The Worcester Sharks overcame canceled flights, aborted landings, and missing equipment during their trip north to St John’s, Newfoundland, and when if finally came time to just go out and play some hockey Saturday night that’s what the WorSharks did as Gus Young, Bryan Lerg, and newcomer Trevor Parkes all scored for Worcester while goaltender Aaron Dell was solid in net again during Worcester’s 3-1 win over the IceCaps on Valentine’s Day night at the Mile One Centre.
Worcester Sharks defenseman Gus Young (white, #3) defends against St John's forward
Eric O'Dell while WorSharks goaltender Aaron Dell takes a peek around the players
looking for the puck. Young scored Worcester's first goal while Dell had 24 saves.
Photo courtesy of ST. JOHN'S ICECAPS
For video highlights we’ll use the IceCaps YouTube channel, and we get to hear the voice of Brian Rogers, who is one of the best in the business.
Scratches for the WorSharks were Kyle Bigos, Jimmy Bonneau, Petter Emanuelsson (shoulder), Troy Grosenick, and Jeremy Langlois (broken foot). J.P. Anderson was the back-up goaltender. The good news is Grosenick is no longer an injury/illness scratch and is working his way back into game shape. He is with the team on the trip. One person not listed who didn’t make the trek to Newfoundland is head coach Roy Sommer, who stayed behind in Worcester after suffering a “minor medical issue” that required a brief hospitalization. Word from the team is Roy will be OK, and will rejoin the team when they arrive back home early next week.
In Roy’s absence assistant coach Ryan Mougenel took over the reins while developmental coach Bryan Marchment worked as his assistant. It’s the second time in his AHL assistant coaching career that Mougenel has taken the helm for an ill head coach, the first time was January 26, 2014 when Mougenel took over for Hershey Bears head coach Mike Haviland when he took ill before a game against Wilkes-Barre. The Bears won that game 2-0. There’s another Worcester connection to that story as Patrick Wellar, a scratched Bears defenseman and former IceCats player, worked as Mougenel’s assistant behind the bench in that game. Ironically, referee Tim Mayer has worked both games Mougenel was acting head coach. Mayer will make it three for three Sunday afternoon when the two teams meet up again.
Like baseball, hockey is a game of inches where just a small amount space makes a play onside or offside, or turns a booming body check into a glancing blow, or turns a goal into a harmlessly bouncing away puck. That last example is often the most heartbreaking for one team while extremely relieving for the other. It was the WorSharks that were on the happier end of that scale as the IceCaps found the iron behind goaltender Dell four times in the contest. An inch here and an inch there and we’d have had a whole different game going on.
With Saturday’s game John McCarthy moves into second place in WorSharks team history, and 5th in Worcester pro hockey all-time, for games played at 254. Next up on the all-time lest is Jame Pollock’s 270. Nick Petrecki has the Worcester Sharks team record at 277 games, and is third all-time in Worcester hockey history. McCarthy also is 4 goals, 10 assists, and 6 points short of WorSharks franchise records in those categories. He’s also 461 penalty minutes shy of the team record but it’s probably unlikely he makes that ground up.
It will be interesting to see what happens when Grosenick is healthy enough to play. Dell, who started the season with the Allen Americans of the ECHL as third on the WorSharks goaltender depth chart, has outplayed both Grosenick and Anderson by a significant margin. Due to the way NHL contracts work there’s virtually no way he replaces Grosenick, but Anderson still being on his entry level deal can be assigned to the ECHL. Don’t be shocked when the smoke clears if it’s Dell staying and Anderson leaving. Then the real controversy begins on who gets the most starts, Grosenick or the AHL-contracted Dell.
The three stars of the game were apparently picked randomly by the IceCaps:
1. WOR – 18 Micheal Haley (a)
2. WOR – 3 Gus Young (g)
3. STJ – 37 Connor Hellebuyck (28 save loss)
The Sharkspage player of the game is Aaron Dell.
Even strength lines
Worcester 1 2 0 – 3
St. John’s 0 0 1 – 1
1st Period-1, Worcester, Young 2 (Abeltshauser, Haley), 12:32 (PP). Penalties-Armia Stj (interference), 10:35.
2nd Period-2, Worcester, Parkes 1 (Crane), 12:13. 3, Worcester, Lerg 8 (Trupp, Fedun), 13:40 (PP). Penalties-Hayes Wor (hooking), 2:30; O’Dell Stj (delay of game), 13:15; Cormier Stj (hooking), 16:10; Coetzee Wor (high-sticking), 17:22; Cormier Stj (delay of game), 19:54.
3rd Period-4, St. John’s, Brassard 3 (Balisy, O’Neill), 8:38. Penalties-Young Wor (interference), 11:37; Fedun Wor (tripping), 17:26; Armia Stj (tripping), 17:26; Carpenter Wor (hooking), 18:50.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 8-13-10-31. St. John’s 9-5-11-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 4; St. John’s 0 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, Dell 5-3-0 (25 shots-24 saves). St. John’s, Hellebuyck 22-15-1 (31 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Jim Vail (75), Sheldon Keough (63).