Today in Worcester hockey history: February 5


1997 at Fredericton 3-2 win OT
The Worcester IceCats gave up two goals in the first 2:15 of the contest but battled back to get the game tied and into overtime, where Terry Virtue scored his first pro career overtime goal to give the ‘Cats a 3-2 win. The Canadiens had just 16 players in the line-up–two under the usual 18 that includes that two goaltenders–but they still came out of the gate on fire as Todd Sparks (1:55) and Miloslav Guren (2:15) gave Fredericton the 2-0 lead. In the second period Konstantin Shafranov got the IceCats within one when he connected on a low shot from about 25-feet out on the power play. Marquis Mathieu and Virtue had the assists on the play. Stephane Roy tied the game at 9:06 when he deflected an Alex Vasilevskii feed into the net. Chris Kenady had the secondary assist on the goal. To overtime the teams would go, where Virtue would fire the puck over a pile of players in front of the net and just under the crossbar for the win at 1:09. Rob Pearson and Chad Dameworth were credited with the assists. Jamie McLennan made 27 saves for the ‘Cats.

1999 at St. John’s 4-3 loss
(ST JOHN’S) Come February, when the days are still short, the snow still deep and the temperatures still low, there are plenty of folks who suffer from mid-winter blahs. Apparently it’s an affliction that can strike an entire team of hockey players as well. Just ask the Worcester IceCats, winless in their last seven games (0-5-2) after falling, 4-3, to the St. John’s Maple Leafs last night. The loss also drops Worcester below the .500 mark, a territory with which it has been unfamiliar this season. Derek Bekar scored twice on the power play, and Andrej Podkonicky added a single marker for the IceCats, who outshot the Leafs, 41-27. But despite carrying the play in the third period when the shots were 13-4 in their favor, the ‘Cats could not find a way to get the tying goal after Bekar’s second of the night midway through the frame brought them to within one. Mark Deyell had two goals and defenseman D.J. Smith and Nathan Dempsey scored once each for St. John’s, which trailed for only 75 seconds of the contest. That was when Bekar scored his first of the night at 7:33 of the second period, banging a rebound through the legs of Leafs goalie Marc Robitaille, the former Northeastern star. However, Smith knotted the score at 8:48, and before the period was over, St. John’s had a two-goal cushion on goals by Deyell and Dempsey. The latter goal, which turned out to be the game-winner, marked the second time a Leafs defenseman was able to sneak down from the blue line, receive a pass and slide a shot past Worcester goalie Brent Johnson. Veteran defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick, who missed the previous seven games because of injury, returned to action for Worcester, but the continued absences of Stephane Roy (hand) and Jason Widmer (knee) were particularly noticeable.

2000 at Louisville 3-1 loss
(TICKER) Richard Shulmistra stopped 47 shots and Peter Ratchuk scored the deciding goal in the first period as the Louisville Panthers defeated the Worcester IceCats, 3-1. Shulmistra, who turned aside the final 35 shots he faced, captured his 12th win of the season. Kirby Law tied the score at 1-1 with 5:53 left in the opening period and Ratchuk snapped the tie 4 1/2 minutes later for Louisville, which has won nine of its last 11 games. Jim Campbell opened the scoring at 9:24 in the first period for Worcester, which outshot the Panthers, 48-29. Cody Rudkowsky had 26 saves for the IceCats.

2003 at Providence 2-2 tie
The Worcester IceCats got two goals from Jason Dawe, and that was good enough to earn a point in a 2-2 tie with the P-Bruins. Andy Hilbert had both Providence goals. Hilbert scored his first at 1:29 of the first period for the 1-0 Baby-Bs lead, and Dawe tied it 16:41. Hilbert made it 2-1 at 6:39 of the second, and Dawe would tie it again at 9:54 of the third. Both Andrew Raycroft and Cody Rudkowsky had 31 saves.

2005 vs Albany 3-2 loss
The Worcester IceCats threw 55 shots on River Rats netminder Ari Ahonen but could only beat him twice in a 3-2 loss to Albany. The River Rats would have a three goal lead halfway through the second period with goals by Ahren Nittel at 8:47 of the opening period, and Dean McAmmond (5:26) and Ivan Khomutov (9:10) scoring in the middle stanza. Jon DiSalvatore scored on the power play, assisted by Dennis Wideman and Jay McClement, at 16:21 to make it 3-1. Peter Sejna would score on a delayed penalty call while shorthanded at 7:59 of the third period, with assist going to McClement and Aaron MacKenzie, but that was as close as the ‘Cats would get. Curtis Sanford started the game and took the loss, stopping 13 of 16 shots. Chris Beckford-Tseu was a perfect seven for seven in just under 30 minutes of play in his only appearance for the IceCats.

2010 vs Lowell 3-0 win
(WORSHARKS) Tyson Sexsmith stopped all 21 shots he faced and the Worcester Sharks once again came through on their promise to win the game as they knocked off the Lowell Devils, 3-0. The Sharks win, coupled with the Monarchs loss in Adirondack, catapults Worcester into first place in the Atlantic Division with 66 points. Andrew Desjardins scored the game-winner early in the second period while Danny Groulx extended his point streak to eight games with a goal and an assist. Neither team was able to muster much offense in the first period of play and the score stayed, 0-0, after the opening twenty minutes. Both teams were 0-2 on the power play. Worcester had the better of the sustained pressure and outshot Lowell, 14-4. As they so often do, Worcester came out with early second period pressure that led to a goal at the 1:37 mark. After a solid Dennis McCauley rush down the right wing kept the puck alive, John McCarthy centered a pass from behind the net onto the stick of Desjardins (13) who tipped one past Jeff Frazee giving Worcester a 1-0 lead. The physical play was ratcheted up a notch leading to a Mike Moore bout with Louis Robitaille with the decision going to Moore. Lowell had multiple opportunities towards the end of the period, but Sexsmith was strong and kept the Devils scoreless through two periods. Worcester held the shot advantage, 16-12. The score remained tight throughout most of the third period until McCauley (7) beat everyone down the ice and scored into an empty net with 59 seconds remaining. Groulx (8) capped the scoring with another empty-netter to make the final, 3-0 Worcester. The Sharks outshot the Devils, 7-5. Worcester’s record improves to 31-14-2-2 (66 points). Worcester now has an eight-game point streak (7-0-1-0).

2011 vs Providence 2-0 win
(WORSHARKS) Carter Hutton made 20 saves for his first professional shutout as the Sharks defeated the Providence Bruins by the score of 2-0 on Saturday evening in front of 6,061 fans at the DCU Center. Joe Loprieno scored his second goal of the season and Brandon Mashinter added an empty netter as the Sharks won their season high 4th straight game. With the win, the Sharks concluded their season long six game home stand 4-1-0-1. Neither team would find the back of the net in a tentative first period as the Sharks outshot the Bruins 11-5. Andrew Desjardins and Joe Colborne dropped the mitts at 11:00 for the only penalties of the opening frame. Brandon Mashinter and Nathan McIver scrapped at 1:43 of the second period in an entertaining bout that ended with McIver hitting the ice. The Sharks were denied on consecutive power plays before finding the back of the net while even strength. Joe Loprieno (2nd) deflected in a Justin Braun shot from the right point past Matt Dalton to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. The Sharks led 1-0 after two periods and outshot the Bruins 20-11 through forty minutes. Carter Hutton made several nice saves in the third period, the best after he stopped Kirk MacDonald on a rebound chance in front of the Sharks net with three minutes remaining. Brandon Mashinter (9th) added an empty net goal for the Sharks first shutout victory of the season. The Sharks record improves to 24-18-2-6 with 56 points (good for 3rd place in the Atlantic Division) and to 14-8-1-3 at the DCU Center.

2013 at St. John’s 3-2 win
(WORSHARKS) The Worcester Sharks (21-18-1-5, 48pts) opened up their season long six game road trip with a hard fought come from behind 3-2 victory over the St. John’s IceCaps (21-23-1-2, 45pts) on Tuesday evening in front of another sellout crowd of 6,287 fans at the Mile One Centre. Bracken Kearns tied the score at 16:42 of the 3rd period with his team leading 7th power play goal and rookie Daniil Tarasov won it with 91 seconds left deflecting home a Tim Kennedy shot from the right circle. Harri Sateri was brilliant making 30 saves for his 9th win of the season as Kennedy (0-3-3) and Kearns (1-2-3) each picked up three points in the win. The Sharks came out blazing in the opening frame and rookie Daniil Tarasov (4th) snapped a wicked shot from inside the right circle with Bracken Kearns setting up a screen on top of the crease on goaltender Eddie Pasquale to give Worcester a 1-0 lead at 1:32. The IceCaps tied the score at 10:05 as captain Jason Jaffrey (7th) scored a breakaway shorthanded goal with a nice move and shot past Harri Sateri. It was a physical first period with Worcester holding a 12-10 shot advantage through 20 minutes. Neither team scored in the middle frame but it was not for the lack of great chances. Harri Sateri made a super stack the pads save on Kevin Clark with 90 seconds left in the period and Eddie Pasquale made a great glove save on a deflected shot off the stick of Tim Kennedy with under 30 seconds left. Each team had 20 shots through 40 minutes with the score tied at 1-1. In the third period, Jason Jaffrey (8th) gave St. John’s a 2-1 lead with a power play deflection score at 6:31 but the Sharks would come barreling back. Bracken Kearns (11th) ripped a shot from in tight on the power play at 16:42 to tie the score at 2-2. After Bracken Kearns made a nice entry into the offensive zone, Tim Kennedy swung the puck towards the net and Daniil Tarasov (5th) was set up perfectly in front of the net to tip it past the shoulder of the IceCaps netminder with 91 seconds remaining to give the Sharks a 3-2 lead. Jason Jaffrey had a great opportunity for the hat trick and to tie the score in the final seconds but Sateri made a sliding glove stop to secure the victory. The Sharks overall record falls to 21-18-1-5 (48pts in 45gp) and 13-9-0-2 (26pts in 24gp) on the road this season.

Cliff Rucker was unanimously approved by the ECHL Board of Governors for an expansion team in Worcester.


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