The Worcester Sharks entered this weekend’s games needing wins to keep their slim playoff hopes realistically alive, and after being crushed 5-1 by the Manchester Monarchs Friday in New Hampshire in a game where the WorSharks looked like they’d already started the long off-season Worcester took a three hour bus ride west to The Empire State to take on the Albany Devils and played a contest where they made so many mental errors it was hard to count them all. Luckily for Worcester Albany was having issues of their own and the WorSharks were able to survive through overtime and into a shootout where they had the only goal for a 4-3 win over the Devils at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York in front of 5,111 fans. The shootout win gives Worcester a 10-1 record in the bonus round, best in the AHL.
Worcester Sharks goaltender Troy Grosenick made several great saves to keep the
WorSharks in their game against Albany and then went a perfect five for five
against the Devils in the shootout to win 4-3 Saturday night.
Photo courtesy of JOHN CARL D'ANNIBALE | Times Union
For video highlights we’ll take a look at the Albany Devils YouTube channel
Scratches for Worcester were Sena Acolatse (leg), Rob Davison (suspended, game 2 of 3), John McCarthy (broken hand), Daniil Tarasov (upper body), and Marek Viedensky. Harri Sateri was the back-up goaltender. Since our last update the American Hockey League suspended WorSharks captain Davison three games for his check to the head of Phil Lane Wednesday night against Portland. At full speed it looks like Lane had his head down and Davison threw a pretty good check, but slowing it down it pretty clearly shows Davison picked Lane’s head with his elbow. Freddie Hamilton got recalled back to San Jose Wednesday and then was quickly returned to the WorSharks, but because of an illness didn’t fly back east in time to make Friday’s debacle against the Monarchs.
Worcester has relied on its top two lines all season to keep them in games, and anyone that watches the WorSharks knows if their top players don’t score they generally don’t win. Saturday night was a notable exception as the top line of Dan DaSilva, Chad Rau, and Bracken Kearns not only didn’t score, they didn’t have a shot on goal. It’s just the sixth time this season DaSilva didn’t have a shot in a game, but only the second time he didn’t register a point while being shotless. It was the fifth time Kearns was held without a shot during the current campaign. Rau doesn’t even belong on that line, so perhaps now head coach Roy Sommer will see that and insert RPI ATOer Brock Higgs into the top line center spot. Or, perhaps not…
Speaking of Sommer, as everyone has likely heard by now, he set the AHL career games coached record Wednesday night with 1,257. With the next WorSharks home game being Tuesday, which will have just a handful of fans in attendance, there will be a pregame ceremony held next Saturday in their contest against the Hershey Bears to commemorate Sommer’s achievement. Ironically it was Bears’ longtime head coach Frank Mathers that previously held the record. Last season Sommer also set the record for most coaching losses in American Hockey League history, a milestone that wasn’t acknowledged by the organization.
Nothing kills a team more than turning the puck over in their own end, and this season Worcester has had tremendous issues with it. No matter which blue liners are out there it’s a foregone conclusion that at some point that pairing will cough the puck up. That’s just one of a long list of problems the WorSharks defense has had this season, and as the defensive corps was supposed to be one of the strengths of the team it’s one of the big reasons they’re poised to miss the playoffs yet again. While neither goaltender Harri Sateri nor Troy Grosenick has great stats if one were to take away all the goals scored by opponents after the Worcester defense left their netminders out to dry not only would the goalies stats see a marked improvement so would the WorSharks playoff chances.
This writer had a whole section pre-written on the turnaround the WorSharks have made in the shootout from their first seven seasons to this one, but with Saturday night’s game going to a shootout both the Telegram and Gazette’s Bill Ballou and Times Union’s Pete Dougherty have postings all about the shootout. While we have a few things they don’t we’ll just file away the section and get to it at a later time.
The three stars of the game were
1. ALB – 21 Mattias Tedenby (g,2a)
2. ALB – 18 Stefan Matteau (g,a)
3. WOR – 21 Travis Oleksuk (g,a)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Eriah Hayes.
Even strength lines
Worcester 2 1 0 0 – 4
Albany 2 1 0 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Albany, Matteau 13 (Tedenby, Timmins), 8:26. 2, Worcester, Tennyson 7 (Oleksuk), 11:07. 3, Albany, Tedenby 9 (Matteau, Zajac), 11:28. 4, Worcester, Oleksuk 16 19:00. Penalties-Tedenby Alb (tripping), 5:21.
2nd Period-5, Worcester, Hayes 9 (Higgs, Doherty), 6:14. 6, Albany, Zajac 10 (Tedenby, Urbom), 14:39 (PP). Penalties-Oleksuk Wor (holding), 2:27; Pelech Wor (tripping), 8:19; Matteau Alb (roughing), 9:24; Pelech Wor (hooking), 13:05.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-McPherson Alb (holding), 7:37.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout – Worcester 1 (Reid NG, Hamilton NG, DaSilva G, Carpenter NG, Oleksuk NG), Albany 0 (Boucher NG, Sislo NG, Tedenby NG, Matteau NG, Whitney NG).
Shots on Goal-Worcester 14-9-7-1-1-32. Albany 10-7-4-0-0-21.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 3; Albany 1 / 3.
Goalies-Worcester, Grosenick 16-11-0 (21 shots-18 saves). Albany, Kinkaid 21-11-5 (31 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Chris Brown (86), Jarrod Ragusin (54).
Linesmen-Chris Low (88), Frank Murphy (29).