Today in Worcester hockey history: March 4


1995 at Springfield 4-2 loss
The Worcester IceCats fell behind 3-0 and that was a hole too deep to climb out of in a 4-2 loss to the Falcons. Kevin Smyth opened the scoring for Springfield at 6:26 of the first period. Robert Petrovicky converted on a five on three power play at 8:53 to make it 2-0. Dale Junkin made it a three goal lead at 13:46. Shawn Heaphy got a little luck about four minutes later when his 70-foot blast was deflected and netminder Stephane Beauregard didn’t have time to react. Cal McGowan scored for Worcester at 6:34 of the middle stanza, with assists going to Blair Atcheynum and Denis Chalifoux, to make it a one goal game. But Rob Murray scored at 10:05 to kill any comeback hopes. Wayne Cowley took the loss in net.

1998 at Hartford 6-3 loss
The Worcester IceCats grabbed an early first period lead and then couldn’t really get anything going in a 6-3 loss to the Wolf Pack. Lubos Bartecko gave the ‘Cats that lead after Michal Handzus helped steal the puck at the blue line and sent his fellow rookie forward in all alone on goal at 2:26. Shayne Toporowski had the secondary assist. Hartford then grabbed the next three goals, from Christian Dube at 6:55, Brad Smyth unassisted at 9:46, and Daniel Goneau at 14:53. The IceCats would stop the bleeding when Jamal Mayers and Pack netminder Robb Stauber both raced after a loose puck. Mayers won the race easily, and with Stauber diving back to his crease Mayers found Mike Prokopec all alone in front for the easy goal at 16:28. In the second period Goneau scored at 11:26 to make it 4-2. In the third Prokopec got Worcester within one when he slipped the puck just inside the far post at at 6:59, with Bob Lachance assisting. But Hartford didn’t fold, and made it a two goal lead at 8:45 with Johan Lindbom’s only career AHL goal. Goneau completed his hat trick at 10:03 for the 6-3 final. Brent Johnson made 40 saves in the game.

2000 vs Springfield 4-3 OTL
(TICKER) Eric Houde scored midway through overtime to lift the Springfield Falcons past the Worcester Ice Cats, 4-3. Houde, who has four goals over the last four contests, helped Springfield snap a two-game losing streak. Sylvain Daigle earned his first win in 10 games by making 40 saves, including three in overtime. Jean-Guy Trudel scored a pair of goals for the Falcons, who led 3-1 heading into the third. Bryan Helmer, who assisted on Daniel Corso’s third period tally, tied the contest six minutes into the final frame for Worcester. Brent Johnson collected 28 saves in defeat for the Ice Cats, who have dropped three of their last four games.

2001 vs Portland 2-1 loss
The Worcester IceCats fired 41 shots on Pirates netminder Sebastien Charpentier but could only beat him once in a 2-1 loss to Portland. The Pirates jumped out to a two goal lead on strikes by Jeff Nelson at 5:45 of the first period and David Emma at 10:13 of the second. Marc Brown got the ‘Cats within one at 4:38 of the third period, with an assist going to Peter Smrek, but that was as close as Worcester could get. Dwayne Roloson made 25 saves in the loss.

2007 vs Springfield 3-2 SOL
(FALCONS) Looking to bounce back from their loss four days earlier, the Falcons traveled back to Worcester. Adam Henrich opened the scoring with his third of the season. The Sharks wasted no time to react as Graham Mink tied the score 15-seconds later. Ashton Rome put the Sharks up 2-1 with an unassisted goal one minute into the second period. The Falcons battled back and got a power play goal from P. J. Atherton, his first of the year. After a scoreless third period and overtime, the game went into a shootout. Both Karri Ramo and Thomas Greiss were strong not allowing a goal through seven rounds. In the eighth round, Daniel Corso put an end to the game as he found the back of the net.

2009 at Hartford 3-1 loss
(WORSHARKS) A shorthanded Sharks club outshot the Wolf Pack 35-29 but could only find the back of the net once against the goaltender of the month of February, Matt Zaba in a 3-1 loss in Hartford on Wednesday. Thomas Greiss held down the fort for most of the first period looking very sharp in net for the Sharks. But the Wolf Pack would score at 19:46 as Mark Bell, playing in his first game in a Wolf Pack uniform fired a puck into an empty net after P.A. Parenteau broke down the right wing and drew Greiss out of the net before sending the puck in front for Bell to give the Wolf Pack a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Shots were 12-6 in favor of Harford. Artem Anisimov gave the Wolf Pack a 2-0 lead on the opening shift of the 2nd period scoring his 25th of the season at: 26 seconds. The Sharks would get the goal back striking on the power play. With a faceoff deep in the Hartford zone, Ryan Vesce won the puck cleanly back to Derek Joslin who fired a wrist shot from the point through traffic and between the pads of Matt Zaba at 3:12. Neither team would find the back of the net the rest of the period as Greiss and Zaba stood their ground. The Sharks trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes and were outshot 22-17. Anisimov would add insurance in the 3rd period connecting on a power play goal after a nice feed from Mark Bell at 6:11 to give Hartford a 3-1 lead. Matt Zaba would make several great saves stopping all 18 shots the Sharks threw his way in the final period. The loss drops Worcester’s record to 30-27-1-2 with 53 points, just one point behind the 5th place Lowell Devils and three points behind the 4th place Manchester Monarchs.

2011 vs Manchester 3-2 OTL
(WORSHARKS) The Sharks jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead but the Monarchs would score three unanswered goals, as Worcester fell 3-2 in overtime at the DCU Center on Friday night. Benn Ferriero and Andrew Desjardins each netted goals and Tyson Sexsmith made 28 saves for Worcester. The game featured three fights and a nine person brawl in the second period but concluded at 3:24 of the overtime period with the 17th goal of the season by Oscar Moller. The first period was fast paced and hard hitting with plenty of offensive opportunities on both sides. Worcester would strike first when forward Benn Ferriero (13th) sniped a goal from the right circle at the 9:18 mark. Sharks forward Andrew Desjardins (12th) would get in on the action with one minute to play in the period, driving home the second goal of the game from the top of the slot after a terrific rush with Kevin Henderson and Dan DaSilva. Worcester led 2-0 after 20 minutes outshooting Manchester 11-9. The intensity built throughout the first period and exploded in the second with a massive brawl out in front of the net after the Monarchs charged Tyson Sexsmith. The brawl saw Andrew Desjardins and Matt Irwin for Worcester, and David Kolomatis and Jordan Nolan for the Monarchs all go to the box for fighting. The brawl also resulted in a game misconduct penalty against Monarch’s forward Corey Elkins who was ejected from the game for the third man in. At the 17:21 mark, the Monarchs capitalized on their third power play of the night, when forward Brandon Kozun (20th) backhanded the puck into a vacated net. The Sharks lead the Monarchs 2-1 at the end of two periods played. The Sharks and Monarchs combined for 18 shots on goal in the 3rd period, both teams with 9 shots on net. Tommy Wingels and Bud Holloway dropped the mitts at the 11:04 mark in an entertaining bout. Less than a minute later, Sharks killer Viatcheslav Voynov (13th) drove home the game-tying goal with a blast off the post from 45 feet at the 12:09 mark to force overtime. Oscar Moller completed the comeback for Manchester with an unassisted goal in overtime at 3:24 after he rushed down the right wing and zipped the puck over the shoulder of Sexsmith. The Sharks record falls to 27-22-4-8 with 66 points and to 15-9-2-4 at the DCU Center. Worcester is currently tied with the 3rd place CT Whale for the last guaranteed playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

2012 at Portland 3-2 SOL
(WORSHARKS) Tim Kennedy scored twice for Worcester, including the game tying goal with 11.5 seconds left in the third period as the Sharks dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Portland Pirates at Cumberland County Civic Center on Sunday afternoon. Tyson Sexsmith was sharp making 18 saves for the Sharks as Worcester barreled back from a 2-0 deficit to grab a huge point on the road. The Sharks return home to kick off a five game home stand with a 7pm battle vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Tuesday night at the DCU Center. Despite only 16 total shots fired in the opening frame, Tyson Sexsmith and Justin Pogge made some big saves at each end in the first period. Newly acquired forward Kenndal McArdle (8th) gave Portland a 1-0 advantage as he ripped a shot over the shoulder of Sexsmith from three feet on top of the Worcester crease at 8:58 for the only score through 20 minutes. Brett Sterling (23rd) gave Portland a 2-0 lead on the power play at 10:30 as he knocked in a back door pass by Alexandre Bolduc through the crease and past Tyson Sexsmith. The Sharks finally got on the board with 22.2 seconds remaining after Justin Pogge’s clearing attempt was intercepted by Tim Kennedy (7th) at the left circle and buried past his glove to get Worcester within a score after 40 minutes of play. Worcester held a 25-13 shot advantage through two periods. In the third period, a wild brawl broke out at 13:49 that at one time involved all 12 skaters deep in the Portland Pirates zone that resulted in 48 penalty minutes between the two clubs. The Sharks would tie the score late as former Portland Pirate Tim Kennedy (8th) ripped a rebound from a mad scramble in front of the Portland net past Justin Pogge with the extra attacker to force overtime at 19:48. John McCarthy rang a rebound chance off the post in overtime as the Sharks had several chances to win the game in the five minute period before heading to the shootout. Brandon Mashinter scored the only goal in the shootout for Worcester as the Pirates pulled way with three scores to take away the 3-2 victory. Worcester’s record falls to 25-20-4-7, with 61pts and currently percentage points ahead of the Manchester Monarchs for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with four games in hand.

2018 vs Manchester 4-1 loss
(RAILERS) The Worcester Railers HC (26-24-4-3, 59pts) dropped a 4-1 decision to the visiting Manchester Monarchs (34-20-3-2, 73pts) in front of 4,015 fans at the DCU Center on Sunday afternoon. Will King made 21 saves in his first start of the season for Worcester while Matt Lane scored the only goal as the Railers. Manchester scored three times in the second period and got 30 saves from goaltender Evan Cowley as the Monarchs snapped out of a season high five game losing skid. Worcester came out buzzing in the first period and grabbed a 1-0 lead as Matt Lane (9th) found a loose puck in the slot and fired it past goaltender Evan Cowley at 10:20 with Kyle McKenzie and Ryan MacKinnon picking up the assists. Shots were 11-4 in favor of Worcester through 20 minutes of play as netminder Will King stood his ground for the Railers. Manchester turned around things in the second period as they scored three goals on nine shots to take a 3-1 advantage. Rob Hamilton (3rd) at 2:54, Keegan Iverson (6th) on the power play at 8:36, and Matt Schmalz (18th) at 12:01 all lit the lamp for the Monarchs. Worcester fired just six shots in the middle period despite having three power play opportunities. The Railers trailed 3-1 after 40 minutes despite having a 17-13 shot advantage headed into the second intermission. Evan Cowley made 14 more saves in the third period for Manchester while Spencer Watson (17th) added an empty net goal at 18:41 to seal the 4-1 road victory for the visiting club.

2022 vs Reading 5-3 loss
(RAILERS) The Railers kicked started a home three-in-three weekend Friday night falling 5-3 to the top ranked team in the North Division the Reading Royals. The game was the Railers’ first at home since returning from a seven-game road trip that was the second best long road trip in Worcester hockey history. The team went 4-1-2 on the journey, good for 10 points. The only better one was turned in by the Sharks, who were 5-1-1 for 11 points in seven games in February, 2011. Worcester’s homestand continues with two critical games against the Maine Mariners, who are likely to be locked in a game-by-game battle for a playoff spot with the Railers. The teams play Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Playoff positions will be decided by percentages, not points, so these will not technically be classic four-point games. However, if the Railers win both their winning percentage would improve to .530 while Maine’s would drop to .490. If it goes the other way, the Mariners would be at .529, Worcester at .490. Five different Royals scored while Worcester got a pair of goals from Blake Christensen and another from newcomer Mitchell Balmas. Balmas, a very highly regarded prospect, assisted on both Christensen goals for a 1-2-3 Worcester debut. Cole Coskey assisted on all three Worcester goals. The Royals have the second-best record in the ECHL and went into the night with a six-game unbeaten streak so the last thing Worcester wanted to do was fall behind. That was the first thing the Railers did, though, as they went into the second period with a 3-0 deficit. The Royals put three of their nine shots past goaltender Jimmy Poreda while Worcester did virtually nothing offensively until Anthony Repaci was stopped on a breakaway with 20 seconds left in the period. “We didn’t compete and I really don’t know why,” coach David Cunniff said. “I thought we had a good pre-game skate but when the puck dropped we lost every race, we lost every puck battle.” The Reading goals were scored by Jackson Cressey at 12:56, Dominic Cormier at 15:16 and Patrick Bajkov at 17:36. Bajkov’s goal was his ninth in nine games versus Worcester this season. The Railers had more energy in the second and outshot the Royals, 14-9, but were outscored by 2-1. Brad Morrison made it a 4-1 game at 14:46, then Balmas ended Logan Flodell’s shutout bid at 17:36. So much for momentum — Garrett Cockerill scored for Reading at 19:42 and it was 5-1 after 40 minutes. Christensen scored at 8:10 and 13:38 of the third period but the Railers ran out of time. MAKING TRACKS_Balmas is the fifth Railer this season to score in his first game for Worcester, the 17th all-time… Worcester players have recorded hat tricks 55 times through the years and city teams are 51-2-2 in those games. Ross Olsson has two this season. He is just the fourth Worcester player ever with more than one in a year and first since Eric Boguniecki did it for the IceCats in 2001-02. Jim Campbell had two in 1990-00 and Fred Knipscheer had four in 1995-96. … Brent Beaudoin has played 40 pro games without being called for a penalty. The Railers record for longest streak without a penalty is 54, set by Dylan Willick in 2017-18 and 18-19. … Will Cullen and Connor McCarthy joined Grant Jozefek and Bobby Butler on the injured list. Nolan Vesey, Chris Oordobadi, John Furgele and Ethan Price all got the night off as the Railers’ roster is overflowing. … Wearing his familiar No. 4, Ryan MacKinnon was in the Royals’ starting lineup, playing his first game at the DCU Center in something other than a Worcester uniform. Frankie DiChiara also played for Reading but Patrick McNally was not in uniform. … Mike Cornell returned from Bridgeport and played his game for Worcester since Nov. 17. … The Railers have gone 13 games without a major penalty, setting a Worcester hockey record in the process.

2023 vs Newfoundland 5-2 loss
(RAILERS) The Railers fell at home on Saturday night by a final score of 5-2 to the Newfoundland Growlers in front of a nice crowd of 5,797. But the news is not all bad, since they’ve done something they had never done before — win the season series with Newfoundland. The game was the 12th between the teams this season, the last unless they meet in the playoffs, which is a real possibility. Even with Saturday’s defeat, Worcester went 6-5-1 versus the Growlers this season after going 6-18-2 in the three previous years combined. Newfoundland’s victory was not quite a one-man show, but goaltender Luke Cavallin put on a show. He was sensational in net and set up what proved to the the winning goal. That came at 2:11 of the third period, the score tied 2-2. The Railers sent the puck into the Growlers end and made a wholesale swap of skaters. Cavallin passed the puck ahead to Brett Budgell. He found Todd Skirving headed in alone on Henrik Tikkanen and Skirving finished the play for his 25th goal of the season. “You can’t change all five guys,” coach Jordan Smotherman said. “You can’t change five guys at the same time. It’s something we’ve talked about all year and it continues to come back and bite us.” Once the Growlers assumed the lead they were not about to relinquish it and Worcester had few good chances the rest of the game. Cavallin finished with 35 saves and may have actually won the match in the second period with a series of sensational stops after the Railers had taken a 2-1 lead. The best? Probably a diving block of Brett Beaudoin’s rebound into to what originally looked an open net at 18:15. Cavallin also made great saves on Liam Coughlin and Bobby Butler late in the period. Andrei Bakanov hit a post at 19:47. Still, it was an uneven performance by Worcester, which played a great 60 minutes Friday night. “It wasn’t one of our better games,” Smotherman said. “We outshot them, but we were late to the play. We reacted as opposed to anticipated.” Newfoundland got two goals and an assist Skirving, two of each from Keenan Suthers, who had an empty netter late in the game. Chris Martenet had the other Growlers goal, just his second of the year, and it hurt. Noah Delmas and Beaudoin had scored at 10:32 and 13:26 of the second period to put Worcester ahead, 2-1. Martenet tied it at 16:06 with a soft wrist shot from the left that seemed to find its way through blockade of bodies, past Tikkanen, and inside the far post. Repaci had a pair of assists for Worcester, Beaudoin a goal and an assist. Budgell had four assists for Newfoundland and was plus-5. Delmas, playing forward, converted on a power play. It was his first goal in 45 games and second of the season. He had the other on opening night here versus Adirondack. The Thunder, by the way, also lost 5-2 Saturday night, at Jacksonville, so did not make up any ground on the Railers in the playoff race. MAKING TRACKS – Worcester plays at Maine Sunday afternoon. It will be three games in three days for the Railers while the Mariners did not have games either Friday or Saturday. Worcester has one triumph, a shootout victory, in four games versus Maine this season. … Nick Fea had an assist and has quietly put together a six-game points streak at 2-4-6. … Beaudoin’s goal was his 31st as a Railer. He moved past Smotherman into fourth place on the franchise’s all-time list. … With the exception of goaltending, the Railers used the same lineup as Friday night. … Never happened before — referee Dominic Cadieux worked his fourth straight Railers game. There had been plenty of three-peats through the years, but four in a row is a record. … Two Original Railers were recognized during the game. It was owner Cliff Rucker’s birthday and the seventh anniversary of the hiring of Chief Operating Officer Mike Myers. … While the Growlers scored first, it took them 16:43 to do it. That ended the Railers home-ice streak of allowing a goal in the first minute at three games. … Worcester’s penalty killing continues to be a strength. The Railers were 2 for 2 Saturday night and are 17 for 19 in the last nine games.


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