With the Worcester Sharks regular season campaign coming to an end without a playoff run for the second season in a row, it’s time to start with the end of season paperwork. Up first are the “210 Awards”. For those new to the “210 Awards”, they are a mix of serious and (hopefully) slightly humorous awards named for the moniker this writer uses on many message boards. This season’s winners are:
Best Forward: John McCarthy is the easy winner here, and that explains why this team wasn’t very good offensively. McCarthy is a solid hockey player, but if he’s your best offensive player you aren’t going to win many games. And the WorSharks didn’t.
Best Defenseman: Mike Moore gets the nod for this one, and his importance on the blue line was obvious when he served a three game suspension and the WorSharks were pathetic defensively without him. Actually, now that this writer thinks about it, as poorly as the WorSharks played while he was out teams with pathetic defenses would be offended to be compared to Worcester.
Tough Guy Award: Jimmy Bonneau returns the award back to the fighters after two seasons of Andrew Desjardins winning for gritty play. Bonneau broke the WorSharks record for most fighting majors in a season (22) and led the team with 168 penalty minutes. It was amusing to watch players skate away from him while he was on the ice.
Best Single Game Performance: Harri Sateri and his 49 save performance over the Manchester Monarchs on April 10th wins the award. It was a must win game for the WorSharks to keep their slim playoff hopes alive and it was the start of a great run statistically for Sateri to end the season.
Most Improved: Tyson Sexsmith went from being near the bottom of the goaltending depth chart to being the most solid goaltender in the organization. Worcester’s anemic offense caused Sexsmith’s record to not look that great (13-12-7), but more often than not he was the reason the WorSharks were in most games. His play this year is going to cause San Jose some issues over the summer about which free agent goaltenders they’ll be bringing back for next season.
Seventh Player: Matt Pelech is this season’s 7th player. Pelech started the season a healthy scratch for many games but became a mainstay in the WorSharks line-up after being thrust into the role of forward and being able to really show the physical side of his play. He also was one of the best shot blockers on the team, and occasionally had leg issues because of the sheer number he blocked.
Rookie of the Year: Sena Acolatse wins this one despite a huge season end rush from Sateri. Acolatse was one of the most feared members of the self nicknamed “goon squad”, and took on all comers without being on the wrong side of the decision very often this season. If Acolatse follows the developmental curve many young defenseman do this kid could be scary in a few seasons.
Most Valuable Player: Sexsmith continues the streak for goaltenders winning the MVP award for the WorSharks. If you watched Worcester at all this season two things were certain: the “goon squad” was going make it as uncomfortable for an opponent to play as possible, and Sexsmith was going to give the team a chance to win with a solid effort each and every night.
The Sharkspage Player of the Year: Sexsmith, who was named Sharkspage player of the game most (7) over the course of the regular season.
So now that we’ve gotten the serious awards out of the way, here’s a few that this writer thinks should be handed out…
The Two-By-Two Award: Matt Irwin, for having the most penalty minutes without major.
The Man In The Box Award: Tony Lucia, for being in the penalty box for the most power play goals against (7) for Worcester.
The Dead-Eye Award: Taylor Doherty, for having the lowest shooting percentage of any player with 50 or more shots on goal. Doherty went scoreless in 74 shots on goal.
The Grammy Award: Bonneau, for averaging 3.11 penalty minutes per game.
The Buzzer Beater Award: McCarthy for his goal at 19:59.9 of the first period December 11th in St John’s.
The Trick Shot Award: Tommy Wingels for his breakaway tally that he shot over the net…that then went off the glass, rolled off the top of the net over the crossbar, hit the back of the goaltender, and rolled into the net on December 11th in St John’s.
The Golden BB Award: Jack Combs for scoring on his first shot as a Worcester Shark on December 16 in Albany.
The Let Me See If I can Do That Again Award: Combs, for scoring on his second shot on goal in the same game.
The Roster Award: Nick Petrecki, who might want to brush up on which players are on his on his team and which players aren’t. Here’s a hint for next season: the guys you practice with every day are usually on your team, so they should be relatively easy to identify at a moment’s notice. It’s also wise to know the faces and names of the people who run the building you play in. Just sayin’.
The Rent Is Due Award: Justin Braun, who despite playing almost all season in San Jose was still paying his portion of the rent in the apartment he agreed to rent with some WorSharks teammates.
The Google Maps Award: To whoever is responsible for the WorSharks schedule this season. It’s inexcusable the number of times Worcester had a home game on Friday, then had to bus 3.5 or more hours to a Saturday road game, only to then have to rush home for a 3pm Sunday start in Worcester. If the AHL requires some help in making a sensible schedule for next season over the summer this writer will gladly lend a hand and will guarantee a better schedule for every team.
The David Haas Award: For the fifth time in six seasons, there is no winner of this “prestigious” award that goes to the player with the most talent that chooses to use none of it. There was a push by some to name WorSharks GM Wayne Thomas for this award, but the committee–namely, me–figured this should only go to a player, so it stays on the shelf collecting dust.
Usually the last award mentioned is the Haas, but this year we break tradition and add one more:
The Thanks for Everything Award: To Captain Mike Moore, who after four seasons with the WorSharks appears to heading off in search of a full time NHL roster spot. Good luck wherever you land Mike, and you’ll always have a home here in Worcester (except if you’re wearing an opponent’s jersey, then for 60 minutes we won’t like you as much).