The Worcester Sharks are averaging under three goals a game, so after scoring six against Portland on Friday night it wasn’t shocking to see the return of their scoring issues in Saturday’s contest, and the inability to put the puck in the net came back to bite the WorSharks on the backside as they were whitewashed 2-0 by the Providence Bruins at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 6,204 fans.
Providence goaltender Michael Hutchinson certainly played a huge role in keeping the WorSharks off the board, but the bigger issue is one long running: the team simply does not put the puck in the net when they have opportunities to do so. The team is so bad in scoring it doesn’t even generate scoring chances while on the power play. Worcester has failed to score in its last 28 power play chances, a streak that goes back to February 24. And that was a five on three goal, to find a five on four goal one has to go back to February 21st against Syracuse.
One stat says it all: Worcester shooting percentage is a woeful 7.9%, last in the American Hockey League.
There’s one team that has a shooting percentage close to Worcester, and that’s Providence at 8%. That point-one might not seem like a lot, but what it turned into was Kirk MacDonald being able to tip a wide shot by Andrew Bodnarchuk past WorSharks goaltender Tyson Sexsmith at 12:25 of the middle period as MacDonald was all alone at the far post behind the Worcester defense. Trent Whitfield added an empty netter with four seconds remaining for the 2-0 final.
One thing that needs to be pointed out; effort and heart are not issues on this team. The WorSharks play hard every single night. But what they don’t do is score, and that’s not an issue winning teams have.
WorSharks head coach Roy Sommer went with the same line-up as Friday night. The only change was that instead of James Sheppard being a healthy scratch he was recalled to San Jose as his conditioning stint was over. Harri Sateri was again the back-up goaltender.
There was two fights in the contest, the second one starting while Providence was celebrating Kirk MacDonald’s goal. MacDonald intentionally skated into Tim Kennedy by the P-Bruins bench–there was no way he didn’t see Kennedy–and Kennedy chased after MacDonald and gave him an NHL-level two hander across the legs. All ten players got together, and within second Curt Gogol pulled Kevan Miller out of the pile and dropped the gloves. The first fight was Brandon Mashinter against Nathan McIver in a continuation of an altercation that started in the opening minutes of the game after John McCarthy was elbowed in the head. Mashinter pummeled McIver, cutting the defenseman over the right eye leaving blood on the glass. The two fights push the WorSharks to the century mark on the season, which leads the AHL.
While the P-Bruins colors are black and gold after the game Matt Pelech’s colors were black and blue as the defenseman blocked several shots, including one that caved him in as play continued around him in the first period. Later on he blocked another shot that hit his other leg, and for the rest of the game looked like he could barely stand as opposed to skating. He appeared to miss just one shift despite being in obvious pain for most of the contest.
The three stars of the game were
1. PRO – Hutchinson (34 save shutout)
2. PRO – MacDonald (gwg)
3. WOR – Sexsmith (28 saves)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Matt Pelech
Providence 0 1 1 – 2
Worcester 0 0 0 – 0
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Mashinter Wor (roughing), 1:35; McIver Pro (fighting), 10:32; Mashinter Wor (fighting), 10:32; Moon Wor (tripping), 13:47; Whitfield Pro (holding), 16:31.
2nd Period-1, Providence, MacDonald 6 (Bodnarchuk, Miller), 12:25. Penalties-Miller Pro (fighting), 12:25; Gogol Wor (fighting), 12:25; Kennedy Wor (slashing), 12:25; Cohen Pro (slashing), 16:28.
3rd Period-2, Providence, Whitfield 5 (Tardif), 19:56 (EN). Penalties-Cunningham Pro (tripping), 7:46; Lucia Wor (slashing), 9:18; Whitfield Pro (goaltender interference), 12:08; Doherty Wor (delay of game), 14:28.
Shots on Goal-Providence 8-12-10-30. Worcester 14-8-12-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Providence 0 / 5; Worcester 0 / 4.
Goalies-Providence, Hutchinson 7-11-1 (34 shots-34 saves). Worcester, Sexsmith 12-11-7 (29 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Francis Charron (46).
Linesmen-Ed Boyle (81), Brent Colby (7).