The Worcester Sharks went into Friday night’s contest looking for a little revenge for last weekend’s shutout loss to the Providence Bruins, and after notching three third period goals defeated the Baby-Bs 5-2 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 7,787 fans to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The WorSharks are currently tied for 7th place in the conference with games in hand against every team behind them in the standings.
Games against their route 146 rivals often come down to bounces, take your pick if they’re bad ones for the WorSharks or good ones for Providence, and the Baby-Bs got one of those lucky bounces just 1:36 into the contest after a centering feed by Jamie Tardif hit the skate of Josh Hennessy and bounced past WorSharks netminder Tyson Sexsmith. Worcester was hampered in their own end when John McCarthy broke his stick, but the winger still failed to cover his man leading to the goal.
After both teams rang shots off the iron the WorSharks would draw back to even on a hard working play by Nathan Moon. Tony Lucia broke into the Providence zone on the left wing side and fed James Livingston breaking toward the net. Baby-Bs goaltender Michael Hutchinson made the initial save but couldn’t get his glove over the loose puck cleanly, and Moon was there are the far post to jam it home at 14:31.
Jack Combs gave the WorSharks a 2-1 lead with a power play goal that broke an oh-fer-29 skid with the man advantage when he put a rebound into a yawning net at 16:35. The play started with a hard pass to Ben Guite from Mike Moore at the blueline. Guite, standing at the left wing halfboards, unleashed a booming one-timer that Hutchinson was able to make the save on despite Livingston crashing the net right in front of him. The puck went right to the stick of Combs in the slot, and he had enough time to settle the puck and fire it into the open net before any defender could react.
Providence would have the only goal of the middle period, and it was again a lucky–or unlucky–bounce that resulted in the puck going into the net. Lane MacDermid took a shot from the high slot but partially misfired and the puck popped into the air. It bounced off the head of Trent Whitfield, and Sexsmith lost sight of it as he was expecting a booming shot. As Sexsmith was searching for the puck it dropped down on to his right shoulder and rolled into the net at 5:46. Under a minute later Providence would light the lamp again when Tardif deflected the puck into the net, but after a quick conversation with his linesmen referee David Banfield waved the goal off saying Tardiff kicked it in. Replay shows it was the correct call.
Lately Worcester has had some issues in the third period, so it was imperative the WorSharks got off to a strong start and avoid falling behind. Despite Sexsmith having to make a couple of nice saves early for the most part the WorSharks kept Providence from getting many good scoring chances. The only problem was the Baby-Bs were also keeping Worcester from getting any chances for themselves. But the WorSharks were outworking the Baby-Bs every shift, and for once that was enough to get them the lead.
Brandon Mashinter, Tim Kennedy, and McCarthy were swarming the Providence net and literally had the Baby-Bs skating in circles. With all their skating McCarthy finally had a clear opening for a great chance, but Hutchinson was able to kick the puck away and almost into the clear. Brain O’Hanley picked up the bouncing puck at the left point and wristed it through traffic, beating the screened Hutchinson at 11:19. Mashinter was credited with the second assist.
Marek Viedensky would get Worcester an insurance goal at 17:14 when he and Livingston turned a three on two into a two on one, and the rookie center beat Hutchinson to the glove side. Tony Lucia, who didn’t get an assist on the goal, was the third attacker that drew away one of the Providence defensemen. Lucia’s reward for his help in the insurance goal was an empty netter at 19:49, also assisted by Livingston.
Earlier in the week University of Vermont forward Sebastian Stalberg was signed to an amateur try-out contract by Worcester after signing a two year entry level contract with the San Jose Sharks. He was the only healthy scratch for the Worcester. Other scratches for the WorSharks were Curt Gogol, Nick Petrecki, Frazer McLaren, Cam MacIntyre, and Andrew Murray. Gogol skated in warm-ups and should be available shortly. Word is McLaren is also close to returning. One name finally absent from the injury list is Ben Guite, who played in just his 11th game of the season after suffering a broken foot and a concussion in two separate incidents. Harri Sateri was the back-up netminder.
Worcester headed off to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after the game for what will likely be their last hotel stay of the regular season. After Saturday’s game against the Penguins the WorSharks will make a mad dash home for Sunday afternoon’s game against Bridgeport. This is the second time this season Worcester has had a home game Friday, followed by a trip to Pennsylvania for a Saturday night game, and then a mad dash home for a Sunday matinee. There’s no reason for that to happen once in a season, never mind twice in five weeks.
Before before WorSharks the game the Worcester Police and Fire Department defeated the Watertown, CT Fire Department 11-5 during the Guns ‘N Hoses game to benefit the Jon Davies Children’s Foundation. Jon Davies was a Worcester firefighter killed in the line of duty in early December. At the conclusion of the game Worcester hosted a U.S. Army enlistment/re-enlistment ceremony at center ice.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – O’Hanley (gwg)
2. WOR – Moon (g,+2)
3. WOR – Viedensky (g)
The Sharkspage player of the game is James Livingston
Providence 1 1 0 – 2
Worcester 2 0 3 – 5
1st Period-1, Providence, Hennessy 17 (Tardif, Cunningham), 1:36. 2, Worcester, Moon 11 (Livingston, Lucia), 14:31. 3, Worcester, Combs 14 (Guite, Moore), 16:35 (PP). Penalties-Miller Pro (cross-checking), 14:52.
2nd Period-4, Providence, Whitfield 6 (MacDermid, Cohen), 5:46. Penalties-O’Hanley Wor (cross-checking), 18:09.
3rd Period-5, Worcester, O’Hanley 2 (McCarthy, Mashinter), 11:19. 6, Worcester, Viedensky 5 (Livingston), 17:14. 7, Worcester, Lucia 6 (Livingston), 19:49 (EN). Penalties-Mashinter Wor (slashing), 0:39.
Shots on Goal-Providence 6-7-10-23. Worcester 15-10-8-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Providence 0 / 2; Worcester 1 / 1.
Goalies-Providence, Hutchinson 7-13-1 (32 shots-28 saves). Worcester, Sexsmith 13-11-7 (23 shots-21 saves).
Referees-David Banfield (44).
Linesmen-Jack Millea (23), Bob Paquette (18).