Woo Rewind - Sharks brawl with IceCaps and Stalock wins again

Last week, the Worcester Sharks traveled to the Mile One Centre in St. John’s, NL, to play the hosting St. John’s IceCaps in back-to-back games and skated away with a split. Overall, the Sharks are now 21-14-4-5 with 51 points, and are in third place of the Atlantic Division of the AHL Eastern Conference, 11 points behind the division leading IceCaps.

On Friday night {Feb. 3}, the Sharks were defeated 3-2, marking the first time in six games the home team won a game in the season series. Mike Connolly and Jack Combs scored for the Sharks while goalie Harri Sateri {10-7-0, 2.59 goals against average, .907 save percentage} stopped 28-of-31 shots in the loss.

IceCaps defenseman Arturs Kulda gave the IceCaps a 1-0 lead with his fourth goal of the season at 17:44 of the first period. With the puck inside the Sharks zone, IceCaps forward Riley Holzapfel sent a pass out to the top of the right point to Kulda, who fired a quick slap shot on net through traffic that beat Sateri over the shoulder for the goal.

Connolly tied the game at 3:50 of the second period with his ninth goal of the season after Sharks forward Tim Kennedy stole the puck behind the IceCaps net, and centered the puck in front for Connolly, who fired a quick snap shot on net from inside the right slot that beat IceCaps goalie Edward Pasquale on the blocker side for the goal.

IceCaps defenseman Paul Postma regained the IceCaps lead with a power play goal, his eighth goal of the season, at 5:25. With Sharks defenseman Nick Petrecki in the penalty box for delay of game, the Sharks won the ensuing face-off and cleared the puck. However, the IceCaps rushed right back into the Sharks zone and Postma fired a rocket of a slap shot on net from on top of the face-off circles that beat Sateri for the goal.

IceCaps forward Kevin Clark extended the lead to 3-1 with his eighth goal of the season at 15:35. Dumping the puck into the Sharks zone, Clark won a battle for the puck in the left corner against Sharks forward Marek Viedensky and skated towards the right corner. The puck was corralled by IceCaps forward Jason Gregoire, who fired a quick shot on net from on top of the right face-off circle that Sateri stopped. However, no Sharks player put a body on Clark, who was all alone on top of the goalie crease, and Clark corralled the rebound and stuffed the puck past Sateri for the goal.

Combs cut the IceCaps lead to 3-2 with his eighth goal of the season at 18:51. Entering the IceCaps zone on the left side, Combs fired a rocket of shot from on top of the left face-off circle that Pasquale stopped. The puck went to the right corner, where Sharks forward James Livingston leveled IceCaps forward John Albert with a solid check. Albert stayed down on the ice in an effort to draw a penalty on Livingston, and several other IceCaps players stopped playing while Livingston and Combs continued to battle for the puck. Combs won the battle for the puck, and centered the puck in front to linemate Chad Costello, who passed the puck back to Combs, who slammed the puck into an open net at the right side for the goal.

In the third period, the Sharks outshot the IceCaps 7-6 but couldn’t get the puck past Pasquale for the tying goal.

For the game, the Sharks were outshot 31-25, were 0-for-2 with the man advantage and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill... Cam MacIntyre {inj}, Ben Guite {inj}, Tony Lucia {inj}, Ryan Del Monte {scr} and Curt Gogol {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... Tyson Sexsmith was called up to San Jose on Feb. 2 while Antero Niittymaki was reassigned to Worcester... Combs extended his point streak to five games {2-5-7}.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Parsons of www.stjohnsicecaps.com

On Saturday night {Feb. 4}, the Sharks won the rematch, 4-2, in a rock ‘em, sock ‘em game that referee Marcus Vinnerborg lost control of early by swallowing his whistle. Both teams combined for 112 penalty minutes and an AHL season high six sets of fighting majors.

Livingston, Del Monte, Connolly and Brandon Mashinter scored for the Sharks while Sateri stopped 27-of-29 shots in the win. In addition, Kennedy {0-2-2}, Connolly {1-1-2} and Mashinter {1-1-2} all had multi-point games for the Sharks.

Fireworks erupted just three seconds into the game as Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse dropped the gloves with IceCaps forward Garth Murray off the opening face-off. Acolatse won the 30 second battle with a nice mixture of unanswered right handed body shots and overhand rights. Acolatse is now 7-0 in fights this season.

At 17:11 of the first period, Gogol leveled IceCaps forward Carl Klingberg with a crunch of a hit in the left corner of the IceCaps zone. Taking exception to Gogol’s hit, IceCaps forward Patrice Cormier immediately dropped the gloves and went after Gogol. Gogol won the brief scrap by connecting with a big left hand that dropped Cormier. The fight was Gogol’s 12th of the season.

85 seconds later, Mashinter dropped the gloves with Murray after Murray whacked Connolly in the face with a two-handed swing of his hockey stick along the left side of the IceCaps zone. Mashinter immediately grabbed a hold of Murray, who tried to turtle up, and pounded Murray down to the ice with five solid right hands. Despite being right on top of the play, Vinnerborg did not call a high sticking penalty on Murray.

15 seconds later, Livingston was called for a roughing penalty for going after IceCaps forward Jason Jaffray after Jaffray took an extra shot at Sateri after Sateri stopped IceCaps forward Ben Maxwell’s backhand shot. The call on Livingston was the third minor penalty called on the Sharks in the period and prompted captain Mike Moore to have a conversation with Vinnerborg as the IceCaps hadn’t been whistled for any minor penalties.

Postma gave the IceCaps a 1-0 lead with his ninth goal of the season just 55 seconds into the second period. Just as Livingston’s penalty expired, Postma fired a slapshot on net from the top of the right point that bounced off the wall, deflected off Sateri’s left leg and into the net for the goal.

Fireworks exploded at 9:59 as Gogol dropped the gloves with IceCaps forward Kenndal McArdle after McArdle drilled Sharks forward Brodie Reid into the lower board at center ice. Gogol flew at McArdle with gloves off, and the two engaged in a fast and furious fight that saw Gogol land several shots before losing his balance and falling to the ice.

As the linesmen were separating Gogol from McArdle, Sharks forward Nathan Moon dropped the gloves with Murray in the left corner of the IceCaps zone as the two had been chirping at each other prior to the face-off. Murray pounded down Moon in a 20 second battle. After beating Moon, Murray threw off his jersey and helmet, and skated by the Sharks bench to taunt them. Murray’s taunting enraged Sharks head coach Roy Sommer, who loudly gave Murray a piece of his mind.

Murray, who registered a hat-trick of fights, was ejected from the game along with Moon as both received game misconducts from Vinnerborg for being the secondary altercation. However, Sharks play-by-play announcer Eric Lindquist said on air that Murray should’ve received three game misconducts for the hat-trick of fights, being the secondary altercation and for throwing his jersey to the ice.

Livingston tied the game at 1-1 with his fifth goal of the season at 16:26. Applying pressure inside the IceCaps zone off a face-off win, Petrecki fired a shot on net from the top of the left point that Sharks forward Frazer McLaren stopped in front. McLaren skated out towards the left corner and shot the puck towards the crease where Livingston corralled the loose puck and banged the puck into open net for the goal.

As Livingston was celebrating his goal, Jaffray and IceCaps defenseman Travis Ramsey double teamed Del Monte down to the ice inside the crease. The Sharks came flying in to help Del Monte, resulting in a huge scrum up. Despite being right on top of the play, Vinnerborg did not call a penalty on Jaffray or Ramsey.

Klingberg gave the IceCaps a 2-1 lead with his 12th goal of the season just 64 seconds into the third period. With the puck inside the Sharks zone, Postma fired a shot on net from on top of the right face-off circle that pin balled around and Klingberg put into an open net for the goal.

Del Monte tied the game at 5:57 with his fourth goal of the season on a nifty backhanded shot from on top of the face-off circles that beat IceCaps goalie David Aebischer on the blocker side for the goal. Gogol was credited with the lone assist on the goal.

Just 18 seconds later, Connolly quieted the sold out Mile One Center by giving the Sharks their first lead of the game with his 10th goal of the season. Off the ensuing face-off, Kennedy entered the IceCaps zone on the right side and got the puck over to Mashinter, who was positioned inside the left face-off circle. Mashinter passed the puck out to sharks defenseman Matt Irwin, who fired a one timer on net from the top of the left point that missed the net. Kennedy knocked the loose puck down at the left side of the goalie crease, and after Mashinter got a piece of the puck, Connolly shot the puck through the five-hole of Aebischer from in-tight for the goal.

At 6:47, Del Monte dropped the gloves with Kulda, and after Del Monte knocked Kulda down, Kulda got up and knocked Del Monte down. However, Kulda continued to throw punches while standing over Del Monte, which caused McLaren to come in as he wanted a piece of Kulda, resulting in a near line brawl.

After being separated from Kulda, McLaren skated by the IceCaps bench with his sleeves rolled up and challenged the entire IceCaps bench. For being the third man in, McLaren was given a misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct and Del Monte somehow got an extra two from Vinnerborg for roughing.

At 12:05, Petrecki rocked Aebischer with the hit of the season! After killing off Petrecki’s slashing minor, the Sharks skated in 3-on-1 on Aebischer but Livingston couldn’t settle the puck down. Aebischer, who had stretched out to his left to stop Livingston, was skated into by Cormier, which knocked Aebischer’s goalie mask off. As Aebischer got up to go back to his goal crease, Petrecki DRILLED Aebischer with a solid body check that sent Aebischer crashing down to the ice. Another scrum up ensued, and Vinnerborg assessed both Aebischer and Petrecki roughing minors.

With 2:05 remaining in the third period, Holzapfel was called for hooking. The IceCaps pulled Aebischer with 60 seconds remaining for an extra skater to make it 5-on-5. With 15 seconds remaining, Kennedy won a face-off inside the Sharks zone, and Connolly chipped the puck ahead to Mashinter, who skated into the IceCaps zone and put the puck into the empty net to seal the Sharks win. The goal was a power play goal and Mashinter’s eighth goal of the season.

For the game, the Sharks were outshot 29-23, were 1-for-3 with the man advantage and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill... The Sharks were assessed 64 penalty minutes on 15 infractions while the IceCaps were assessed 48 penalty minutes on 11 infractions... MacIntyre {inj}, Guite {inj}, Lucia {inj}, Brian O’Hanley {scr} and Jimmy Bonneau {scr} did not dress for the Sharks... The Sharks now have 76 fighting majors through 44 games, the most in the AHL... Acolatse took a puck to the face with 2:02 remaining in the first period and did not return... Sexsmith was reassigned to Worcester from San Jose but did not join the team... Combs had his point streak come to an end... Coach Sommer is now ONE win away from 500 for his AHL career... The Sharks are 19th in the AHL on the power play at 17.1%, eighth in penalty killing at 83.9% and second in penalty minutes at 21.4 per game.


Photo courtesy of www.stocktonthunder.com

On Friday night {Feb. 3}, Sharks goalie Alex Stalock stopped 29-of-31 shots to lead the Stockton Thunder to a 7-2 victory over the visiting Idaho Steelheads. Stalock is now 5-0-0 with a 2.40 goals against average and .923 save percentage.