Today in Worcester hockey history: December 20


1996 vs Portland 5-3 win
The Worcester IceCats rallied from two goals down and then again from down 3-2 to defeat the Pirates 5-3. Richard Zednik scored the first goal of the game at 1:54 when he flipped the puck on net from the right half-wall that floated by ‘Cats netminder Travis Scott before Scott even moved. Andrew Brunette made it 2-0 when his shot deflected off a Worcester defenseman and went in at 6:44. In the second period Mike Maneluk scored at 4:32 when Portland goaltender Martin Brochu stuck his stick out to block Maneluk’s centering feed and instead deflected the puck into his own net. Jamal Mayers had the lone assist. Nick Naumenko tied the game at 7:15 on the power play when his one-time blast off a Jamie Rivers feed hit a Pirates defender and went in. In the third period Kent Hulst made it 3-2 Portland when he converted on the power play. Daniel Guerard got the ‘Cats back to even when he tipped in Terry Virtue’s blast at 6:02, with Rivers earning a point with the secondary assist. Stephane Roy gave Worcester the lead at 10:29 on the power play when he tipped Naumenko shot in. Rivers picked up his third assist of the game on the play. Roy then sealed the win with a shorthanded breakaway goal at 14:40, with Scott Pellerin providing the breakout pass. Scott finished the game with 31 saves.

1997 vs Providence 5-2 win
The IceCats took an early lead and then withstood a furious Bruins comeback to earn a 5-2 over Providence. Robert Petrovicky had the only goal in the first twenty minutes of play, assisted by Terry Virtue and Mike Prokopec at 11:20. Virtue would make a two goal lead 14 seconds into the middle period, with Petrovicky and Terry Hollinger earning the helpers. Petrovicky would score again at 2:56, assisted by Prokopec, to make it 3-0. The Baby-Bs then cut into the Worcester lead with goals by Joel Prpic at 10:53 and Shawn Bates at 17:05. Providence would keep the pressure on the IceCats, but Jason Zent’s empty net goal at 19:20 of the third put an end to the comeback. Shayne Toporowski and Michal Handzus had the assists. Virtue would add his second of the game with two seconds left in regulation, assisted by Petrovicky and Prokopec, for the 5-2 final. Brent Johnson had 35 saves in the win.

1998 vs Hamilton 4-2 loss
The Worcester IceCats came back from two one-goal deficits but couldn’t do it a third time in a 4-2 loss to the Bulldogs. Joe Hulbig gave Hamilton the lead with the only goal of the opening period at 6:46. Jochen Hecht would get the ‘Cats back to even, assisted by Jochen Hecht, at 8:27 of the middle stanza. The tie would last all of 26 seconds when Jeff Daw scored to give the Bulldogs the lead again. At 5:17 of the third period Shayne Toporowski got Worcester back to even again, with Quinn Hancock and Reed Low picking up the helpers. But once again Hamilton would take the lead, this time on a Chris Ferraro tally at 17:53. Hulbig added an empty net goal at 19:20 for the 4-2 final. Rich Parent had 24 saves in the loss.

2000 at Cincinnati 3-2 loss
(TICKER) Andy McDonald’s power-play goal broke a tie midway through the third period as the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks edged the Worcester Ice Cats, 3-2. B.J. Young gave Cincinnati a 2-1 lead with his ninth goal of the season 6:04 into the final period, but Worcester came back to tie the score for the second time in the game thanks to a power-play goal by Daniel Corso at the 9:20 mark. After the Ice Cats’ Marty Reasoner was whistled for hooking nine seconds after the tying score, McDonald netted his fifth of the season on the ensuing power play to give the Mighty Ducks the lead for good. Torey DiRoberto also scored for Cincinnati and Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 35 shots to pick up the win as Cincinnati improved to 2-0-1 over its last three games. Dwayne Roloson suffered their loss despite turning aside 36 of 39 shots. Worcester fell to 0-2-1 after winning 11 of its previous 13.

2002 vs Utah 3-3 tie
(ICECATS) In their first-ever meeting, the Worcester IceCats and Utah Grizzlies tied 3-3 Friday night at Worcester’s Centrum Centre. While happy to get a point, the ‘Cats squandered one-goal leads in the second and third periods. Worcester’s goaltender Curtis Sanford denied the Grizzlies the extra point with a breakaway save on Utah’s Eric Chouinard as the final seconds ticked away in overtime. Worcester’s Igor Valeev tied the game 1-1 in the first period after Chouinard put the Grizzlies ahead with the game’s first goal. ‘Cats Captain Eric Nickulas gave his club a 2-1 lead after he scraped up a rebound in front of Utah goalie Corey Hirsch on the power play. Jim Montgomery tied the game at 2-2 with a rocket from the slot before John Pohl again gave Worcester the lead 2:29 into the third period. Nickulas set up the power play goal with a nifty behind-the-back pass right to Pohl’s stick blade. Montgomery struck again, though, and closed out the scoring on the power play with 11 minutes remaining in regulation. During the game, the wives and girlfriends of IceCats players raffled off handmade ornaments. The ornaments, made by the players, raised over $1500 for Rachel’s Table of Worcester. Rachel’s Table provides nutritional meals for underprivileged children.

2003 vs Binghamton 2-1 win
The Worcester IceCats had a two goal lead in the third period and then needed several penalty kills to keep their lead in a 2-1 win over the Senators. After a scoreless first period Peter Sejna connected on the power play, with assists by Tom Koivisto and Scott Pellerin, at 2:25 of the middle period. Marc Brown made it a two goal lead at 4:32 of the third, with Jeff Panzer and Ernie Hartlieb getting the helpers. Serge Payer had a power play goal for Binghamton at 10:56, and then the ‘Cats had to kill off an Aaron MacKenzie slashing minor and and a Reinhard Divis delay of game penalty to earn the victory. Divis ended up with 32 saves.

2004 at Bridgeport 3-1 win
(SOUND TIGERS) The Bridgeport Sound Tigers lost 3-1 to the Worcester IceCats at home Monday night. Worcester took a 1-0 lead on Brian Bonin’s first goal with the team 9:04 into the game off an assist from Trevor Byrne. The Sound Tigers tied the game at 1-1 on a power-play goal by Blaine Down, his first marker of the season, 4:03 into the second period off assists from Ryan Caldwell and Goaltender Wade Dubielewicz. Worcester regained the lead at 2-1 just 1:02 later as Jon DiSalvatore scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season, on the power play, with Down in the penalty box, off assists from Blake Evans and Aaron MacKenzie. The Sound Tigers thought they had tied the game at 1:32 of the third period, but Referee Wes McCauley ruled that the whistle had blown when the net was dislodged before a shot by Down shot had crossed the line. The Sound Tigers pulled Dubielewicz in favor of an extra attacker with less than one minute left to play, but the IceCats put the game away with 30 seconds remaining on Peter Sejna’s empty-net goal, his seventh marker of the season. Evans picked up the lone assist on the goal, his second of the game. The Sound Tigers were 1 for 2 on the power play while Worcester was 1 for 3 on the advantage. Dubielewicz stopped 24 of 26 shots in losing effort. Curtis Sanford made 31 saves on 32 shots to pick up his ninth win of the season. The Sound Tigers had a 32-27 shots on goal advantage. Sanford earned the game’s first star. DiSalvatore took home the second star with the game-winning goal. Down was the third star.

2008 vs Manchester 3-1 win
(WORSHARKS) Friday night’s snowed out game against Portland marked the second time this season that a would-be three-in-three weekend for the Worcester Sharks has been nullified by unusual circumstances. Worcester responded to the blackout postponement on November 15th by winning five games in a row, and took the first step toward repeating that feat on Saturday. Ryan Vesce and Corey Larose both registered three point nights as the Sharks handily defeated the Manchester Monarchs by a 3-1 score at the DCU Center. The win, coupled with Hartford’s loss, moves Worcester back into a tie for third place in the Atlantic Division. Manchester had the best scoring chance of the early going, with right wing David Meckler testing netminder Thomas Greiss from short range following an odd man rush five minutes into the game. Greiss lunged to his left, getting a piece of the puck at full extension and drawing a whistle from referee Ryan Fraser as he lay with the puck pinned underneath him along the goal line. The Sharks prepared for a faceoff while Manchester celebrated what they believed was the game’s first goal. A discussion amongst the officials vindicated Greiss, and the game continued scoreless. The tie held for another five minutes, when Worcester broke through with a shorthanded tally. Crisp passing from Ryan Vesce and Cory Larose split the Manchester defense, and Brendan Buckley slid the puck far post to beat Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier at 10:31. The goal was Buckley’s first of the year through 19 games played. Worcester fed off the momentum, and both Larose and Vesce had a hand in extending the Sharks lead on their next offensive chance. An initial shot from Larose got blocked in front of the net, and Vesce crashed the rebound from the opposite slot, turned and went top shelf on Bernier to earn Worcester a 2-0 lead heading into the locker room. Less than two minutes into the middle frame, a centering feed from Vesce found Larose open behind a poorly positioned Bernier. After his first try was blocked by the body of Manchester defenseman Joe Piskula, Larose touched the puck into a wide open net to notch his team leading 13th goal of the season and the third point of the night for both players. Things quieted down substantially through the remainder of the period and halfway into the third, until Manchester capitalized on a delay of game penalty against Lukas Kaspar. Rookie center Tyler Mosienko found linemate Bud Holloway just outside the crease, and Holloway one-timed the puck past Greiss to narrow the margin to 3-1. Another apparent Manchester goal nearly pulled the visitors back within one, but Fraser blew the play dead as the puck sat to the right of Greiss, shielded from view, prior to Paul Crosty’s tip-in. Greiss held fast for the duration, stopping 20 of 21 shots overall.

2013 at W-B/Scranton 4-1 win
(WORSHARKS) The Worcester Sharks (11-10-1-1, 24pts) snapped a two game skid with a 4-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (16-8-1-2 35pts) at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday evening. Freddie Hamilton, Jimmy Bonneau, Marek Viedensky, and Dan DaSilva all scored for Worcester while Harri Sateri made 24 saves in the victory as the Sharks scored more than three goals in a game for a 2nd time this season. The Sharks controlled the first period and grabbed a 1-0 lead at 6:35 on the 2nd power play. Freddie Hamilton (7th) and Bracken Kearns set up a little give and go on a rush up the middle into the Penguins zone and Hamilton ripped a shot from the right slot past goaltender Eric Hartzell to give the Sharks a 1-0 advantage. Worcester outshot Wilkes-Scranton 10-3 through twenty minutes of play. After a great cycle deep in the Penguins zone, Marek Viedensky found Jimmy Bonneau (1st) in the left slot and the Sharks tough guy sent a shot off the post and past the Wilkes-Barre netminder at 2:41 for the only strike in the middle frame. Worcester led 2-0 through 40 minutes and held a 14-8 shot advantage into the final period. The Penguins came charging in the third period outshooting Worcester 17- 6 in the process. Worcester went ahead 3-0 after a nice deflection in front by Marek Viedensky (2nd) at 9:36 for an insurance marker. Nick Drazenovic (4th) converted a penalty shot with 2:30 remaining to get the Penguins on the board. After Wilkes-Barre hit the post and had several chances late, Dan DaSilva (1st) fired into an empty net at 19:49 to secure the 4-1 victory. The Sharks overall record improves to 11-10-1-1, 24pts and 6-4-1-0, 13pts on the road this season.

2014 at Portland 4-3 OTL
(WORSHARKS) The Worcester Sharks (11-13-3-0, 25pts) continued their 3-in-3 road weekend with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Portland Pirates (15-14-1-0, 31pts) in front of 2,442 fans at the Cross Insurance Arena on Saturday evening. Defenseman Dylan Reese won the game with a 3-on-3 overtime strike at 5:45 as the Pirates snapped a six game losing skid. Worcester trailed 1-0 and 3-1 as Micheal Haley scored his team leading 10th goal while Bryan Lerg and Adam Burish each scored their second goals of the year. Troy Grosenick made 19 saves in net for Worcester but Mike McKenna made 43 saves in net for the Pirates. Worcester controlled most of the opening period and outshot Portland 18-5 but the two teams headed into the first intermission 1-1. Greg Miller (1st) scored his first AHL goal at 14:53 with a goal mouth scramble strike after Troy Grosenick made a few saves from in tight but could not find the rebound in the crease. The Sharks found the back of the net at 18:14 with a power play goal by Micheal Haley (10th). Matt Taormina’s point shot hit Bryan Lerg in front of the crease and Haley was able to shuffle the puck past Mike McKenna to even the score. Portland grabbed a 3-1 advantage with a pair of goals in the first seven minutes of the second period. Darian Dziurzynski (5th) fired a shot from the left side that found its way through Grosenick at 3:40 to give Portland a 2-1 advantage. Greg Miller (2nd) connected again after goalie Mike McKenna fired the puck down the right side and Jordan Martinook tracked it down in the corner and centered to Miller who then sent a quick one timer past Grosenick at 6:59. Sharks captain Bryan Lerg jammed home a loose rebound after a strong play to the net by Evan Trupp at 8:49. After great work behind the Pirates net, Ryan Carpenter sent a wraparound attempt towards Mike McKenna and Adam Burish (2nd) flipped home a bouncing puck to even the score at 12:45. Worcester outshot Portland 13-6 in the second period and had a 31-11 advantage through two periods of play. Neither team scored in the third period with Worcester again holding a shot advantage with a 12-7 edge as the game headed to overtime. After the Pirates were denied on a 4-on-3 power play chance, they would strike with a 3-on-3 goal by defenseman Dylan Reese (3rd). Reese fired a shot from the left circle past the glove of Grosenick at 5:45 for the game winner as the Pirates took the 4-3 win on home ice. The Sharks overall record drops to 11-13-3-0, 25pts, and 4-8-1-0, 9pts on the road this season.

2017 vs Reading 1-0 win
(RAILERS) Barry Almeida scored the only goal late in the first period as the Worcester Railers HC (11-9-2-2, 26pts) picked up their season high third straight win in a 1-0 victory over the visiting Reading Royals (14-11-2-0, 30pts) in front of 2,511 fans at the DCU Center on Wednesday night. Mitch Gillam picked up his second shutout of the season with 26 saves in net while Barry Almeida picked up the only score with his sixth goal of the season. Worcester picked up a season high third straight win and improved to 3-1-0-0 vs. the Royals this season. Shots were 9-6 in the opening frame as the Railers scored the only goal with 24 seconds left in the period as Frankie DiChiara sent a shot from the left wall up high that was deflected in front by Barry Almeida (6th) past goaltender Mark Dekanich. Each team went 0-1 on the power play as Mitch Gillam made six saves for Worcester. Worcester outshot Reading 11-7 in a scoreless middle period as neither team really had any grade A scoring chances. The Railers led 1-0 through 40 minutes and held a 21-13 shot advantage through two periods of play. The Royals turned up the heat in the third period as Mitch Gillam made 13 saves to preserve the 1-0 win. Nick Saracino was denied on a breakaway midway through the period as Worcester fired eight more shots in the period.

2019 at Brampton 2-0 Loss
(RAILERS) The Worcester Railers HC (8-17-1-0, 17pts) were shutout vs. the Brampton Beast (17-10-1-0, 35pts) 2-0 on Friday evening in front of 2,272 fans at the CAA Centre. The Railers will play the Beast on Saturday at 4pm from the CAA Centre before heading on holiday break. Ian Milosz made 31 saves in net in his first ever professional game on the road. Brampton got goals from David Vallorani and Jackson Leef while Alex Dubeau made 33 saves for his third shutout of the season, his second vs. Worcester, and his ninth win of the year. It did not take Brampton long to get on the scoreboard as David Vallorani (14th) was able to sneak one past Ian Milosz from behind the goal line just 46 seconds into the first period. It took Worcester about seven minutes in to register their first shot on net as things started to even out with Brampton holding the edge in shots 13-8 through 20 minutes of play and a 1-0 lead. The Railers put on a strong showing in the second period which featured no score but Worcester outshooting Brampton 15-7 in the frame to capture the shot lead 23-20 through 40 minutes of play. Worcester still trailed 1-0 heading into the dressing room. After a spectacular save from Alex Dubeau on Nic Pierog Brampton was able to counter the other way on a three on two rush led by Jackson Leef (6th) who wristed one along from the right circle by the glove of Ian Milosz at 11:16 to give Brampton a 2-0 lead which proved to be the final result. Notes: Three Stars: 3rd star…. Jackson Leef (1-0-1) 2nd star: David Vallorani (1-0-1) 1st star: Alex Dubeau (33 saves, Win) ….final shots were 33-33 …. Alex Dubeau (9-5-0) made 33 saves in net for Brampton.… Ian Milosz (1-1-0) made 31 saves on 33 shots for Worcester while Evan Buitenhuis served as the backup…. Worcester went 0-for-2 on the power play while Brampton went 0-for-4…. Cody Payne, Ross Olsson Anthony Florentino, and Tanner Pond (inj) did not dress for Worcester…. Mike Cornell, David Quenneville, Jakub Skarek, and Linus Soderstrom are currently on recall with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers…. Ivan Chukarov returned to the lineup after not dressing the last five games…. JD Dudek returned to the lineup after missing the last two games…. Nic Pierog led Worcester with five shots on net…. Ryan MacKinnon skated in his 100thpro game his 92ndwith Worcester…. It was the third time this season Worcester had been shutout the first since November 2nd….. Worcester is now 8-10-1-2 all-time vs. the Beast and 3-6-0-2 at the CAA Centre.


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