Woo Rewind - Sharks skate into holiday break with home loss to Falcons

Worcester Sharks forwards Nathan Moon {34} and Brandon Mashinter {53} watch the puck go over the net of Springfield Falcons goalie Manny Legace on Dec. 21. Photo courtesy of Jim Collins of www.telegram.com

After going 5-1-0-1 on their seven game road trip, the Worcester Sharks returned home to the DCU Center on Dec. 21 to host the Springfield Falcons in their fourth meeting of the season and were defeated 6-3. The loss dropped the sharks to 13-8-3-3 with 32 points and remained in third place of the Atlantic Division of the AHL Eastern Conference.

John McCarthy, Brodie Reid and Tommy Wingels all scored for the Sharks while goalie Antero Niittymaki stopped 21-of-27 shots in the loss. Reid {1-1-2} was the only Shark to have a multi-point game, and Wingels {8-3-11} extended his point streak to seven games while Jack Combs {3-3-6} extended his to four games with an assist.

Falcons forward Ryan Garlock gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season at 6:16 of the first period. After forcing a turnover near the right corner of the Sharks zone, Falcons forward Matt Calvert got the puck to linemate Cam Atkinson, who was positioned in the right corner. Atkinson centered the puck out in front to Garlock, who was positioned in-between the face-off circles in the slot, and Garlock fired a shot on net through a screen that beat Niittymaki for the goal.

Falcons forward Tomas Kubalik extended the Falcons lead to 2-0 with a power play goal, his fourth goal of the season, at 14:47. With Sharks forward Tony Lucia in the penalty box for hooking, Kubalik got the puck out to Falcons defenseman David Savard at the top of the left point. Savard faked a shot and passed the puck down to Falcons forward Alexandre Giroux, who fired one-timer on net from on top of the left face-off circle that Kubalik deflected in front for the goal.

Just 49 seconds into the second period, Garlock, who came into the game with two goals on the season, scored his second goal of the game on a short-handed rush to extend the Falcons lead to 3-0. With Falcons defenseman Brett Lebda in the penalty box for holding, McCarthy entered the Falcons zone through the middle and sent and bank pass off the left boards to Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse that was broken up by Calvert. Corralling the loose puck in the neutral zone, Calvert rushed along the left side into the Sharks zone 2-on-1 with Garlock and sent a pass from inside the left face-off circle across to Garlock, who fired a one-timer on net from the right face-off circle dot that fluttered over the glove of a sprawled out Niittymaki and into the net for the goal.

McCarthy got the Sharks on the scoreboard with his sixth goal of the season at 3:15 to cut the Falcons lead to 3-1. With sustained pressure inside the Falcons zone, McCarthy and Wingels battled two Falcons players for the puck in the right corner. Sharks defenseman Sean Sullivan pinched in on the right side boards to keep the puck in the Falcons zone and got the puck to McCarthy, who fired a quick shot on net from inside the right face-off circle that beat Falcons goalie Manny Legace on the glove side for the goal. Combs picked up the secondary assist.

At 10:03, Kubalik scored his second goal of the game to extend the Falcons lead to 4-1. Off a turnover by the Sharks inside the Falcons zone near the blue line, Falcons forward Ryan Russell rushed along the left side into the Sharks zone 3-on-1. From deep inside the left face-off circle, Russell sent a centering pass in front to Kubalik, who fired a one-timer on net that beat Niittymaki on the glove side for the goal, which held up as the game winner.

Falcons forward Maksim Mayorov made it 5-1 Falcons with his first goal of the season at 12:28. With the puck inside the Sharks zone, a clear attempt from behind Niittymaki’s net by Lucia was held in at the top of the left face-off circle by Falcons defenseman Brent Regner, who sent a cross zone pass to Mayorov, who fired a snap shot on net from on top of the right face-off circle that got through traffic and beat Niittymaki through the pads for the goal.

Fireworks erupted three seconds later as Sharks forward Brandon Mashinter dropped the gloves with Falcons forward Mike Thomas off the ensuing face-off at center ice. The 10 second fight was dominated by Mashinter, who landed several overhand rights before dropping Thomas with an inside left hand.

Just 121 seconds into the third period, Reid scored his fourth goal of the season to cut the Falcons lead to 5-2. Off a Falcons turnover in the neutral zone, Mashinter sent a neutral zone pass to Reid, who rushed into the Falcons zone along the right side 2-on-1 with Mashinter. From inside the right face-off circle near the face-off dot, Reid fired a shot on net that deflected off of Legace’s shoulder/blocker and into the net for the goal.

12 seconds later, Atkinson made it 6-2 Falcons with his 15th goal of the season. Garlock intercepted a Sharks pass in the neutral zone and found Atkinson, who entered the Sharks zone on the right side and fired a laser of a slap shot from on top of the right face-off circle that beat Niittymaki top shelf on the glove side for the goal. Niittymaki, who was in position, saw the shot cleanly but couldn’t get his glove on the puck.

Fireworks erupted again at 18:08 as Sharks forward Curt Gogol dropped the gloves with Falcons forward Tim Spencer, who had been going after Sharks forward Ryan Del Monte after Del Monte caught him up high on a hit. Not liking what Spencer was doing, Gogol jumped in for the fight despite giving up nearly seven inches in height to Spencer, who stands 6’6". Gogol threw two right hands that landed flush on Spencer’s chin at the start of the scrap before Spencer took control and knocked Gogol to the ice with overhand rights after pulling Gogol’s jersey over his head.

Spencer was assessed an extra two minutes for slashing, giving the Sharks a power play opportunity and at 18:40, Wingels scored a power play goal, his 12th goal of the season, to cut the Falcons lead to 6-3. Winning a face-off inside the Falcons zone, Acolatse fired a shot on net from the top of the point that Wingels deflected in front for the goal. Reid picked up the secondary assist.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Falcons 28-27, were 1-for-5 with the man advantage and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill… Benn Ferriero was not in the lineup for the Sharks as he was recalled to San Jose on Dec. 20 after Martin Havlat suffered a hamstring injury… Cam MacIntyre {inj}, Mike Connolly {inj}, Taylor Doherty {scr}, Ben Guite {inj}, Brian O’Hanley {scr} and Tyson Sexsmith {scr} did not dress for the Sharks… The Sharks lead the AHL with 45 fighting majors through 27 games.

As a bonus, here is the Sharks' Happy Holidays video courtesy of the SharksVision YouTube Channel.


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