The Worcester Sharks lost three separate one goal leads and then found themselves trailing after giving up an early third period tally, but then drew even in regulation on Matt Tennyson’s first professional goal only to lose 5-4 in a shootout to the Portland Pirates Saturday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center in front of 5,907 fans. The real fireworks happened after the game as the WorSharks were skating off the ice and engaged the Pirates in some post-game fisticuffs involving all 40 players.
After a win against the Albany Devils Wednesday kept Worcester’s slim playoff hopes alive a shutout loss in Providence Friday all but assured that next Sunday’s contest versus Hershey will end the season for the WorSharks. But there are several players sill playing for contracts next season and one of then, Nathan Moon, got Worcester on the board just 46 seconds in to the game when he stood at the near post behind Pirates goaltender Peter Mannino and converted a pass from Ben Guite into a yawning net. Brandon Mashinter had the second assist. Ethan Werek got Portland’s first game tying goal at 4:43 when the Pirates caught the WorSharks running around in their own zone and deflected a pass from Nick Ross past Worcester netminder Harri Sateri.
Worcester would grab the lead back at 7:12 with a power play tally that came about after the WorSharks swarmed the zone and had several great attempts. Sena Acolatse ended up in the left wing face-off circle and took a feed from Guite, and fired a laser through traffic that beat Mannino. Mike Moore had the second helper on the play. The Pirates would get their second tying goal from Ross at 10:35 while skating with a two man advantage after Worcester failed to clear the puck out of their zone on multiple occasions.
Curt Gogol gave the WorSharks their third one goal lead of the period at 12:54 when he banged home the rebound of Tony Lucia’s shot after a rush up ice. Brian O’Hanley was credited with the second assist on the play. Worcester made the goal stand up for the remainder of the period, but the Pirates would again draw even with the only second period goal of the game on defenseman Tyler Eckford’s laser over Sateri at 4:37 on the power play.
Werek would give Portland its first lead of the game on the opening shift of the third period when he banged home a rebound of Nathan Oystrick’s shot, but the WorSharks would follow the Pirates example and would have a game tyer of their own when Tennyson beat Mannino from the right wing boards on the power play at 10:26. Matt Irwin and Tim Kennedy had the assists.
The Pirates would have all four shots in the overtime period aided by a power play that resulted when Sebastian Stalberg skated over Mannino to be sent off for goaltender interference. As soon as the call was made Sateri went right after referee Mark Lemelin for the non-calls that resulted after Sateri had been run over several times. It then appeared the Pirates won the game with 15 seconds left in overtime when defenseman David Runblad beat Sateri, but Lemelin waved off the goal immediately saying Brett Sterling was in the crease. Video apparently shows the call was incorrect–this writer thought is was a good goal– and obviously Sterling thought so because he argued the call and Lemelin assessed Sterling a ten minute misconduct and Sterling was sent off the ice.
Before the shootout began Sterling returned to the ice, a violation of rule 70.6 that says in part “Any player who has been ordered to the dressing room by the
officials and returns to his bench or to the ice surface for any reason before the appropriate time shall be assessed a game misconduct and shall be suspended automatically without pay for the next six (6) regular League and/or Playoff games.” Inexplicably, despite rule 84.4 clearly stating that players serving 10-minute misconducts are not eligible to participate in the shootout, referee Lemelin allowed Sterling to be one of Portland’s shooters. After Sterling’s shot, which ended up being the game winner, he taunted the Worcester bench on his way by.
When Acolatse missed his attempt giving Portland a 5-4 victory frustrations boiled over for Worcester, and as they needed to skate by the Pirates to get to the dressing room several WorSharks skated into the Portland celebration causing a what was in essence a bench clearing brawl. The coaching staffs from both teams were involved in separating the players, and it looks like Jimmy Bonneau and Matt Pelech will be facing some supplementary discipline from the AHL for their roles in the fracas.
Scratches for Worcester were Tyson Sexsmith, Brodie Reid, Nick Petrecki, Cam MacIntyre, Ryan Del Monte, Jack Combs, and Marek Viedensky. James Livingston went off during the first period and did not return.
Despite the shootout loss WorSharks head coach Roy Sommer remains tied with Frank Mathers for most all-time losses in the American Hockey League at 512. The AHL considers shootout losses as ties getting Sommer off the hook for this one, so he’ll have a chance for the record Tuesday at home vs Manchester.
The three stars of the game were
1. POR – Ross (g, 2a)
2. WOR – Guite (2a)
3. POR – Werek (2g)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Matt Tennyson.
Worcester 3 0 1 0 – 4
Portland 2 1 1 0 – 5
1st Period-1, Worcester, Moon 12 (Guite, Mashinter), 0:46. 2, Portland, Werek 9 (Ross, Oystrick), 4:43. 3, Worcester, Acolatse 6 (Guite, Moore), 7:12 (PP). 4, Portland, Ross 4 (Sterling), 10:35 (PP). 5, Worcester, Gogol 6 (Lucia, O’Hanley), 12:54. Penalties-Miele Por (slashing), 5:45; Acolatse Wor (hooking), 9:46; Pelech Wor (delay of game), 9:48.
2nd Period-6, Portland, Eckford 10 (Miele, Rundblad), 4:37 (PP). Penalties-Lucia Wor (hooking), 2:48.
3rd Period-7, Portland, Werek 10 (Oystrick, Ross), 0:53. 8, Worcester, Tennyson 1 (Irwin, Kennedy), 10:26 (PP). Penalties-Ross Por (tripping), 9:59; Pelech Wor (roughing), 15:18; Rome Por (slashing), 15:18.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Stalberg Wor (goaltender interference), 3:07; Sterling Por (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 4:45; Bonneau Wor (fighting, game misconduct – fighting other than during periods of game), 5:00; Pelech Wor (major – spearing, game misconduct – spearing), 5:00.
Shootout – Worcester 0 (Mashinter NG, McCarthy NG, Stalberg NG, Acolatse NG), Portland 2 (Duncan NG, Miele NG, Pouliot G, Sterling G).
Shots on Goal-Worcester 13-8-4-0-0-25. Portland 10-9-9-4-1-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 2; Portland 2 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, Sateri 13-19-1 (32 shots-28 saves). Portland, Mannino 10-10-1 (25 shots-21 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (41).
Linesmen-Joe Ross (92), Landon Bathe (80).