The Springfield Falcons hosted the Worcester Sharks last night for their second game of the season, both of which have been at home. This was the first game of the season for Worcester. The teams will meet 5 more times this season. The next match up is also in Springfield on October 26th.
After the puck dropped to start the game, the Falcons did not waste must time testing returning Sharks goaltender Harri Sateri. The first goal of the game came at just the 3:05 mark. Tim Erixon, playing in his first game after being reassigned from Columbus, fired a shot from the blue line. Rookie Lukas Sedlak managed to tip it in. Cody Goloubef got the secondary assist. That was not it for the Falcons in the first period though. Despite not being able to convert on the powerplay just after their first goal, Springfield would still score again in the first frame. At 15:07, Jake Hansen was standing next to the net ready to tip in a shot by Erixon. The secondary assist went to Michael Chaput.
Just a couple minutes after the second goal, the first fight of the game broke out. After a whistle, Jimmy Bonneau of the Sharks started trying to engage with Dalton Smith of the Falcons. At first, Smith did not seem like he wanted to fight. Bonneau must have said something, though, because Smith immediately changed his course and lost his gloves. The pair exchanged a number of punches with Bonneau getting the edge when he eventually pinned Smith to the boards.
When the teams came out for the second period, it was the Sharks who capitalized first. Sharks forward Daniil Tarasov took a shot and Eriah Hayes was there to put the rebound past Falcons goaltender, Jeremy Smith. Only 19 seconds after the Sharks scored to close the gap to 2-1, not one but two fights broke out. At one end of the ice, Worcester’s Bracken Kearns and Springfield’s Will Weber. Weber ultimately ended up pinning Kearns down. Play had continued slightly after the first fight broke out and at the other end of the ice, Worcester’s captain, Rob Davison, was slugging it out with Springfield’s Darryl Boyce. It was a clear edge to Davison, but both of them were thrown out of the game due to it being a secondary altercation.
“We had gone with 7 defensemen in the first place, then we lost Boyce so we were thin,” Head Coach Brad Larsen said. “You just have to manage ice time. There’s a lot of line juggling, especially in the second half of the game. I’ve never heard a player complain about getting too much ice time though.”
At 14:09 of the second period, the Falcons had almost two full minutes of five on three hockey. Tarasov had already gone off for slashing when the refs called Rylan Schwartz for a face-off violation. Springfield only needed 20 second of their two man advantage. Jonathan Marchessault put the puck over Sateri’s shoulder to make it 3-1 Falcons with assists to Frederic St. Denis and Austin Madaisky. Just after the second of the two penalties expired, the Falcons capitalized again. Sateri went down to make the initial save and gave up a rebound to Hansen. He lifted it to notch his second of the game. After not playing during the playoffs, Hansen has looked good.
“I got the chance to move up (in the lines) and play with Chaput and (Sean) Collins. I knew I was going to get more ice time and it was great to score two goals like that for my confidence,” Hansen said. “This league is so hard to score. If they come, they come. I knew there was a chance of scoring a hat trick but that’s something you can’t plan for. If there’s a play to be made, you just have to make it.”
The Sharks did not want to go to the second intermission still down 4-1 and made a push to start coming back. Dalton Smith ran over Sateri and got called for goaltender interference. Less than a minute into the powerplay, the Sharks capitalized. Brodie Reid took a shot from the top of the face-off circle that beat Jeremy Smith. The assists came from Tarasov and Marek Viedensky.
When the puck dropped in the third, the Sharks were still not willing to give up hope that they might be able to come back. At 5:22, they were rewarded for their hard effort once again. James Livingston positioned himself right in front of the net and shot the puck home with assists to Taylor Doherty and Kearns. Late in the game, one of the Sharks had to be taken from the ice. Weber hit Worcester’s Tarasov in the corner. When Tarasov got up, he relied heavily on his teammates, putting no weight on his right leg. In the ensuing powerplay, the Sharks were unable to tie the game. Springfield held off the comeback and won the game 4-3.
“It wasn’t a pretty win but they’re not always going to be pretty. We found a way to dig deep and hold onto that lead to make sure we closed it out and that’s a good sign,” Larsen said. “You’d rather win ugly than lose pretty.”
Springfield heads down to Bridgeport for an afternoon game against the Sound Tigers. The Worcester Sharks are off until they open their season at home on Saturday, October 19th. Both teams will likely be looking to the game tape from last night to keep improving.