The Worcester Sharks, who despite allowing goals in the final minute of two different periods and coughing up a two goal lead, got goals from five different first year AHL players and points from four more to give them a 5-3 win over the Providence Bruins Saturday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 6,557 fans to keep the WorSharks slim playoff hopes alive.
The Sharks celebrate a goal by Peter Sivak, right, in the third period. (Photo Courtesy: T&G Staff/STEVE LANAVA)
Early in the contest the defense ruled as both squads really clamped down in their own end and shots–never mind scoring chances–were at a premium. With the defensive feel to the game it wasn’t that shocking when a nice play from a blueliner set up the first goal. Worcester had the puck in the PBruins zone but really couldn’t get anything going, and just when it looked like Providence was going to break out of their zone WorSharks defenseman Matt Tennyson stood his ground and poked the puck away from PBruins forward Alexander Fallstrom right on to the stick of Yanni Gourde. The quick turnaround allowed Freddie Hamilton to be all alone in the slot behind the Providence defense, and Gourde’s perfect pass right to the tape of Hamilton’s stick gave Hamilton ample time to throw a little deke at PBruins goaltender Michael Hutchinson and then beat Hutchinson to the far post for the 1-0 lead at 16:09.
One of the big unwritten rules of hockey is don’t give up goals in the first or last minute of periods, and this season the WorSharks have found lots of different ways to break that rule. In the first period it happened after Matt Pelech just absolutely destroyed Providence center Kyle MacKinnon with a nice open ice hit in the Worcester end. That check unfortunately opened a passing lane for defenseman Kevan Miller, who had skated down toward the goal line to the left of Worcester netminder Harri Sateri, to the high slot where winger Jamie Tardif was waiting for the pass. Tardif’s laser through traffic beat Sateri with 42.2 seconds remaining in the period.
Tennyson would grab his second assist of the game when John McCarthy outraced PBruins defenseman Garnet Exelby to a loose puck behind the Providence net after Tennyson’s pass up the right wing boards was too hot to handle and was going to be an icing call. Newcomer Peter Sivak, signed to a PTO contract earlier this week out of the WorSharks ECHL affiliate in San Fransisco, trailed the play down the right wing side and when McCarthy got full control Sivak went right to the net. McCarthy’s nice pass from the corner hit Sivak in stride, and the 13 year pro playing in his first season in North American and just his second AHL contest snapped a hard wrist shot from the low circle over the left shoulder of Hutchinson and just inside the corner of the net at 3:33 of the second period for the 2-1 lead.
Travis Oleksuk would give Worcester a 3-1 lead when his hard work in front of the net battling PBruins defenseman David Warsofsky paid off. Taylor Doherty, not exactly known great offensive skills, took a cross ice feed and fired a low, hard shot toward the front of the net where Oleksuk was providing a screen. The shot hit Oleksuk and bounded away off the end boards. Lane Scheidl, an amateur tryout signee from the Regina Pats (WHL) who had been streaking through the slot just prior to the shot, retrieved the puck and with no better option fired it back on net from a bad angle. Hutchinson was totally square to the bid and made the easy save, but the rebound went right back to the slot where Oleksuk banged it home at 10:57.
But nothing has come easy for the WorSharks this season, and as has happened too many times this season Worcester allowed an opponent back into the game by giving up a couple goals late in periods. The first went to Carter Camper, who was so wide open in the lower part of the left wing circle that the closest person to him was sitting in the stands. Camper one-timed Miller’s feed into a yawning net at 16:04 to make it 3-2. The PBruins would get back to even on a power play score with just 12 seconds remaining in the middle period when Torey Krug beat Sateri blocker side.
The early part of the third period was all Providence with the WorSharks hardly ever possessing the puck in the PBruins end, and not having much possession time in the neutral zone either. Worcester didn’t register a shot in the stanza until the 11 minute mark, but no one would classify that bid as anything resembling a legitimate scoring chance. Despite being outplayed all over the sheet the score remained tied, and when Sebastian Stalberg raced into the Providence zone and was hooked down by Miller it gave Worcester its second power play chance of the game. Fate being what it is it was Stalberg that would convert the opportunity into a 4-3 lead when he fed McCarthy and the captain took the puck to the net. McCarthy couldn’t get at the near post so he attempted to throw a pass through the slot to Bracken Kearns–and got buried by Exelby for his troubles–but the puck deflected right to Stalberg’s back hand. In a goal scorers move Stalberg froze the puck and wheeled to his forehand and beat Hutchinson low glove side at 15:04. Derek Joslin had the secondary assist on the goal.
As soon as the puck beat him Hutchinson appealed the play to referee Jamie Koharski apparently looking for a goaltender interference call on McCarthy, but Koharski adamantly signalled it was a good goal and pointed at Exelby as if to indicate Exelby had checked McCarthy into Hutchinson. The video shows that McCarthy never actually hit Hutchinson, that he instead hit the post and fell behind the net.
With the ice tilted again toward the Worcester end the WorSharks fans were hoping Sateri was up to the challenge, but out of the blue Denny Urban turned nothing into something when he skated down the left wing side and threw a soft backhander on Hutchinson. It’s a play that really was just putting the puck on net hoping something good would happen, and when that something happened the red light went on and Urban threw a fist pump in celebration that might have knocked out Mike Tyson. Sena Acolatse and Daniil Tarasov were credited with the assist on the goal at 18:39.
It took Providence a long while to get Hutchinson out of the net, and when they did it was Tarasov that had the best bid, but his shot after wheeling the net rang off the iron. From that point on the PBruins were just going through the motions and when the final horn sounded Worcester grabbed two badly needed points in regulation.
The only change in the line-up from Friday night was Derek Joslin replaced Nick Petrecki on the blue line.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 8 Sebastian Stalberg (gwg)
2. WOR – 5 Matt Tennyson (2a)
3. PRO – 28 Kevan Miller (2a)
The Sharkspage player of the game was John McCarthy
Providence 1 2 0 – 3
Worcester 1 2 2 – 5
1st Period-1, Worcester, Hamilton 9 (Gourde, Tennyson), 16:09. 2, Providence, Tardif 27 (Miller, MacKinnon), 19:17. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-3, Worcester, Sivak 1 (McCarthy, Tennyson), 3:33. 4, Worcester, Oleksuk 3 (Scheidl, Doherty), 10:57. 5, Providence, Camper 7 (Miller, Cunningham), 16:04. 6, Providence, Krug 10 (Cunningham, Cohen), 19:48 (PP). Penalties-Exelby Pro (slashing), 7:36; Matsumoto Wor (hooking), 19:02.
3rd Period-7, Worcester, Stalberg 10 (McCarthy, Joslin), 15:04 (PP). 8, Worcester, Urban 4 (Acolatse, Tarasov), 18:39. Penalties-Miller Pro (hooking), 14:24.
Shots on Goal-Providence 8-12-11-31. Worcester 7-7-6-20.
Power Play Opportunities-Providence 1 / 1; Worcester 1 / 2.
Goalies-Providence, Hutchinson 9-13-3 (20 shots-15 saves). Worcester, Sateri 14-14-3 (31 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Jamie Koharski (84), Jeff Smith (49).
Linesmen-Bob Paquette (18), Ed Boyle (81).