Woo Rewind - Sharks bite back after letting one get away

Playing their first back-to-back games of the season last week, the Worcester Sharks earned three-out-of-four points and improved their record to 3-0-0-1.

The Sharks' two-in-two started Friday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., where the Sharks played the host Providence Bruins in their second meeting of the season and suffered their first loss of the season, 4-3, in a shootout.

Curt Gogol, Nathan Moon and Mike Connolly all scored for the Sharks and goalie Tyson Sexsmith, making his third consecutive start, stopped 32-of-35 shots in the loss. Moon {1-1-2} was the only Shark to have a multi-point game.

Gogol, who scored five goals combined last season for the Saskatoon Blades and Chilliwack Bruins {now Victoria Royals} of the Western Hockey League {WHL}, scored his second goal of the season at 10:31 of the first period to give the Sharks an early 1-0 lead. As the Bruins carried the puck through the neutral zone, Moon caused a turnover and broke in all alone on Bruins goalie Anton Khudobin, who stopped him as well as James Livingston's follow up shot. Gogol, who was just exiting the penalty box when Moon broke in on Khudobin, crashed the net for a rebound on Livingston's shot and put the puck into the net for the goal.

Less than three minutes later at 13:22, Moon scored his first professional goal with the Sharks on a power play to extend the lead to 2-0. With Bruins forward Lane MacDermid in the penalty box for hooking, the Sharks were able to control the puck inside the Bruins zone. From the right side half boards, Sharks forward Cam MacIntyre fired a pass to linemate Brandon Mashinter, who was positioned at the near post. Khudobin made the initial save on Mashinter's shot but Moon, who positioned himself on top of the crease, was there for the rebound and buried the puck home for the goal.

Following Moon's goal, fireworks erupted at 13:57 as Gogol scrapped with Bruins forward Tyler Randell in what can only be described as a UFC Heavyweight fight as both men threw and landed repeated haymakers but neither man went down. On the ensuing face-off, Mashinter and MacDermid dropped the gloves as well. Both teams combined for 30 penalty minutes in the period on five minors and four fighting majors.

In the second period, MacDermid got the Bruins on the scoreboard with his second goal of the season at 6:14.  MacDermid and linemate Kirk MacDonald broke in 2-on-1 on Sexsmith and MacDonald fired a shot on net from the right face-off circle that Sexsmith stopped.  However, Sexsmith kicked the rebound out to MacDermid, who put the puck into the net for the goal.

Just 28 seconds into the third period, Connolly scored his second goal of the season to extend the Sharks lead to 3-1. With a face-off inside the Bruins zone in the lower face-off circle, the Sharks won the draw and Sharks defenseman Justin Braun fired a shot on net from the point that was stopped by Khudobin. The puck pin-balled around in-front before Connolly was able to put the puck in the net for the goal. Brodie Reid and Ben Guite were credited with assists on the goal, extending Guite's point streak to three games.

The Bruins quickly respond 78 seconds later as Calle Ridderwall scored his first goal of the season as the result of a defensive miscue by the Sharks inside their own zone. After causing a turnover inside the Sharks zone, Bruins forward Craig Cunningham, who was positioned on the lower left board, quickly got the puck over to Ridderwall in the slot. Breaking in all alone on Sexsmith, Ridderwall beat Sexsmith blocker-side with a nifty backhand shot.

At 16:45, Mashinter had a golden opportunity to give the Sharks a 4-2 lead on a partial breakaway but his wrist shot from in the slot went over the net.

With one minute to go in the game and the Sharks leading by a goal, Khudobin was pulled for an extra skater. After getting the puck inside the Sharks zone, Bruins forward Zach Hamill got the puck to Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who fired a shot on net, with traffic in front, from the top of the point on the blue line. Bruins forward Jamie Tardif, who was one of many players in front of Sexsmith, was able to get his stick on the puck and ricochet it pass Sexsmith for the game tying goal at 19:30.

In overtime, both teams had several chances to win the game but neither side could capitalize.  The Sharks' best chance to win the game came at 4:15 on defenseman Sean Sullivan's 35-foot shot that Khudobin stopped with his mask.

Electing to go first in the shootout, Connolly missed wide; Hamill missed the net; Reid was stopped by Khudobin; Ridderwall was stopped by Sexsmith; Mashinter was stopped by Khudobin; Jamie Arniel scored for the Bruins; Moon scored for the Sharks; Josh Hennessy was stopped by Sexsmith; Guite was stopped by Khudobin; Carter Camper won the game for the Bruins.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Bruins 43-35, were 1-for-3 with the man advantage and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill... Tony Lucia, who last played Oct. 10, 2010, returned to the Sharks lineup after missing the last 80 games due to a concussion... Sena Acolatse made his professional debut by skating at forward on the fourth line with Ryan Del Monte and Curt Gogol... Worcester received goalie Harri Sateri from San Jose on Oct. 18... Goalie Thomas Heemskerk was assigned to Stockton of the ECHL on Oct. 19... Ian O'Connor was released from his PTO on Oct. 19, becoming the third non-goalie in Worcester Sharks history {Josh Ciocco, Chris Murray} to be signed to a PTO and not appear in a game {courtesy of @210Darryl}... Benn Ferriero was recalled to San Jose on Oct. 20... Marek Viedensky {inj}, Jimmy Bonneau {inj} and Taylor Doherty {scr} did not dress for Worcester.

As a bonus, here is Worcester Sharks head coach Roy Sommer discussing the Bruins game with Eric Lindquist on the SharksVision YouTube channel.

On Saturday night, the Sharks were back home at the DCU Center to host the Manchester Monarchs in their first meeting of the season and skated away with a 4-2 victory.

Moon, Connolly and Matt Irwin each scored for the Sharks and Sateri, making his first start of the season, stopped 25-of-27 shots faced for his first win of the season and second career AHL win. In addition, Connolly {2-1-3} and Guite {0-2-2} had multi-point games for the Sharks and extended their point streaks to three and four games respectively.

At 13:43 of the first period, Moon gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season. With Monarchs defenseman Jake Muzzin in the penalty box for the hooking, the Sharks were able to establish puck possession inside the Monarchs zone. Sullivan's shot from the top of the point was stopped by Monarchs goalie Jeff Zatkoff but Moon, who battled for position on top the crease against Monarchs defenseman Andrew Campbell, was able to corral the rebound and put the puck into the net for the goal just several seconds after Muzzin's penalty expired.

The Monarchs would answer back 17 seconds later as forward Cam Paddock tied it at 1-1 with his first goal of the season. Holding the puck along the goal line on the lower right side of the Sharks zone, Monarchs defenseman David Kolomatis passed the puck in front to Paddock, who was positioned on top of the crease and able to deflect the puck over Sateri's right shoulder for the goal.

In the second period, the Sharks found themselves trailing in a game for the first time all season after Muzzin ended the Sharks' perfect 15-for-15 penalty kill streak by scoring a power play goal at 7:04 to give the Monarchs a 2-1 lead. With Acolatse in the penalty box for delay of game, the Monarchs were able to win the ensuing face-off inside the Sharks zone. Monarchs forward Andrei Loktionov skated into the right face-off circle and sent a diagonal feed on top of the left face-off circle to Muzzin, who went skate-to-stick and beat Sateri short side on the blocker side for the goal.

At 18:08 of the period, Connolly would answer back for the Sharks and tie the game at 2-2 with his third goal of the season on an awesome individual effort.  From center ice, Connolly harmlessly dumped the puck into the Monarchs zone, where Zatkoff played the puck to Kolomatis, who blindly sent a backhand pass behind the net intended for Jordan Hill.  Connolly read the play, intercepted the pass and turned nothing into something with a wrap around shot for a goal, extending his goal streak to three games.

In the third period and with the Sharks on a power play, Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin scored his second goal of the season at 8:05 to give the Sharks a 3-2 lead.  With Hill in the penalty box for hooking, the Sharks won the ensuing face-off inside the Monarchs zone.  Guite passed the puck to Connolly, who was positioned along the end-board on the left side.  Connolly passed the puck out to Irwin, who fired a laser of a shot from in-between the blue line and lower face-off circle that beat Zatkoff glove side for the goal, which held up as the game winner.

Finding themselves in the same situation as the night before, the Sharks held a 3-2 lead with a minute to go in the game as the Monarchs pulled Zatkoff for an extra skater and Sateri made a huge save on Loktionov, who fired a shot on net from point blank range.  Guite was able to track the puck down and fired an outlet pass to Connolly, who broke into the Monarchs zone and scored the empty net goal to seal the 4-2 win for the Sharks.

For the game, the Sharks outshot the Monarchs 35-27, were 1-for-5 with the man advantage and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill... Mike Connolly has registered seven points {four goals, three assists} in the first four games... Before the game, Tommy Wingels was returned from San Jose while Justin Braun was called up to San Jose... The Sharks have registered a power play goal and fighting major in all four games... The Sharks lead the AHL in penalty kills at 94.4%, are fourth on the power play at 30.4% and lead the AHL in penalty minutes at 26.5 per game {courtesy of @210Darryl}... Jimmy Bonneau {inj}, Marek Viedensky {inj} and Matt Pelech {scr} did not dress for Worcester.

As a bonus, here is Irwin discussing his game winning goal against the Monarchs with Eric Lindquist on the SharksVision YouTube channel.