The Worcester Sharks once again dug themselves an early whole, only this time they kept digging and never really gave themselves a chance against the Connecticut Whale in dropping a 6-2 contest Saturday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts to end their five game points streak. The loss drops the WorSharks to .500 for the season at 5-5-1-1.
As has happened far too often for Worcester this season, it was their opponents who struck early when Tim Kennedy’s clearing attempt was intercepted by Kris Newbury above the circles. Newbury took a couple strides and fired a wrist shot on Harri Sateri that the unscreened netminder should have made the save on, but didn’t, to give the Whale a 1-0 lead on their first shot of the game 1:24 into the period. Christian Thomas would make it 2-0 with a power play goal into a yawning net at 14:40 after Chad Kolarik’s misfire was kicked away by Sena Acolatse. The puck deflected right on the stick of Thomas for the easy bang home.
Worcester’s best chances came early in the second period as they swarmed Whale goaltender Cameron Talbot, but a couple of deflections and a nice save or three kept them off the board. WorSharks fans figured it might be a long night when a bouncing puck went right to John McCarthy all alone in front of a wide open net and the puck harmlessly bounced over the blade of the Captain’s stick. Connecticut would increase their lead to 3-0 in that period on a wrist shot by Logan Pyett at 10:19 that was another that Sateri most definitely should have had.
The WorSharks would get on the board while on a power play that carried over from the second period. Whale forward Brandon Segal was called for throwing a check to the head of WorSharks center Bracken Kearns as the forward skated through the neutral zone. It looked like a pretty clean hit to this writer and Kearns, who told Worcester T&G beat reporter Bill Ballou that the hit was partially his (Kearns’) fault, looked unaffected by the hit.
The goal would eventually come from Acolatse at 49 seconds of the third period when he roofed a wrist shot over Talbot’s glove and just under the crossbar, with McCarthy and Kennedy grabbing the assist.
Just when it looked like Worcester was about to mount some sort of a comeback the Whale would grab a back breaker on another long range shot Sateri probably should have had. This one came off the stick of Thomas from up high in the zone at 3:22 as the WorSharks were shorthanded, and while there was some traffic in front Sateri saw the shot the whole way and just couldn’t make the save. The Whale would make it 5-1 at 5:17 when Danny Groulx couldn’t prevent Tommy Grant from deflecting Matt Gilroy’s pass into the net on a bid Sateri had little chance on.
Worcester kept fighting, and would close the gap to three goals at 5-2 when Acolatse wheeled the Whale net and found Kearns all alone at the top of the crease at 15:51. Trailing by three and skating four on four WorSharks head coach Roy Sommer pulled Sateri for an extra attacker, and while the WorSharks carried the play the Whale for the most part kept the puck away from Talbot. Connecticut iced the game with 89 seconds left with a J.T. Miller empty netter for the 6-2 final.
Scratches for the WorSharks were Brodie Reid (shoulder), Nick Petrecki (arm), Frazer McLaren (groin), Mikael Tam (foot), Marek Viedensky, Daniil Tarasov, and Jimmy Bonneau. Tam was walking without a limp and indicated he hoped to be ready to go soon. Alex Stalock was the back-up goaltender.
This writer has never seen a game where the home team was tossed out of so many face-offs. It was painful to watch linesmen John Grandt and Bob Bernard hold on to the puck so long before dropping it. They also got the icing rule wrong on several occasions. There was an AHL supervisor of officials at the game, so hopefully these errors will be corrected soon.
The three stars of the game were
1. CT – 11 Kris Newbury (g,2a)
2. CT – 92 Christian Thomas (2g)
3. CT – 97 Matt Gilroy (2a)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Bracken Kearns.
Connecticut 2 1 3 – 6
Worcester 0 0 2 – 2
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Newbury 5 1:24. 2, Connecticut, Thomas 3 (Kolarik, Newbury), 14:40 (PP). Penalties-Jean Ct (tripping), 11:34; Mashinter Wor (hooking), 13:46; Collins Ct (interference), 17:48.
2nd Period-3, Connecticut, Pyett 2 (Newbury, Kreider), 10:19. Penalties-Haley Ct (high-sticking), 1:23; Matsumoto Wor (holding), 7:35; Tessier Ct (hooking), 10:00; Gogol Wor (high-sticking), 10:00; Sheppard Wor (tripping), 14:14; Segal Ct (checking to the head), 19:02.
3rd Period-4, Worcester, Acolatse 4 (McCarthy, Kennedy), 0:49 (PP). 5, Connecticut, Thomas 4 (Kreider, Gilroy), 3:22 (PP). 6, Connecticut, Grant 5 (Gilroy, Kolarik), 5:17. 7, Worcester, Kearns 5 (Acolatse, McCarthy), 15:51. 8, Connecticut, Miller 2 (Jean, Segal), 18:31 (EN). Penalties-Irwin Wor (holding), 2:49; Klassen Ct (roughing), 6:13; Gogol Wor (charging, roughing), 6:13; Kreider Ct (slashing), 8:16; Parlett Ct (holding), 15:31; Kennedy Wor (hooking), 15:35; Newbury Ct (unsportsmanlike conduct, misconduct – continuing altercation), 19:20; Gogol Wor (unsportsmanlike conduct, misconduct – continuing altercation), 19:20; Pelech Wor (roughing, misconduct – continuing altercation), 19:20.
Shots on Goal-Connecticut 7-6-12-25. Worcester 7-8-8-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Connecticut 2 / 7; Worcester 1 / 6.
Goalies-Connecticut, Talbot 4-2-0 (23 shots-21 saves). Worcester, Sateri 0-4-1 (24 shots-19 saves).
Referees-Trent Knorr (44).
Linesmen-John Grandt (98), Bob Bernard (42).