Woo Rewind - Sharks continue to battle for a playoff spot and loan Alex Stalock to Peoria Rivermen

Worcester Sharks forward Brandon Mashinter is riding a four-game point streak {3-2-5} and will look to push the Sharks into the AHL Eastern Conference Playoffs. Photo courtesy of www.sharksahl.com

Looking to get back into the AHL Eastern Conference Playoff picture, the Worcester Sharks earned at least a point in two of their three games to vault themselves back into the eighth and final playoff spot, just percentage points ahead of the ninth place Manchester Monarchs {the Sharks have three games in hand over the Monarchs}. Overall, the Sharks are 25-21-4-7 with 61 points.

On Saturday night {March 3}, the Sharks traveled to the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI, to play the hosting Providence Bruins in their ninth meeting of the season and skated away with a 5-2 victory.

Mike Moore, John McCarthy, Brodie Reid and Tony Lucia scored for the Sharks while Tyson Sexsmith {11-10-2-6, 2.18 goals against average, .922 save percentage} stopped 21-of-23 shots. In addition, 10 different Sharks skaters registered a point while Moore {2-1-3} and Lucia {1-1-2} had multi-point games.

Moore gave the Sharks an early 1-0 lead with his third goal of the season at 2:51 of the first period. Off a head’s up play by Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse to keep the puck inside the Bruins zone at the top of the right point, Moore fired a low wrist shot on net from the top of the left point that got through traffic and beat Bruins goalie Adam Courchaine on the blocker side for the goal. Jimmy Bonneau and James Livingston were credited with the assists on the goal.

Moore extended the lead to 2-0 with his second goal of the game at 7:55. Holding the puck at the top of the center point inside the Bruins zone, Sharks forward Ryan Del Monte passed the puck over to Moore, who fired a quick shot from the left point that got through a James Sheppard screen in front and beat Courchaine on the blocker side for the goal. Acolatse and Del Monte were credited with the assists on the goal while Courchaine was pulled for backup Karel St. Laurent.

McCarthy put the Sharks up 3-0 with his 14th goal of the season at 12:47. After Sharks defenseman Matt Pelech fired the puck into the Bruins zone from center ice, Sharks forward Brandon Mashinter won the battle for the puck on the left half wall, and centered the puck for McCarthy, who ripped a one-timer on net from the top of the left slot that beat St. Laurent on the glove side for the goal. Tim Kennedy was credited with the secondary assist on the goal.

After a penalty free first period, the teams combined for 24 penalty minutes in the second period on seven roughing minors and a fight between Sharks defenseman Nick Petrecki and Bruins forward Kirk MacDonald at 18:24.

Earlier in the period, MacDonald appeared to be the third man in during an altercation between Bonneau and Bruins forward Max Sauve at 15:07 that nearly led to a line brawl. Realizing he’d have to face Bonneau once Bonneau got out of the penalty box, MacDonald dropped the gloves with Petrecki, who easily won the fight {his third of the season} by dropping MacDonald with a solid left hand but was assessed an extra two minutes for roughing.

On the ensuing Bruins power play, Sauve got the Bruins on the scoreboard with his seventh goal of the season at 19:48. Rushing into the Sharks zone 3-on-2, Sauve fired a shot on net from the top of the slot that Sexsmith stopped. However, the Sharks couldn’t control the rebound and Sauve, who followed his shot, slammed the loose puck into the open net for the goal.

Reid scored his eighth goal of the season at 11:24 of the third period to give the Sharks a 4-1 lead. Off a Sharks face-off win in their zone, Lucia sprung Reid free on a breakaway and Reid beat St. Laurent on the glove side for his first goal in 18 games.

Bruins forward Craig Cunningham answered back for the Bruins with his 14th goal of the season at 13:15. Holding the puck at the top of the right point of the Sharks zone, Bruins defenseman Colby Cohen fired a slap shot on net that bounced off the end board and landed in front at the side of the goalie crease to Cunningham, who quickly put the puck into the net for the goal.

With St. Laurent pulled for an extra skater, Lucia sealed a Sharks win with an empty net goal at 18:41. The goal was Lucia’s fourth of the season and was assisted by Moore.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Bruins 25-23, were 0-for-2 with the man advantage and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill... Ben Guite {inj}, Curt Gogol {inj}, Cam MacIntyre {inj}, Andrew Murray {inj}, Frazer McLaren {inj} and Taylor Doherty {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... With the one fight, the Sharks now have an AHL leading 95.

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Photo courtesy of www.sharksahl.com

On Sunday afternoon {March 4}, the Sharks traveled to the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, ME, to play the hosting Portland Pirates in their ninth meeting of the season, and were defeated 3-2 in a shootout. Kennedy had both goals in regulation for the Sharks while Mashinter had the lone shootout goal and Sexsmith stopped 18-of-20 shots.

Playing in his first game with the Pirates after being loaned from the St. John’s IceCaps, Kenndal McArdle gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead with his eighth goal of the season at 8:58 of the first period. Winning the battle for the puck on the left end board of the Sharks zone, Pirates forward Alex Bolduc centered the puck in front to an open McArdle, who fired a one-timer on net from on top of the goalie crease that beat Sexsmith over the right shoulder for the goal.

Brett Sterling, who was also playing in his first game with the Pirates after being loaned from the Peoria Rivermen, extended the lead to 2-0 with a power play goal, his 23rd goal of the season, at 10:30 of the second period. With Sharks forward Marek Viedensky in the penalty box for interference and the puck inside the Sharks zone, Pirates defenseman Nick Ross sent a cross zone pass to Pirates forward Brett MacLean near the left corner. MacLean corralled the pass and sent a backdoor pass through the goalie crease for Sterling, who had gotten behind Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin, and Sterling knocked the puck into the open net for the goal.

Kennedy cut the Pirates lead in half with his seventh goal of the season at 19:38. Coming out of his goalie crease to play the puck near the left face-off circle, Pirates goalie Justin Pogge had his clearing attempt intercepted by Kennedy, who skated deep into the left face-off circle before firing a shot on net that beat Pogge on the glove side for the goal.

A wild brawl broke out at 13:49 of the third period that involved the players and head coaches, and resulted in 48 penalty minutes between the two teams. In the neutral zone, Pelech drilled MacLean with a solid body check that angered Sterling, who cross-checked Irwin in the face in retaliation for the Pelech hit. The referee signaled a delayed penalty call to Sterling, and as Sexsmith was skating off the ice for the extra attacker, Pirates forward Mathieu Brodeur got drilled by Gogol in the left corner of the Pirates zone as he touched the puck for the whistle.

That hit by Gogol resulted in a 10 player scrum. As the officials tried to break the scrum up, Gogol dropped the gloves with Pirates forward Andy Miele while Del Monte dropped the gloves with Pirates defenseman Mark Louis. After Louis wrestled Del Monte down, Louis continued to throw punches to the head of Del Monte, which caused Livingston to jump in on Louis. As Livingston was on Louis, MacLean started taking shots at the back of Livingston’s head, which angered Del Monte, who was now back to his feet, and Del Monte went after MacLean.

While this was occurring on the ice, Sharks head coach Roy Sommer went at it with Pirates head coach Ray Edwards on the bench. Coach Sommer actually climbed the plexiglass between the two benches and threw a bag onto the Pirates bench that hit Coach Edwards, who responded by throwing the bag into the stands and squirted a water bottle back at the Sharks bench.

For the Sharks, Del Monte and Pelech got two minutes for roughing while Gogol and Livingston got five minutes for fighting. Livingston was also assessed as game misconduct for being the secondary altercation. For the Pirates, Sterling got two minutes for high-sticking, Brodeur got two minutes for roughing while Miele and Louis got five minutes for fighting. Louis also got a game misconduct for being the secondary altercation.

Kennedy tied the game with his second goal of the game at 19:48 of the third period. With Sexsmith pulled for an extra and maintaining puck possession inside the Pirates zone, Mashinter fired a pass across the zone from the left corner to Kennedy, who ripped a shot from inside the right face-off circle that hit off the post and beat Pogge for the tying goal. Irwin was credited with the secondary assist on the goal.

In overtime, McCarthy thought he had won the game for the Sharks on a 2-on-1 rush with Irwin but McCarthy’s rebound shot hit off the crossbar. Pelech followed up McCarthy’s shot but shot the puck wide despite having an open net to shoot into.

Later in overtime, Kennedy rushed into the Pirates zone along the right side 3-on-1 with McCarthy and Petrecki. Kennedy skated into the right face-off circle before passing the puck back to Petrecki, who passed it back to Kennedy, who centered the puck in front for McCarthy but Pogge was able to stay with the puck and made the save.

In the shootout, the Pirates elected to go first in the shootout and Ryan Duncan was stopped by Sexsmith; Kennedy hit the post on the glove side; Miele lost the puck; McCarthy was stopped by Pogge; Mathieu Beaudoin scored through the five-hole of Sexsmith; Mashinter scored on Pogge’s blocker side; Sterling scored through the five-hole of Sexsmith; Reid was stopped by Pogge; Marc-Antoine Pouliot scored to give the Pirates a 3-2 win.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Pirates 36-20, were 0-for-4 with the man advantage and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill... Guite {inj}, McLaren {inj}, MacIntyre {inj}, Murray {inj}, Acolatse {scr} and Bonneau {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... Gogol now has an AHL rookie leading 15 fighting majors... Mashinter extended his point streak to three games {1-2-3}.

Petrecki_jimcollins__medium
Photo courtesy of Jim Collins of www.telegram.com

On Tuesday night {March 6}, the Sharks kicked off a five-game home stand at the DCU Center by hosting the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in their fourth meeting of the season and were defeated 3-2. The story of the game was special teams as the Sharks failed to convert on their six power play opportunities {0-for-3 in the first period} while the Sound Tigers converted on three of their six power play opportunities.

Mashinter scored both goals for the Sharks to extend his point streak to five games {3-2-5} while Harri Sateri {11-11-0, 2.76 goals against average, .903 save percentage} stopped 22-of-25 shots. McCarthy chipped in with two assists.

After a 68 minute delay to the start of the game due to ice issues, Sound Tigers forward Rhett Rakhshani gave the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead with a power play goal, his 11th goal of the season, at 7:06 of the first period. With Sharks forwards Lucia and McCarthy in the penalty box for goaltender interference and tripping respectively, Rakhshani fired a shot on net from on top of the left face-off circle that skipped through the pads of Sateri for the goal.

Mashinter tied the game with his 13th goal of the season at 9:28 of the second period. With the puck inside the Sound Tigers zone, Irwin fired a slap shot on net from the top of the left point that Mashinter, who was positioned on top of the goalie crease, was able to deflect past Sound Tigers goalie Kevin Poulin on the glove side for the goal. McCarthy was credited with the secondary assist.

Sound Tigers forward Tomas Marcinko regained the Sound Tigers lead with his power play goal, seventh goal of the season, at 18:27. With Doherty in the penalty box for roughing, Pelech's clear attempt was intercepted by Sound Tigers forward Aaron Ness along the right half wall. Ness sent a diagonal pass to the left face-off circle to Marcinko, who attempted to pass the puck across the crease to linemate Kael Mouillierat. However, the puck deflected off the skate of a Sharks player and went into the open net for the goal.

Rakhshani extended the Sound Tigers lead to 3-1 with his second power play goal of the game at 3:53 of the third period. With Pelech in the penalty box for holding, the Sound Tigers applied sustained pressure inside the Sharks zone and Sound Tigers defenseman Calvin de Haan fired a shot on net from the right point that Sateri stopped. However, Sateri left a rebound in front that Sound Tigers forward Michael Haley corralled and slid over to Rakhshani, who fired the puck into the open net from the left side of the goalie crease for the goal.

Mashinter cut the Sound Tigers lead to 3-2 with his second goal of the game at 5:48. With the puck behind Poulin's net, Kennedy skated out, circled to his his right and fired a shot on net from deep inside the right face-off circle that Mashinter, who was positioned on top of the goalie crease, was able to tip in past Poulin for the goal. McCarthy was credited with the secondary assist.

With 1:25 remaining in the third period and still trailing 3-2, the Sharks pulled Sateri for the extra attacker but couldn't generate a legitimate scoring threat to tie the game.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Sound Tigers 34-25, were 0-for-6 with man advantage and 4-for-7 on the penalty kill... Guite {inj}, McLaren {inj}, Viedensky {inj}, MacIntyre {inj}, Murray {inj} and Acolatse {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... With the assist, Kennedy extended his point streak to three games {2-2-4}... With the loss, the Sharks dropped to .500 on home ice... The Sharks are 18th in the AHL on the power play at 17%, 11th on the penalty kill at 82.9% and first in penalty minutes at 21.2 per game.

ALEX STALOCK LOANED TO PEORIA

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Photo courtesy of www.rivermen.net

Prior to the start of the Sharks/Bruins game on March 3, an announcement was made on the Worcester Sharks website that goaltender Alex Stalock {1-1-0, 2.51 goals against average, .909 save percentage} had been loaned to the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL Western Conference for the remainder of the season.

"Alex will have the opportunity to be part of a two goaltender system in Peoria which will allow him to play in more games for the rest of this season," said Worcester Sharks General Manager Wayne Thomas in a statement on the Worcester Sharks website. "He remains an important part of our future and the entire Sharks organization is excited to see Alex get this opportunity to play. Our development staff will continue to support Alex with his comeback and follow his progress closely in Peoria."

The Sharks, who got nothing in return for Stalock from the Rivermen, will continue to battle for a playoff birth in the Eastern Conference with Sexsmith and Sateri as their two goalies {Antero Niittymaki is still on loan to the Syracuse Crunch}. Both Stalock and Sexsmith are Restricted Free Agents this off-season while Sateri is still under contract for one more season.

{Author's Note: For those keeping track at home, Benn Ferriero can't return to Worcester unless he clears waivers; Tommy Wingels can't return at all to Worcester due to San Jose not filing the proper paperwork with the league offices; Sean Sullivan was traded for Kennedy; Niittymaki was loaned to the Crunch; Mike Connolly was included in the Jamie McGinn trade to the Colorado Avalanche; Stalock was loaned to the Rivermen}.

SHARKS ANNOUNCE CLEAR DAY ROSTER

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Photo courtesy of www.sharksahl.com

On March 6, Worcester Sharks President Michael A. Mudd announced the Sharks' 2011-12 Clear Day roster, which consists of 20 skaters {13 forwards, seven defensemen} and two goalies.

Under AHL rules, the players listed on a team's Clear Day roster are eligible to compete in the remainder of the AHL regular season and the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs, unless unexpected circumstances arise such as an injury, recall or suspension. Teams are allowed to add signed junior players or players on amateur tryout contracts after Clear Day but can only do so once their respective junior or college seasons are complete.

FORWARDS {13}: Jimmy Bonneau, Ryan Del Monte, Curt Gogol, Ben Guite, Tim Kennedy, James Livingston, Brandon Mashinter, John McCarthy, Frazer McLaren, Nathan Moon, Andrew Murray, Brodie Reid, Marek Viedensky

DEFENSE {7}: Sena Acolatse, Taylor Doherty, Matt Irwin, Mike Moore, Brian O'Hanley, Matt Pelech, Nick Petrecki

GOALIES {2}: Harri Sateri, Tyson Sexsmith

RESIDENCE {4}: Jack Combs, Tony Lucia, Cam MacIntyre, James Sheppard

Under AHL rules, a player in residence can only be used during the remainder of the regular season or playoffs if a combination of the 22-man roster are injured, recalled or suspended.

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