The Worcester Sharks and Providence Bruins played 40 minutes of what you would expect between the two clubs: hard hitting, low scoring hockey with lots of penalty minutes. When the smoke cleared on the final 20 minutes both teams had lost a one goal lead in a period that featured seven goals, culminating in Jon Matsumoto’s game winning strike with just 10.5 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the WorSharks to a 5-4 victory at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island in front of a crowd announced at 7572, including a very large contingent of Worcester fans.
One of the several times during the game that Worcester goaltender Alex Stalock was interfered
with during Friday night's contest against the Providence Bruins.
The PBruins were not penalized for any of the incidents. Photo courtesy of SMUGMUG.COM
The opening period was scoreless due to some outstanding play by the goaltenders, Alex Stalock for Worcester and Niklas Svedberg for Providence. They stopped a combined 25 shots, with many of those being pretty good scoring chances. Tempers flared at 17:18 when, as is pretty much normal for a WorSharks/PBruins game, some pushing and shoving started after the whistle. Providence’s Bobby Robins then blindsided Worcester defenseman Matt Tennyson with a hit to the head which raised the ire of Matt Pelech. Tennyson was uninjured and cooler heads eventually prevailed, but it was obvious Robins was going to have to answer the bell at some point later in the game. At the 20:00 mark Christian Hanson, who had been involved in the earlier scrum, and WorSharks forward James Livingston introduced themselves to each other. They both earned an extra five minute break for their efforts.
The WorSharks would finally get one past Svedberg at 4:39 of the second period on a power play tally with PBruins center Jordan Caron in the box for closing his hand on the puck. Tennyson would get his revenge for the high hit with a booming blast from the point that lit the lamp. The original scoring gave assists to James Sheppard and Matsumoto, but now the box score shows the goal as unassisted.
A few minutes later tempers would flare again after a huge hit gathered all ten skaters together. Sheppard and Lane MacDermid earned themselves 10 minute misconducts while Nick Petrecki and Robins received minors for roughing. At that point Frazer McLaren had seen enough of Robins antics and as soon as the two of them were on the ice together McLaren went right after Robins. Since it was during a media break McLaren was tossed for fighting before a face-off, but Robins was also given the gate after the long brawl. With Worcester PTO defenseman Mike Banwell already in the box for elbowing McLaren’s instigator minor put the WorSharks two men down, and Providence was able to convert just 12 seconds later at 10:31 when Chris Bourque was given credit for a goal that needed to go to review. It originally looked like Stalock had made an incredible glove save, but video review showed he caught the puck after it had crossed the goal line.
In an oddity, Sharkspage was texting with several fans at the game, and every Worcester fan contacted thought it was a goal and the two Providence fans that shared opinions thought it was a save. Go figure.
Late in the second period it appeared the WorSharks had taken the lead when Sheppard banged home a loose puck to light the lamp at 18:49. But referee Tim Mayer ruled that Sheppard intentionally interfered with Svedberg, so not only did the goal not count by Sheppard was given a minor. Worcester head coach Roy Sommer went ballistic and was quickly whistled for a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. That gave the PBruins another two minute five on three advantage, and with a fresh sheet of ice to start the third period Bourque was able to convert 34 seconds into the period to give Providence a 2-1 lead.
This WorSharks team has become a third period squad, and they showed that again with two quick strikes just 47 second apart. The first came from Sheppard, who made sure this goal would count when he collected a rebound of Livingston’s shot and roofed a backhander over Svedberg at 2:15. Bracken Kearns would make it 3-2 Worcester when he tipped Petrecki’s blast past Svedberg at 3:02. The secondary assist went to Tim Kennedy, ending his three game pointless streak.
Worcester didn’t have much time to enjoy their lead as Matsumoto was sent off at 4:44 for a tripping minor that was most clearly a dive. Providence didn’t score with the man advantage, but did connect just two seconds after Matsumoto stepped on the ice when Craig Cunningham banged home a loose puck to knot the game at 3-3. Again the referees would make a questionable call when Stalock took exception to being run into and finally defended his crease and was given a high sticking minor at 7:13. The PBruins would retake the lead 63 seconds later when Jamie Tardif redirected David Warsofsky’s shot past Stalock.
But again, the WorSharks were not done, and after killing another questionable call–this time referees Mayer and Miller somehow chose Petrecki out a large scrum of players to be the only one penalized–John McCarthy knotted the score 4-4 when he redirected a nifty slap-pass from another of Worcester’s PTO defensemen, Denny Urban. Kennedy had another secondary assist on the power play goal.
The WorSharks had to go on the penalty kill one more time, this one to Pelech for the automatic delay of game minor for flipping the puck out of play, but after that kill continued to press the PBruins. With time winding down and Worcester controlling the puck they caught Providence running around in their own zone, and a virtually unmolested Matsumoto was able to roof one over Svedberg and just under the crossbar with 10.5 seconds remaining in regulation for the 5-4 win.
Scratches for Worcester were Danny Groulx, Taylor Doherty, Curt Gogol, Sena Acolatse, Matt Irwin, Travis Oleksuk, and Jimmy Bonneau (healthy). Nick Petrecki returned to action for the first time since being injured on November 4th. It’s thought that Acolatse and Irwin are close to returning from their injuries. Over the past week defenseman Mikael Tam was returned to San Francisco (ECHL) and signed puck moving defenseman Denny Urban to a PTO.
The two teams combined for 134 penalty minutes, with Worcester receiving 80 of those. To be blunt, the officiating in the game should be an embarrassment to the American Hockey League. There were many clear errors made, both in what was called and what wasn’t, and at least two misinterpretations of the rules by the referees. That’s a situation that needs to be addressed by the AHL. Worcester fans also will be paying attention to the review of Bobby Robins checking to the head minor, and remember how many games Matt Pelech got for match penalty for a head check that was nowhere near as bad–or as dirty–as Robins’ hit.
A very nice update from Bill Ballou today in his notes column
The Sharks are in the process of finalizing another lease with the DCU Center, according to sources within the organization. The new deal would be for the next two seasons and include an option for a third. The two sides are anticipating making the official announcement in January.
One has to wonder how Alex Stalock can be run into so many times and an opponent never being called for it while 200 feet away his team has a goal called back and a minor given on a play that wasn’t goaltender interference.
The three stars of the game were
1. PRO – 17 Chris Bourque (2g)
2. WOR – 15 James Sheppard (g.a)
3. WOR – 11 Jon Matsumoto (gwg)
Really Providence? A guy with two five-on-three goals and (-2) in a losing effort is the number one star? Really? Well, I guess that let’s me give the Sharkspage player of the game to the guy that should have been the number one star, Jon Matsumoto.
Worcester 0 1 4 – 5
Providence 0 1 3 – 4
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Cross Pro (interference), 0:50; Bartkowski Pro (interference), 6:44; Bourque Pro (tripping), 9:49; Petrecki Wor (slashing), 13:29; Pelech Wor (misconduct), 17:18; Petrecki Wor (roughing), 17:18; Hanson Pro (roughing), 17:18; Robins Pro (checking to the head), 17:18; Livingston Wor (fighting), 20:00; Hanson Pro (fighting), 20:00.
2nd Period-1, Worcester, Tennyson 3 4:39 (PP). 2, Providence, Bourque 3 (Camper, Cross), 10:31 (PP). Penalties-Sheppard Wor (high-sticking), 1:14; Caron Pro (closing hand on puck), 3:00; Mashinter Wor (hooking), 7:34; Petrecki Wor (roughing), 7:34; Sheppard Wor (misconduct), 7:34; MacDermid Pro (misconduct), 7:34; Robins Pro (roughing), 7:34; Banwell Wor (elbowing), 10:19; McLaren Wor (instigating, fighting, misconduct – instigating, game misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:19; Robins Pro (fighting, game misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:19; Hanson Pro (hooking), 13:01; Bartkowski Pro (hooking), 18:09; served by Livingston Wor (bench minor – unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:49; Sheppard Wor (goaltender interference), 18:49; Brennan Wor (roughing, slashing), 20:00; Tardif Pro (roughing, roughing), 20:00.
3rd Period-3, Providence, Bourque 4 (Camper, Warsofsky), 0:34 (PP). 4, Worcester, Sheppard 7 (Livingston), 2:15. 5, Worcester, Kearns 8 (Petrecki, Kennedy), 3:02. 6, Providence, Cunningham 4 (Sauve, Bartkowski), 6:46. 7, Providence, Tardif 14 (Warsofsky, Trotman), 8:16 (PP). 8, Worcester, McCarthy 4 (Urban, Kennedy), 13:12 (PP). 9, Worcester, Matsumoto 5 (Reid, Sheppard), 19:49. Penalties-Matsumoto Wor (tripping), 4:44; Stalock Wor (high-sticking), 7:13; Petrecki Wor (roughing), 11:00; Sauve Pro (holding the stick), 12:52; Pelech Wor (delay of game), 14:45.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 12-14-10-36. Providence 13-9-14-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 8; Providence 3 / 11.
Goalies-Worcester, Stalock 10-5-1 (36 shots-32 saves). Providence, Svedberg 11-5-1 (36 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Tim Mayer (19), Geoff Miller (28).
Linesmen-Bob Paquette (18), Jack Millea (23).