Today in Worcester hockey history: November 7


1997 at St. John’s 5-2 win
The Worcester IceCats got a hat trick from Mike Prokopec to defeat the Maple Leafs 5-2 in a game that saw a huge brawl at the end of the game featuring both goaltenders going at it. Brandon Convery gave St. John’s the lead at 14:21 on the power play, but the ‘Cats answered right back at 16:51 with a power play marker of their own when Prokopec deflected a Ricard Persson blast into the net. Jason Zent then gave Worcester the lead when he completed a two on one play with Terry Virtue at 18:15. Mike Kennedy tied it on the power play at 4:32 of the second period, but Prokopek’s second of the game at 15:09 put the IceCats back in the lead. Chris Kenady and Stephane Roy had the helpers on the play. At 19:55 Kenady made it 4-2 when he deflected Persson’s shot into the far corner. Prokopec then completed his hat trick at 15:55 of the third, with Nick Naumenko assisting. With 1:20 left in the third period Prokopec and Maple Leafs defenseman Danil Markov collided knee to knee in the St John’s zone, and goaltender Marcel Cousineau jumped Prokopec while he was still down on the ice. Worcester goaltender Frederic Cassivi skated the entire length of the ice, dropping equipment as he went, to take on Cousineau. Cassivi was given a minor for leaving the crease, and instigator penalty, a fighting major, and a game misconduct. He ended the game with 31 saves.

1998 vs Springfield 3-2 win
The Worcester IceCats opened up a three goal lead against the Falcons and then held on for dear life in a 3-2 win over Springfield. Dan Corso started the scoring with a first period power play goal at 17:21. Shayne Toporowski and Lubos Bartecko had the assists on the play. In the second period it was Bartecko that would score on the power play, with Andrej Podkonicky and Toporowski getting the helpers at 7:56. At 11:59 Stephane Roy scored a shorthanded goal to make it 3-0. Tyson Nash had the assist on the play. In the third the Falcons would make it interesting with goals by Bruce Coles (7:31) and Tavis Hansen (14:14), but the ‘Cats would hold on to their lead until the final horn sounded. Rich Parent had 27 saves in the victory.

2001 vs Providence 3-2 loss
The Worcester IceCats fell behind by two goals and couldn’t make up the difference in a 3-2 loss to the Baby-Bs. Andy Hilbert had the only goal in the opening twenty minutes, at 18:46 on the power play, to give Providence the lead after one period. Keith McCambridge made it 2-0 at 6:05 of the middle stanza. It was the only goal McCambridge would score all season. Eric Boguniecki got the ‘Cats within one at 15:48 on the power play, with Jame Pollock and Christian Laflamme assisting. Joe Hulbig got Providence their two goal lead back at 10:09 of the third. Boguniecki connected with an extra attacker goal at 19:59 for the 3-2 final. Justin Papineau and Daniel Tkaczuk had the helpers on the play. Cody Rudkowsky had 22 saves in the loss.

2003 vs Manchester 1-1 tie
(ICECATS) The Worcester IceCats and Manchester Monarchs battled to a 1-1 tie Friday night at Worcester’s Centrum Centre. Both teams scored in the third period after 40 minutes of scoreless hockey. IceCat Sergei Varlamov broke the scoreless tie 38 seconds into the third period and snapped Manchester goalie Adam Hauser?s shutout streak of 160:38. Hauser was 2-0 with two shutouts entering tonight’s game. Manchester’s Scott Barney tied the game when his shot broke off the arm of IceCat goalie Reinhard Divis at 17:17.

2007 at Bridgeport 4-2 win
(WORSHARKS) The Sharks scored three goals in the 3rd period, two on the power play in a 4-2 win over the Sound Tigers in Bridgeport on Wednesday morning. It was the first game played by the Worcester Sharks in the morning as the opening face off was clocked at 11:08a.m. Worcester (5-3-1-0) trailed 2-1 going into the 3rd period before the Sharks exploded for three goals in the third period. Sharks’ captain, Graham Mink scored two goals and his second goal of the game came at 13:12 of the final period, which was the eventual game-winner. The Sound Tigers (5-6-0-0) jumped out to a 1-0 lead with only 2:37 remaining in the first period. Sean Bentivoglio scored his first goal of the season when he banked a shot off of Worcester net-minder, Thomas Greiss’ right pad and into the back of the net. Mink opened the scoring for the Sharks at about the five minute mark of the second period when he deflected a Josh Prudden point shot under Sound Tigers’ goalie, Mike Morrison who was starting in his third straight game, to tie the score at 1-1. Tom Cavanagh also had an assist on Mink’s second goal of the season. Just under ten minutes later, Sound Tiger defenseman, Drew Fata reclaimed the lead for his team, with his first goal of the season. Jeremy Colliton fed a pass to Fata on the point who unleashed a slap shot that had eyes and found its way through a screened Greiss for the 2-1 lead. Blake Comeau also picked up an assist on the goal, his second of the season. The Sharks began their comeback 9:46 into the final frame when Mike Iggulden scored his team leading sixth goal of the season on a wrap-around that he squeezed by the skate of Morrison to tie the score at 2-2. Lukas Kaspar and Nate Raduns had the assists on the goal. Mink would strike for his second goal of the game, a power-play goal, and third of the season at 13:12. Derek Joslin wristed a shot towards Morrison that the Sound Tigers’ goalie made the initial save on but Mink was there to jump on the loose puck and slide it past Morrison, for the 3-2 lead. The assist for Joslin was his first professional point. Iggulden also assisted on the play. The Sharks would tack on one more marker when Cavanagh scored on the man-advantage, with just under two minutes to play. Iggulden collected an assist on the goal, his third point of the game, and Joslin had the second assist. Both goalies finished the contest with 27 saves apiece. The Sharks were 2-7 on the power-play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.

2008 at Hartford 4-3 win
(WORSHARKS) The Worcester Sharks defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-3 at the XL Center on Friday night in front of 3,423 in Hartford. With the victory, the Sharks improved to 3-0-0-0 vs. the Wolf Pack this season. The Wolf Pack would strike first after Artem Anisimov would send a bouncing puck in front of Sharks rookie netminder Kyle Jones which was swept in by Justin Soryal for his second goal of the season at 10:54 of the first period. Brett Westgarth and Brandon Sugden would drop the gloves at center ice at 16:16 in a rather choppy first period. Shots were even 7-7 after 20 minutes as the Sharks went into the first intermission trailing 1-0. The Sharks would explode for four goals in the middle frame, including three straight goals to start the second period. Tom Cavanagh would score two goals of the four, his 5th and 6th of the season, with Derek Joslin notching his 3rd, and Andrew Desjardins his first AHL goal with just 25 seconds remaining in the period. After Joslin’s goal gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead, the Wolf Pack would knot things up as Artem Anisimov struck on the power play and Lauri Korpikoski connected on a 2on1 with P.A. Parenteau. The late score by Desjardins gave the Sharks the one goal lead after forty minutes. Hartford would have some great chances in the third period but Kyle Jones would stand his ground for his first professional win in goal in his first professional start. The Sharks outshot the Wolf Pack 32-20 to improve to 5-5-0-0.

2009 vs W-B/Scranton 2-1 loss
(WORSHARKS) Mark Letestu scored the game winning goal and John Curry held off a late third period charge as the Sharks fell to the Penguins 2-1 at the DCU Center on Saturday night to break a five game home winning streak. The Sharks got off to a slow start as the Penguins struck twice in the first period. The scoring started at 16:36 when Ben Lovejoy put one home with a great wrist shot from the right circle that rang off the post and in past Alex Stalock during 4on4 play. The Penguins struck again when Mark Letestu buried a rebound at 18:15 on a power play. On the ensuing faceoff, Sharks forward Brandon Mashinter fought Penguins forward Wade Brookbank in an entertaining bout. Final shots in the period were 10-7 in favor of the Penguins. Worcester cut the lead in half in the second period when Steven Zalewski banged home a rebound past Penguins goaltender John Curry at 7:44. Zalewski buried the puck past Curry after a great first effort by T.J. Trevelyan. The Penguins led 2-1 after forty minutes of play. The Sharks played a solid third period but were not able to score the equalizer. John Curry held the fort down making 14 saves in the final period to secure the victory for the Penguins. With the loss, the Sharks fall to 8-4-0-1 (17 points) on the season.

2018 at Newfoundland 5-2 loss
(RAILERS) The Worcester Railers HC (3-7-0-0, 6pts) dropped their franchise high fifth straight game with a 5-2 loss to the host Newfoundland Growlers (9-5-0-0, 18pts) in front of 2,709 fans at the Mile One Centre on Wednesday evening. Worcester led 1-0 and 2-1 after second period goals by Nick Bligh and Woody Hudson but the Growlers would score four straight to send the game for their fourth straight victory. Mitch Gillam made 22 saves before he left due to injury and the Railers goal scored by Hudson was their third power play goal this season as Worcester was outshot 33-17 in the hockey game. Newfoundland had five different goal scorers and Mario Culina made 15 saves in net for his second win for the Growlers. Each team had a two-man advantage in the opening period and had three power plays but neither team was able to find the back of the net through 20 minutes of play. Mitch Gillam was solid with 10 first period saves in net while Mario Culina made six stops for the Growlers.
Nick Bligh (1st) got Worcester on the board at 2:41 after nice work behind the net with he and Austin Block and Bligh found a loose puck on top of the crease and slid it passed Mario Culina. The Growlers tied the game at 1-1 as rookie Josh Kestner (7th) fired one past Mitch Gillam. Worcester went back ahead 2-1 as Woody Hudson (2nd) deflected a Mike Cornell blast from the point into the net at 7:24 on the power play. J.J. Piccinich (1st) tied the score again with a power play marker from on top of the crease at 16:49. With Mitch Gillam lying on his stomach in the crease after he was knocked down by a Growlers player, Brady Ferguson (8th) fired the puck into the vacated net at 17:12 to give Newfoundland their first lead of the game. Mitch Gillam was attended to for several minutes before he was helped off the ice and was replaced by Evan Buitenhuis. Shots through 40 minutes were 25-12 for the Growlers as Worcester trailed 3-2 through two periods. Marcus Power (3rd) added an insurance goal with a breakaway tally on Evan Buitenhuis at 14:59 of the third period and Giorgio Estephan (9th) added an empty netter at 19:29 to give Newfoundland the 5-2 home victory.

2021 vs Florida 4-1 loss
(RAILERS) It is hard to believe this is the same Railers team that put 26 shots on goal in in the first 20 minutes of their first game in Portland on Oct. 22. They had 12 — a franchise record worst — shots in 60 minutes Sunday afternoon in one of the dreariest performances any Worcester pro team has ever had on home ice in the city’s hockey history. The Railers lost to Florida, 4-1, as the Everblades swept the little two-game weekend series here. Worcester has lost three straight games by combined scores of 14-5.The facts: Charlie Spetz scored the only Worcester goal. It was his first as a pro. It cut the Florida lead to 2-1 at 7:04 of the third period. The Railers were 0 for 5 on power plays, one of them a major. They did not score a goal in 11 minutes with the man advantage. The Everblades had one power play and scored seven seconds after it started. Blake Winiecki had two more goals for Florida, the last into an empty net. He personally outscored Worcester, 4-3, for the weekend. Kyle Neuber and John McCarron had the other Everblades goals.
Nothing illustrates how bad things were for the Railers more than Winiecki’s first goal and Neuber’s goal. Winiecki made it 1-0 at 12:59 of the first period. He had the puck above the left circle, guarded closely by Tyler Poulsen. Suddenly, as if he had been lassoed by an invisible cowboy, Poulsen spun down to the ice and Winiecki snapped a shot through the vacancy and past goalie Ken Appleby. It was still just 1-0, discouraging but manageable for the Railers, heading into the third period. Less than a minute after the opening faceoff, Florida had the puck in the Worcester zone, out near the left point — a Bermuda Triangle of woe not far from where Poulsen was poofed — and a shot went through some traffic and towards the net. Appleby, out to cut down some angle, appeared to get a piece of it, enough to prevent the puck from going into the net, but not enough to stop it entirely. The puck came to rest behind the goalie, about three inches from the goal line, and just one of the 12 players out there on the ice saw it — Neuber. He looked at it, frozen in place for a couple of seconds like someone who spied $10,000 in cash lying on a sidewalk, figuring it had to be some sort of police sting or something. Finally, Neuber took a chance on getting arrested and tapped it in to make it 2-0. The Railers could not recover. It was the last Railers home game for almost two weeks. Maybe the time away from the DCU Center will do them good, but the road ahead is literally long and rocky as they play two Canadian teams, the Newfoundland Growlers and new Trois-Rivieres Lions. Worcester will play three games in Newfoundland next weekend against the currently homeless Growlers. They have been evicted from the Mile One Arena in St. John’s for what has been termed as disrespectful workplace conduct towards arena employees. That’s a pretty broad definition and could be something minor, or something serious like Growlers personnel hoarding the Canadian Maple doughnuts. The weekend’s games were originally transferred to Toronto but have since been moved back to a smaller rink in Newfoundland. More significantly, the Growlers once again appear to be an AHL team playing an ECHL schedule. They are in first place, per usual, even though they opened the season with a long road trip. Worcester is 4-12-1 versus Newfoundland all-time, just 1-6-1 up there, and has been outscored by 71-47. The Railers finish their Canadian jaunt in Trois-Rivieres, then are back home again on Nov. 17 versus the Lions. MAKING TRACKS – Poulsen made his 2021-22 debut while Drew Callin did not dress for the first time this season. … Florida goaltender Cam Johnson improved to 2-0-1 lifetime versus Worcester. He has allowed two goals on 53 shots in those games. … Attendance was 2,537.


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