The Worcester Sharks dug themselves a four goal hole in the first 25 minutes of Friday night’s contest against the Norfolk Admirals, but roared back with three of their own as team MVP Bracken Kearns, enforcer Matt Pelech, and newcomer and new fan favorite Riley Brace all lit the lamp to get the WorSharks within one, but that’s as close as it was get as Worcester couldn’t connect for another and dropped the game 4-3 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 3,192 fans. The loss all but eliminates Worcester from the playoff chase.
Scratches for the WorSharks were Jimmy Bonneau, Mike Brennan, Adam Comrie (injured), Curt Gogol (injured), Yanni Gourde (injured), Christophe Lalancette, Brodie Reid (injured), Sebastian Stalberg, Denny Urban, Dane Walters, and Marek Viedensky (injured). Both Gourde (high ankle sprain) and Reid (shoulder) are out for the duration. The injury list may be growing a bit longer was captain John McCarthy didn’t return after being checked into the boards by Norfolk’s Patrick Maroon early in the first period. This writer won’t be shocked if tough guy Jimmy Bonneau replaces McCarthy in the line-up.
Sharkspage is saddened to read Bill Ballou reporting that linesmen Bob Paquette is retiring after the end of this season and that Friday was his last game in Worcester. Paquette, one of the more easily recognizable on ice officials, has been mentioned several times in this space over the years and is truly one of the best linesmen in the league.
ATO signee Riley Brace has become the second player in WorSharks history to score a goal in his first three pro games, joining Nate Raduns on the exclusive list. Raduns had a goal in each of his three first games and then added two more in his fourth for five goals in his first four games. Raduns also had an assist and went +5 over that span. Brace will need two goals and to go +3 on Saturday to match Raduns. Brace is out of luck in one category though as two of Raduns’ first three goals were game winners.
A personal note, if I may…those that follow me on twitter (@210Darryl) saw my tweet that said I had to walk away from the game for a short while because my nephew got hit with the puck late in the second period. The puck hit off the glass, hit a railing in front of him, and then hit him just under the eye. As a true hockey fan he saw he wasn’t bleeding and not being in any discomfort watched the rest of the period and then went to first aid “just in case”. After the application of an ice pack all is well and he ended up missing less of the game than I did. The WorSharks game staff, which I have heaped tons of praise on during numerous occasions, were outstanding during the whole episode. They were able to retrieve the puck for him (which had bounced away and under the seats) and had it signed by Mike Brennan.
The three stars of the game were
1. NOR – 23 Steven Whitney (2g)
2. NOR – 19 Patrick Maroon (2a)
3. WOR – 16 Bracken Kearns (g)
For the third game in a row the Sharkspage player of the game is Riley Brace.
Norfolk 2 2 0 – 4
Worcester 0 1 2 – 3
1st Period-1, Norfolk, Zolnierczyk 11 (Sarault), 12:29. 2, Norfolk, Whitney 2 (Clark, Maroon), 14:05. Penalties-Maroon Nor (fighting), 4:18; Kearns Wor (fighting), 4:18; Zolnierczyk Nor (tripping), 15:55; Crane Wor (slashing), 18:39.
2nd Period-3, Norfolk, Brittain 11 (Pelley, Letourneau-Leblond), 2:45. 4, Norfolk, Whitney 3 (Wagner, Maroon), 4:39. 5, Worcester, Kearns 21 (Tarasov, Schwartz), 12:01. Penalties-Whitney Nor (hooking), 7:42; Petrecki Wor (slashing), 12:40.
3rd Period-6, Worcester, Pelech 2 (Oleksuk, Acolatse), 3:27. 7, Worcester, Brace 3 4:05. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Norfolk 12-11-1-24. Worcester 12-17-13-42.
Power Play Opportunities-Norfolk 0 / 2; Worcester 0 / 2.
Goalies-Norfolk, Andersen 23-15-1 (42 shots-39 saves). Worcester, Stalock 16-15-3 (24 shots-20 saves).
Referees-Jeff Smith (49).
Linesmen-Ed Boyle (81), Bob Paquette (18).