Woo Rewind - Sharks play a three-in-three and Alex Stalock update

Worcester Sharks forward Jimmy Bonneau pounds away on Bruins forward Lane MacDermid at the DCU Center on Jan. 21. Photo courtesy of Steve Lanava of www.telegram.com

Last week, the Worcester Sharks played a three-in-three, including a home-and-home against the Providence Bruins, and while all three games ended with a 3-2 final score, the Sharks were only victorious one time and earned three points out of a possible six.

Overall, the Sharks are now 20-12-3-5 with 48 points, and tied for second place with the Manchester Monarchs in the Atlantic Division of the AHL Eastern Conference, six points behind the division leading St. John's IceCaps {The Sharks have only played 40 games while the Monarchs have played 44 and the IceCaps have played 41}.

The Sharks' three-in-three started Friday night {Jan. 20} as the team traveled to the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI, to play the hosting Bruins in their sixth meeting of the season and were defeated 3-2. Sharks forwards Ryan Del Monte and Marek Viedensky scored for the Sharks while goalie Antero Niittymaki {2-3, 3.01 goals against average, .890 save percentage}, who was reassigned to Worcester on a second conditioning assignment on Jan. 19, stopped 23-of-26 shots in the loss. Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin chipped in with two assists and was the only Sharks player to have a multi-point game.

Bruins defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead with his power play goal, fourth goal of the season, at 16:22 of the first period. With Sharks defenseman Nick Petrecki in the penalty box for boarding, Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski fired a shot on net from the top of the center point that missed the net. However, the puck came off the end-board right to Bodnarchuk, who from deep inside the left face-off circle, fired the puck past a sliding Niittymaki for the goal.

Yannick Riendeau extended the Bruins lead to 2-0 with a power play goal, his third goal of the season, at 2:53 of the second period. With Sharks forward Mike Connolly in the penalty box for slashing, Bruins forward Craig Cunningham rushed into the Sharks zone 3-on-1 along the right side. From on top of the face-off circles, Cunningham passed the puck over to Bodnarchuk, who tipped pass to Riendeau, who fired a quick shot from the left face-off circle dot that beat Niittymaki over the shoulder for the goal.

Fireworks appeared at 10:56 as Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty dropped the gloves with Bruins forward Lane MacDermid after MacDermid boarded Sharks forward Nathan Moon in the left corner of the Sharks zone. Sticking up for Moon, Doherty, along with Sharks forward Brandon Mashinter, went right after MacDermid, which nearly resulted in a full line brawl. Doherty and MacDermid broke out of the pile and engaged in a brief scrap that MacDermid won.

Del Monte got the Sharks on the scoreboard and cut the Bruins lead in half with his third goal of the season at 14:15. With the puck behind the net of Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin, Sharks forward Alex Bourret sent a pass out to Irwin, who fired a one-timer on net from the top of the center point that Del Monte was able to get a piece of in front and deflected it past Khudobin for the goal.

On the ensuing face-off, Bruins forward Bobby Robbins lined-up next to Sharks defenseman Matt Pelech and as soon as referee Terry Koharski dropped the puck, their equipment went flying off. The fight only lasted five seconds as Pelech pounded Robbins into the ice with repeated overhand rights.

Just 3:28 into the third period, Cunningham extended the Bruins lead to 3-1 with his eighth goal of the season. Carrying the puck into the Sharks zone along the left side, Bodnarchuk went around Niittymaki's net and centered the puck in front to Cunningham, who fired a one-timer on net from deep inside the right face-off circle that beat Niittymaki for the goal.

Viedensky answered back for the Sharks with his third goal of the season at 10:51 to cut the Bruins lead to 3-2. With the puck inside the Bruins zone, Connolly fired a shot on net from the high slot that Khudobin stopped with his mask. Viedensky, who was positioned on top of the goalie crease, corralled the loose rebound and backhanded the puck through the pads of Khudobin for the goal.

Unfortunately, Sharks couldn't complete the comeback as forwards Jack Combs and Connolly took undisciplined interference and hooking penalties at 14:51 and 18:05 respectively. With Connolly in the penalty box, Sharks head coach Roy Sommer pulled Niittymaki with one minute remaining in the third period for an extra skater to make it 5-on-5 but the Sharks couldn't score the tying goal. The Sharks' best chance was a shot by Combs from the right face-off circle that Moon nearly poked past Khudobin with 5.7 seconds remaining.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Bruins 30-26, were 0-for-3 with the man advantage and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill... Before the game, Sharks forward John McCarthy was recalled to San Jose, causing Worcester to dress eight defensemen {Pelech and Petrecki played forward}... Cam MacIntyre {inj}, Ben Guite {inj}, Tony Lucia {inj} and Curt Gogol {inj} did not dress for the Sharks... With the two fights, the Sharks now have 66 through 38 games, the most in the AHL.

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Sharks captain Mike Moore. Photo courtesy of www.sharksahl.com

On Saturday night {Jan. 21}, the Sharks were back home at the DCU Center to host the Bruins in their seventh meeting of the season, and skated away with a 3-2 overtime victory to send the second largest crowd in Sharks history {8,840} home happy.

Combs, Viedensky and Sharks captain Mike Moore scored for the Sharks while Niittymaki stopped 26-of-28 shots in the win. In addition, Viedensky {1-1-2} and Sharks defenseman Sean Sullivan {0-2-2} both had multi-point games for the Sharks.

Fireworks emerged at 18:04 of the first period when Sharks forward Jimmy Bonneau dropped the gloves with MacDermid. The near 50 second fight was an even tilt and one of the better scraps this season.

Combs gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead with his seventh goal of the season at 19:18. Entering the Bruins zone on the right side, Combs left the puck for newly signed Shark Chad Costello at the top of the right point. Costello sent a cross zone pass down to Sullivan, who was positioned on top of the left face-off circle. Skating into the left face-off circle, Sullivan centered the puck in front to a cutting Combs, who got a piece of the puck and deflected it into the net for the goal.

Robbins tied the game at 4:27 of the second period with his second goal of the season. After dumping the puck in deep, Robbins corralled the loose puck behind Niittymaki's net and centered the puck in front for Bruins captain Trent Whitfield. The puck deflected off of Whitfield's stick and came right back to Robbins, who skated out in the slot and fired a wrist shot on net from the right face-off cirlce that deflected off the post, then Niittymaki's back for the goal.

Bruins forward Josh Hennessy gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead with a power play goal, his 13th goal of the season, at 11:38. With Doherty in the penalty box for high-sticking, the Bruins won the ensuing face-off inside the Sharks zone. Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski fired a shot on net from the top of the center point that missed the net and came right to Hennessy, who was positioned on the left side of the goalie crease. With the puck on his stick, Hennessy skated behind Niittymaki's net and fired a wrap around shot that beat Niittymaki glove side for the goal.

Viedensky tied the game with his fourth goal of the season at 15:50. Entering the Bruins zone on the left side, Mashinter left the puck for Viedensky at the Bruins blue line. Appearing to have run out of room after skating past the goal line on the left side of Bruins goalie Michael Hutchinson, Viedensky brought the puck back to his forehand from his backhand and stuffed the puck through the pads of Hutchinson for the goal. The goal was Viedensky's second in as many games.

Just 42 seconds into overtime, Costello was called for high-sticking, giving the Bruins a 4-on-3 power play advantage. However, Bruins defenseman David Warsofsky negated the Bruins power play as he was called for boarding at 1:21. With Costello out of the penalty box, Moore skated into the Bruins through center 3-on-2 with Sullivan and Viedensky. From the right side, Viedensky sent a pass down to the left side to Sullivan, who found Moore all alone on top of the goalie crease. Hutchinson stopped Moore's initial deflection shot but Moore kept jamming away at the puck and poked the puck past Hutchinson for the game winning goal at 2:45 of overtime.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Bruins 38-28, were 1-for-4 with the man advantage and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill... MacIntyre {inj}, Guite {inj}, Lucia {inj} and Bourret {scr} did not dress for Worcester... Bonneau's fight was his 15th of the season and now gives the Sharks 67 fights through 39 games, the most in the AHL... Costello was signed to a PTO before the game and wore #36 in his Sharks debut... Coach Sommer is now two wins away from 500 in his AHL career... Gogol returned to the Sharks lineup after missing nine games due to injury.

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Sharks forward Brandon Mashinter. Photo courtesy of www.sharksahl.com

On Sunday afternoon {Jan. 22}, the Sharks hosted the IceCaps in their fifth meeting of the season and were defeated in a shootout, 3-2. Mashinter scored both goals for the Sharks while goalie Tyson Sexsmith {9-7-1-5, 2.12 goals against average, .927 save percentage} stopped 36-of-38 shots in the loss.

Mashinter gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead with a power play goal, his sixth goal of the season, at 2:27 of the second period. With IceCaps defenseman Travis Ramsey in the penalty box for slashing, the Sharks won the ensuing face-off inside the IceCaps zone and set up their power play unit. From the left hash mark, Sharks forward Brodie Reid sent a pass down to Moon, who was positioned at the left side of IceCaps goalie David Aebischer. Moon centered the puck in front to Mashinter, who was stopped by Aebischer. Moon corralled the rebound behind Aebischer's net and backhanded the puck out to Mashinter, who buried home the puck for the goal.

IceCaps forward Ben Maxwell tied the game at 9:09 with this fourth goal of the season. Off a quick entry into the Sharks zone, IceCaps forward Spencer Machacek left a drop pass inside the right face-off circle for IceCaps defenseman Zach Redmond. Redmond quickly centered the puck in front to Maxwell, who beat Sexsmith on the blocker side for the goal.

Garth Murray extended the IceCaps lead to 2-1 with his second goal of the season at 9:43 of the third period. Skating along the right side of the Sharks zone, IceCaps forward Carl Klingberg skated into the right face-off circle, and centered the puck to linemate Kenndal McArdle, who fired a one-timer on net from in-between the face-off circles that Murray, who was positioned in front, deflected past Sexsmith for the goal

Mashinter tied the game with his second goal of the game at 18:33. With Sexsmith pulled for an extra skater, Costello won the ensuing face-off in the left face-off cirlce and got the puck to Connolly, who found Combs all alone on the right side. Combs fired a shot on net that Aebischer sprawled out to save but the rebound came right to Mashinter, who was positioned on top of the goalie crease, and Mashinter put the puck into the open net for the goal.

In overtime, Connolly got behind IceCaps defenseman Paul Postma for a breakaway opportunity but was pulled down from behind after Postma stuck his hockey stick between Connolly's legs. Unfortunately for the Sharks, the officials put their whistles away as there was no call on the play.

With 90 seconds remaining in overtime, Mashinter nearly won the game for the Sharks but his shot from the left face-off circle dot hit the post. With under 30 seconds remaining in overtime, Combs was sprung free for a breakaway opportunity but was stopped by Aebischer. The IceCaps corralled the rebound and skated into the Sharks zone 3-on-1 but Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse sprawled out on the ice and broke up the odd man rush, marking the second time this season Acolatse has stopped a potential game winning goal by sacrificing his body.

In the shootout, the Sharks deferred to the IceCaps and IceCaps forward Aaron Gagnon was stopped by Sexsmith; Combs faked out Aebischer but fumbled the puck when shooting into the open net; Maxwell missed the net; Reid lost the puck; IceCaps forward Riley Holzapfel missed the net; Mashinter was stopped by Aebischer on the blocker side; Murray scored with a backhander on the glove side; Costello was stopped by Aebischer; Machacek was stopped by Sexsmith with a glove save; Sullivan lost the puck to end the game.

For the game, the Sharks were outshot 39-24, were 1-for-4 with the man advantage and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill... MacIntyre {inj}, Guite {inj}, Lucia {inj}, Del Monte {scr} and Doherty {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... The Sharks are now 1-5 in the shootout this season... Niittymaki was recalled to San Jose... Frazer McLaren was reassigned to Worcester from San Jose... Bourret was released from his PTO... The Sharks are 20th in the AHL on the power play at 16.4%, sixth in penalty killing at 84.1% and third in penalty minutes at 20.6 per game.

ALEX STALOCK UPDATE

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Photo courtesy of Misty Leigh Wichman {@TeamNiemiClowe}

On Jan. 19, it was announced on the Worcester Sharks website that goaltender Alex Stalock had been assigned to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL. To make room for Stalock, Thunder goaltender Thomas Heemskerk {8-5-0, 3.22 goals against average, .894 save percentage} was placed on the three day injured reserve list.

Playing his first game in nearly a year on Jan. 21, Stalock stopped 24-of-29 shots in a 7-5 Thunder victory over the Las Vegas Wranglers. Stalock was back in net on Jan. 24 and stopped 29-of-30 shots in a 4-1 Thunder victory over the Idaho Steelheads.

For his two games with the Thunder, Stalock is 2-0 with a 3.00 goals against average and .898 save percentage.

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