With the Worcester Sharks regular season campaign coming to an end without a playoff run for the third season in a row, it’s time to start with the end of season paperwork. Up first are the “210 Awards”. For those new to the “210 Awards”, they are a mix of serious and (hopefully) slightly humorous awards named for the moniker this writer uses on many message boards. This season’s winners are…
Best Forward: While some might think it’s lame to just name the team’s highest scorer as its best forward, for the WorSharks and Bracken Kearns it’s the right choice. With the departure of Tim Kennedy to San Jose Kearns was called upon night in and night out to generate offense on a club that was short on goal scorers. Kearns lead Worcester in goals, assists, and points. Kearns’ .7 points per game was second only to Kennedy (1.00) on the team.
Best Defenseman: In what was supposed to be the teams strength Worcester ended up dressing 17 blue liners, and none of them truly stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Had Matt Irwin played in more than 35 games this season he would have likely won the award simply because he was the player almost always against the opponent’s top line and the team was never really the same defensively after he left. So we’ll name rookie Matt Tennyson as the best defenseman as he was the most solid of the rest.
Tough Guy Award: There is no player on the WorSharks tougher to play against than Matt Pelech. Opponents do everything they can to avoid even getting near him knowing that he’s virtually impossible to get past without him blasting them into the boards. Bringing the same intensity at forward as he does on defense Pelech doesn’t look great statistically mostly because the AHL doesn’t officially track blocked shots. If they did he would most certainly he near the top of the list in that category.
Best Single Game Performance: Until last Friday night’s game in Wilkes-Barre Harri Sateri had this sewn up with his 50 save win against Providence on December 2nd, but then Freddie Hamilton came along and notched two shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill. Yeah, one of them was an empty netter, but it was still a big goal scored from his own end while the Penguins were throwing everything at the WorSharks.
Most Improved: When you look at James Livingston‘s points from last year to this you’d see they are virtually identical (7-13-20 this season vs 6-14-20 last). What the big difference is in plus/minus, which went from a (-1) to +12, and that is a direct result of improvements in every aspect of Livingston’s game. He settled in nicely to the third line checking role, and using a much more controlled physical game turned into one of the WorSharks best two way forwards.
Seventh Player: James Livingston. No contest here.
Rookie of the Year: Probably the toughest of all the awards to give out this season, in a close race it goes to Daniil Tarasov. While he lead all rookies in just about every offensive category it was the fact that opposing teams were usually putting their best defensive players on the ice against him that truly speaks to how good he really is. Entering the season Tarasov was on an AHL contract, but midway through the campaign San Jose signed him to an entry level deal that starts next season.
Most Valuable Player: Breaking a three year run of goaltenders winning the MVP award Bracken Kearns was undoubtedly not only the best player on the team all season but the one that when he wasn’t in the line-up was missed the most. He is an easy choice for the winner here.
The Sharkspage Player of the Year: Harri Sateri, for being named Sharkspage player of the game seven times this season, the most on the team.
So now that we’ve gotten the serious awards out of the way, here’s a few that this writer thinks should be handed out…
The Tom Cavanagh Award: If everything comes together this will likely become a real team award next season, but since right now the WorSharks don’t have an official award for perseverance and dedication to hockey we will add one here, and the first winner is goaltender Alex Stalock for his overcoming a potentially career threatening injury late in the 2010-2011 season. After missing almost a full season Stalock showed he was completely back from his injury by returning to his high level of play in the 2012-2013 campaign.
The Two-By-Two Award: Matt Tennyson, for having the most penalty minutes (44) without major.
The Iron Man Award: Freddie Hamilton for playing in all 76 regular season games.
The Man In The Box Award: For the first time we had a three way tie for this award with Adam Comrie, Nick Petrecki, and bench minors (yes, bench minors) being the reason Worcester was shorthanded when a power play goal was scored against them. Each was in the box five times, but Comrie “wins” the award due to fewer games played.
The Dead-Eye Award: Matt Irwin, for having the lowest shooting percentage of any player with 50 or more shots on goal (1 for 100, easy math says that’s 1%).
The Buzzer Beater Award: Freddie Hamilton, for his game tying goal vs Manchester on April 7th at 19:58.3 of the third period.
The Whose Jersey Is This? Award: Mike Banwell, Adam Comrie, Peter Sivak, and Rylan Schwartz all share this award, just as they all shared the #24 jersey this season.
The “It’s not how many, it’s when” Award: Nick Petrecki, who scored his only goal of the season against Springfield in overtime on January 11th.
The Welcome Back Award: Danny Groulx, who became the first player to leave the WorSharks and then return after playing for another organization. The funny thing is Groulx was traded midseason for Derek Joslin, who then became the second player to leave the organization and return.
The “35″ Award: Head coach Roy Sommer, who circled Harri Sateri’s number 35 in the starting line-up 12 times in a row this season. The only problem was it should have been 11, as the twelfth time he was supposed to circle Thomas Greiss’ number 1.
The “Don’t Tell That Story Again” Award: Matt Tennyson, for his slightly less than inspirational story at the WorSharks Booster Club Christmas Party
The WWE Award: The American Hockey League. Two separate groups of people asked this season if the AHL was fixed like wrestling. But the AHL doesn’t have an officiating problem, just ask them.
The SuperFan Award: Chris O’Shea, Worcester Sharks Booster Club treasurer, who made it to 67 of the WorSharks 76 games this season. The only two road cities she didn’t make it to this season were Norfolk and St. John’s.
The David Haas Award: For the sixth time in seven seasons, there is no winner of this “prestigious” award that goes to the player with the most talent that chooses to use none of it.
Historically the last award mentioned is the Haas, but last season we broke with tradition to give departing captain Mike Moore a shout out. This season we’re starting a new tradition and announcing a new award:
The Mike Moore Award: For the player that gives 100% every single shift no matter the score or the situation, and the inaugural Mike Moore Award goes to Matt Pelech. If you’ve seen him play in Worcester, you know why.