutes due to a pane of glass behind the Worcester net being broken in warm-ups.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – Del Monte (g,a)
2. WOR – Kennedy (g,2a)
3. WOR – Sateri (32 saves)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Brandon Mashinter
Portland 0 1 1 – 2
Worcester 1 3 1 – 5
1st Period-1, Worcester, Combs 11 (Kennedy, Connolly), 6:29 (PP). Penalties-Moore Wor (tripping), 4:04; Eckford Por (roughing), 6:16; Del Monte Wor (roughing), 11:59; MacLean Por (tripping), 18:00.
2nd Period-2, Portland, O’Sullivan 8 7:29. 3, Worcester, Kennedy 5 (Irwin, Connolly), 11:18 (PP). 4, Worcester, Mashinter 9 (Livingston, Del Monte), 16:15. 5, Worcester, Del Monte 5 (Livingston, Pelech), 19:36. Penalties-Eckford Por (tripping), 10:46.
3rd Period-6, Portland, Trotter 14 (Pouliot, Werek), 5:16. 7, Worcester, Murray 1 (Kennedy, Combs), 19:20 (EN). Penalties-MacIntyre Wor (hooking), 6:26; Petrecki Wor (high-sticking), 9:32.
Shots on Goal-Portland 8-11-15-34. Worcester 8-7-7-22.
Power Play Opportunities-Portland 0 / 4; Worcester 2 / 3.
Goalies-Portland, Pogge 11-10-3 (13 shots-10 saves); Cheverie 2-1-0 (8 shots-7 saves). Worcester, Sateri 11-8-0 (34 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Brett Montsion (80), Chris Cozzan (18).
Linesmen-Todd Whittemore (70), Bob Bernard (42).