Woo Rewind - Sharks end 2011 by winning three-out-of-four

Worcester Sharks forward Tommy Wingels, seen here on a breakaway against Connecticut Whale goalie Cameron Talbot on Dec. 30, scored 10 of his team leading 13 goals in the month of December. Photo courtesy of Steve Lanava of www.telegram.com

Last week, the Worcester Sharks closed out 2011 by winning three-of-four games and finished with a 10-3-0-1 record for the month of December. Overall, the Sharks are 16-9-3-3 with 38 points through 31 games {tied with the Syracuse Crunch and Texas Stars for fewest games played} and are in third place of the Atlantic Division of the AHL Eastern Conference.

The Sharks’ four-in-six started Monday night {Dec. 26} as the team traveled to the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, ME, to play the hosting Portland Pirates in their third meeting of the season and skated away with a 3-2 overtime victory. Nathan Moon, Jimmy Bonneau and John McCarthy scored for the Sharks while goalie Tyson Sexsmith {8-6-3, 1.98 goals against average, .927 save percentage} stopped 33-of-35 shots for the win. Captain Mike Moore {0-2-2} and defenseman Sean Sullivan {0-2-2} had multi-point games for the Sharks.

The Pirates jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when forward Andy Miele scored his eighth goal of the season just 52 seconds into the game. With the puck on his stick near the top of the left point of the Sharks zone, Pirates forward Ryan Duncan dumped the puck behind Sexsmith’s net, where linemate Brett MacLean corralled the puck. MacLean skated out towards the left corner and quickly centered the puck in front to a cutting Miele, who swept the puck past Sexsmith on the blocker side for the goal.

Pirates forward Brett Hextall, son of former NHL goalie Ron Hextall, extended the Pirates lead to 2-0 with a power play goal, his fourth goal of the season, at 12:25. Entering the Sharks zone on the tail end of Moore’s hooking penalty, Pirates forward Brock Trotter skated along the left side boards towards the corner and sent a centering pass in front to a wide open Hextall, who put the puck over Sexsmith’s blocker for the goal.

Fireworks began at 14:40 as Bonneau dropped the gloves with Pirates forward Mike Hoffman. The 10 second scrap at center ice saw both combatants land several shots before wrestling each other to the ice. The fight was Bonneau’s ninth of the season.

Near the end of the first period, McCarthy and Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty battled for the puck against Pirates forward Ashton Rome along the right side boards inside the Sharks zone. Referee Terry Koharski refused to blow the play dead and as a result, fireworks exploded as McCarthy dropped the gloves with Miele at 19:52 after giving Rome a shot in the back with his hockey stick. While McCarthy was fighting with Miele, Sharks forward Tommy Wingels dropped the gloves with Rome. The fights were the first and second for McCarthy and Wingels respectively.

The fireworks continued at the end of the period as Sharks forward James Livingston dropped the gloves with Pirates defenseman Chris Summers after the two had been chirping at each other on the face-off. Linesman Joe Andrews was drilled with an overhand right from Livingston as he tried to separated the two combatants. The fight was Livingston’s first professional fight.

At 11:10 of the second period, Moon cut the Pirates lead in half with a power play goal, his fifth goal of the season. With Summers in the penalty box for holding, Sharks forward Jack Combs won the ensuing face-off inside the Pirates zone and got the puck back to Moore at the top of the left point. Moore passed the puck down to Sullivan, who fired a wrist-shot on net from the right point that was stopped in front by Combs, who was screening Pirates goalie Justin Pogge. Moon, who was positioned on top of the goalie crease, corralled the loose puck and roofed the puck past Pogge on the glove side for the goal.

Just 121 seconds later, Bonneau tied the game at 2-2 with his first goal of the season. Controlling the puck inside the Pirates zone, Moore fired a shot on net from the top of the left point that Sharks forward Curt Gogol got a piece of in front but Pogge made the save. A mad scramble ensued in front for the loose puck and Bonneau, who had crashed the crease for a rebound, put the puck into the open net for his first goal with the Sharks.

After a scoreless third period forced overtime, Wingels used his speed to draw a hooking penalty on Pirates defenseman Maxim Goncharov at 2:25. With the puck inside the Pirates zone, Moore held the puck at the top of the center point before passing the puck over to McCarthy, who was positioned on the right side near the face-off circle. McCarthy skated into the right face-off circle and fired a quick shot on net that beat Pogge top shelf for the game winning goal at 2:56 of overtime. The goal was McCarthy’s seventh of the season.

For the game, the Sharks were outshot 35-25, were 2-for-3 with the man advantage and 6-for-7 on the penalty kill... Cam MacIntyre {inj}, Ben Guite {inj}, Brian O’Hanley {scr}, Tony Lucia {scr} and Matt Pelech did not dress for the Sharks... As a result of the four fights, the Sharks lead the AHL with 49 and have had at least one fighting major in 14 consecutive games... Wingels {8-3-11} had his seven game point streak snapped while Sullivan {1-4-5} extended his point streak to three games... Gogol picked up his first professional assist on the Bonneau goal.

As a bonus, here is McCarthy discussing his game winning overtime goal with Sharks play-by-play announcer Eric Lindquist on the SharksVision YouTube channel.


On Wednesday night {Dec. 28}, the Sharks were back home at the DCU Center to host the Manchester Monarchs in their seventh meeting of the season and skated away with a 3-1 victory. Moon, Pelech and Gogol scored for the Sharks while goalie Harri Sateri {7-4-0, 2.77 goals against average, .902 save percentage} stopped 22-of-23 shots for the win. Gogol {1-1-2} and forward Ryan Del Monte {0-2-2} were the only Sharks to have a multi-point game.

At 14:21 of the first period, Bonneau dropped the gloves with Monarchs enforcer Justin Johnson for the fourth time this season. The 35 second draw saw both combatants land several shots while battling for position before being separated by the linesmen. The fight was Bonneau’s 10th of the season.

Moon scored the first goal of the game at 14:48 of the second period to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. Maintaining puck possession inside the Monarchs zone, Sullivan fired a blast of a shot on net from the top of the center point at the blue line that Moon deflected in front past Monarchs goalie Jeff Zatkoff for his sixth goal of the season and second goal in as many games. Sharks forward Brodie Reid was credited with the second assist on the goal.

Pelech extended the Sharks lead to 2-0 with his first goal of the season at 18:06. Del Monte won the face-off inside the left face-off circle of the Monarchs zone and got the puck over to Gogol on the left side. Gogol sent a pass down to the top of the point to Pelech, who fired a low laser shot on net from the blue line that beat Zatkoff through the pads for his first goal with the Sharks.

Gogol, who took a puck to the face in the first period, scored his fourth goal of the season at 6:25 of the third period to extend the Sharks’ lead to 3-0. Del Monte carried the puck coast-to-coast before being taken down by Monarchs defenseman Patrick Mullen in the left corner of the Monarchs zone. Bonneau corralled the loose puck behind Zatkoff’s net and quickly passed the puck out to Gogol, who fired a quick shot on net from deep inside the left face-off circle that beat Zatkoff for the goal.

Monarchs forward Dwight King ruined Sateri’s shutout and scored the lone goal for the Monarchs with his breakaway short hander at 15:16, just 10 seconds after the Sharks went on their first power play of the game.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Monarchs 35-23, were 0-for-1 with the man advantage and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill... MacIntyre {inj}, Guite {inj}, Lucia {scr}, Doherty {scr} and Nick Petrecki {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... With the fight, the Sharks now have a league leading 50 and have had at least one fighting major in 15 straight games... Sullivan {1-5-6} extended his point streak to four games... Sateri turned 22 years old on Dec. 29.

As a bonus, here is Bonneau's fight with Johnson courtesy of YouTube user JimKorn20.


On Friday night {Dec. 30}, the Sharks hosted the Connecticut Whale in their second meeting of the season and skated away with a hard fought 4-3 victory. Lucia, McCarthy, Combs and Brandon Mashinter scored for the Sharks while Sateri stopped 31-of-34 shots for the win. Mashinter {1-1-2} registered a Gordie Howe Hat Trick while also having a multi-point game along with Lucia {1-1-2}.

Lucia gave the Sharks an early 1-0 lead with his third goal of the season at 5:20 of the first period. After getting the puck deep inside the Whale zone, Sharks forward Marek Viedensky sent a pass from the far edge of the left face-off circle to Mashinter, who was positioned deep on the edge of the left face-off circle. Skating back towards the left corner, Mashinter fired a fadeaway shot on net that Whale goalie Cameron Talbot stopped. However, Talbot left a rebound on top of the goalie crease that Lucia corralled and backhanded into the open net for the goal.

Fireworks erupted at 18:00 when Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse dropped the gloves with Whale defenseman Andre Deveaux after Deveaux hit Sharks forward Mike Connolly after the whistle had been blown for a puck out of play. Acolatse landed 14 consecutive overhand rights at the start of the scrap and landed a solid right cross that landed flush on Deveaux at the end of the fight as they were being separated by the linesmen. The fight was Acolatse’s fifth of the season.

Whale forward Jonathan Audy-Marchessault tied the game at 1-1 with his 11th goal of the season at 5:02 of the second period. With the puck inside the Sharks zone, Whale defenseman Pavel Valentenko fired a slap shot on net from the top of the center point that Audy-Marchessault, who was positioned in front between the face-off circles, deflected past Sateri’s pads for the goal.

McCarthy regained the lead for the Sharks with his eighth goal of the season at 7:10 after Connolly sprung him free for a breakaway opportunity. With Audy-Marchessault hooking him from behind, McCarthy got in tight on Talbot and roofed a backhander under the crossbar for the goal.

Whale defenseman Tim Erixon tied the game at 2-2 with a power play goal, his second goal of the season, at 9:50. Holding the puck at the top of the right point of the Sharks zone, Whale forward Kris Newbury sent a pass down to Erixon, who snapped a wrist shot from the edge of the left face-off circle in the slot past Sateri for the goal.

Sharks head coach Roy Sommer gave referee Geno Binda an earful after Erixon’s goal as Binda refused to call a penalty or award the Sharks a penalty shot 48 seconds prior when Erixon threw his stick at Wingels’ skates after Wingels broke in all alone on Talbot on a short hand breakaway.

Tempers flared at 19:54 when the Sharks were called for offsides after Lucia had been tripped up by Whale defenseman Brendan Bell. Taking exception to Bell’s trip, Mashinter came over and gave Bell a shot against the boards as the whistle blew. Deveaux speared Moon as he skated by, which got the attention of both Pelech and Mashinter. As Pelech got in Deveaux’s face, Mashinter gave Deveaux a spear in the legs from behind. Whale defenseman Jared Nightingale got visor-to-visor with Mashinter and the two dropped the gloves against each other. The fight was Mashinter’s fourth of the season.

Combs regained the lead for the Sharks with his fourth goal of the season at 8:49 of the third period, six seconds after the Sharks’ power play opportunity expired. Controlling the puck inside the Whale zone, Sullivan sent a pass from the top of the left point over to Moore, who one-timed the puck from the right point. The shot was stopped by Talbot but Combs, who was positioned in front of Talbot, was able to corral the loose rebound and shot the puck under the pads of Talbot for the goal.

The Whale tied the game at 3-3 when Whale forward Andreas Thuresson scored his eighth goal of the season at 13:32. Holding the puck along the right side of the Sharks zone, Erixon curled to his right at the top of the right face-off circle and fired a wrist-shot on net from the center point that Thuresson, who was positioned in the right slot, deflected past Sateri for the tying goal.

After several scoring chances by the Whale, Mashinter gave the Sharks a 4-3 lead with his fourth goal of the season at 17:04 to complete the Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Corralling the loose puck at center ice, Lucia skated into the Whale zone along the left side and left the puck for the trailing Del Monte, who fired a one-timer on net from on top of the face-off circles. Talbot made the save and Lucia’s follow up attempt as well. Lucia battled for the puck behind Talbot’s net and the puck came out to the left corner, where Del Monte won the battle for the puck. Del Monte quickly sent a backhand pass to Mashinter, who was positioned inside the left face-off circle in the slot, and Mashinter ripped the puck top shelf on the blocker side of Talbot for what held up as the game winning goal.

In the final 90 seconds, the Sharks played their best defensive hockey of the season as they didn’t give the Whale a chance to tie the game. By the time the Whale got the puck into the Sharks zone and pulled Talbot an extra skater, less than 20 seconds remained in the game.

For the game, the Sharks were outshot 34-31, were 0-for-6 with the man advantage and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill... MacIntyre {inj}, Guite {inj}, Livingston {scr}, Doherty {scr} and Gogol {inj} did not dress for the Sharks... With the two fights, the Sharks now have a league leading 52 and have had at least one fighting major in 16 straight games... Sullivan {1-6-7} extended his points streak to five games... Combs now has four goals in seven games with the Sharks.

As a bonus, here is Acolatse’s fight with Deveaux courtesy of YouTube user JimKorn20.


On Saturday afternoon {Dec. 31}, the Sharks were back at the Cumberland County Civic Center to play the hosting Pirates in their fourth meeting of the season and were defeated 4-2. Wingels and Combs scored for the Sharks while Sexsmith stopped 21-of-25 shots in the loss.

Trotter gave the Pirates an early 1-0 lead with his eighth goal of the season at 3:33 of the first period. Entering the Sharks zone along the left side, Miele fired a shot on net from on top of the left face-off circle that was blocked by Sullivan. MacLean corralled the loose the puck and sent a wrap around pass through the crease to Trotter, who roofed a backhanded shot from deep inside the right face-off circle for the goal.

Defenseman Michael Stone extended the Pirates lead to 2-0 with his third goal of the season at 5:17. Winning the race to the loose puck in the left corner of the Sharks zone, Irwin turned the puck over by sending a no look backhand pass out to the slot where Stone one-timed the puck past the glove of Sexsmith for the goal.

Looking to swing momentum, Moon fought Pirates captain Dean Arsene after Arsene took exception to Moon slashing the stick out of Pogge’s hand in retaliation for the Pirates running into Sexsmith at the start of the game. The scrap didn’t last long as Arsene wrestled Moon to the ice and continued to throw punches on Moon from the mount position.

Miele made it 3-0 Pirates with his ninth goal of the season at 17:25. After a turnover in the neutral zone by the Sharks, Miele skated in on Sexsmith with Doherty in pursuit and slid a backhander shot past Sexsmith for the goal.

Wingels got the Sharks on the scoreboard with a power play goal, his 13th goal of the season, at 4:18 of the second period. With Pirates forward Matt Watkins in the penalty box for roughing, the Sharks won the ensuing face-off inside the Pirates zone. From on top of the left face-off circle, Irwin sent a pass to McCarthy, who fired a shot on net from the top of the slot. The shot was blocked by a Pirates defender but Wingels, who was positioned on top of the crease, corralled the loose puck and swept the puck past Pogge for the goal.

Duncan extended the Pirates lead to 4-1 with his seventh goal of the season at 11:27. Off another turnover by the Sharks in their own zone, Duncan corralled the loose puck, skated to the top of the center point and fired a wrist shot on net from 50 feet out that beat Sexsmith for the goal.

Tempers flared and fireworks exploded at 15:13 after Goncharov speared Bonneau. Pelech went after Goncharov and the two fought right in front of the Sharks bench in a 20 second scrap that was controlled by Pelech. As linesman Andrews was escorting Goncharov to the penalty box, Hoffman came off the Pirates bench to fight Bonneau in a brief scrap right in front of the Pirates bench. Even though referee David Banfield only assessed Hoffman a fighting major and game misconduct, Hoffman will receive an automatic suspension from the AHL for leaving the bench. The fights were the fifth and 11th for Pelech and Bonneau respectively.

Combs scored his fifth goal of the season at 6:31 of the third period to cut the Pirates lead to 4-2. From the top of the right point, Del Monte passed the puck ahead to Sullivan, who corralled the loose puck in the right corner and sent a centering backhand pass in the slot to Combs. The puck deflected off a Pirates player before Combs settled the puck down and from inside the right face-off circle, Combs fired a quick spin-o-rama shot that beat Pogge for the goal.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Pirates 35-25, were 1-for-6 with the man advantage and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill... MacIntyre {inj}, Guite {inj}, Lucia {inj}, Gogol {inj} and O’Hanley {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... With the three fights, the Sharks now have a league leading 55 and have at least one fighting major in 17 straight games... Sullivan {1-7-8} extended his point streak to six games... Wingels finished December with 10 goals in 14 games, becoming the third Sharks player to accomplish this feat {Mathieu Darche had 11 in October 2006 and Graham Mink had 10 in March 2007}... Moore played in his 211th game for the Sharks and only trails Andrew Desjardins {212} and Lukas Kaspar {216}... The Sharks are 23rd on the power play at 16.2%, 12th on the penalty kill at 83.1% and third in penalty minutes with 21.0 per game... The Sharks finished the 2011 calendar year with a record of 36-28-11.

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