The Worcester Sharks went into last weekend needing just a single point to clinch a spot in the American Hockey League’s 2015 Calder Cup playoffs and after going oh-fer in the three games fans began to worry if this was the beginning of something tragic, but after a dominating 5-2 Friday night against the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center all is right in WorSharks land. Chris Tierney had a goal and two assists in his return from San Jose, while Matt Taormina, Rylan Schwartz, Daniil Tarasov, and Matt Tennyson also lit the lamp for the WorSharks. Troy Grosenick had 25 saves in earning his 20th win on the season.
After a six week absence while under recall to San Jose, rookie forward Chris Tierney
returned to the Worcester Sharks line-up to help lead his team into the playoffs with
a three point night. Tierney now has 8 goals and 19 assists in 28 games for Worcester.
File photo courtesy of TEAMSHRED
For video highlight’s we’ll have to use AHLlive.com as Providence is one of the few clubs that doesn’t host them on YouTube.
Scratches for Worcester were J.P Anderson, Julius Bergman, Jimmy Bonneau, Daniel Ciampini, Willie Coetzee (knee-out for season), Taylor Doherty, Daniel Doremus, Petter Emanuelsson (shoulder-out for season), Jeremy Langlois (foot), John McCarthy (shoulder), Trevor Parkes (leg-out for season), and Joakim Ryan. Aaron Dell was the back-up netminder. With San Jose’s season being over there were several transactions since we last checked in with Barclay Goodrow, Bryan Lerg, Chris Tierney, Taylor Fedun and Karl Stollery all being returned to Worcester. Anderson was reassigned to the WorSharks by San Jose from the Allen Americans (ECHL) as their playoff rules only allow for two goaltenders on the roster. Bergman was assigned by San Jose after his season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League was over.
This will be Worcester’s first trip to the post season since 2010 and only one player, McCarthy, remains on the team from that season. There is some playoff experience on the roster, with Matt Taormina having 27 games with three different teams, Lerg with 21 playoff games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Fedun with 20 games with Oklahoma City, Bonneau with 15 with Hamilton, and Micheal Haley having 11 games with Bridgeport. Parkes, who is out for the season, also has three games with Grand Rapids.
With the end of the regular season being Sunday it’s awards time for the WorSharks, and while none took home any hardware from the official AHL awards several players won some in this season’s Booster Club award. The winners were:
Best Offensive Player: Bryan Lerg
Best Defensive Player: Matt Taormina
Tough Guy Award: Jimmy Bonneau
Seventh Player: John McCarthy
Fan Favorite: Bonneau
Best Single Game Performance: Jeremy Langlois for his natural hat trick in Worcester’s 3-2 win at Portland on 1/21
Rookie of the Year: Aaron Dell
MVP: Evan Trupp
At that same banquet this writer sat with Bonneau and Lerg, and when asked about his first NHL game and goal Lerg broke into a huge smile and recounted everything with an excitement that was contagious. There is nothing better in hockey than getting to hear from a player that just saw all his hard work pay off, and it’s something I will miss when the AHL leaves the city after this season. Bonneau, as usual, was a awesome conversationalist and had some great things to saw about hockey in Worcester. More on that in the coming weeks.
Technically the win by the WorSharks wasn’t the clinching moment, as during the second intermission of the Worcester/Providence game the Springfield Falcons lost in a shootout to the St John’s IceCaps on The Rock clinching a spot for Worcester. But with the 5-2 win for the WorSharks the Falcons losing becomes just a footnote in the story. It’s always better to “win” your way into the playoffs, and that’s how it will be written in years to come.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 50 Chris Tierney (g,2a)
2. WOR – 27 Rylan Schwartz (g)
3. WOR – 37 Karl Stollery (a)
The Sharkspage player of the game was Troy Grosenick.
Even strength lines
Worcester 1 1 3 – 5
Providence 1 1 0 – 2
1st Period-1, Providence, Pastrnak 11 (Khokhlachev), 5:18. 2, Worcester, Tierney 8 (Goodrow, Stollery), 13:47. Penalties-Goodrow Wor (hooking), 7:06; Tennyson Wor (cross-checking), 11:30.
2nd Period-3, Worcester, Taormina 10 (Tierney), 3:51. 4, Providence, Flick 17 (Morrow, Florek), 7:14. Penalties-Haley Wor (fighting), 2:06; Randell Pro (fighting), 2:06; Pastrnak Pro (interference), 12:54; Young Wor (slashing), 16:05; Tarasov Wor (fighting), 19:06; Florek Pro (fighting), 19:06; Young Wor (fighting), 19:09; Sexton Pro (fighting), 19:09.
3rd Period-5, Worcester, Schwartz 5 (Willows, Oleksuk), 3:06. 6, Worcester, Tarasov 16 (Hayes), 10:20. 7, Worcester, Tennyson 4 (Tierney, Goodrow), 17:39. Penalties-Spooner Pro (interference), 8:40; DeMelo Wor (delay of game), 18:28.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 9-8-12-29. Providence 14-8-5-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 2; Providence 0 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, Grosenick 20-12-1 (27 shots-25 saves). Providence, Subban 15-13-0 (29 shots-24 saves).
Referees-Ryan Hersey (8), Michael Mullen (18).
Linesmen-Chris Millea (33), Alex Stagnone (7).