Today in Worcester hockey history: March 31


1999 at Philadelphia 8-7 OTL
(PHILADELPHIA) Thought the road trip couldn’t get any worse? The Worcester IceCats had a 5-1 lead on Philadelphia late in the second period last night. But during a wild third period, they blew the lead three times, eventually losing in overtime, 8-7. “I have nothing to say,” fumed head coach Greg Gilbert. “These guys make their own (bleeping) beds, they can sleep in it.” The Phantoms, who have plenty of offensive firepower, scored five goals in the third period against Adirondak earlier in the season. But the way Worcester controlled the game in the first 37 minutes, a repeat seemed remote. “We should have had two points,” defenseman Bryan Helmer said. “I think we just lost composure. Instead of playing defense, we decided to open up and you can’t do that against a team like (Philadelphia).” The loss wasted a five-point night by center Johan Hecht. “We let those guys back in the game,” Hecht said, “and that’s bad. We didn’t pressure them anymore (like) we did in the first period. We just didn’t play anymore.” Hecht seemed to have iced the game when he scored with just over two minutes remaining, giving the IceCats a 7-6 lead. “When we scored to make it 6-5 with four minutes left in the game, that should have given us the win,” Hecht said. The unanimous vote in the IceCats’ locker room last night was that it was the worst loss of the season. “It’s hard to swallow,” defenseman Bryan Helmer said. “I’m embarrassed and I’m sure everyone in this room is embarrassed.” Unlike the last game, the IceCats were able to score on their shots. Worcester had three goals on 10 shots against Phantoms goaltender Jean-Marc Pelletier, getting a total of four in the first period. Hecht got the tally one for the ‘Cats on the power play. Hecht won the faceoff back to Helmer, who got the puck to the left boards for Jeremiah McCarthy. Hecht was wide open at the top of the crease and just redirected McCarthy’s feed past Pelletier. Just 4:05 later, the IceCats scored again when Shane Toporowski shoveled home a loose puck for a 2-0 lead. Just over a minute after that, Tyson Nash found himself all alone for a break on the left side. He fired a slap shot that beat Pelletier and gave the IceCats a 3-0 cushion. Philly scored on a two-man advantage to cut the lead to 3-1 when Peter White scored from the right side of the crease. But with just 41 seconds left in the period, Hecht scored his second of the game to make it 4-1. It was third power-play goal of the period. The four goals chased Pelletier in favor of Woonsocket, R.I. native Brian Boucher. The Phantoms seemed to get a small spark from the move, especially when Boucher stoned Thompson early on. But the home team couldn’t get going and that sent Phantoms head coach Bill Barber over the edge. It started with a bench minor at 8:02 of the middle period. When Helmer scored on the resulting power play, Barber refused to send his players back out until referee Scott Zelkin spoke with him. Zelkin refused and penalized Barber, giving Worcester another power play. Barber threw a water bottle in anger, earning him an early exit. Then the downfall began. The Phantoms made it 5-2 when former IceCat Jason Zent tipped an Andy Delmore drive past Parent. The IceCats took back-to-back minors early in the third period, the latter resulting in a Phantom goal by winger Richard Park. When Park scored his second power-play goal less than three minutes later, the Phantoms were back in the game at 5-3. The IceCats’ string of penalties continued. Geoff Smith took down Zent to prevent a breakaway. Just 29 seconds later, Toporowski went off for high-sticking to give Philly a two-man advantage. The Phantoms’ home-ice power play, the deadliest in the AHL, capitalized with a goal to tie the score. But Toporoski passed to Tyler Willis, who flipped the puck over Boucher for a 6-5 lead. But Phantoms center Martin Cerven skated through the Worcester defense and tied the game 68 seconds later. The IceCats got the lead back when Hecht completed the hat trick with just over two minutes remaining. But, once again the IceCats let the Phantoms back in it as Parent left a rebound for Francis Belanger to convert. Hecht was stopped with 2:56 left in overtime, and the Phantoms got the winner when defenseman Chris Joseph was left all alone for a one-timer.

2000 at Springfield 5-2 loss
(TICKER) Martin Gendron and Jean-Guy Trudel each scored twice and Daniel Briere supplied four assists to power the Springfield Falcons to a 5-2 victory over the Worcester IceCats. Gendron, who also picked up an assist, opened the scoring at 4:31 of the first period and had Springfield’s lone third-period goal. Trudel scored twice during the four-goal opening period for the Falcons, who won for just the second time in eight meetings with Worcester (2-5-1). Reed Low and Jamie Pollock scored for the IceCats, who lost their fifth straight game.

2001 at Portland 3-3 tie
(TICKER) Krys Barch had a goal and an assist as the Portland Pirates rallied to tie the Worcester IceCats, 3-3. Barch scored the game-tying goal with 5:23 remaining following Derek Bekar’s tally earlier in the period. Jakub Ficenec also had a marker and Corey Hirsch stopped 26 shots as Portland is now 1-5-1 in its last seven contests. Ed Campbell delivered a goal and an assist for Worcester, which is poised to finish with the best record in the AHL. Dwayne Roloson turned aside 30 shots as the IceCats finished their six-game road trip with a record of 2-2-2.

2007 at Houston 7-3 win
(HOUSTON) For most of the game, the Aeros kept it close for the 8,019 in attendance until the Sharks completed the rout with a pair of goals by Mike Iggulden who recorded his second career hat trick. With the win, Worcester moved into sole possession of third place in the Atlantic Division standings. Tony Quesada — one of five goalies used by the last-place Aeros this season — was the victim as he got the call with Dieter Kochan out with a lower body injury he suffered in the Aeros’ 6-3 victory over Peoria on Friday. Quesada, who went to college in Worcester while playing for Holy Cross for four years, fell to 0-8 this season and is still looking for his first win in an Aeros uniform. From the start of the finish to the merciful end, Quesada’s goals against average rose from 4.77 which is already astronomically high to 5.06 Miroslav Kopriva was called up from ECHL Texas (Beaumont) and served as backup, but he has fallen so far out of favor with the team that he did not get to play despite the lackluster performance by Quesada. Not that it would have mattered, but the team did make things interesting before Iggulden scored his last two goals in the final 5:15 to put the game out of reach. A decent start to the third period got the Aeros within a pair of goals when Matt Foy scored his third goal in the last two games less than five minutes in. But Jason Morgan missed a wide-open net under a minute later and that was as close as the Aeros would get to Sharks goalie Thomas Greiss and the Sharks the rest of the way. Quesada missed the Sharks’ first shot of the game as Iggulden stole the puck and whipped a shot off the goalie’s arm and into the back of the net just 35 seconds into the game. Worcester would extend their lead to three before Reitz got the Aeros on the board just 2:21 after he had a power play goal disallowed when Bryan Lundbohm was sent to the penalty box for goaltender interference. After taking a pass from Lundbohm and Peter Olvecky, Reitz wound up from the top of the right circle and beat Greiss at 12:27. But the Sharks responded quickly as Evans scored his second and third goals of the season at 12:50 and 15:31. The Aeros made it 5-2 when Jason Morgan tipped a pass past Greiss after Curtis Murphy set up the goal with a clever pass off boards behind the goal.

2010 at Hartford 5-3 win
(WORSHARKS) Sharks rookie John McCarthy scored two goals and added an assist in the first period to pace the Sharks to a 5-3 win in Hartford at the XL Center on Wednesday night to close out the month of March with a 11-4-0-0 record. Frank Doyle was great in net for Worcester, collecting his 6th win of the season making 26 saves in goal and Cory Quirk scored his 19th goal of the season for the game winner. The Sharks collected their franchise record 22nd road win of the season, a record 99 points on the season, and their 10th win in their last 12 games. Former NHL enforcer Donald Brashear (2nd) gave the Wolf Pack a 1-0 lead at 8:30 with a tough angle shot from the right side that banked off Frank Doyle after a nice feed from behind the net by Andres Ambuhl. The Sharks would then rattle off three straight strikes led by John McCarthy’s three points (2-1-3). McCarthy (14th) finished off a terrific rush by his line mates Dan DaSilva and Andrew Desjardins at 11:36. John fired in his 15th of the season short side glove side after Steven Zalewski found him alone in the right circle at 14:20. With 45 seconds remaining in the period, Danny Groulx fed a streaking Dan DaSilva (19th) towards the crease with a terrific frisbee pass that was deflected over Johnson by DaSilva’s backhand to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead after twenty minutes. Bobby Sanguinetti (9th) scored the only goal of the second period at 18:28. After Tony Lucia hit the post for the Sharks, the Wolf Pack came flying into the Worcester zone and Dale Weise sent a centering pass from the left corner that found Sanguinetti skating through the crease to cut the Sharks lead in half at 3-2. Cory Quirk (7th) scored a big shorthanded goal at 5:24 after a feed be Benn Ferriero down the left wing. Quirk fired a hard low shot past Johnson to give the Sharks a 4-2 lead. Hartford got the goal back at 8:44 as Dane Byers (22nd) deflected in a shot from the point to slim the Sharks lead to one. Kevin Henderson (2nd) added insurance at 10:01 with a sweet deflection on a slap pass by Brett Westgarth from the center point to set the Sharks to a 5-3 victory. Win the win, Worcester’s record improves to (47-22-2-3, 99 points) and they now lead the Atlantic Division by five points over Portland. Worcester has six regular season games left this season (4 road, 2 home) and have a franchise best 99 points this season.

2012 vs Manchester 4-0 loss
(WORSHARKS) The Sharks dropped their season high 5th straight game and fell eight points behind the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after a 4-0 loss to the Manchester Monarchs at the DCU Center on Saturday night. Martin Jones made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season for the Monarchs as the two teams combined for 82 penalty minutes and three sets of fighting majors. With the loss, the Sharks dropped below .500 for the first time all season. Curt Gogol (18th FM) and Richard Clune (21st FM) set the tone early dropping the mitts at center ice at 1:50 as the two teams engaged in their 23rd fight of the season. Manchester would get the only score of the opening frame as Justin Azevedo (25th) scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 6:26 past Harri Sateri. Worcester trailed 1-0 through 20 minutes despite outshooting Manchester 15-11. The Monarchs would score three more times in the second to take a commanding 4-0 lead through 40 minutes of play. David Kolomatis (5th) put Manchester ahead 2-0 at 2:55 with a blast from the blue line which led to a near line brawl as Nathan Moon (11th FM) and Nick Deslauriers (4th FM) danced at center ice while Frazer McLaren (7th FM) and Justin Johnson (23rd FM) engaged in a long heavy weight battle inside the Sharks zone. Patrick Mullen (10th and 11th) closed out the period with two more scores at 13:19 and 16:52 which would end the night for Sharks netminder Harri Sateri after allowing four goals on 22 shots. Thomas Heemskerk shut the door the rest of the way including 10 saves in a scoreless and rather uneventful third period as the Monarchs held on for a 4-0 victory at the DCU Center. Worcester’s record falls to 28-29-4-7, with 67pts and currently in 14th place in the Eastern Conference with 8 games remaining.

2018 vs Brampton 4-1 win
(RAILERS) The Worcester Railers HC (34-26-4-4, 76pts) scored two shorthanded goals and a power play tally to pick up their seventh straight win on home ice after a 4-1 victory over the visiting Brampton Beast (26-33-6-4, 62pts) in front of 5,829 fans at the DCU Center on a BIG GAME SATURDAY. Dylan Willick, Matty Gaudreau, Barry Almeida, and Nick Saracino found the back of the net for Worcester while Mitch Gillam made 30 saves in his 10th straight start in net for his 21st win of the season. Barry Almeida also added two assists and Nick Saracino added a helper to extend his point streak to three games. The Railers came out buzzing in the first period and outshot the Beast 17-10 and grabbed a 1-0 lead as rookie Dylan Willick (1st) scored his first professional goal with a beautiful breakaway goal past netminder Chris Driedger at 11:20 assisted by Barry Almeida. Mitch Gillam made 10 saves in the opening frame as the Railers had several great chances for additional goals. Matty Gaudreau (11th) finished off a series of perfect passes on the power play with a back door knock in assisted by Nick Saracino and Barry Almeida at 10:15 to give Worcester a 2-0 lead. Barry Almeida (21st) struck at 12:21 with a shorthanded breakaway beauty with a top shelf shot to give the Railers a 3-0 advantage. Mitch Gillam was perfect through 40 minutes with 22 saves in net. Nick Saracino (12th) gave Worcester a 4-0 lead after he skated down the left wing and snapped a shot from 35 feet through the pads of the Beast netminder just 47 seconds into the third period. Brandon MacLean (18th) broke Mitch Gillam’s shutout at 3:27 with a rebound score to cut the Railers lead to 3-1. Gilly made 13 saves in the third period as the Railers cruised to a 4-1 home victory.

2019 vs Brampton 7-4 loss
(RAILERS) The Worcester Railers HC (30-28-6-4, 70pts) led 4-2 through 40 minutes of play before allowing five third period goals in a 7-4 loss to the visiting Brampton Beast (35-28-5-1, 76pts) in front of 4,263 fans at the DCU Center on Sunday afternoon. With the loss, the Railers are now six points behind Brampton for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division with four games remaining. Drew Callin scored twice while Tyler Barnes and Mike Cornell (1-1-2) also got goals for Worcester as Mitch Gillam made 24 saves in net in the loss. Daniel Leavens and Daniel Ciampini each scored twice for Brampton while Jake Paterson made 28 saves in net as Worcester dropped their sixth straight game (0-5-1-0) overall. Worcester led 3-1 and 4-2 before Brampton grabbed five unanswered goals in the final frame as the Railers playoff chances took a devastating blow with the regulation loss. The Railers exploded for three goals in the first period to grab a 3-2 lead through 20 minutes of play. Drew Callin (2nd and 3rd) scored twice in the first seven minutes of play while Tyler Barnes (28th) gave the Railers a 3-1 lead at 7:48 with a nice deflection. Daniel Leavens (10th) struck for the Beast while Jonathan Racine (6th) scored the 5th goal of the period at 12:08. Shots were 11-10 in favor of Brampton in the first. Worcester had six power plays which included three 5-on-3s in the second period as Mike Cornell (5th) scored the only goal of the frame with a 40-foot slapper at 8:03 to put the Railers ahead 4-2. Worcester had a 23-19 shot advantage through 40 minutes of play. Brampton exploded for five goals in the third period as Daniel Leavens (10th) got things rolling just 43 seconds into the period before Jackson Leef (12th) tied the score at 4-4 at 5:36. Daniel Ciampini (15th and 16th) scored a pair of goals at 11:54 and 16:49 before Jonathan Racine (7th) added an empty netter at 19:03 to give Brampton the 7-4 road victory.


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