Sharks come up short; Worcester enjoys 'maintenance day'.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- This was not exactly an exhibition game, because the goals, assists and PIM all counted, as did the saves and shots.
Still, the outcome meant very little for either the Sharks or Monarchs beyond pride and bargaining chips for future contracts. That's why Worcester coach Roy Sommer wasn't broken up over his team's 4-2 defeat, one in which the Sharks played without a half-dozen of their best players.
"It doesn't really matter who we play, or where,'' Sommer said of the upcoming postseason. "I just rolled the four lines. I mean, how often will you see (Jimmy) Bonneau out there against (Jordan) Weal?''
The Sharks won't be resting their best players this afternoon, though, when they take on the Portland Pirates at 3 in the last regular-season game in franchise history, and perhaps Worcester's AHL history.
"You can get in trouble resting guys,'' Sommer said. "This is a three-in-three for us, so you do it now, but I want to beat Portland. If they beat us, they're in the playoffs.''
Today is the final day of the American Hockey League regular season and here in the east, the eighth and final playoff berth is still undecided, and who the Sharks will play in the first round is undecided.
It will be either Hershey or Hartford, and those teams have home-ice in the best-of-five series. Dates and locations should be announced when the schedule is finished later today.
Springfield and Portland are vying for the final Calder Cup playoff spot. The Falcons won dramatically in St. John's on Saturday and their 76-game season is done. Springfield finished with 86 points. Portland, which beat Providence, has 85 points.
The Bruins have 89 points, the Sharks 88. Each team has a game today.
If the Pirates get even a point in this afternoon's game, they beat the Falcons since they win the tiebreaker. Providence plays host to Manchester. If the Bruins win, they finish sixth no matter what the Sharks do and Worcester plays Hershey in the first round.
If the Sharks win, and the Bruins lose in 60 minutes, Worcester takes sixth and plays Hartford. If both teams wind up with 90 points apiece, the Sharks take the tiebreakers and finish sixth, also.
Last night, Nikolay Goldobin had both goals for Worcester and Evan Trupp picked up assists on both. Michael Mersch, Scott Sabourin, Jordan Weal and Josh Gratton tallied for Manchester. Gratton scored into an empty net.
Sommer rested several players who will certainly be in the lineup when Worcester begins the post-season. Dylan DeMelo, Bryan Lerg, Taylor Fedun, Barclay Goodrow, Chris Tierney and Karl Stollery all got the night off.
"It's not really what you'd call a rest,'' Sommer said. "It's more a maintenance day. Some of those guys are a little banged up.''
That provided some ice time for Joakim Ryan, Daniel Ciampini, Daniel Doremus, Jimmy Bonneau and Julius Bergman, who made his professional debut. That meant that 10 of the 20 players the Sharks dressed, including goalies, were American Hockey League rookies.
The first period looked like an All-Star game, with the teams combining to score five goals. It took the Monarchs less than a minute to take the lead.
Mersch scored his 22nd goal of the season 32 seconds after the opening faceoff.
Goldobin tied it about five minutes later with his second goal of the season and first since he scored in his first game as a Shark on April 3.
Sabourin got the lead back from his team at 12:06 with his fifth goal of the year, then Goldobin re-tied the game at 15:23 with his second of the period.
It looked like the period would end with a tie score, but Weal took advantage of a turnover by Taylor Doherty deep in the Worcester end. Weal broke free on the left side and had no one between him and Grosenick. His wrist shot made it 3-2 at 19:38.
It stayed that way until 18:48 of the third period when Gratton hit the empty net.
Contact Bill Ballou
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|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Apr 19, 2015|
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