Woo Rewind - Sharks suffer week long new year's hangover

Worcester Sharks forward John McCarthy works his away around Portland Pirates defenseman Michael Stone on Jan. 8 at the DCU Center. McCarthy leads the team in scoring with 26 points {10-16-26}. Photo courtesy of Jim Collins of www.telegram.com
Kicking off the new year with a busy week, including a three-in-three, the Worcester Sharks lost three-of-four games, dropping their record to 17-11-3-4 with 41 points. The Sharks still remain in third place of the Atlantic Division of the AHL Eastern Conference, six points behind the division leading Manchester Monarchs.

The Sharks’ busy week started Monday {Jan. 2} afternoon as the team traveled to the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT, to play the hosting Bridgeport Sound Tigers in their third meeting of the season and were shutout for the first time all season in their 4-0 loss.

The Sharks fired a season low 21 shots on net in the loss while goalie Harri Sateri {8-5-0, 2.69 goals against average, .904 save percentage} stopped 29-of-33 shots. In addition, Sateri had his four game winning streak snapped.

Sound Tigers forward Casey Cizikas gave the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead at 5:19 of the first period with his seventh goal of the season. Carrying the puck into the Sharks zone, Cizikas ripped a 50-foot slap shot on net from just inside the blue line at the top of the center point that beat Sateri on the glove side for the goal.

In the second period, Sound Tigers forward Tony Romano extended the Sound Tigers lead to 2-0 with his third goal of the season at 11:21. As the Sharks were making a line change, Romano corralled an outlet fed in the neutral zone from Sound Tigers defenseman Matt Donovan, skated into the Sharks zone along the left side and fired a snap shot on net from inside the left face-off circle that beat Sateri over the left shoulder for the goal.

At 15:49, Sound Tigers forward Kael Mouillierat extended the lead to 3-0 with his second goal of the season. After the Sound Tigers had dumped the puck into the Sharks zone, Sateri came out to play the puck behind his net. Sound Tigers forward Mathieu Aubin, who was pursuing the puck, stole the puck from Sateri and centered the puck out in front to Mouillierat, who fired the puck into the open net for the goal.

Sound Tigers forward Rhett Rakhshani made it 4-0 with a power play goal, his fourth goal of the season, at 19:08. With Sharks forward John McCarthy in the penalty box for hooking, the Sound Tigers won the ensuing face-off inside the Sharks zone. After Sound Tigers defenseman Aaron Ness and Dylan Reese passed the puck back-and-forth at the Sharks blue line, Rakhshani fired a shot on net from on top of the left face-off circle that beat Sateri on the glove side for the goal.

Sharks forward Brandon Mashinter had a golden opportunity with 6:28 remaining in the third period to get one past Sound Tigers goalie Kevin Poulin with a shot from point blank range off a 2-on-1 rush with linemate Jack Combs. However, Poulin slid across his crease and stacked the pads to rob Mashinter of a goal and preserve the shutout.

For the game, the Sharks were outshot 33-21, were 0-for-5 with the man advantage and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill... As the result of Nathan Moon’s fight with Tyler McNeely at 14:43 of the third period, the Sharks now have at least one fighting major in 18 consecutive games and 56 through 32 games, the most in the AHL... Sharks defenseman Sean Sullivan had his six game point streak {1-7-8} snapped... Brodie Reid was called for his first professional penalty at 19:27 of the second period on a tripping call... Cam MacIntyre {inj}, Tony Lucia {inj}, Matt Irwin {inj}, Ben Guite {inj} and Curt Gogol {inj} did not dress for the Sharks.

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Sharks forward Brodie Reid. Photo courtesy of www.sharksahl.com

On Friday night {Jan. 6}, the Sharks traveled to the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA, to play the hosting Springfield Falcons in their fifth meeting of the season and were defeated in a shootout, 4-3.

McCarthy, Reid and Sullivan scored for the Sharks while goalie Tyson Sexsmith {8-7-0-4, 2.15 goals against average, .923 save percentage} stopped 34-of-37 shots in the loss, including seven in overtime. In addition, Irwin {1-1-2} was the only Shark to have a multi-point game.

Falcons forward Cam Atkinson gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead with his 16th goal of the season at 18:34 of the first period. With the puck on the right side of the Sharks zone, Falcons forward Alexandre Giroux sent a pass out to center ice where Atkinson used his speed to get behind Sharks defenseman Mike Moore and skated in all alone on Sexsmith. With Moore trying to catch him, Atkinson deked and shot the puck through the five-hole of Sexsmith from on top of the crease for the goal.

In the second period, McCarthy tied the game with a power play goal, his ninth goal of the season, at 15:04. With Falcons forward Chad Costello in the penalty box for goaltender interference, Combs won a battle for the puck in the right corner of the Falcons zone and sent a cross zone pass to Irwin, who was positioned at the top of the left point. Creating a little space, Irwin sent a wrist-shot on net that McCarthy, who was skating across the slot, re-deflected past Falcons goalie Manny Legace for the goal.

Just 64 seconds later, Reid gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead with his fifth goal of the season. Skating into the Falcons zone, Reid fired a shot on net from the right face-off circle dot that Legace easily stopped. However, the rebound came out to the top of the face-off circles, where Irwin fired a laser of a slap shot on net that Reid tipped in front for the goal. Sharks forward Mike Connolly was credited with the secondary assist.

With 5.6 seconds remaining in the period, Falcons forward Matt Calvert corralled a loose puck inside the Sharks zone, got behind Sharks defenseman Matt Pelech, skated in on Sexsmith, went backhand and crashed into Sexsmith as the puck went across the goal line. Referee Keith Kaval ruled it a goal but one of the linesmen overruled Kaval and waived the goal off, causing Falcons head coach Rob Riley to go bananas.

At 5:34 of the third period, Atkinson scored again, this time on the power play, to tie the game. With Sharks forwards Combs and Ryan Del Monte in the penalty box for kneeing and roughing respectively, the Sharks penalty killers faced a 5-on-3 for 23 seconds. Holding the puck inside the Sharks zone, Falcons defenseman Brent Regner fired a shot on net from inside the left face-off circle that Sexsmith stopped but Atkinson was there at the left side for the bouncing rebound and quickly swept the puck past Sexsmith for the goal just seven seconds after Combs’ penalty expired.

Calvert scored his fourth goal of the season at 14:51 to give the Falcons a 3-2 lead. As Mashinter attempted to clear the puck out of the Sharks zone along the right side, Falcons defenseman Dane Byers gloved the puck down at the right point and fired a shot on net that Calvert deflected in front for the goal.

At 17:12, Kubalik was called for holding, giving the Sharks a golden opportunity to tie the game late. The Sharks pulled Sexsmith halfway though the power play for a 6-on-4 advantage but couldn’t score. After Kubalik’s penalty expired, Moon fired a shot on net from inside the left face-off circle that Legace easily stopped for a face-off with 45.8 seconds remaining.

After Sharks head coach Roy Sommer used his timeout, McCarthy won the ensuing face-off inside the left face-off circle but the puck was swept away to the right point by Byers. Sullivan skated in on the puck and ripped a shot on net from on top of the right face-off circle that beat Legace top shelf for the tying goal. The goal was Sullivan’s fourth of the season.

In overtime, Reid was called for delay of game, giving the Falcons a 4-on-3 power play advantage. On the tail end of the penalty kill, Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse lost his stick seconds after nearly winning the game on a shorthanded rush with Connolly and did everything possible to prevent the Falcons from scoring. Acolatse sprawled out on the ice, scrambled around and blocked a shot by Giroux that was headed for an open net.

With 30-seconds remaining in overtime, Sullivan dropped the gloves with Atkinson and in doing so, extended the Sharks’ streak to 19 straight games with a fighting major.

After a scoreless overtime, the Falcons elected to go first in the shootout and Regner was stopped by Sexsmith; Combs was stopped by Legace; Giroux rang one off the post; Connolly missed the net; Atkinson scored inside the near post; Mashinter missed the net high by about four feet; Kubalik scored; McCarthy was stopped by Legace to seal the Falcons win.

For the game, the Sharks were outshot 37-29, were 1-for-5 with the man advantage and 7-for-8 on the penalty kill... MacIntyre {inj}, Guite {inj}, Lucia {inj}, Gogol {inj} and Brian O’Hanley {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... The Sharks were without second leading scorer Tommy Wingels {13-8-21} as Wingels was recalled to San Jose on Jan. 5... Due to Wingels being called up, the Sharks signed forward Alex Bourret from the Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League {CHL} to a PTO... Bourret registered 39 points {13-26-39} in 27 games to go along with 82 penalty minutes and was selected to the CHL All-Star Game, which he declined when signing with the Sharks... Bourret wore #22 for the Sharks... The Sharks now have 57 fighting majors through 33 games, the most in the AHL... The Sharks are now 0-4 in the shootout this season.

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The 15-40 jerseys. Photo courtesy of www.sharksahl.com

On Saturday night {Jan. 7}, the Sharks hosted the Providence Bruins at the DCU Center in their fourth meeting of the season. Despite wearing their special edition 15-40 Connection jerseys for cancer awareness, the Sharks were defeated 5-2 in front of 7,257 fans.

Sullivan and Connolly scored for the Sharks inside the final three minutes of the game and Sexsmith stopped 25-of-29 shots in 48:35 of playing time before being pulled for Sateri.

Fireworks exploded just two seconds into the game as Sharks forward Jimmy Bonneau dropped the gloves with Bruins forward Bobby Robins. The near 30-second draw was Bonneau’s 12th fighting major of the season and extended the Sharks’ streak to 20 straight games with a fighting major.

Bruins forward Jamie Tardif gave the Bruins an early 1-0 lead with his ninth goal of the season at 2:27 of the first period. After Sexsmith had denied Bruins forward Carter Camper from point blank range, the Bruins held the puck inside the Sharks zone. Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller fired a shot on net from the top of the right point that deflected off both Bruins forwards Lane MacDermid and Tardif, who was positioned in front of Sexsmith, for the goal.

In the second period, Bonneau dropped the gloves again, this time with Bruins defenseman Marc Cantin at 6:40 after Cantin hit Bonneau late. The mismatch was all Bonneau as he peppered Cantin with rights, lefts, upper-cuts and overhands. Even the linesmen knew it was a mismatch and almost separated the two before they fully engaged.

In the third period, the Bruins scored four goals in an eight-and-a-half minute span to extend their lead to 5-0. Bruins forward Jamie Arniel scored his second goal of the season {and first goal since Oct. 22, 2011} at 1:18 with a wicked snap shot from the top of the right slot that beat Sexsmith top shelf on the glove side.

Calle Ridderwall extended the Bruins lead to 3-0 with his third goal of the season at 5:22. After Sexsmith denied Bruins forward Kirk MacDonald’s backhand attempt from in close, the Sharks defense lost sight of the puck, which was corralled behind Sexsmith’s net by Ridderwall, who wrapped the puck around into the open net on the right side for the goal.

Kyle MacKinnon scored his fifth goal of the season at 8:35 to make it 4-0. Holding the puck inside the Sharks zone, MacKinnon fired a shot on net from just inside the left face-off circle in the slot that beat Sexsmith through the pads. The goal caused Coach Sommer to pull Sexsmith for Sateri, marking the first time all season Coach Sommer pulled his starting goaltender.

Unfortunately, the goaltender change had no affect as Bruins forward Craig Cunningham scored his sixth goal of the season just 73 seconds later with a shot from deep inside the left face-off circle that beat Sateri top shelf.

Sullivan got the Sharks on the scoreboard with his fifth goal of the season at 17:03. With the puck at the top of the right point of the Bruins zone, McCarthy sent a pass down to the left face-off circle dot, where Sullivan corralled the pass, and fired a quick shot on net from deep inside the left face-off circle that beat Bruins goalie Michael Hutchinson through the legs and deflected off the back of a Bruins defender’s skate for the goal. Sharks forward Marek Viedensky was credited with the secondary assist on the goal.

Connolly scored his sixth goal of the season at 18:31 to cut the Bruins lead to 5-2. Entering the Bruins zone on a rush, Moon got around a Bruins defender with a nifty deke, skated into the right slot and passed the puck over to Connolly, who slammed the puck into the open net on the left side for his first goal since Oct. 28, 2011, at Bridgeport. Reid was credited with the secondary assist.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Bruins 31-30, were 0-for-1 with the man advantage and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill... MacIntyre {inj}, Guite {inj}, Lucia {inj}, Gogol {inj} and O’Hanley {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... The Sharks now have 59 fighting majors through 34 games, the most in the AHL... The Sharks’ 15-40 Connection jerseys were auctioned off during the game with proceeds benefiting the 15-40 Connection.

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Sharks goalie Harri Sateri. Photo courtesy of www.sharksahl.com

On Sunday afternoon {Jan. 8}, the Sharks finally got off the schneid as they defeated the visiting Portland Pirates, 5-0, in their fifth meeting of the season. Reid, McCarthy, Connolly and James Livingston scored for the Sharks while Sateri stopped 25 shots for his first career professional shutout, which was also the first shutout by the Sharks this season. 13 different Sharks skaters registered a point while Reid {2-0-2}, Connolly {1-1-2}, Sullivan {0-2-2} and Bourret {0-2-2} all had multi-point games.

Fireworks exploded just 1:38 into the game as Bonneau dropped the gloves with Pirates forward Mike Hoffman. The near 40 second draw saw both combatants land several good shots before being separated by the linesmen. The fight was Bonneau’s league leading 14th of the season and extended the Sharks’ streak to 21 straight games with a fighting major.

Reid scored a power play goal, his sixth goal of the season, at 6:49 to give the Sharks an early 1-0 lead. With Pirates defenseman Mathieu Brodeur in the penalty box for cross-checking, Reid corralled a neutral zone pass from Mashinter, skated into the Pirates zone, and snapped a wicked wrist shot from on top of the left face-off circle that beat Pirates goalie Justin Pogge on the blocker side. Mashinter and Sullivan were credited with assists on the goal.

Fireworks re-emerged at 13:58 of the second period as Moon dropped the gloves with Pirates forward and former Kingston teammate, Ethan Werek off a scrum-up inside the Pirates zone. Moon was smiling during the near 20-second scrap and landed three shots to Werek after Werek had fallen to the ice. Moon’s reward for winning the fight, which was his seventh of the season, was a 10 minute misconduct for continuing the altercation.

McCarthy extended the Sharks lead to 2-0 with his 10th goal of the season at 15:12. Connolly corralled the puck behind Pogge’s net and centered the puck out in front to McCarthy, who banged the puck into the net from on top of the crease. Irwin was credited with the secondary assist.

Reid scored his second power play goal of the game at 17:55 to extend the lead to 3-0. With Pirates forward Maxim Goncharov in the penalty box for hooking, Bourret held the puck behind Pogge’s net just seconds after being denied from the top of the slot. Skating towards the right corner, Bourret centered the puck out in front to Reid, who sniped a one-timer passed Pogge from deep inside the right face-off circle for the goal. The assist was Bourret’s first point as a Shark and Acolatse was credited with the secondary assist.

Fireworks re-emerged again at 10:45 of the third period as Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty dropped the gloves with Pirates forward Ryan Hollweg. The 20 second scrap was Doherty’s second fight of the season.

At 13:54, Connolly made it 4-0 Sharks with his seventh goal of the season and second goal in as many games. Corralling a loose puck at center ice, Combs rushed along the right side and into the Pirates zone 2-on-1 with Connolly. From just inside the right face-off circle, Combs sent a pass over to Connolly, who fired a quick chip shot on net from deep inside the left face-off circle that beat Pogge on the far post. Sullivan was credited with the secondary assist.

Livingston got off the schneid himself by snapping a 30-game goalless drought with his third goal of the season at 18:18. On a delayed penalty to the Pirates, Livingston rushed into the Pirates zone along the right side, got behind the Pirates defender, skated in on Pogge and roofed the puck glove side for his first goal since the home opener against the Albany Devils back on Oct. 15, 2011. Bourret and Del Monte were credited with the assists.

For the game, the Sharks were even in shots with the Pirates at 25, were 2-for-3 with the man advantage and 7-for-7 on the penalty kill... The Sharks now have 62 fighting majors through 35 games, the most in the AHL... Coach Sommer is now five wins away from 500 for his AHL career... Moore will tie Lukas Kaspar for the most games played in franchise history {216} in the Sharks’ next game... MacIntyre {inj}, Guite {inj}, Lucia {inj}, Gogol {inj} and O’Hanley {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... Connolly {2-2-4}, Sullivan {2-2-4}, McCarthy {2-1-3} and Reid {3-1-4} all have three game point streaks... The Sharks are 21st in the AHL on the power play at 16.7%, seventh in penalty killing at 84.0% and second in penalty minutes with 21.5 per game.

IRWIN & SEXSMITH NAMED TO 2012 AHL ALL-STAR CLASSIC4268_medium
Photo courtesy of www.sharksahl.com

On Jan. 4, it was announced that Irwin and Sexsmith had been chosen to represent the Sharks in the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. The All-Star Skills Competition will take place on Jan. 29 while the All-Star Game will be held on Jan. 30. Fans have the opportunity to vote for the starting lineups through Jan. 23 by visiting www.theahl.com or www.facebook.com/theahl and completing the official Reebok AHL All-Star Fan Ballot.

As a bonus, here are Sexsmith and Sharks President Michael Mudd discussing the All-Star game in interviews with Eric Lindquist on the SharksVision YouTube channel.



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