Today in Worcester hockey history: December 29

25B

1996 vs Springfield 4-1 loss
The Worcester IceCats scored first but the Falcons scored most in a 4-1 ‘Cats loss. Konstantin Shafranov for Worcester on the board at 7:43 when he converted a rebound of Bob Lachance’s shot. Jamie Rivers got the secondary assist. But it was all Springfield after that as Kevin Brown tied it at 11:49 and Brian Mueller gave them the lead at 12:49. In the third period Scott Levins made it 3-1 12:30. Ex-IceCats forward Dallas Eakins added an empty net goal at 19:33 for the 4-1 final. Travis Scott took the loss making 20 saves.

1997 vs Albany 8-5 loss
The Worcester IceCats and Albany Devils did both use goaltenders, although with an 8-5 final it was probably hard to tell. The ‘Cats jumped out to a 2-0 lead with Ivan Ciernik scoring from Mike Prokopec and Robert Petrovicky at 1:32, and Prokopec scoring from Petrovicky and Justin Hocking at 5:04. Albany would have the next two goals in the period to tie it when Sergei Vyshedkevich (11:25) and John Madden (12:11) both scored. Stephane Roy put Worcester back in the lead at 13:48, with Terry Virtue and Jason Zent assisting, but at 14:31 Vyshedkevich scored again to make it 3-3 after 20 minutes. The River Rat would then run off three in a row early in the second period, starting with Steve Brule at :12, Brendan Morrison at 2:57, and finishing with Vadim Sharifijanov at 3:25. Prokopec stopped the bleeding for the ‘Cats at 7:06, with helpers going to Roy and Derek Diener. At 7:10 of the third Jay Pandolfo made it 7-4 Albany, but Ivan Ciernik kept Worcester in the game with a goal assisted by Petrovicky at 10:27. Richard Rochefort hit an empty net at 19:23 for the 8-5 final.

1999 at Hartford 4-1 loss
(TICKER) Jean-Francois Labbe stopped 32 shots and Terry Virtue had the game-winning goal and an assist as the Hartford Wolf Pack defeated the Worcester Ice Cats, 4-1. Labbe turned away all 15 shots he faced in the third period for Hartford, which has won four straight and nine of its last 11 games. Brad Smyth, who leads the team with 35 points, also had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack. Libor Prochazka scored the lone goal for Worcester, which fell to 2-2 against Hartford this season.

2000 at Hartford 4-0 loss
(TICKER) Vitali Yeremeyev made 31 saves and recorded his second shutout of the season as the Hartford Wolf Pack blanked the Worcester IceCats, 4-0. Yeremeyev, who stopped several shots from point-blank range in the early going, improved to 5-5-0 as he picked up the win in his first start since being returned from the New York Rangers earlier this week. Manny Malhotra had a goal and an assist and has four points over his last two games. Bert Robertson, Chris Kenady and Drew Bannister also scored for Hartford, which won its third straight. Cody Rudkowsky turned aside 38 shots in a losing effort for Worcester, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

2001 vs Quebec 6-2 loss
The Worcester IceCats gave up three first period goal and never made up the deficit in a 6-2 loss to the Citadelles. Eric Landry (4:10), Jason Ward (13:06,PP), and Gino Odjick (19:18) all scored on IceCats netminder Reinhard Divis in the first period. With Cody Rudkowsky in goal to start the second period Eric Nickulas scored 44 seconds into the frame, with Jeff Panzer assisting on the four on four goal. In the third period Landry would score on the power play at 7:34 to make it 4-1. With almost four minutes remaining in the game Worcester head coach Don Granato pulled Rudkowsky for an extra attacker, and it paid off quickly when Justin Papineau scored at 16:58. Daniel Tkaczuk and Jame Pollock had the helpers on the goal. But that was all the ‘Cats would get as Marcel Hossa scored a pair of empty net goals (17:28, 18:43) for the 6-2 final.

2002 vs Springfield 1-1 tie
(ICECATS) The Worcester IceCats and Springfield Falcons battled to a 1-1 deadlock Sunday afternoon at Worcester’s Centrum Centre. Worcester’s Mike Van Ryn tied the game with a power play goal in the second period. The tie extended Worcester’s unbeaten string to 2-0-1. In the tail-end of a home-and-home series between the clubs, Worcester trailed early, allowing Falcon Jason Bonsignore to poke home a loose puck 3:58 into the first period. Worcester peppered Patrick DesRochers with 25 shots over the first 40 minutes, solving him only on Van Ryn’s goal. Curtis Sanford backstopped Worcester, and much like his opponent, was called upon to make a series of key saves through the final period and five minutes. Sanford allowed only two goals over the weekend and earned his first shutout of the season Saturday night.

2006 at Manchester 5-3 loss
(MONARCHS) The Manchester Monarchs drowned the Worcester Sharks 5-3 in front of 8,021 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night. The Monarchs drew first blood at 3:26 of the first period. Monarchs left wing Petr Kanko made his return to the line-up known. At 10:37 of the first period the Monarchs struck again, Monarchs center Gabe Gauthier won the face-off in the left face-off circle of the Shark’s zone. The puck went to Monarchs right wing John Zeiler who quickly flipped the puck into the top left corner over Shark’s goaltender Dimitri Patzold to make the score 2-0. Left wing Matt Moulson also had an assist on the goal. The Monarchs were on the scoreboard early once again with a fresh sheet of ice as Gauthier decided to feed Zeiler with his second goal of the game at 2:45. Worcester scored at 5:35 of the second period on a goal by right wing Ashton Rome. Defenseman Dan Spang fired a shot from the left face-off circle. Monarchs goaltender Jason LaBarbera made the initial save with his left pad but the rebound bounced out to Rome who was alone in the slot and put the puck into the net past a recovering LaBarbera. Center Josh Prudden also had an assist on the goal. At 7:54 of the middle stanza, the Sharks dropped the Monarchs lead down to one on a goal by right wing Graham Mink. Defenseman Brennan Evans took a weak shot from the left face-off circle that was deflected by Mink to make the score 3-2. Left wing Mathieu Darche also had an assist on the Shark’s second tally of the night. At 1:36 of the final frame defenseman Bryan Schmidt scored his third goal of the year to bring the score up to 4-2. At 18:07 of the third period, the Sharks brought the game back to within one goal in the hopes of a late comeback. Sharks center Mike Iggulden sent a puck down to Mink in the left corner from the left point. Mink took the puck to the net and tried to stuff it home. Mink was unsuccessful on his first try but was persistent and jammed his second attempt past LaBarbera. Spang also had an assist on the goal that made the score 4-3. At 19:31, Monarchs right wing Tim Jackman shut down all hopes of a Sharks comeback with an empty net goal. The goal was unassisted. LaBarbera earned the win stopping 33 of the 36 shots that he faced. Patzold took the loss blocking 27 shots on 31 attempts. Manchester went 1-for-5 on the power play. Worcester was 1-for-6 with the man advantage.

2007 vs Manchester 3-2 OTL
(WORSHARKS) Three goals from Gabe Gauthier, including an overtime game winner to cap the hat trick, erased a 2-0 Worcester lead as the Sharks fell to the Manchester Monarchs by a 3-2 score at the DCU Center on Saturday night. The opening two periods produced steady positives for the home squad. After being held without a shot on net for the opening five minutes, a hooking call to Monarchs defensemen Jeff Likens gave the Sharks a chance to make up for lost time. Four shots later, Lukas Kaspar gave Worcester the lead on a power play tally at 7:10 of the first period, with assists coming from Tomas Plihal and Dan Spang. For Kaspar, the goal was his fifth in the last seven games. The Sharks shut down Manchester’s top ranked power play twice in the period to take a 1-0 lead into the locker room. A fast-moving second period was contested evenly until matching minor penalties to Graham Mink and Matt Moulson at 16:55 swung momentum in favor of the Sharks. Worcester outshot the Monarchs 4-0 over the final three minutes, with the fourth of those producing the second Sharks goal of the evening. Mink had his hand in on the tally, picking up his 13th assist on Josh Prudden’s third goal of the season, with just 46.2 seconds remaining in the period. Worcester held strong through most of the third period, until Gauthier caught fire with 3:11 remaining in regulation. The redliner scored his 10th and 11th goals to force the game into overtime, including a controversial shorthanded goal with 21 seconds remaining while Brian Boyle served a penalty for interference. The Monarchs dominated in overtime, generating 10 shots on net before Gauthier capped the night by deflecting a shot from Likens past Greiss, who made 43 saves in the loss. Manchester netminder Erik Ersberg stopped 21 shots, but was not forced to make a single save in the overtime period.

2008 vs Portland 3-2 win
(WORSHARKS) Behind three goals from the combination of Lukas Kaspar and Ryan Vesce, the Worcester Sharks avenged Sunday’s loss to Portland with a 3-2 win over the Pirates on Monday evening at the DCU Center. Vesce scored twice in the third period and added an assist on Kaspar’s first-period tally while Kaspar scored in the first and assisted on both Vesce scores. Matt Fornataro was also credited with two assists. The Sharks quickly got on the board when Kaspar lit the lamp for the sixth time this season. Vesce made the pass from the back boards to Kaspar who was stationed in between the faceoff circles. His shot beat Portland goalie Johnas Enroth low on the glove side for the 1-0 lead only 1:31 into the contest. Fornataro picked up the other assist on the play. Portland took advantage of a full two minutes of a 5-on-3 late in the third period to tie the score at one heading into the second intermission. Referee Terry Koharski called Kaspar for a slash along with a bench minor for too many men on the ice as a scuffle nearly ensued at the 18:25 mark. The Pirates’ Marc-Andre Gragnani converted with his third of the season at 19:36, beating Worcester goaltender Taylor Dakers inside the right post. Vesce scored his ninth goal of the year at 1:24 of the third period to propel the Sharks back ahead, 2-1. With their second power play to work with, T.J. Fox made a pass from behind the net to Kaspar, who then swung it across the crease to Vesce for the score. The Kaspar-Vesce magic continued at 8:05 of the third period when Kaspar sped down the left wing side. After circling behind the net, he fed the puck in front where Fornataro made the touch over to Vesce stationed at the side of the crease. The Worcester captain finished for his second of the period and 10th of the season. It only took Portland 1:20 to get back within one as Marek Zagrapan sped down the right wing side, absorbed a hit from Mike Moore, then made a move around Dakers to force him to commit before sliding the puck into the open goal. Gragani was credited with the only assist on the play. Dakers and the Sharks’ defense stood strong the rest of the way for the 3-2 victory.

2009 vs Manchester 5-2 win
(WORSHARKS) The Worcester Sharks opened up a 3-0 lead and never looked back in an impressive 5-2 win over the first place Manchester Monarchs at the DCU Center on Tuesday night. It was the third straight victory for the Sharks as they closed out their five game home stand 4-1-0-0 and currently sit in 4th place in the Atlantic Division. John McCarthy extended his point streak to five games (4-2-6) with his 6th goal of the season, Benn Ferriero added a goal and an assist, and Steven Zalewski scored twice (11th and 12th) as the Sharks won for the 11th time in their last 14 games. After killing off an early too many men on the ice penalty, the Sharks struck first on just their 2nd shot of the game as Steven Zalewski scored his 11th of the season with a sweeping shot from 45 feet center past Jonathan Bernier just six seconds into the Sharks first power play at 5:56. Benn Ferriero extended his point streak to five games (3-6-9) with his 7th strike of the season at 7:28 with All-Stars Danny Groulx and Logan Couture chipping in with assists. The Sharks led 2-0 after the first period outshooting the Monarchs 15-6 after twenty minutes. With Alex Stalock pulled on a delayed penalty, John McCarthy gave the Sharks a 3-0 advantage after deflecting in a wrist shot from Nick Petrecki past Bernier at 5:08 of the 2nd period. Dan DaSilva extended his point streak to four games (1-4-5) with the 2nd assist on the play. Patrick Mullen got the Monarchs on the board at 12:25 on the power play with a wrist shot from the right point. Steven Zalewski added his 2nd of the game and gave the Sharks a three goal lead again at 18:05. The Sharks led 4-1 after forty minutes outshooting the Monarchs 33-10. Juraj Mikus got the Monarchs back to within two goals with another power play strike at 2:13 of the third period. The Sharks shored things up defensively the rest of the way and Dennis McCauley (2nd goal) finished the Monarchs off with an empty net goal at 18:59. With the win, the Sharks move to 19-12-0-2 (40 points) on the season and currently sit in 4th place in the Atlantic Division. Worcester has a three game winning streak.

2010 at Springfield 3-2 win SO
(WORSHARKS) Sharks rookie forward James Marcou scored in the 5th round of the shootout as the Sharks snapped their three game slide with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Falcons in Springfield on Wednesday evening at the Mass Mutual Center. Alex Stalock made 25 saves and Jonathan Cheechoo extended his point streak to four games with an assist in his return to the lineup as the Sharks played their first game in ten days. Despite playing their first game in ten days, the Sharks came out with authority in the first period grabbing a 2-0 lead while outshooting the Falcons 14-4 in the opening through 20 minutes. Steve Zalewski (2nd) fired a puck past Gustaf Wesslau from in close after a great pass by Jonathan Cheechoo just 90 seconds into the contest. Worcester took a 2-0 lead after Dan DaSilva (6th) collected a deflected shot and faked out the Falcons’ goaltender and lifted the puck into the net at 11:57. Mike Moore challenged Tom Sestito at 15:04 after the Falcons’ tough guy went after Jonathan Cheechoo in the Sharks zone. Moore and Sestito exchanged several blows in the lengthy battle to close out the opening period. Springfield got on the board at 13:41 of the 2nd period as Mike Blunden (12th) snapped the puck past Alex Stalock from the right circle after a steal in the Sharks zone. The Sharks fired 19 shots in the middle frame aided by three power plays but could not find the back of the net. Worcester led 2-1 after 40 minutes outshooting the Falcons 33-13. The Falcons’ Trevor Frischmon (3rd) tied the score at 12:22 in the 3rd period after a goal mouth scramble in front of Stalock. Springfield had several great chances in the final period but Stalock made several nice stops including denying Maksim Mayorov on a breakaway to force overtime. After a scoreless overtime, the Sharks scored three times in the shootout (Cheechoo, Quirk, and Marcou) while Stalock made three saves in net for Worcester. The Sharks record improves to 16-10-2-4 with 38 points and to 8-6-1-3 away from the DCU Center.

2012 vs Providence 3-2 win
(WORSHARKS) The Worcester Sharks (16-11-1-2, 35pts), playing in their twelfth straight one goal game (7-4-0-1), defeated the Providence Bruins (16-11-0-2, 34pts) 3-2 on Saturday evening in front of a sellout crowd of 6,503 fans at the DCU Center in a snowy Worcester, Massachusetts. Brandon Mashinter (2nd) beat Providence goaltender Michael Hutchinson on a point blank chance out in front with just 3:37 remaining, giving the Sharks a 3-2 win. Worcester has been no stranger to late-game heroics, as they have scored three late game-winning goals in their past four games. Sebastian Stalberg (6th) and Brodie Reid (5th) also scored for the Sharks in the victory. Alex Stalock was sensational in net, stopping 30 of 32 Providence shots for the win. Stalock is now 4-0-1 against the Bruins this season. After a slow start to the game, the play started to pick up towards the end of the first period. Chris Bourque (7th) got the Bruins on the board first at 18:10, when he collected a rebound and tucked it past Alex Stalock right after a Worcester penalty expired, giving Providence a 1-0 lead. Just over a minute and a half later, the Sharks found the equalizer. Sebastian Stalberg (6th) capitalized on a Providence turnover in its own end, collecting the puck and rifling it top shelf over the shoulder of Michael Hutchinson. Justin Florek (3rd) broke the tie at 7:55 of the second period. After the Sharks failed to get the puck out of their zone, Florek collected a rebound off of a shot from the point and buried it to the back of the net, giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead. However, the Sharks had the answer once again in the final minute of the period. At 19:36, Brodie Reid (5th) scored on a shot that seemed to be from a nearly impossible angle, banking the puck off of Michael Hutchinson from the goal line in the corner, evening the game 2-2. Each team failed to convert on two power play chances in the period. Both teams came out strong defensively in the third, minimizing chances for a good chunk of the period. The Sharks relentless attack was finally able to break through late. At 16:23 of the third period, Brandon Mashinter (2nd) got a feed from Brodie Reid out in front of the net and buried it by Michael Hutchinson, giving the Sharks a 3-2 lead. The Sharks fought off a Providence attack late after they pulled Hutchinson to secure the victory. The Sharks overall record improves to 16-11-1-2 (35pts in 30gp) and 7-5-1-1 at DCU Center this season.

2018 vs Maine 3-1 loss
(RAILERS) The Worcester Railers HC (13-14-3-2, 31pts) closed out the 2018 calendar year schedule with a 3-1 loss to the visiting Maine Mariners (18-11-0-1, 37pts) in front of 5,600 fans at the DCU Center on Saturday evening. Nick Sorkin ruined Hannu Toivonen’s shutout bid with 1:36 left in the third period as Maine got goals from Morgan Adams-Moisan, Greg Chase, and Mike McNicholas to grab their 6th straight victory. Evan Buitenhuis made 22 saves in net in the loss for Worcester as the Railers fell back to under .500. Fireworks right off the opening faceoff between Yannick Turcotte and Louie Rowe set the tone for Saturday night hockey between the two North Division rivals as Turcotte scored the early takedown. Morgan Adams-Moisan (7th) deflected a shot from the point into the net at 12:43 and Greg Chase (5th) raced to the net and deflected a centering feed past Evan Buitenhuis at 16:24 to put the Railers down 2-0. Mike McNicholas (8th) scored on the power play at 16:00 of the second period after he found a loose puck in the left slot to put the Mariners ahead 3-0. Worcester outshot Maine 16-10 in the middle frame and held a 26-19 advantage through 40 minutes of play but trailed by three goals into the second intermission. Worcester would press a bit in the third period and outshot Maine 16-6 in the process. Nick Sorkin (7th) would finally get the Railers on the board at 18:24 after Woody Hudson won the puck behind the net and zipped it in front to Sorkin. It was too little too late as Maine held on for the 3-1 road victory. [210Sports note: in the game Toivonen became the goaltender to play against the IceCats, WorSharks, and Railers]

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