Today in Worcester hockey history: February 18


1996 at Portland 4-1 loss
The Worcester IceCats fired 40 shots on Pirates netminder Olaf Kolzig, who was down on a rehab assignment from the Washington Capitals, but could only beat him once in a 4-1 loss in Portland. Alexander Kharlamov got the pirates on the board at 9:28 of the opening period with a power play goal, and then Ken Sutton answered back with a ‘Cats power play marker at 12:27. Marquis Mathieu had the assist on the play. But Olie the Goalie took charge from that point and that was all the offense for Worcester. Norm Batherson gave the Pirates the lead at 12:24 of the middle period, and Darren McAusland added an insurance goal 18 seconds later. Martin Gendron had a power play marker at 15:26 of the third for the 4-1 final. Mike Buzak made 19 saves in the loss.

1997 vs Providence 5-3 win
The Worcester IceCats opened up a 4-1 lead and then withstood a furious Bruins comeback before defeating the Baby-Bs 5-3. Rob Pearson gave the ‘Cats the lead at 3:07 on the power play, with Jamie Rivers and Konstantin Shafranov assisting. Mike Maneluk made it 2-0 at 8:35, assisted by Terry Virtue. At 13:54 Todd Elik would grab a shorthanded goal to cut the Worcester lead in half. In the second Alex Vasilevskii made it 3-1 at 14:11, with Stephane Roy and Chris Kenady earning points. In the third period Bob Lachance scored a power play goal, at 1:52 assisted by Kevin Hilton and Mike Maneluk, for the three goal lead. Providence made a game of it with goals by John Gruden (4:59) and David Emma (13:12), but that would be all they’d get. Pearson added an empty net goal at 19:29, assisted by Lachance and Marquis Mathieu, for the 5-3 final. Mike Buzak made 32 saves in the win, and was credited with a shot on goal in the first period.

1998 vs Fredericton 6-3 loss
The Worcester IceCats gave up two goals in every frame in a 6-3 loss to the Canadiens. Jamal Mayers gave the ‘Cats the lead at 3:22 of the opening period on a power play goal, with Mike Prokopec and Nick Naumenko earning assists. Jonathan Delisle would tie it for Fredericton at 14:48, and then Jason Zent would give Worcester its lead back at 15:44 with Ricard Persson and Bob Lachance getting helpers. At 19:10 Eric Houde would tie the game again for the Canadiens. Fredericton took the lead 31 seconds into the middle period on a goal by Eric Belanger, and Terry Ryan made it a two goal lead 9:53. Houde connected again at 10:45 to make it 5-2. Prokopec stopped the bleeding at 18:51, with Mayers and Michal Handzus getting assists. Chris Schmidt would score into an empty net at 19:31 for the 6-3 final.

2000 at Springfield 3-2 win
(TICKER) Derek Bekar collected two assists as the Worcester IceCats edged the Springfield Falcons, 3-2. Bekar set up Reed Low’s shorthanded goal with 4:44 left in the second period, forging a 1-1 tie. He also assisted on Jim Campbell’s tally just over three minutes later. Ladislav Nagy scored what the eventual game-winner 25 seconds into the second period for the IceCats, who improved to 4-0-1 against Springfield this season. Eric Houde and Craig Mills scored for the Falcons, who fell to 4-11 in one-goal decisions.

2005 at Hartford 4-1 loss
The Worcester IceCats and Hartford Wolf Pack combined for 101 penalty minutes in a Friday night contest at the XL Center, with the Cat’s coming out on the wrong end of a 4-1 final. After a scoreless first period Chad Wiseman scored a shorthanded goal at 1:19 of the middle stanza to give Hartford the lead. Jozef Balej made it 2-0 with a goal at 4:37. In the third period Jeff Hamilton made it a three goal lead at 3:40. Ryan Ramsay spoiled Jason LaBarbera’s shutout bid with a power play goal, assisted by Brendan Brooks and Dennis Wideman, at 17:29. Dominic Moore had an empty net score with six seconds left for the 4-1 final.

2007 at Portland 4-1 loss
(WORSHARKS) Sebastien Caron provided 26-saves for the Portland Pirates in a 4-1 victory of the Sharks. Mike Iggulden registered the only goal of the game for the Sharks who finish their eight-game road trip on Wednesday at Lowell.

2011 at Albany 5-4 loss
(WORSHARKS) The Sharks led 4-1 midway through the third period but Albany came roaring back aided by three late power plays as Worcester fell 5-4 to the Devils on Friday evening at the Times Union Center. Former Shark Steve Zalewski scored with just five seconds remaining in the game to complete the comeback for Albany on home ice. Jonathan Cheechoo scored twice and Jeff Jakaitis made 40 saves in net in his Sharks debut in just his 2nd AHL game. It was only the 5th time in 26 games that the Sharks lost in regulation after scoring the first goal of the game (20-5-0-1). Jamie McGinn (1-1-2), Justin Braun (1-1-2), and Mike Swift (0-2-2) all recorded two points in the Sharks 2nd straight loss on the road. Neither team could find the back of the net in the opening frame with Sharks goaltender Jeff Jakaitis making ten saves and Dave Caruso turning away eight Worcester shots for the Devils. Each team had several odd man rushes but was unable to convert in the first period. Jonathan Cheechoo (16th) scored in his 2nd straight game for the Sharks as he roofed a rebound chance past Dave Caruso at 1:37 of the 2nd period to give Worcester a 1-0 lead. Mike Swift picked up his first point as a Shark with an assist on the score. Jamie McGinn (3rd) deflected in a Sean Sullivan wrist shot from the left circle on the power play that snuck over Caruso’s shoulder and just found room inside the top far corner to give Worcester a 2-0 lead. Devils captain Stephen Gionta (9th) sent a wrister by Jeff Jakaitis from the left circle after a nice feed by former Shark Steve Zalewski at 12:46 to get Albany on the board. The Sharks lit the lamp again on the power play as Justin Braun (5th) kept in a clearing attempt and sent a laser snap shot from on top of the left circle to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead at 17:31. Mike Moore and John McCarthy each dropped the mitts for Worcester in a feisty middle frame as the Sharks led by two goals after forty minutes of play. In the third period, Jonathan Cheechoo (17th) banged home another loose rebound at 8:27 after Mike Swift was denied by Caruso to put Worcester ahead 4-1. After Frazer McLaren and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblonde fought at 10:39 things went quickly downhill for the Sharks as the Devils scored four goals unanswered. Brad Mills (8th) started the comeback at 10:56 with an unassisted goal after a turnover in the Sharks zone. Matt Anderson (17th) struck on the power play at 12:40 to pull the Devils within a goal. With Caruso on the bench for an extra attacker, Adam Henrique (17th) tied the score with 53 seconds remaining after he jammed the puck past Jakaitis. After a brief scrum in the Albany end, the Devils were awarded another power play and former Shark Steve Zalewski buried a loose puck into the net with five seconds remaining to win the game for the Devils 5-4. The 4th place Sharks record falls to 25-20-2-6 with 58 points and to 11-12-1-3 on the road.

2012 at Connecticut 3-1 loss
(WORSHARKS) Jimmy Bonneau scored his second goal of the season but Worcester allowed two goals midway through third period within a 57 second span as the Sharks fell 3-1 to the Connecticut Whale at the XL Center on Saturday night. Tyson Sexsmith made 35 saves in goal for Worcester, including 19 saves in the second period. Worcester outshot the Whale 13-6 in a scoreless opening frame with Brodie Reid having the best chance to light the lamp for the Sharks in the final minute of the period. Tyson Sexsmith made a terrific stop on Casey Wellman’s rebound try in a choppy first period. Matt Pelech (9th FM) fought Jared Nightingale (7th FM) at 14:42 for the only real excitement through 20 minutes of play. Tyson Sexsmith was sensational with 19 saves in the second period and the Sharks received the only score from an unlikely source. Worcester Sharks tough guy Jimmy Bonneau (2nd) maneuvered around Whale defenseman Wade Redden and back handed a bouncing puck over the shoulder of Cam Talbot to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 6:59. Matt Irwin extended his point streak to four games (0-5-5) with an assist on the tally. The Sharks led 1-0 after 40 minutes and had a 26-25 shot advantage. The Connecticut Whale struck for two goals within a 57 second span midway through the third period to take a 2-1 lead. Andreas Thuresson (11th) tied the score at 1-1 with a 2nd rebound chance at 8:52 past Tyson Sexsmith. Kris Newbury (19th) put the Whale ahead 2-1 at 9:49, finishing off a nice 2-on-1 rush with Andre Deveaux. After Jack Combs was denied point blank by goaltender Cam Talbot, Casey Wellman (17th) was rewarded a goal after he was taken down by Matt Irwin on an empty net breakaway to seal the deal at 19:23. Worcester’s record falls to 23-17-4-5 (55pts in 49gp) and 11-8-4-3 away from the DCU Center.

2022 at Utah 4-1 win
(RAILERS) The Worcester Railers HC (19-19-2-1, 41pts) beat the Utah Grizzlies (29-16-2-1, 61pts), on Friday night by the final score of 4-1 in front of a crowd of 4376 at the Maverik Center. The Railers are back at the Maverik Center again against the Utah Grizzlies on Saturday, February 19th at 9:10 p.m. EST. Worcester opened up scoring in the first as Reece Newkirk (2-1-3) tapped in a rebound out in front to beat Trent Miner and give the Railers the 1-0 lead. Utah would tie it at one early in the second, before Anthony Repaci (1-0-1) finished an up-ice rush alongside Cole Coskey (0-1-1) and Newkirk on the power play to put Worcester back in front, 2-1. Newkirk would add his second goal and third point of the night late in the second on a wrist shot from the right circle to extend the Railers lead to 3-1 going into the third. Austin Osmanski (1-0-1) potted the empty netter at the end of the third to give the game its final score of 4-1. For the fifth straight game, Worcester found themselves with the 1-0 lead after Reece Newkirk (4th) potted a rebound off of Trent Miner, 6:04 into the first period. Worcester would get the game’s first power play at 13:26 of the first period on Grizzlies defenseman Shane Kuzmeski’s hooking penalty, but came up empty on the opportunity. Utah would get their own chance on the man advantage late in the period as Connor McCarthy went to the box on a holding call with 1:37 to go in the period. Worcester was able to keep Utah off of the board for the remainder of the frame, and went into the locker room with the 1-0 lead, and 23 seconds left on McCarthy’s penalty. The Railers dominated the flow of play in the first period as they outshot the Grizzlies 14-4 through twenty. Utah came out buzzing in the second period, and would tie the game before the Railers would even get a shot off. Luka Burzan (5th) received a feed backdoor from Benjamin Tardif to beat Colten Ellis and make it 1-1, just 3:29 into the second. Worcester would respond on the power play just 2:55 later as Anthony Repaci (15th) finished an up-ice rush alongside fellow forwards Cole Coskey and Reece Newkirk, giving Worcester back the 2-1 lead with 13:36 left in the frame. The Railers would bolster their lead with 3:42 left in the period as Reece Newkirk (5th) glided into the attacking end and unleashed a wrister from the right circle past Miner. Worcester would lead 3-1 going into the third period. Shots in the second were in favor of Utah 13-8, and favored the Railers 22-17 for the game. The end-to-end play through the first 40 minutes caught up to both teams in the third, as the pace slowed considerably in the final frame. Utah had three chances on the power play in the period thanks to a high-sticking penalty from Blake Christensen, and tripping penalties from Nick Albano and Jacob Hayhurst, but were unable to convert on all three power plays. With the Utah net empty and just 24 seconds remaining in regulation, Railers defenseman Austin Osmanski sent the puck all the way down the ice from his own blueline to make it a 4-1 game and secure the win. Shots favored Utah 12-8 in the third, and Worcester 30-29 for the game. Notes: Three Stars: 3rd Star: Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman (0-2-2, +2, 4 shots), 2nd Star: Anthony Repaci (1-0-1, GWG, 4 shots), 1st Star: Reece Newkirk (2-1-3, +2, 4 shots)… Final shots were 30-29 in favor of Worcester… Trent Miner (11-6-4) made 26 saves on 30 shots for Utah… Colten Ellis (10-3-2) made 28 saves on 29 shots for Worcester, while Jimmy Poreda served as the backup… Worcester went 1-for-3 on the power play while Utah went 1-for-7… Will Cullen (DNP), Ethan Price (DNP), Chris Ordoobadi (DNP), John Furgele (IR), Bobby Butler (IR), and Grant Jozefek (IR) did not dress for Worcester… Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman recorded his team leading 11th multi-point game of the season… Reece Newkirk is now on a three-game point streak… Nick Albano, Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman, Reece Newkirk, and Anthony Repaci each led the Railers in shots with 4… The Railers are now 3-0-1-0 all-time vs. the Grizzlies and 2-0-1-0 at the Maverik Center against Utah.

2023 at Norfolk, game suspended after first period.
The game between the Worcester Railers and Norfolk Admirals was suspended after the first period when ice issues made it unsafe to continue playing. The game was restarted the next day.


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