The Worcester Sharks held a 4-2 lead going into the third period Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center against the Portland Pirates, and in the final 20 minutes with the Pirates skating for their playoff lives perhaps played it too casually as Portland struck for three unanswered goals to defeat the WorSharks 5-4 in what was essentially a meaningless game for Worcester but propelled the Pirates over the Springfield Falcons into eighth place in the AHL Eastern Conference and into the playoffs. Travis Oleksuk, Matt Taormina, Barclay Goodrow, and Gus Young all scored for Worcester, who finished the season in seventh place in the East and will face off against two seed Hershey in the first round.
Worcester Sharks forward Travis Oleksuk scores a first period goal for
his tenth tally of the season for the WorSharks. With its playoff spot
secure Worcester would go on to lose the game 5-4 to Portland.
Photo courtesy of RICK CINCLAIR/TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
For video highlights we’ll use the WorSharks YouTube channel
Scratches for Worcester were J.P. Anderson, Julius Bergman, Willie Coetzee (knee-out for season), Dylan DeMelo, Petter Emanuelsson (shoulder-out for season), Eriah Hayes, Jeremy Langlois (foot), John McCarthy (shoulder), Trevor Parkes (ankle-out for season), Joakim Ryan, Daniil Tarasov, Evan Trupp. Troy Grosenick was the backup goaltender. Both Langlois and McCarthy are expected to be available to play at some point in the first round of the playoffs.
With the WorSharks loss they finish the regular season as the seven seed in the East, which is in this writer’s opinion a lot better than had they finished sixth and (obviously) eighth. By finishing seventh Worcester faces the Hershey Bears and misses out playing the three seed Hartford Wolf Pack, a team that has had Worcester’s number even through the IceCats days, and the top seed Manchester Monarchs. Because the two teams are more than 300 miles apart AHL rules dictate the best of five series is 2-3 instead of the standard 2-2-1, and as the higher seed Hershey gets to choose either the first two at home or the last three. They chose the last three at home, so their playoff series schedule looks like this:
Game 1: Friday, 4/24 Hershey at Worcester, 7:00
Game 2: Saturday, 4/25 Hershey at Worcester, 7:00
Game 3: Wednesday, 4/29 Worcester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 4: Friday, 5/1 Worcester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 5: Sunday, 5/3 Worcester at Hershey, 5:00
During the game the WorSharks announced several team awards, with captain Bryan Lerg being named MVP, goaltender Aaron Dell the Rookie of the Year, defenseman Guy Young was “Unsung Hero”, and Michael Haley won the Three Stars Award. Sharkspage will announce its winners at the end of the playoffs.
Dell went into Sunday’s game with several Worcester city records within reach, the season and career marks in both goals against average and save percentage. His final GAA of 2.06 beats Curtis Sanford’s 2.13 and sets the city mark for both season and career, but Dell’s 0.927 save percentage just misses Dwayne Roloson’s mark of 0.929. Dell’s total does establish WorSharks franchise records for season and career save percentage.
Missing the last five games due to an injury John McCarthy finishes his Worcester career with the WorSharks career marks in goals and points. His 277 games played is tied with Nick Petrecki for most in a WorSharks jersey and third all-time in Worcester. McCarthy finishes second on the WorSharks assist list, just four behind Tom Cavanagh’s 92. McCarthy’s 151 career points ranks him 5th all-time in Worcester hockey history, and his 63 goals ties him with Jame Pollock for 4th all-time. His 88 assists is also good for 4th all-time.
Bill Ballou stole my thunder this morning in his notes column, and nearly word for word too (something about “great minds” jumps to mind, but I suspect Ballou would say we’re a couple short in our cases), although my numerical total is different than his. We’ll have to work out why the numbers aren’t the same at some point, but the records will show that Julius Bergman will go down in the books as the last WorSharks player. He made his Worcester debut Saturday night in Manchester to become the (by my count) 226th and final player in franchise history. Ballou writes Bergman is player #224. Either way, he’s the last.
It was great to see Chris Roy of the Maine Hockey Journal in attendance along press row during Sunday’s game. Chris is a long time friend of Sharkspage and is just one on a very long list of things I will miss when San Jose moves their AHL affiliate out west for next season. I am hoping to see Chris one last time covering the AHL as it’s possible the Pirates and WorSharks could meet in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The three stars of the game were
1. POR – 49 Alexandre Bolduc (gwg)
2. POR – 19 Henrik Samuelsson (2g,a)
3. WOR – 23 Barclay Goodrow (g,a)
The Sharkspage player of the game is Matt Taormina.
Even strength lines
Portland 1 1 3 – 5
Worcester 2 2 0 – 4
1st Period-1, Portland, Dvorak 1 (H. Samuelsson, McNeill), 0:59. 2, Worcester, Oleksuk 10 (Tennyson, Taormina), 8:19 (PP). 3, Worcester, Taormina 11 (Tierney, Goodrow), 10:05. Penalties-Bolduc Por (slashing), 4:59; Dvorak Por (high-sticking), 8:01; Doremus Wor (slashing), 10:59; H. Samuelsson Por (hooking), 15:52; Tennyson Wor (roughing), 20:00.
2nd Period-4, Worcester, Goodrow 2 (Goldobin, Tierney), 2:35. 5, Portland, Shinnimin 22 (Reese, Dahlbeck), 10:52. 6, Worcester, Young 5 (Fedun, Schwartz), 12:16. Penalties-Shinnimin Por (high-sticking), 8:09; Doherty Wor (interference), 8:09; Lane Por (elbowing), 18:41.
3rd Period-7, Portland, H. Samuelsson 17 (McNeill, Gormley), 1:19 (PP). 8, Portland, H. Samuelsson 18 (Dvorak, P. Samuelsson), 6:46. 9, Portland, Bolduc 23 19:17. Penalties-Goldobin Wor (tripping), 0:34.
Shots on Goal-Portland 14-11-14-39. Worcester 12-7-6-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Portland 1 / 3; Worcester 1 / 4.
Goalies-Portland, Domingue 11-6-1 (18 shots-14 saves); McKenna 27-18-1 (7 shots-7 saves). Worcester, Dell 15-8-0 (39 shots-34 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (41), Keith Kaval (40).
Linesmen-Robert St. Lawrence (10), Todd Whittemore (70).