Woo Rewind - Sharks continue to chomp away and newly signed Sebastian Stalberg makes an impact

Worcester Sharks forward Brandon Mashinter attempts to knock the puck out of the air against the Providence Bruins at the DCU Center on March 16. Photo courtesy of Paul Kapteyn of www.telegram.com
Last week, the Worcester Sharks earned four points out of a possible six in their three-in-three weekend and vaulted themselves back into the eighth and final playoff spot in the AHL Eastern Conference. Overall, the Sharks are 28-24-4-7 with 67 points and only trail the Manchester Monarchs by two points for the seventh seed.

The Sharks' three-in-three weekend started Friday night {March 16} at the DCU Center as the Sharks hosted the visiting Providence Bruins in their 11th meeting of the season and skated away with a 5-2 victory.

Nathan Moon, Jack Combs, Brian O'Hanley, Marek Viedensky and Tony Lucia scored for the Sharks while Tyson Sexsmith {13-12-2-7, 2.25 goals against average, .919 save percentage} stopped 21-of-23 shots. In addition, 10 different Sharks skaters registered a point and James Livingston had three assists.

Bruins forward Josh Hennessy gave the Bruins an early 1-0 lead with his 17th goal of the season just 96 seconds into the game. Corralling a loose puck behind the Sharks net, Bruins forward Craig Cunningham centered the puck in front for linemate Jamie Tardif, who had his shot blocked by several Sharks. However, the puck trickled to Hennessy, who was was positioned in the crease, and Hennessy poked the puck past Sexsmith for the goal.

Moon tied the game for the Sharks with his 11th goal of the season at 14:31. Holding the puck at the top of the left point of the Bruins zone, Lucia sent a centering feed for Livingston, who had his shot stopped by Bruins goalie Michael Hutchinson. However, Hutchinson left a rebound that Moon, who was crashing the net, was able to jam home for the tying goal.

Combs gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead with his power play goal, 14th goal of the season, at 16:35. Off a failed clear attempt by the Bruins penalty killers, Sharks captain Mike Moore held the puck inside the Bruins zone at the top of the center point and sent a pass down to the left face-off circle where Lucia fired a one-timer on net. Sharks forward Ben Guite, who was positioned in front of Hutchinson, got a piece of the puck before being cross checked down by Bruins defenseman Nathan McIver, and the puck trickled over to Combs, who was crashing the net, and Combs fired a backhanded shot from on top of the crease into an open net for the goal.

Bruins captain Trent Whitfield tied the game with his sixth goal of the season at 5:46 of the second period. After Bruins defenseman Colby Cohen had his shot blocked, Bruins forward Lane MacDermid corralled the puck and fired a shot on net from the center point that deflected off of the helmet of Whitfield, who was positioned in front, bounced off of Sexsmith's shoulder and landed in the back of the net for the goal.

Just seconds later, the Bruins thought they had taken the lead on a goal by Tardif but the goal was waived off after the officials ruled that Tardif intentionally kicked the puck into the net for the goal.

O'Hanley gave the Sharks a 3-2 lead with his second goal of the season at 11:19 of the third period. With the puck inside the Bruins zone, O'Hanley corralled a loose puck at the top of the point and fired a laser of a shot that beat Hutchinson on the blocker side for the goal, which held up as the game winning goal. John McCarthy and Brandon Mashinter were credited with the assists on the goal.

Viedensky extended the lead to 4-2 with his fifth goal of the season at 17:14. Rushing into the Bruins zone on the right side 3-on-2, Livingston dropped the puck in the middle for Viedensky, who skated to the top of the slot and sniped a shot past Hutchinson on the blocker side for the goal.

Lucia sealed the Sharks win with an empty net goal, his sixth goal of the season, at 19:49 which was assisted by Livingston.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Bruins 33-23, were 1-for-1 with the man advantage and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill... Curt Gogol {inj}, Nick Petrecki {inj}, Frazer McLaren {inj}, Cam MacIntyre {inj}, Andrew Murray {inj} and Sebastian Stalberg {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... Despite no fights in the game, the Sharks still lead the AHL with 100... Combs' power play goal broke an 0-for-28 skid for the Sharks... Guite had an assist in his first game back after missing 38 games due to injury.

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Photo courtesy of www.facebook.com/WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins

On St. Patrick's Day {March 17}, the Sharks traveled to the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, PA, to play the hosting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in their second and final meeting of the season and were defeated 4-1.

McCarthy had the lone goal for the Sharks while Sexsmith was pulled after allowing three goals on 10 shots in just 18:38 of playing time. Harri Sateri {12-12-0, 2.71 goals against average, .908 save percentage} stopped 25-of-26 shots in relief.

Penguins forward Alexandre Picard gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead with his sixth goal of the season at 6:28 of the first period off a wrist shot from the top of the left point that caught Sexsmith by surprise.

Ryan Craig extended the Penguins lead to 2-0 with his power play goal, ninth goal of the season, at 8:10. With Lucia in the penalty box for interference, the Sharks had their clear attempt off the ensuing face-off held in by Penguins defenseman Simon Despres, who quickly fired a shot on net from the left point that Sexsmith stopped. However, no one put a body on Craig, who was left all alone at the left side of the goal crease, and with Sexsmith out of position, Craig fired a backhanded shot into the net for the goal.

Livingston dropped the gloves with Penguins forward Brandon DeFazio at 11:17 after Livingston took exception to the hit DeFazio put on Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin. The quick scrap was over in the blink of an eye and was Livingston's third fight of the season.

Just four seconds later, Sharks defenseman Matt Pelech dropped the gloves with Penguins defenseman Carl Sneep in a one sided, 10 second scrap that saw Pelech pound Sneep into the ice with over a dozen unanswered lefts and rights. The fight was Pelech' 14th of the season.

Before the puck could drop for the ensuing face-off, Gogol dropped the gloves with Penguins forward Geoff Walker in a scrap at center ice that ended with Gogol dropping Walker with a solid left hand that landed flush on the chin. The fight was Gogol's 17th of the season.

Picard extended the Penguins lead to 3-0 with his second goal of the game, a power play goal, at 18:38. With Irwin in the penalty box for delay of game, the Penguins won the ensuing face-off inside the Sharks zone and Picard fired a one-timer on net from inside the right face-off circle that beat Sexsmith through the pads for the goal. Sharks head coach Roy Sommer had seen enough and pulled Sexsmith for Sateri.

At 8:25 of the second period, Lucia picked up his first career professional fight in a scrap with Despres after Despres took exception to Lucia pushing him into Penguins goalie Scott Munroe. While Despres may have got the decision, Lucia held his own and landed several body shots and a solid right rand.

Picard completed the hat-trick at 7:07 of the third period with a power play goal to extend the Penguins lead to 4-0. With Moore in the penalty box for high-sticking, Sateri robbed Craig of his second goal of the game from point blank range. However, the Sharks couldn't control the rebound, and the puck came out to Picard, who fired a shot on net from on top of the right face-off circle that beat Sateri on the blocker side. Picard only had five goals all season coming into the game.

McCarthy scored a power play goal, his team leading 16th goal of the season, at 12:32 for the lone Sharks score. With Penguins forward Paul Thompson in the penalty box for holding, Sharks forward Tim Kennedy skated with the puck behind the Penguins net and centered the puck in front for McCarthy, who fired the puck into the open net from on top of the crease for the goal.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Penguins 36-28, were 1-for-4 with the man advantage and 6-for-9 on the penalty kill... Jimmy Bonneau {inj}, Petrecki {inj}, McLaren {inj}, MacIntyre {inj}, Murray {inj}, Stalberg {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... With the four fights, the Sharks now have an AHL leading 104... Of the 68 combined penalty minutes, the Sharks were assessed 40 of them... The Sharks split the season series with the Penguins {1-1-0-0}.

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Photo courtesy of Betty Jenewin of www.telegram.com

On Sunday afternoon {March 18}, the Sharks were back home to host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in their fifth meeting of the season and skated away with a 5-2 victory.

Mashinter, Livingston, Lucia, Stalberg and Kennedy scored for the Sharks while Sateri stopped 33-of-35 shots. In addition, 12 Sharks skaters registered a point while Mashinter {1-1-2} and Kennedy {1-1-2} both had multi-point games.

Sound Tigers defenseman Matt Donovan gave the Sound Tigers an early 1-0 lead with his eighth goal of the season at 2:53 of the first period. With the puck in the right corner of the Sharks zone, Sound Tigers forward Tony Romano centered the puck in front for Donovan, who ripped a shot from the left slot that beat Sateri on the glove side for the goal.

McLaren, who was playing in his first game after missing the last 18 due to injury, dropped the gloves with Sound Tigers forward Trevor Gillies in front of the Sound Tigers bench at 7:08. Gillies dropped McLaren with a solid shot but then continued to thrown punches while McLaren was down on the ice. McLaren pulled Gillies down and the two continued to throw punches while laying on the ice. The fight was McLaren's fourth of the season and 44th of his Worcester career.

Just 24 seconds later, Moore dropped the gloves with Sound Tigers alternate captain Micheal Haley in their second meeting of the season in a 12 second scrap inside the Sharks zone. Haley knocked down Moore with a shot to the back of the helmet and then talked trash to Moore while standing over him before finally skating away.

Moore would make Haley regret his decision to trash talk because as soon as the doors opened during a stoppage in play after the penalties had expired at 14:47, Moore went right after Haley and the two engaged in their second fight of the game. Moore got his revenge by landing several solid shots on Haley and wrestled Haley to the ice. However, both Moore and Haley were assessed game misconducts due to leaving the bench.

The nastiness continued at 16:23 as Sharks forward Brodie Reid dropped the gloves for the first time in his professional career as he scrapped with Sound Tigers forward {and former Northeastern teammate} Tyler McNeely. The 15 second scrap saw both combatants land several hard shots before Reid hip-tossed McNeely to the ice. One of the officials suffered a bad cut on the inside of his hand during the scrap but finished calling the game after getting some repair work.

Early in the second period, the Sharks thought they had tied the game on McCarthy's power play goal but the officials never ruled a goal despite the net shaking behind Sound Tigers goalie Kevin Poulin. Mashinter, who was positioned near the back of the net, was irate with the officials as he was adamant the puck had ripped through the net and that the Sharks should've had a goal. As soon as there was a stoppage in play, the officials discussed the play but never looked at the back of the net to see if there was a hole caused by the puck. After a moment of discussion, the score remained 1-0 Sound Tigers.

Enraged by the officials not giving the Sharks a goal, Mashinter put a little extra on his shot from just inside the left face-off circle that tied the game at 4:41. The goal was Mashinter's 16th of the season, tying him with McCarthy for the team lead. Guite and Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse were credited with the assists.

Just 28 seconds later, Livingston gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead with his sixth goal of the season. Playing the puck off the right half-wall in the Sound Tigers zone, Livingston corralled the puck in the right face-off circle, skated in on Poulin and slid the puck through the pads of Poulin for the goal. The goal was Livingston's first in his last 20 games and was assisted by McCarthy. Poulin was pulled for backup goaltender Anders Nilsson.

Lucia extended the Sharks lead to 3-1 with his seventh goal of the season at 16:03. With the puck inside the Sound Tigers zone, Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty fired a shot on net from the right half-wall that Nilsson stopped. However, Nilsson left a rebound that Lucia, who was positioned right on top of the crease, corralled and stuffed home with a backhanded shot for the goal. Kennedy was credited with the secondary assist.

Nilsson would leave the game as he appeared to suffer an injury on Lucia's goal. Poulin, who went off in disgust by smashing his goalie stick in the aisle way after being pulled earlier in the period for allowing two goals in a 28 second span, came back into the game.

Stalberg, who was making his professional debut, scored his first professional goal at 17:56 to give the Sharks a 4-1 lead. Entering the Sound Tigers zone on the left side, Mashinter left the puck for linemate Ryan Del Monte on the half-wall. Del Monte corralled the puck and left it for Stalberg, who skated to the top of the slot and ripped the puck past Poulin on the blocker side for the goal.

Sound Tigers forward Sean Backman stopped the bleeding with a short-handed goal, his sixth goal of the season, at 10:57 of the third period to cut the Sharks lead to 4-2. With the Sharks getting sloppy on their power play opportunity, Sound Tigers forward Trevor Frischmon rushed into the Sharks zone on the right side, got around a defender, skated in on Sateri and slid the puck over to Backman, who lifted a backhanded shot over a diving Sateri from the left side of the crease for the goal.

Kennedy would seal a Sharks victory with an empty net goal, his 10th goal of the season, at 19:21 to extend the Sharks lead to 5-2. The goal was assisted by Irwin and Pelech.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Sound Tigers 45-35, were 0-for-8 with the man advantage and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill... Combs {scr}, Viedensky {scr}, Bonneau {inj}, Petrecki {inj}, MacIntyre {inj} and Murray {inj} did not dress for the Sharks... McLaren moved to within one penalty minute of Brad Staubitz {462 pims} for the franchise lead... Of the combined 86 penalty minutes, 70 were assessed during the first period.... The Sharks are now 15-14-0-2 at the DCU Center this season... The Sharks are 20th in the AHL on the power play at 16.5%, 10th on the penalty kill at 83.6% and first in penalty minutes at 21.3 per game... With the four fights, the Sharks now have an AHL leading 108.

SHARKS SIGN SEBASTIAN STALBERG

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Photo courtesy of www.uvmathletics.com and www.sharksahl.com

On March 14th, San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced that the organization had signed Stalberg, a college free agent, to a two-year entry level contract.

The brother of Chicago Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg, Sebastian led Vermont in goals, assists and points {12-19-31} in 34 games this season as a junior. For his three years at Vermont, Sebastian registered 78 points on 27 goals and 51 assists in 106 career games. In 2010-11, Sebastian was named to the Hockey East All-Academic Team and earned Hockey East All-Star Honorable Mention. Sebastian was also a member of the 2009-10 Hockey East All-Rookie Team.

"Sebastian is a skilled and versatile forward that improved each and every year the college level," said Wilson in a press release on the San Jose website. "Coach Kevin Sneddon and his staff at the University of Vermont have been tremendous in helping Sebastian's development and we look forward to him continuing on that path with our organization."

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