Less than 24 hours after one of the worst losses in franchise history the Worcester Sharks played one of their best games in recent memory, and behind a 27 save performance from rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick and a multiple point night by Daniil Tarasov defeated the St. John’s IceCaps 3-0 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 2,760 fans.
For video highlights that are much more palatable than Friday night’s debacle we once again point at AHLlive.com
Scratches for the WorSharks were Jimmy Bonneau (left leg), Collin Bowman (head), Riley Brace, Lane Scheidl (knee), Matt Pelech (unknown injury), and Nick Petrecki. The backup goaltender was Harri Sateri. Marek Viedensky returned to the lineup after missing four games due to a groin injury, and with the injuries to Pelech and Bonneau was wearing the alternate captain’s “A”.
The shutout for Grosenick in his second pro start Saturday was the fastest for a rookie in a Worcester Sharks jersey, breaking Alex Stalock’s mark of five starts with his 1-0 overtime shutout of the Springfield Falcons on October 24, 2009. It’s not the quickest all-time in a WorSharks jersey as journeyman pro Daren Machesney blanked those same Falcons 5-0 on February 11, 2011 in his first game under a PTO that season. Grosenick’s 27 saves are the most in Worcester Sharks history for a goaltender in their first shutout with the team.
Grosenick wasn’t the only player in a WorSharks jersey to make a save last night as Travis Oleksuk had one in the first period and Rylan Schwartz added a couple in the third during scrambles in front of the Worcester net. There were also significantly more blocked shots from the WorSharks than we usually see.
The most embarrassing thing for the WorSharks and their too many men penalty late in the second period wasn’t the fact they had six skaters on the ice for about 10 seconds, it was the fact they were trapped in their own end the entire time. If you can’t get the puck out of your zone with an extra guy out there perhaps you’re doing something wrong. For the record, the extra guy out there was Curt Gogol. He redeemed himself later though with a nice blocked shot that led to an unassisted shorthanded empty net goal to seal the victory.
Tough night for referee Trevor Hanson as he got cut on his left leg with a skate late in the first period and briefly went down the tunnel towards the WorSharks locker room for a quick repair by Worcester trainer Matthew White. Hanson was obviously hindered by the injury but gutted it out and it didn’t seem to have any effect on the game. His next scheduled game is currently Tuesday in Abbotsford, but the AHL may have to make a change there.
Every game has a point where one team or the other can seize the moment and either put the game away or if trailing get themselves back into it. That moment came at 8:03 of the third period just a shift after the WorSharks had taken a 2-0 lead and referee Hanson called Taylor Doherty for closing his hand on the puck. During the penalty kill Adam Comrie, who started the game at forward, had his stick broken. Freddie Hamilton correctly handed his stick to Comrie. Hamilton is a righty, Comrie is a lefty. To make matters worse, just a few seconds later Bracken Kearns blocked a shot with his stick and was forced to drop it when it snapped in two. It was more than a handful of seconds before Worcester could gain control and clear the puck. And with that, momentum stayed in Worcester’s corner.
More on that Doherty minor. Doherty had been crosschecked on top of the puck and briefly covered the puck with his hand in an attempt to stand back up. Ignoring the fact referee Hanson missed the crosscheck, he correctly called the minor on Doherty following the letter of the rulebook. But one has to wonder that if Hanson had a better feel for the game that the minor wouldn’t have been called. Doherty wasn’t trying to hide the puck–which is what the rule is intended to stop–he was trying to get back to his feet.
It seems obvious but based on some fan reaction it needs to be said. Saturday night’s game sort of proves a point, as Grosenick would not have gotten a shutout without the help of the 18 skaters in front of him. The converse is true, in that on Friday Sateri’s six goals allowed isn’t all on him either. With no help in front of him–and for a lot of the night Sateri had little to no help–a goaltender has no chance. That doesn’t mean Sateri wouldn’t like another chance on a couple of them, but when you lose 7-1 it’s not about your goaltending.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 1 Troy Grosenick (27 save shutout)
2. WOR – 14 Sena Acolatse (g)
3. WOR – 5 Matt Tennyson (a)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Daniil Tarasov.
Even strength lines (during warm-ups)
St. John’s 0 0 0 – 0
Worcester 1 0 2 – 3
1st Period-1, Worcester, Tarasov 6 (Tennyson, Kearns), 19:54 (PP). Penalties-Cormier Stj (kneeing), 18:59.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Kearns Wor (holding), 2:46; Fredheim Stj (roughing), 6:29; Mouillierat Stj (fighting), 9:53; Kearns Wor (fighting), 9:53; Davison Wor (interference), 13:56; served by Reid Wor (bench minor – too many men), 19:30.
3rd Period-2, Worcester, Acolatse 1 (Reid, Tarasov), 7:37. 3, Worcester, Gogol 1 18:01 (SH EN). Penalties-O’Neill Stj (interference), 0:51; Doherty Wor (closing hand on puck), 8:03; Tarasov Wor (slashing), 16:07.
Shots on Goal-St. John’s 8-6-13-27. Worcester 10-11-11-32.
Power Play Opportunities-St. John’s 0 / 5; Worcester 1 / 3.
Goalies-St. John’s, Pasquale 5-5-0 (31 shots-29 saves). Worcester, Grosenick 2-0-0 (27 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Trevor Hanson (47).
Linesmen-Kevin Keenan (22), Chris Millea (33).