The Worcester Sharks once again came out of the gate flat and that slow start resulted in three goals against during the first 9:49 of their Saturday night contest against the Providence Bruins, but the WorSharks slowly dug themselves out that deep hole and managed to steal a point in a 4-3 shootout loss at the DCU Center in front of the 8,198 fans, the largest home crowd of the season so far.
PBruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg watches as WorSharks forward
Brodie Reid's shot bounds into the net for the game tying goal.
Photo courtesy of TEAMSHRED
After a listless Worcester power play early in the contest Providence would get a shot at the man advantage when Denny Urban was whistled for interference, and it took just 18 seconds for the PBruins to grab the lead. As Providence broke into the WorSharks zone on a three on two entry Worcester defenseman Michael Wilson elected to throw a check instead of trying to stop the puck, and that allowed Ryan Spooner a clear path down the right wing side. Wilson’s defensive partner, Matt Pelech, was caught in no-man’s land and was forced to go toward Spooner, and the onrushing forward had a clear path to pass the puck over to Craig Cunningham. WorSharks netminder Alex Stalock couldn’t get back across the crease fast enough to stop Cunningham’s one-timer and it was 1-0 PBruins at 5:38.
Lackadaisical defense from Worcester directly lead to Providence’s second goal at 7:51 when Maxime Sauve was able to wheel the WorSharks net and get three whacks at a loose puck in front of Stalock. Eventually the puck was banged home into a yawning net by Jamie Tardif. The PBruins would make it 3-0 on their fifth shot of the period when a failed clearing attempt by Worcester was intercepted by defenseman Torey Krug, and his shot from the left point was deflected past Stalock by a completely unmarked Justin Florek standing at the top of the crease.
Worcester was then able to wright the ship a little and get some momentum going, and thanks to a gift goal were able to cut the deficit to 3-1 after the opening 20 minutes. The play began when Danny Groulx intercepted a clearing attempt in the neutral zone and broke in down the center. After a pass to Tim Kennedy at the right point Groulx continued hard to the net, and Kennedy fired a return pass to the high slot to Daniil Tarasov who was trailing the play down the same path Groulx had taken. Tarasov’s shot was deflected and lost a lot of speed, and the puck bounded off Groulx and high into the air. Bracken Kearns attempted to bat the puck to the ice to knock it home, but instead the batted puck hit Carter Camper and went into the net.
Referee Darcy Burchell signaled goal, and then no goal, and then upwards to indicate he was going to check the replay. This writer doesn’t know what replay Burchell was watching because it certainly wasn’t the one everyone else in the DCU Center saw. Burchell eventually signaled it was a good goal, but the AHL rules are very clear it should not have counted. From rule 67.6:
A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who bats or directs the puck with his hand directly into the net. A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who bats or directs the puck and it is deflected into the net off any player, goalkeeper or official. When the puck enters the net on a clear deflection off a glove, the goal shall be allowed.
The WorSharks continued to make their uphill climb early in the second period, and managed to get within one at 3-2 just 1:43 into the second period when Mike Banwell and Matt Tennyson threw a couple passes between them as two Providence forwards pressured them just inside the offensive blue line. On Tennyson’s return pass to Banwell the PTO defenseman had no better choice than to shoot the puck, and his 50 foot laser rang off the post and beat PBruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg. The goal was Banwell’s first as a professional, and was also assisted by Tommy Grant.
Despite Worcester really ramping up the pressure it looked like Svedberg and the PBruins were going to make that one goal lead stand up, but a nice individual play by Patrick Rissmiller helped set up the tying goal. Rissmiller was able to keep the puck away from the PBruins defense with some nifty stick work near the left wing half-boards, and his eventual dump in was collected by Jon Matsumoto behind the goal line to the left of Svedberg. Matsumoto wasted no time sending the puck out to Brodie Reid at the top of the crease, and Reid’s blast hit Svedberg and bounded away into the net to knot the game 3-3 at 13:55 of the third.
With three minutes to go in regulation the WorSharks were forced to kill a phantom elbowing call to Rissmiller, but Providence didn’t have any real good chances for the remainder of the third period. In overtime both sides had four shots, but the nest opportunity was Spooner on a breakaway bid that Stalock turned aside. Into the shootout the first four shooters (Spooner, Tarasov, Sauve, and Urban) all scored, but the the goaltenders took over for the next four rounds. Cunningham scored for the PBruins in round seven, and when Svedberg snagged Groulx’s bid the wild comeback ended just a tad short.
WorSharks scratches were Taylor Doherty (achilles), Sena Acolatse (jaw), Travis Oleksuk, Mikael Tam, Mike Brennan (Worcester over veteran limit), Sebastian Stalberg, and Jimmy Bonneau (banged up). Harri Sateri was the backup netminder.
During the shootout Curt Gogol was removed from the bench area by referee Darcy Burchell after Gogol was leaning over the dasher jawing at the Providence bench. No penalty was entered into the boxscore, but it appeared to be more than a suggestion that Gogol leave by Burchell.
The AHL All Star break began at the end of Saturday night’s contest, and players will be off until Thursday when they return to practice.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 51 Brodie Reid (game tying goal)
2. PRO – 49 Jamie Tardif (g)
3. PRO – 14 Craig Cunningham (g)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Mike Banwell
Providence 3 0 0 0 – 4
Worcester 1 1 1 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Providence, Cunningham 8 (Spooner, Camper), 5:38 (PP). 2, Providence, Tardif 20 (Sauve, Spooner), 7:51. 3, Providence, Florek 4 (Krug, Whitfield), 9:49. 4, Worcester, Kearns 10 (Groulx, Tarasov), 14:51. Penalties-Exelby Pro (boarding), 1:33; Urban Wor (interference), 5:20; Cross Pro (hooking), 10:28; Gogol Wor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:28; Wilson Wor (holding), 18:53.
2nd Period-5, Worcester, Banwell 1 (Tennyson, Grant), 1:43. Penalties-Gogol Wor (misconduct), 8:12.
3rd Period-6, Worcester, Reid 10 (Matsumoto, Rissmiller), 13:55. Penalties-Groulx Wor (interference), 2:53; Rissmiller Wor (elbowing), 17:00.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout – Providence 3 (Spooner G, Sauve G, Mink NG, Tardif NG, Whitfield NG, Camper NG, Cunningham G), Worcester 2 (Tarasov G, Urban G, Kennedy NG, Matsumoto NG, Reid NG, Grant NG, Groulx NG).
Shots on Goal-Providence 12-11-11-4-1-39. Worcester 8-17-7-4-0-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Providence 1 / 4; Worcester 0 / 1.
Goalies-Providence, Svedberg 18-6-2 (36 shots-33 saves). Worcester, Stalock 12-9-3 (38 shots-35 saves).
Referees-Darcy Burchell (42).
Linesmen-Bob Paquette (18), Todd Whittemore (70).