The Worcester Sharks and the St. John’s IceCaps will meet for a record 10 times this season. Despite being in the same division, the distance has kept the teams apart. Last season, they only faced off 4 times. St. John’s made their first New England road trip of the season ending with a Saturday night game against the Sharks. The IceCaps were coming off of two convincing wins against the Portland Pirates on Wednesday and Friday.
Throughout the first period, the teams struggled to get anything set up. Each side had a couple of good shots, but seemed to struggle to really get anything set up. Rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick for the Sharks made a couple good saves and was really working hard to control the rebounds. He got good help from his defensemen in front of him.
The real break came at the end of the first period for the Sharks. With just over a minute remaining, the IceCaps were called for the first penalty of the game. Patrice Cormier went off for kneeing and the Sharks went on the power play. It looked like the teams would skate to the first intermission scoreless. With 6 seconds remaining, defenseman Matt Tennyson fired a shot from the blue line and Daniil Tarasov tipped it in. It was the team leading 6th goal for the second year forward.
Worcester came out with even more energy during the second period. They were not willing to let St. John’s use their speed to get ahead. The Sharks were a team desperate for a win to help climbing back from their slow start to the season. Despite outshooting the IceCaps 11-6 in the second frame, the score remained the same. However, the Sharks did get a spark from veteran forward Bracken Kearns when he tousled Kael Mouillierat. Both ended up with fighting majors.
When the third period started, Sharks fans were wondering if their team would be able to hold onto a lead or if they would be going home disappointed. The answer seemed to come at the 7:37 mark. Defenseman Sena Acolatse, known for having a hard shot, fired one from the blue line that seemed to curve just on the inside of the post. That gave the Sharks a 2-0 lead with assists to Brodie Reid and Tarasov.
However, despite the two goal lead, the most surprising and possibly the most exciting moment of the game came with about two minutes left. Daniil Tarasov, who has been impressive in his goal scoring, took a slashing penalty with less than 4 minutes remaining. During that penalty, the IceCaps pulled their goalie for a 6 on 4 opportunity. Sharks fans had been here before and were worried about how this would turn out. The puck went over the blue line and Sharks agitator Curt Gogol went tearing after it. He amazingly won the race the puck and scored a short handed, empty net goal. That made it 3-0 for the Sharks for just their 3rd win of the season.
Rookie Sharks goalie Troy Grosenick has only started two games and now has wins in both. In his first professional start, he led the Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Portland Pirates. Now, in his second start, he can add his first pro shutout to his list of accomplishments. Grosenick seems to be making the adjustment from college to professional just fine.
The teams will meet again for a 3 game series up in St. John’s when Worcester heads up there for games November 13th, 15th, and 16th. The Sharks are back in action on Friday against the Portland Pirates. The IceCaps head home and will host the Manchester Monarchs on Friday and Saturday.
Photo Credit: Worcester Sharks