The Worcester Sharks played twenty minutes of great hockey Friday night, unfortunately it was just about all in the final period after they were already trailing by two goals, and despite having a six skater on three advantage late in the third period couldn’t get the game tying goal and eventually dropped a 5-3 decision to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 5,865 fans.
Scratches for the WorSharks were Mike Brennan (lower body), Jimmy Bonneau, Marek Viedensky (undisclosed, “banged up” was how it was described), and Brodie Reid (shoulder). Curt Gogol went awkwardly into the boards during the first period and went off to the locker room. After an attempt to play later in the period Gogol returned to the locker room and did not return. James Livingston took a stick up high that required some stitches, but returned to play and score a goal. Thomas Heemskerk once again did a stellar job opening and closing the bench door for Worcester.
There were some comments on social media after the game from some fans criticizing Worcester head coach Roy Sommer not returning Harri Sateri to the WorSharks net with a face-off deep in the Worcester zone with 11 seconds remaining in regulation, which resulted in Penguins center Warren Peters getting an easy empty net goal after winning the face-off. This writer has been a critic of many of Sommer’s coaching decisions in the past, but no one should fault him for leaving Sateri out of the net and going with a five skater on four advantage. The entire game comes down to winning that face-off, Worcester didn’t, and they lost. The empty net goal is irrelevant there to the equation.
A review of the game video may be in order to confirm this, but it appeared that in at least in the third period the Penguins were using left winger Chris Collins to shadow WorSharks forward Daniil Tarasov. It was either that or an odd coincidence that every time Tarasov was on the ice in the final period Collins was on the ice and about five feet away. If you look at the boxscore you’d think Tarasov had a poor game, no points, minus-two, 4 PIM), but the rookie had two great break-ups on back-checks to break up odd man rushes and deflected a couple long passes in the neutral zone to turn the play back toward the Wilkes-Barre end that don’t appear on the stat sheet.
The three stars of the game were
1. WBS – 23 Trevor Smith (2a)
2. WBS – 26 Riley Holzapfel (g,a)
3. WOR – 21 Travis Oleksuk (2a)
The Sharkspage player of the game was James Livingston.
W-B/Scranton 1 3 1 – 5
Worcester 0 1 2 – 3
1st Period-1, W-B/Scranton, Reese 6 (Dumoulin, Smith), 14:48 (PP). Penalties-Petrecki Wor (double minor – high-sticking), 11:29; Gourde Wor (closing hand on puck), 13:39.
2nd Period-2, W-B/Scranton, Kolarik 23 (Holzapfel, Smith), 3:07 (PP). 3, W-B/Scranton, Thompson 15 (Mormina, Peters), 3:30. 4, Worcester, Gourde 8 (Oleksuk, Livingston), 3:44. 5, W-B/Scranton, Holzapfel 17 (Kolarik, Grant), 16:35. Penalties-Comrie Wor (interference), 1:26; Collins Wbs (roughing), 4:04; Mormina Wbs (holding), 10:44; Samuelsson Wbs (interference), 20:00.
3rd Period-6, Worcester, Livingston 6 (Oleksuk, Doherty), 2:33. 7, Worcester, Matsumoto 13 (Kearns), 15:05. 8, W-B/Scranton, Peters 11 19:52 (EN). Penalties-Tarasov Wor (high-sticking), 0:19; Doherty Wor (slashing), 10:18; Peters Wbs (roughing), 17:45; Smith Wbs (slashing), 19:10; Tarasov Wor (high-sticking), 19:49.
Shots on Goal-W-B/Scranton 11-10-8-29. Worcester 12-10-15-37.
Power Play Opportunities-W-B/Scranton 2 / 6; Worcester 0 / 5.
Goalies-W-B/Scranton, Thiessen 14-10-1 (37 shots-34 saves). Worcester, Sateri 13-13-3 (28 shots-24 saves).
Referees-Trent Knorr (44), Ryan Fraser (14).
Linesmen-Todd Whittemore (70), Kevin Redding (16).