The Worcester Sharks, playing out the string after being eliminated from Calder Cup playoff contention with Wednesday’s Portland Pirates win over the Connecticut Whale, dressed five players on amateur try-out contracts and 11 rookies overall against the number two team in the AHL’s Eastern Conference and for the most part played the St. John’s IceCaps pretty evenly before finally dropping a 3-1 decision Friday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 3898 fans.
The 3-1 final is a little misleading because were it not for WorSharks goaltender Harri Sateri and IceCaps netminder Eddie Pasquale this could have very easily looked like a basketball score with each making a large amount of great saves. Pasquale had two good ones early in the contest stopping Bobby Farnham and Jay Silvia on breakaway chances. Both forwards are newly signed amateurs, with Farnham coming from Brown University and Silvia formerly playing for Holy Cross here in Worcester. Sateri had a highlight save of his own later in the opening 20 minutes when he snuffed out a two on zero attempt right in front of him.
The IceCaps would finally break through at 6:04 of the middle period when Aaron Gagnon flipped the puck back to the defenseman Travis Ramsey, whose knuckling shot through traffic somehow made it through to screened Sateri and beat him five-hole.
Ben Guite would get Worcester back to even on a booming shot from the high slot. The play began with defenseman Dylan Demelo, another player on an ATO contract out of Mississauga of the OHL, dumping the puck down the right wing boards from the point. Brandon Mashinter grabbed the loose puck and fed Guite high between the circles for a one-timer that beat Pasquale clean at 11:32.
St. John’s would retake the lead at 13:41 after the WorSharks turned the puck over deep in their own end, and in the ensuring play Jason King snapped off a wrist shot from the right circle that beat a partially screened Sateri for a 2-1 IceCaps lead. The WorSharks really pressured Pasquale with some great attempts for the rest of the game but couldn’t light the lamp to get back to even. John Albert made it the 3-1 final with a bad angle empty net goal at 19:35.
With all the suspended players and injured the WorSharks scratch list is pretty long, with Taylor Doherty, Tyson Sexsmith, Brodie Reid, Jimmy Bonneau, Cam MacIntyre, Ryan Del Monte, James Livingston, Matt Pelech, Marek Viedensky, Frazer McLaren, and Curt Gogol all out of the line-up. Gogol is eligible to come back for Saturday’s game in Glens Falls against the Adirondack Phantoms, but this writer will not be surprised if Gogol is a scratch in the contest. Thomas Heemskerk was the back-up goaltender, and is expected to get his first AHL start in net against the Phantoms.
Prior to the start of the contest AHL President Dave Andrews presented Nick Petrecki with the AHL’s Yanick Dupre award. The award is presented to an AHL player for contributions to his local community and charitable organizations throughout the season. Each team has a “Man of the Year” named, and from those 30 finalists a league wide winner is selected. Sharkspage congratulates Petrecki on his winning the well deserved award, and also wishes to recognize Senior Director of Business & Community Development Mike Myers and the entire WorSharks staff for their tireless efforts in the Worcester community.
During the game the Worcester Sharks announced some team awards, with Matt Pelech being given the “Unsung Hero” award, Sena Acolatse winning rookie of the year, and John McCarthy was named as the WorSharks MVP. Tommy Wingels, currently with San Jose, was the “Three-star” winner.
The loss to Friday’s loss to St John’s is Roy Sommer’s 513th in his American Hockey League head coaching career, placing him at the top of the list in regular season head coaching losses in AHL history. His record currently sits at 508-513-93. Sommer’s coaching record doesn’t include playoffs, where his teams have gone 28-34.
The three stars of the game were
1. STJ – Pasquale (28 saves)
2. WOR – Guite (g)
3. STJ – King (g)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Harri Sateri.
St. John’s 0 2 1 – 3
Worcester 0 1 0 – 1
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Acolatse Wor (cross-checking), 7:14.
2nd Period-1, St. John’s, Ramsey 4 (Gagnon, Maxwell), 6:04. 2, Worcester, Guite 4 (Mashinter, Demelo), 11:32. 3, St. John’s, King 22 (Gagnon, Maxwell), 13:41. Penalties-Trotter Stj (slashing), 13:49; Mashinter Wor (slashing), 18:53; Petrecki Wor (slashing), 19:16.
3rd Period-4, St. John’s, Albert 9 (Festerling), 19:35 (EN). Penalties-Maxwell Stj (slashing), 6:17; Festerling Stj (hooking), 8:05; O’Dell Stj (cross-checking), 11:23; Farnham Wor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:23.
Shots on Goal-St. John’s 13-6-9-28. Worcester 7-12-10-29.
Power Play Opportunities-St. John’s 0 / 3; Worcester 0 / 3.
Goalies-St. John’s, Pasquale 23-11-1 (29 shots-28 saves). Worcester, Sateri 14-20-1 (27 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Darcy Burchell (42).
Linesmen-Chris Aughe (74), Bob Bernard (42).