Woo Rewind - Sharks display character and mental toughness in comeback wins at St. John's

Worcester Sharks forward Tommy Wingels {#17} registered four points on three goals and an assist in the Sharks' two games in St. John's, including both game winning goals. Photo courtesy of Steve Lavana of www.telegram.com

Last week, the Worcester Sharks traveled to the Mile One Centre in St. John’s, NL, to play the hosting St. John’s IceCaps in back-to-back games and swept the IceCaps with two come from behind victories, avenging their two home losses at the DCU Center to the IceCaps early last month.

Despite winning both games and improving their record to 10-6-3-3 with 26 points, the Sharks actually fell to fourth place in the Atlantic Division of the AHL Eastern Conference due to having only played 22 games so far this season, the fewest in their division and the entire AHL.

On Friday night, the Sharks silenced the 6,287 fans inside the Mile One Centre by scoring three unanswered goals to stun the IceCaps, 4-3. Benn Ferriero, Tony Lucia and Tommy Wingels all scored for the Sharks while goalie Tyson Sexsmith {5-5-0-3, 1.90 goals against average, .928 save percentage} stopped 24-of-27 shots for the win. Ferriero {2-1-3}, Wingels {1-1-2} John McCarthy {0-3-3} and Matt Pelech {0-2-2} all had multi-point games for the Sharks.

Ferriero gave the Sharks an early 1-0 lead with his seventh goal of the season at 3:15 of the first period. After a save by Sexsmith on IceCaps forward Marco Rosa, Wingels corralled the loose the puck inside the Sharks zone, skated down the right side and into the IceCaps zone 3-on-2 with McCarthy and Ferriero. Wingels left the puck inside the right face-off circle for McCarthy, who quickly sent a backhand pass across the circles to Ferriero, who fired a one-timer on net from deep inside the left face-off circle that beat IceCaps goalie Peter Mannino on the blocker side for the goal.

Fireworks erupted later in the period as Sharks forwards Jimmy Bonneau and Curt Gogol both picked up their fifth fighting majors of the season with their respective scraps just one second apart from each other. At 12:58, Bonneau dropped the gloves at center ice with IceCaps forward Tom Maxwell in a 20 second scrap that saw Bonneau pound Maxwell with repeated right hands before being separated by the linesmen.

On the ensuing face-off, words were exchanged between Gogol and IceCaps forward Kevin Clark. IceCaps forward Garth Murray, who was set to the take the face-off with Sharks forward Nathan Moon, left the face-off circle to go over to Gogol and got speared in the chest by Moon, who was immediately warned by referee Darcy Burchell to knock it off with the antics. Clark came in to take the face-off with Moon as Murray lined up next to Gogol, and as soon as Burchell dropped the puck, Gogol and Murray sent their equipment flying off. Both landed a few shots in the 10 second scrap before Gogol lost his balance and fell to the ice.

At 16:47 and with the IceCaps on a power play, Icecaps defenseman Zach Redmond scored his third goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1. With Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin in the penalty box for tripping, the IceCaps won a face-off inside the Sharks on the tail end of their power play opportunity. Holding the puck at the top of the point, IceCaps defenseman Paul Postma sent the puck over to Redmond, who was positioned on top of the left face-off circle. Redmond quickly sent the puck across the zone to IceCaps forward Ben Maxwell, who corralled the puck on the right side edge of the right face-off circle. Maxwell sent the puck back to Redmond, who quickly fired a one-timer on net from inside the left face-off circle that beat Sexsmith for the power play goal.

Just 49 seconds into the second period, Redmond scored again on the power play to give the IceCaps a 2-1 lead. With carry over time from Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse’s slashing penalty inside the final minute of the first period, the IceCaps got the puck inside the Sharks zone and Postma fired a shot on net from on top of the right face-off circle that was blocked by Ferriero. Postma got the puck back and sent the puck down to the top of the point to Redmond, who fired a one-timer on net that got through a screen and beat Sexsmith for the goal.

At 5:52, IceCaps forward Patrice Cormier extended the IceCaps lead to 3-1 with his fifth goal of the season. Corralling a neutral zone pass at center ice from IceCaps forward Eric O’Dell, Ben Maxwell skated into the Sharks zone 2-on-2 with Cormier. Maxwell quickly passed the puck over to Cormier, who fired a shot through the pads of Sexsmith from in the slot for the goal.

Ferriero answered back for the Sharks by scoring his second goal of the game at 13:09 to cut the IceCaps lead in half. With the puck inside the IceCaps zone, McCarthy carried the puck behind Mannino’s net before leaving the puck at the top of the right point for Pelech, whose one-timer shot was deflected in front by Ferriero for the goal.

Just 1:41 later, Lucia extended his point streak to four games {2-2-4} with his second goal of the season to tie the game at 3-3. With applied pressure inside the IceCaps zone, Pelech corralled the puck at the top of the right point and passed the puck up to Sharks defenseman Nick Petrecki, who fired a shot on net from the top of the left point that deflected off the glass. The rebound came right to Lucia at the right side of the goalie crease and Lucia put the puck into the open net for the tying goal.

In the third period, Wingels completed the Sharks comeback by scoring his fifth goal of the season at 15:53 to give the Sharks a 4-3 lead. After the Sharks dumped the puck into the IceCaps zone, Mannino attempted to clear the puck along the right side boards but Ferriero, who pursued after the puck, knocked the puck down in the right corner and battled against two IceCaps players. The puck squirted out to Wingels, who was supporting on the play, and Wingels quickly centered the puck in front to McCarthy, who was robbed of a goal from point blank range by Mannino. However, the IceCaps lost track of Wingels, who snuck around to the near side post and swept the rebound into the net for what held up as the game winning goal.

With 70 seconds remaining in the game, the IceCaps pulled Mannino for an extra skater. After a couple of clear attempts by the Sharks, Redmond skated into the Sharks zone along the right side and centered the puck in front to IceCaps forward Jason DeSantis, who fired a one-timer on net from in-between the face-off circles that Sexsmith stopped with his glove as he slid across his crease. The save came with 31 seconds remaining, preserved the Sharks win and left Sharks play-by-play announcer Eric Lindquist speechless.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the IceCaps 32-27, were 0-for-4 with the man advantage and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill... The Sharks have 31 fighting majors through 21 games this season... Ben Guite returned to the Sharks lineup after missing 12 games with a foot injury... Mike Moore {inj}, Sean Sullivan {inj}, Mike Connolly {inj}, Brandon Mashinter {inj} and Marek Viedensky {scr} did not dress for the Sharks.

As a bonus, here is a clip of the Sharks' flight to St. John's courtesy of the SharksVision YouTube channel.


Sunday afternoon, the Sharks again silenced the 6,287 fans inside the Mile One Centre, this time by scoring four unanswered goals in the third period to stun the IceCaps, 5-3. McCarthy, Guite, Wingels and Viedensky all scored for the Sharks while goalie Harri Sateri {5-4, 2.94 goals against average, .895 save percentage} stopped 24-of-27 shots for the win. In addition, McCarthy {0-2-2}, Guite {1-2-3}, Wingels {2-0-2} all had multi-point games for the Sharks.

Fireworks erupted just 10:35 into the game as Sharks forward Ryan Del Monte dropped the gloves for the first time this season in a scrap with IceCaps defenseman Travis Ramsey behind Mannino’s net. The 15 second fight saw Del Monte land a couple of right hands early and then absorbed several right handed body shots from Ramsey before being separated by the linesmen.

Just 1:13 later, Bonneau dropped the gloves with Tom Maxwell for the second time in as many games. After shrugging off Bonneau’s initial invitation, Maxwell met Bonneau at center ice, with equipment off, in a spirited 35 second scrap that saw both combatants land repeated right hands before Bonneau landed the shot that dropped Maxwell to the ice.

Right before the buzzer sounded to end the first period, McCarthy scored his fourth goal of the season at 19:59 to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission. The goal, which came one second after the Sharks’ power play opportunity expired, was the result of sustained power play pressure in the IceCaps zone by the Sharks. Holding the puck at the top of the point, Ferriero passed the puck over to Acolatse at the top of the right face-off circle. Acolatse gave the puck back to Ferriero, who sent a pass down to the left side goal line to Guite, who quickly centered the puck to McCarthy, who fired a one-timer on net from in-between the face-off circles that beat Mannino top shelf on the glove side for the goal as the buzzer sounded.

In the second period, the IceCaps exploded for three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead. IceCaps forward Spencer Machacek started things off by tying the game at 1-1 with his fifth goal of the season at 4:18. Winning a face-off inside the Sharks zone, Rosa won the battle for the loose puck in the left corner and got the puck over to Ben Maxwell, who centered the puck in front for Machacek, who Sateri denied from point blank range. Rosa followed up on the rebound and was stopped by a diving Sateri. The puck came out to IceCaps defenseman Brett Festerling, who had his shot stopped by a sprawled out Sateri, who was flat on his stomach in the crease. However, the Sharks skaters couldn’t corral the loose puck and Machacek put the puck into the open net from deep on top of the right face-off circle for the goal.

Postma scored his fifth goal of the season at 6:56 to give the IceCaps a 2-1 lead. Winning another face-off inside the Sharks zone, the IceCaps cycled the puck along the right side. Ben Maxwell corralled the puck in the right corner, skated across the right face-off circle into the slot and passed the puck down to Postma, who fired a wicked one-timer on net from on top of the left face-off circle that beat Sateri over the shoulder on the glove side for the goal.

Fireworks reappeared on the ensuing face-off as Moon dropped the gloves with O’Dell as soon as the puck was dropped. The two came together near center ice and Moon landed several right hands in the five second scrap before loosing his balance and falling to the ice.

Just two seconds later, Pelech dropped the gloves with Ramsey as the two had been chirping at each other after Moon’s fight. As soon as linesman Sheldon Keough dropped the puck for the face-off, both Pelech and Ramsey threw off their equipment and met at center ice for a spirited 15 second scrap that saw Pelech land repeated body shots to Ramsey as he was pinned up against the boards.

41 seconds later, Gogol dropped the gloves with Murray for their second fight in as many games. However, the fight never got going as Murray quickly pulled Gogol down to the ice, causing linesman Justin Day to jump in and separate the two, which caused Gogol to go bananas as he tried to free himself from Day.

IceCaps forward Aaron Gagnon extended the IceCaps lead to 3-1 with his sixth goal of the season at 17:57. With McCarthy in the penalty box for hooking, Clark corralled a neutral zone pass from DeSantis and skated into the Sharks zone along the left side. Putting the brakes on inside the left face-off circle, Clark quickly centered the puck to a cutting Gagnon, who directed the puck into the open from on top of the goalie crease for the power play goal.

In the final 61 seconds of the period, IceCaps forward Kenndal McArdle and Festerling were called for roughing and high sticking respectively, giving the Sharks a 5-on-3 power play advantage that carried over into the start of the third period.

Off the opening face-off for the third period, Wingels entered the IceCaps along the right side to set up the Sharks’ power play. After some back-and-forth passing between Acolatse and McCarthy, Acolatse shot faked from the top of the point and gave the puck back to McCarthy, who was positioned inside the right face-off circle. Drawing the IceCaps defends towards him by skating in on Mannino, McCarthy passed the puck to the left side of the goal crease to a wide open Guite, who put the puck into the open net in style {on one knee} for his second goal of the season just 37 seconds into the period to pull the Sharks to within a goal.

Wingels tied the game with his sixth goal of the season at 3:51 off an odd bounce. Corralling an outlet pass from Sullivan, Wingels broke in all alone on Mannino and shot the puck over the net from in the slot. However, the puck came off the end-board glass, hit the crossbar, bounced off the back of Mannino and went into the net for the tying goal.

Inside the final two minutes of the period, Rosa attempted a cross zone pass from the left side of his own zone that was intercepted in the slot by Lucia, who quickly got the puck over to Wingels. Delaying his shot, Wingels waited out a diving Mannino before firing the puck past Mannino from deep inside the right face-off circle for what held up as the game winning goal at 18:35. The assist extended Lucia’s point streak to five games {2-3-5}.

As was the case in Friday’s game, the IceCaps pulled Mannino for an extra skater with 50 seconds remaining in the period. However, the IceCaps never got a shot off on Sateri as the Sharks cleared the puck several times before Marek Viedensky scored his first professional goal via an empty netter at 19:52 to seal a 5-3 Sharks victory.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the IceCaps 41-27, were 1-for-4 with the man advantage and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill... Before the game, Irwin was called up to San Jose... Moore {inj}, Connolly {inj}, Mashinter {inj} and Cam MacIntyre {inj} did not dress for the Sharks... The Sharks now have 36 fights through 22 games, second most in the AHL... The Sharks are 22nd in the AHL on the power play at 16.2%, 17th on the penalty at 81.8% and third in penalty minutes with 21.4 per game.

As a bonus, here are interviews with Wingels and Sharks head coach Roy Sommer courtesy of the SharksVision YouTube channel.



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