WorSharks score early and often, beat Providence 5-2

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Sunday, March 4, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks bussed south down Route 146 to avenge last Friday night’s collapse to the Providence Bruins, and took it to the shorthanded Baby-Bs early with three opening period goals, the first two by captain Mike Moore, and then survived a couple bumps in the road to defeat their Atlantic Division rivals 5-2 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island in front of a crowd announced at 7,970.

With the Boston Bruins suffering injuries to Tuukka Rask and Daniel Paille in their Saturday matinee loss to the New York Islanders and having a game Sunday afternoon at the New York Rangers the Bruins recalled goaltender Michael Hutchinson and forward Lane MacDermid prior to the start of the contest with Worcester, leaving their AHL affiliate short a skater and with essentially two junior varsity netminders. And the WorSharks took full advantage of the situation.

It didn’t take long for Worcester to get an idea of the type of game Providence wanted to play as even in the opening minute the Baby-Bs were diving all over the ice trying to block shots to keep the WorSharks scoring chances at a minimum. That tactic only works when you expect a shot on goal, and Moore’s first goal was what should have been a harmless attempt that ended up in the back of the net. After Worcester dumped the puck into the Providence zone in the ensuing play Sena Acolatse blocked a clearing attempt at the right point and fired the puck around the boards. James Livingston fought off two defenders at the left wing halfboards and found Moore open at the blueline. Moore’s blast from 60 feet hit a Providence player on its way to the net and beat goaltender Adam Courchaine at 2:51. Jimmy Bonneau is listed as having an assist on the play, but it looks like that point should go to Acolatse.

Moore would connect again at 7:55, this time from about five feet closer after Ryan Del Monte wheeled the net and threw a pass back out to the blue line. Moore passed it across the zone to Acolatse, who then hit Del Monte with a return pass to complete the triangle after the center had moved up toward the blue line. As Del Monte turned toward the net to draw the defense toward him he fed the wide open Moore for a one timer on net. Courchaine was screened by James Sheppard, and the puck deflected off another P-bruin defenseman and into the net. Courchaine would have a great view from the bench of the WorSharks next three goals as he was then lifted for Karel St. Laurent after making five saves on seven shots.

John McCarthy would make it 3-0 Worcester with a booming shot from the top of the left wing circle. Matt Pelech dumped the puck into the Providence zone allowing the WorSharks forwards to change. Brandon Mashinter recovered the loose puck at nearly the exact same spot as Livingston did on Moore’s first goal, and then threw a backhand pass to McCarthy as he streaked into the zone. McCarthy unleashed a bomb that beat St. Laurent high and just under the cross bar at 12:47. Tim Kennedy is listed as having the secondary assist.

Providence tried to pick up the physical play in the second period, but against the WorSharks that’s usually not a good idea. Late in the period Kirk MacDonald jumped into a potential battle between between Jimmy Bonneau and Max Sauve, which drew the ire of Bonneau and several other of the WorSharks. Raising their ire even more was Bonneau getting an extra minor out of the scrum. MacDonald knew that the next time Bonneau was on the ice he would have to answer for butting into the battle, so MacDonald decided to take on Nick Petrecki instead. That didn’t work out as well as MacDonald planned as Petrecki landed several unanswered lefts to win the bout.

Inexplicably the WorSharks would end up shorthanded after the fight with Petrecki getting an extra minor for roughing, and with 11.5 seconds left in the period Sauve would make it 3-1 when he fired a rebound past Worcester netminder Tyson Sexsmith.

Worcester went into their all too familiar “defense first” style trying to protect the two goal lead to start the third period, and Providence turned that into a couple nice scoring chances that Sexsmith was able to turn aside. Just when it looked like the WorSharks were going to suffer another painful collapse Brodie Reid gave the Worcester a little more breathing room at 11:24 of the period when Tony Lucia sent him on a clean breakaway, and Reid beat St. Laurent to the glove side just under the crossbar to make it 4-1.

The goal would loom large as the Baby-Bs would get back within two when Cunningham banged home a rebound off the endboards at 13:15, but Worcester held firm and kept Providence’s scoring chances at a minimum. Lucia would add an empty netter at 18:41 when he collected a Moore pass and cleared the red line before sending the puck toward the Providence net for the 5-2 final.

The NHL trade deadline was not kind to the WorSharks as San Jose made a deal that sent Mike Connolly, one of the team’s leading scorers, to Colorado in a multi-player deal. That trade deadline was also the deadline for NHL players to be eligible for the AHL playoffs by being on AHL rosters at 3pm EST, but for some unknown reason San Jose chose not to complete a paper transaction for Tommy Wingels despite several other NHL teams doing so for their otherwise eligible players. The second year forward was the only player on San Jose’s roster that did not need to pass through waivers to play in the AHL, so it should have been automatic that they would assign and then recall him to be eligible. Multiple requests for comment to the San Jose Sharks front office about the situation have gone unanswered.

Just prior to the game WorSharks fans got further bad news when Alex Stalock was loaned to the Peoria Rivermen. With three healthy goaltenders obviously one needed to be loaned elsewhere, but it is a slap in the face of Worcester Sharks fans that General Manager Wayne Thomas did not work out a reciprocal loan agreement to receive a player in exchange. It’s standard procedure in the AHL this time of year, and yet once again San Jose has failed the fan base in Worcester by not doing even the minimum to help the team.

WorSharks scratches were Ben Guite (concussion), Taylor Doherty (healthy), Frazer McLaren (groin), Curt Gogol (concussion), Cam MacIntyre (concussion), and Andrew Murray (concussion). Harri Sateri was the back-up goaltender.

The Saturday home game for Providence was the only one on the schedule for the Baby-Bs, who traditionally play weekend home games on just Fridays and Sundays. It was a rescheduled game originally to be played on January 27, which was a Friday.

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – Moore (2g,a,+4)
2. WOR – Sexsmith (21 saves)
3. PRO – Sauve (g,a)

Moore was also the AHL’s #2 Star of the Night.

The Sharkspage player of the game was Brodie Reid.


Worcester 3 0 2 – 5
Providence 0 1 1 – 2

1st Period-1, Worcester, Moore 3 (Bonneau, Livingston), 2:51. 2, Worcester, Moore 4 (Acolatse, Del Monte), 7:55. 3, Worcester, McCarthy 14 (Mashinter, Kennedy), 12:47. Penalties-No Penalties

2nd Period-4, Providence, Sauve 7 (Tardif, Bodnarchuk), 19:48 (PP). Penalties-Sauve Pro (roughing), 12:30; Acolatse Wor (roughing), 15:07; Bonneau Wor (roughing, roughing), 15:07; MacDonald Pro (roughing), 15:07; Sauve Pro (roughing), 15:07; Petrecki Wor (roughing, fighting), 18:24; MacDonald Pro (fighting), 18:24.

3rd Period-5, Worcester, Reid 8 (Lucia), 11:24. 6, Providence, Cunningham 14 (Cohen, Sauve), 13:15. 7, Worcester, Lucia 4 (Moore), 18:41 (EN). Penalties-Cohen Pro (tripping), 19:46.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 10-5-10-25. Providence 6-9-8-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 2; Providence 1 / 2.
Goalies-Worcester, Sexsmith 11-10-6 (23 shots-21 saves). Providence, Courchaine 0-1-0 (7 shots-5 saves); St. Laurent 1-1-0 (17 shots-15 saves).
Referees-Darcy Burchell (42).
Linesmen-Bob Paquette (18), Brian MacDonald (72).

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