WorSharks playoff hopes slowly vanish as skid hits four games

By Darryl Hunt - Last updated: Saturday, March 31, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The Worcester Sharks recently ended one of the most disappointing road trips in team history by going winless in three games where all events pointed to them winning the contests, and then ran their losing streak to four games after surrendering five of the games final six goals in a 5-3 loss to the Portland Pirates Friday night at the DCU center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of a crowd of 3,578.

In their previous three games the WorSharks have come back from a 5-1 deficit early when they apparently forgot there was a game going on to lose 6-5 in Albany when they stopped playing when they got the game to 5-5, and then take on a Manchester squad playing its third game in 46 hours while Worcester hadn’t played in four days only to see the WorSharks play like they were in the second game of a double header and lose 5-1. The follow up was a mid-week loss to Bridgeport where the team held a 4-1 lead 25 minutes into the game and the gave up five of the last six goals in the contest to lose 5-4. So no one at the DCU Center was shocked to see the WorSharks throw another two points away in the standings against Portland.

Conservatively figured Worcester’s ineptness this season has cost them 24 points in the standings.

Friday night’s collapse started after the WorSharks took a 2-0 lead early in the second period. Brodie Reid opening at 8:33 of the first period with a nice goal from behind the goal line. Brain O’Hanley dumped the puck behind the Portland net where Reid and Tony Lucia fought the defense for possession. Reid came up with the puck and while surrounded by three Pirates players backhanded the puck off Portland goaltender Peter Mannino and in for his ninth of the season. Matt Irwin would make it 2-0 Worcester with a booming blast from the blueline at 1:02 of the second period while on the power play. Tim Kennedy and Reid had the assists on the goal.

Nine seconds later Portland would get one back when the WorSharks misplayed the puck in their own end and Brett MacLean beat Worcester netminder Harri Sateri for the unassisted goal. Portland would tie the game at 15:51 with a power play tally of their own by Tyler Eckford, and then 10 seconds later would grab a 3-2 lead when Kenndal McArdle beat a down and out Sateri.

Worcester would keep fighting throughout the remainder of the period, and would knot the game 3-3 off an odd deflection on the power play that went their way. Moore fed the puck along the blue line to Sena Acolatse, who ripped a shot on net that was going wide. His blast hit Eckford’s stick shaft so solidly the stick broke into two pieces and the puck deflected just inside the far post at 18:47. Lucia had the second assist.

When things aren’t going good teams find ways to lose games, and that’s what happened in the third period when at 14:47 Worcester had a Portland rush covered pretty well but Andy Miele was just able to get enough stick on a Ryan Duncan pass to deflect it past Sateri and just inside the near post. Late in the period the WorSharks pulled Sateri in favor for an extra attacker, and were briefly saved from an empty net goal when O’Hanley made a heck of a block. But is was all for naught as Worcester couldn’t manage a shot on goal and Brett Sterling eventually hit the empty net for the 5-3 final.

Worcester’s playoff chances are pretty long now but they will help themselves tremendously with a win against Manchester this afternoon. Anything other than a regulation win will make it just short of impossible to make it into the Calder Cup playoffs.

Add Tyson Sexsmith to the WorSharks injury list. He injured his hand during warm-ups in Bridgeport and tried to play though it before being replaces to start the third period Tuesday. Thomas Heemskerk was recalled from Stockton to take his place on the roster. Other Worcester injury scratches were Ryan Del Monte, Cam MacIntyre, Andrew Murray, Nick Petrecki, and Marek Viedensky. Jimmy Bonneau was a healthy scratch.

The three stars of the game were:
1. POR – Miele (gwg,a)
2. WOR – Acolatse (g)
3. POR – Eckford (g)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Brodie Reid


Portland 0 3 2 – 5
Worcester 1 2 0 – 3

1st Period-1, Worcester, Reid 9 (Lucia, O’Hanley), 8:33. Penalties-Louis Por (fighting), 5:33; McLaren Wor (fighting), 5:33; Watkins Por (roughing), 9:19; Gogol Wor (roughing), 9:19; Reid Wor (hooking), 11:10; McCarthy Wor (goaltender interference), 14:23; Rundblad Por (slashing), 16:44.

2nd Period-2, Worcester, Irwin 10 (Kennedy, Reid), 1:02 (PP). 3, Portland, MacLean 22 1:11. 4, Portland, Eckford 9 (Duncan, Miele), 15:51 (PP). 5, Portland, McArdle 9 (Rome), 16:01. 6, Worcester, Acolatse 5 (Moore, Lucia), 18:47 (PP). Penalties-Louis Por (hooking), 0:37; Pelech Wor (hooking), 1:56; Oystrick Por (roughing), 13:56; Pelech Wor (roughing, boarding), 13:56; MacLean Por (kneeing), 17:29.

3rd Period-7, Portland, Miele 14 (Duncan, Oystrick), 14:47. 8, Portland, Sterling 27 (Szwarz), 19:45 (EN). Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Portland 10-17-10-37. Worcester 14-8-5-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Portland 1 / 4; Worcester 2 / 3.
Goalies-Portland, Mannino 9-8-1 (27 shots-24 saves). Worcester, Sateri 12-16-0 (36 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Francis Charron (46).
Linesmen-Bob Bernard (42), Todd Whittemore (70).

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