Today in Worcester hockey history: December 17

1994 at Portland 5-2 win
(PORTLAND) The team wearing white jerseys won Saturday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Unfortunately for the home-standing Portland Pirates, it was Reverse Jersey Night. The Worcester IceCats, stunned the Pirates, 5-2 before a crowd of 6,433. Defenseman Terry Virtue and center Cal McGowan each scored two goals — Virtue’s both on soft shots from the point — and former University of Maine player Martin Mercier had a goal and two assists. Worcester goalie Les Kuntar also played a strong game with 43 saves. as the IceCats won for the third time in four games and beat Portland for the first time in five meetings this season. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Portland, dropping the Pirates to 19-8-5. The IceCats improved to 10-19-4. The IceCats took control in the second period, out-scoring Portland 3-0, and then held off a furious Pirates rally in the third. Portland pulled within 3-2 on a John Byce power-play goal 2:03 into the third period. But Kuntar made key saves on Sergei Gonchar (from the right circle) and Andrew Brunette (on a rebound) to keep Worcester in front. Then Virtue scored to regain the two-goal lead. His flip shot from the right point somehow eluded Portland goalie Andre Racicot as he went down. McGowan scored at 17:04 to make it 5-2. The IceCats, coming off a 6-1 loss to Providence Friday, took the game away from Portland in the second period. Despite being out-shot 17-9, the IceCats scored three goals to take a 3-1 lead. Worcester relied on strong goaltending by Kuntar and took advantage of weak goaltending by Racicot, who gave up goals on two of the first three shots he faced in the second period. Mercier tied the game with his eighth goal at 3:51, beating Racicot with a rebound wrister from the left circle. Just under three minutes later, Virtue put a slap shot past Racicot from the left point on the power play. Then McGowan scored his second goal of the season with just 21 seconds remaining in the period, putting in a Blair Atcheynum rebound. Kuntar, meanwhile, was especially sharp. His best save came with 1:10 left in the period when he kicked out a Martin Gendron wrister on a partial breakaway. The Pirates led 1-0 after a fast-paced first period. Gendron got the goal, tipping a Chris Jensen slap shot through Kuntar’s legs at 3:29. Kuntar made a couple of big saves in the period and was helped when referee Lyle Seitz blew the puck dead during a scramble in front, waving off a Portland goal. Portland’s Brunette dug the puck free and flipped it into an open net just as the whistle blew.

1997 at Portland 4-2 win
The Worcester IceCats scored two first period goals and never looked back in a 4-2 win over the Pirates. Tyler Willis opened the scoring at 3:31 when Ivan Ciernik threw him a nice pass through the crease and Willis banged it him. Terry Hollinger had the secondary assist on the play. Robert Petrovicky made it 2-0 when he collected Terry Virtue’s pass and rifled a wrist shot into the top corner at 4:29. Patrick Boileau cut the ‘Cats lead in half with the only goal of the middle period, at 17:45 on the power play. Bryce Salvador made it 3-1 with an unassisted shorthanded goal at 11:44 when he stole a pass at the red line and broke into the Portland zone all alone. Alexandre Volchkov made it a one goal game at 13:42, but Zent would add an unassisted goal at 18:45 for the 4-2 final. Brent Johnson made 28 saves and was the #1 star of the game.

1999 at Philadelphia 3-1 win
(TICKER) Brent Johnson turned aside 36 shots and Bryan Helmer scored the tie-breaking goal to lead the Worcester IceCats past the Philadelphia Phantoms, 3-1. Johnson, who evened his record at 9-9-3, recorded 19 of his saves in the third period. Helmer put Worcester ahead to stay with 6:40 left in the third and Derek Bekar capped the scoring two minutes later. Daniel Corso scored with seven minutes left in the first period for the Ice Cats, who are 2-2 on a six-game road swing. Francis Belanger tied the game 9:49 into the final session for Philadelphia, which had won its previous three home games.

2000 at Louisville 3-1 loss
(TICKER) Paul Brousseau scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period and Roberto Luongo made 33 saves as the Louisville Panthers defeated the Worcester IceCats, 3-1. Brousseau’s power-play goal with 4:19 remaining broke a 1-1 tie and Dave Duerden added an empty-net tally with less than a minute to play in regulation to seal the victory for Louisville. Brousseau and Duerden each finished with a goal and an assist and Ivan Novoseltsev notched his first goal of the season in the first period. Luongo, the third overall selection in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, won his first game in the league this season after turning aside all 24 shots he faced over the final two periods as the Panthers snapped a four-game losing streak. Marty Reasoner scored the lone goal for Worcester 6:26 into the opening frame for the IceCats, who lost for just the second time in 11 games (8-2-1). Cody Rudkowsky turned aside 31 shots in a losing effort and fell to 5-4-1.

2004 vs Lowell 3-2 win SO
(ICECATS) Jay McClement scored in the final round of the shootout to lift the Worcester IceCats to a 3-2 win over Lowell Friday night. Curtis Sanford was spectacular, denying the Lock Monsters on point-blank chances late in regulation and again in overtime. He stopped 27 shots overall, including seven in overtime and he held the fort on three-of-five in the shootout. Worcester trailed 1-0 after the first period and 2-1 in the third, but rallied to even the score both times. Carsen Germyn put Lowell up 1-0, only to be matched by Worcester’s Brendan Brooks in the second. Eric Staal’s goal early in the third regained the lead for Lowell, but Jon DiSalvatore swatted home a Mike Glumac feed on the powerplay to force overtime.

2010 at Connecticut 3-2 OTL
(WORSHARKS) Sharks rookie defenseman Matt Irwin extended his point streak to four games with his 6th goal of the season but Whale winger Chad Kolarik scored with 30 seconds remaining in the overtime period to defeat the Sharks, 3-2, Friday night at the XL Center in Hartford, CT.
Brandon Mashinter also scored for the Sharks; Alex Stalock was sharp in net making 23 saves, and the two teams combined for 66 penalty minutes in the chippy Atlantic Division battle. The first period saw a little bit of everything including three fights and a disputed goal at the final buzzer. Kevin Henderson and Jared Nightingale kick-off the unpleasantries at 1:35 mixing it up in the Connecticut zone. Whale rookie Kelsey Tessier (5th) scored his third goal against Worcester this season, slapping the puck into an empty net after the initial shot was blocked from the right point. Soon after, Brandon Mashinter and Justin Soryal tangled in a lengthy bout after T.J. Trevelyan was knocked down from behind at 6:36. Sharks captain Jay Leach grabbed Jared Nightingale after a scrum in the Whale zone and the two went toe-to-toe at 19:04. With Mats Zuccarello in the box for interference, the Sharks struck on a 4-on-3 power play as Matt Irwin (6th) fired a shot from forty feet through a screen and passed Chad Johnson at 19:59. After much discussion, the goal was counted and the two teams headed off to the dressing room tied at 1-1. Jonathan Cheechoo left game action in the first minute of the 2nd period after he was boarded by Mats Zuccarello behind the Connecticut net. The Sharks took a 2-1 lead shortly after Alex Stalock made a terrific stop on Mats Zuccarello on a Whale 2-on-1. Brandon Mashinter (6th) charged down the left wing and fired a rocket on the rush at 7:13 to give the sharks their first lead. The Whale tied the score on the power play as Jeremy Williams (16th) fired a slap shot from the left circle that handcuffed Stalock and trickled over the goal line at 16:05. Dan DaSilva and Ryan Garlock dropped the mitts for the games 4th fight at 17:25 as the two teams hit the intermission tied at 2-2. Worcester had three power plays in the final ten minutes of the third period but could not score as the two teams headed to overtime for the third straight game. The score was tied 2-2 after 60 minutes with Worcester holding a 27-22 shot advantage. Chad Kolarik (11th) sent the Whale faithful home happy with a terrific shot down the left wing as Connecticut broke into the Sharks zone with an odd man rush at 4:30 of overtime for a 3-2 Whale victory. The Sharks record falls to 15-8-2-4 with 36 points and to 7-4-1-3 away from the DCU Center.

2011 at Binghamton 5-2 win
(WORSHARKS) Teal hot Tommy Wingels extended his goal scoring streak to five games with a second period tally, and it turned out to be his 4th game winner in five games, to lead the Sharks to a 5-2 victory over the Binghamton Senators at the Broom County Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday night. The Sharks improved to 5-0-0-1 on their season long seven game road trip which concludes Sunday afternoon in Manchester at 3pm. Sean Sullivan scored a shorthanded penalty shot goal and the line of Benn Ferriero, John McCarthy, and Tommy Wingels all extended their point streaks to five games in the win. Tyson Sexsmith made 31 saves for his 7th win of the season. The Sharks tied a franchise record with their fifth straight road win and points in eight straight games (7-0-0-1). Both teams came out of the gate with crisp skating but neither team could capitalize early in the first period. Mike Bartlett (2nd) had a perfect deflection past Tyson Sexsmith from the side of the net after a hard drive by Mark Borowiecki from the point at 15:28 to give the Senators a 1-0 lead. Worcester outshot Binghamton 16-10 through twenty minutes of play. Worcester picked up things offensively in the second period scoring four goals against Senators netminder Mike McKenna. Brodie Reid (3rd) finished off a 2-on-1 rush with Jack Combs with a terrific shot off the crossbar and into the net form the right circle at 5:05 to ties the score. John McCarthy (5th) gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead after he found a blocked Tommy Wingels shot ten feet on top of the blue paint and fired it home at 6:25. Tommy Wingels (11th) scored in his 5th straight game with a wicked low shot from the left side at the end of the power play at 10:08 to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead. The Senators got one back on the power play at 12:16 with a terrific shot by veteran Mark Parrish (9th) after tic-tac-toe passing down low to cut the Worcester lead to 3-2. Sean Sullivan was tripped up from behind on a shorthanded rush and was awarded a penalty shot at 16:50. Sullivan (3rd) skated straight up the middle and snapped the puck past the glove hand of McKenna for a 4-2 Sharks lead after two periods. Nathan Moon (4th)scored a late power play goal at 19:03 of the third period to seal the Sharks road win by the count of 5-2. The Sharks record improves to 13-6-3-3 with 32 points through 25 games and now 6-1-3-2 on the road.

2022 vs Newfoundland 8-3 win
(RAILERS) The Newfoundland Growlers were just about the last team the Railers wanted to play Saturday night as they tried to dig out from under an ugly five-game losing streak. The Growlers arrived in town in their usual spot in the standings, first place in the North Division and riding a five-game streak as well — five straight victories. Both streaks ended via an 8-3 Railers triumph, the home team paced by captain Bobby Butler’s hat trick and Reece Newkirk’s conversion of Worcester’s first penalty shot of the season. Butler could not remember his last hat trick. It was his first as a Railer but definitely not his first as a professional. Some quick research shows that he had one for the AHL Albany Devils on Dec. 13, 2012. Butler had endured the losing streak that started in Newfoundland and had a succinct appraisal of what ended it Saturday night. “We got a couple of guys back,” he said, “and we went back to playing Railers hockey.” Both of the returnees, Collin Adams and Jimmy Lambert, scored for Worcester. Adams added two assists and is 9-13-22 in 18 games. Newkirk missed a Gordie Howe Hat Trick by an assist. His penalty shot was at 18:35 of the second period, then he fought former teammate Matt Sredl 10 minutes into the third period. On the goal, Newkirk stuffed the puck between goalie Keith Petruzzelli’s pads after a leisurely skate in from center ice. “Not in pro, not in junior,” was Newkirk’s recollection of his last penalty shot, “maybe when I was a little kid. I was a little spaced out when I got it because my mom and dad were watching and they give it to me for missing breakaways all the time. “So I was thinking — this HAS to go in.” Newkirk’s original plan was to go to the backhand but, he added, “I got lucky and it went through his legs.” Liam Coughlin and Blade Jenkins had the other Worcester goals. Jenkins also had a pair of assists. Keenan Suthers, Pavel Gogolev and Todd Skirving scored for Newfoundland which had an early lead on Suthers’ goal at 3:51 of the first period. During its losing streak Worcester had a short roster, some tough travel and a lot of games in not a lot of days. “Obviously, we got a couple of bodies back,” coach Jordan Smotherman said of the turnaround, “but for me, the biggest thing was rest and commitment. The guys were committed to playing the game the right way.” As for the rest, Smotherman said, “You look at the five-game streak and you see five games of exhaustion and five games of exhausted mistakes.” The Growlers are 18-6-1 overall but the Railers are 4-1 against them so far this season with another game here Sunday afternoon. Saturday’s victory moved Worcester to within two points of first place. Other highlights from one of the season’s most crowd-pleasing games: Butler’s hat trick was the first of the year by a Worcester player and the first by a Railer since Smotherman’s last March 19, also versus Newfoundland. Since joining the team midway through last season, Butler has scored a goal in 13 different games and Worcester is 12-0-1 in those games. Newkirk’s penalty shot goal made the Railers 5-for-11 in that department all-time. Worcester’s last home penalty shot was Cole Coskey’s conversion versus Reading last Jan. 14. The Railers have had just three penalty shots at the DCU Center through the years and scored on all three, Jordan Samuels-Thomas converting the other one. Ken Appleby made 28 saves to improve to 9-4-0 in net. He is 3-0-0 versus the Growlers. The Railers tied the team record for most goals in a game. They won at Adirondack, 8-1, on Nov. 26, 2021 and beat Fort Wayne at the DCU Center, 8-5, last Jan. 29. MAKING TRACKS – Springfield recalled defenseman Austin Osmanski after he played one game for Worcester. … Four Railers did not suit up. They were Billy Jerry, Jeff Solow, Jack Quinlivan and Zack Bross. … Saturday night was the Railers’ 301st game all-time. They were 49-39-12 (110 points) in the first 100, 39-50-11 (89 points) in the next 100 and 50-42-8 (108) in the most recent 100. … Coughlin also had an assist and is 2-5-7 in his last five games after going 1-3-4 in his first 14.


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