The Worcester Sharks had regulation goals by Taylor Doherty, Melker Karlsson, and Micheal Haley, and another outstanding performance in goal by Troy Grosenick put the WorSharks in a great position to beat the Providence Bruins but two late failed clearing attempts allowed the PBruins to tie it with just 4.7 seconds remaining in the third period. In what is hopefully going to be a trend Worcester capitalized on the open ice of the new three-on-three portion of overtime and Dylan DeMelo sent the home town fans home happy on a wrist shot laser over the glove of Providence goaltender Malcolm Subban with just 26.8 seconds left in the extra session for a 4-3 WorSharks win Saturday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 5,809 fans.
Worcester Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo celebrates his game winning
OT goal Saturday night in the WorSharks 4-3 victory over the Providence
Bruins at the DCU Center in Worcester.
Photo courtesy of TEAMSHRED
The WorSharks have uploaded the game highlight to YouTube, and since they went to all that trouble we may as well give them a shoutout for doing it and then use the video here.
Scratches for the Worcester Sharks were Jimmy Bonneau, Chris Crane, and Gus Young. Prior to the game Eriah Hayes was recalled by San Jose to New Jersey where the Sharks were taking on the Devils. Hayes was didn’t have a point in 7:38 of action and had three shots on goal for the big club. The backup goaltender for the WorSharks was J.P. Anderson.
Before the start of the game the WorSharks raised a banner commemorating the 20th season of AHL hockey in the city of Worcester. Among the banner raisers was the standard group of city officials, DCU Center general manager Sandy Dunn, some San Jose Sharks brass, WorSharks Booster Club president Rich Lundin, former IceCats Shawn Heaphy and Shayne Toporowski, and current WorSharks player Jimmy Bonneau. Lundin also played another role in the celebrations, although few outside section 108 knew about it. Skating out of the Sharks’ head at the Zamboni entrance were youth hockey players wearing a jersey from each of the 20 AHL seasons. All those jerseys, which were all game worn, are owned by Lundin.
DeMelo’s overtime goal, officially at 6:33, is the second latest regular season OT game winner in AHL history. The earliest OT game winner was the first scored in the AHL’s new three-on-three format, by the WorSharks Matt Taormina at 6:34 October 11th in Binghamton. I don’t think it should be overlooked that both of Worcester’s three-on-three goals have been scored by defenseman. That’s going to be a key in the new OT format, and the WorSharks have five blueliners that should excel at it.
Speaking of the new OT format, which is in place to reduce shootouts, it’s hard to call it anything but a success. Through 12 overtime games this season in the AHL there have been five four-on-four goals, six three-on-three goals, and just a single game went to the shootout. Having watched several of the three-on-three sessions via streaming video and now last night’s at the DCU center I can tell you the fans are really in to it. I have no doubt the NHL will adopt the rule for next season.
More on DeMelo’s overtime game winner…that makes two overtime wins on the season for the WorSharks, already surpassing last season’s single extra session game winner and ties the mark of the 2012-13 squad. The WorSharks team record for overtime goals is seven set in the 2008-09 season, where Ryan Vesce also set the individual team record with four on the season. Both records are likely in jeopardy under the new overtime format.
The WorSharks are now 3-0-0 on the young 2014-2015 season, their best start since Worcester started with four straight wins to start the 2007-08 campaign. The win in their home opener improves the WorSharks record to 4-3-1-1 in their first game at the DCU Center of the season. It was the third time Worcester entertained Providence in the home opener during the Sharks era, and amazingly enough all three games have been decided in overtime. The first was won by Worcester on a Ryan Vesce OT game winner to begin the 2007-2008 campaign, and Providence won the WorSharks 2010-2011 home opener on a Martin St. Pierre OT goal.
Had a brief conversation during a pregame VIP gathering with WorSharks Vice-President Jon Gustafson and GM Joe Will. I did ask one “on the record” question, and although it was a little tongue-in-cheek their answer was worth mentioning. Knowing that neither would give any insight about a lease extension at the DCU Center I asked if San Jose chose the Allen Americans as their ECHL affiliate because the Americans have the best looking logo in that league. Both laughed and agreed it was one of the best minor league hockey logos out there, but then went on about how great an operation the folks down there have going on, how good the facilities are, and overall gave the organization in Allen huge kudos. And it wasn’t like they were just spouting PR-type answers, both were legitimately excited with the affiliation. When you consider how good the San Jose folks are at dodging question to get such a positive reply from two ranking members of the organization is really saying something about the Allen Americans.
Just a note for history’s sake: during the off season the AHL introduced a player safety rule that requires players who lose their helmets during the course of play to either immediately return to their team bench or to retrieve and replace their helmet–chin strap included–before returning to the play. Saturday night saw the first called violation of the rule when Oklahoma City’s Steve Pinizzotto was assessed a minor for “helmet violation”.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 2 Dylan DeMelo (game winning OT goal)
2. PRO – 13 Alexander Khokhlachev (g,2a)
3. WOR – 4 Taylor Doherty (g,a)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Troy Grosenick.
Even strength lines
Providence 1 1 1 0 – 3
Worcester 2 1 0 1 – 4
1st Period-1, Worcester, Doherty 1 (Tarasov, Oleksuk), 3:08. 2, Worcester, Karlsson 1 (Carpenter, Abeltshauser), 9:14. 3, Providence, Pastrnak 2 (Khokhlachev, Youds), 15:43. Penalties-Fallstrom Pro (hooking), 5:34; Knight Pro (elbowing), 16:46.
2nd Period-4, Providence, Caron 1 (Pastrnak, Khokhlachev), 4:56. 5, Worcester, Haley 2 (Hamilton, Doherty), 13:17. Penalties-Tennyson Wor (holding), 17:01; Pastrnak Pro (high-sticking), 17:41.
3rd Period-6, Providence, Khokhlachev 1 (Pastrnak, Trotman), 19:55. Penalties-Warsofsky Pro (holding), 3:51.
OT Period-7, Worcester, DeMelo 1 (Fedun, Langlois), 6:33. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Providence 9-12-8-1-30. Worcester 11-7-7-6-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Providence 0 / 1; Worcester 0 / 4.
Goalies-Providence, Subban 1-1-0 (31 shots-27 saves). Worcester, Grosenick 3-0-0 (30 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (41).
Linesmen-Brian MacDonald (72), Alex Stagnone (7).