Gerbe, Pirates Capsize Sharks
Worcester Sharks vs. Portland Pirates
DCU Center – Worcester, MA
November 5, 2008
Gerbe, Pirates Capsize Sharks
Rookie nets hat trick in four point night.
By: Chris Del Vecchio
WORCESTER— The Worcester Sharks skated into Wednesday night’s game with confidence following two big wins over the weekend, but were no match for rookie forward Nathan Gerbe. The former Boston College standout scored three goals, including the unassisted game-winner, as the Portland Pirates downed the Sharks by a 5-3 score at the DCU Center in a battle for the Unum Cup.
Both teams tallied even-strength goals in the early going despite combining for just four shots through the first half of the period. Portland struck first, as winger Mark Mancari took advantage of a misplay in front of the Sharks net, stuffing the loose puck under Worcester netminder Thomas Greiss at 9:23. The Sharks answered back immediately, however, as Cory Larose found Tom Cavanagh slicing diagonally across the slot just 15 seconds after the faceoff. Cavanagh went top shelf to tie the game at 1-1, just barely clearing the glove of Pirate goaltender Jhonas Enroth.
As the first period wound down, two straight penalties against the Sharks gave Portland a 5-on-3 advantage. Crisp puck work from Mancari and linemate Tim Kennedy produced a clean, close range look for Nathan Gerbe, who beat Greiss to the near post to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes.
Worcester nearly pulled even during a power play early in the middle frame, but Enroth went post to post to deny Steven Zalewski’s doorstep one-timer set up by a brilliant feed from Mike Morris. Shortly after killing off an interference call on Kyle McLaren, a slashing minor assessed to Brendan Buckley gave Portland their second man advantage of the period. Mancari stepped up again on the power play, this time as the recipient of a cross-ice feed from Gerbe, and doubled the Portland lead at 7:41. Enroth protected the lead with a number of difficult saves before Zalewski got his revenge with 1:15 remaining in the frame. Enroth got in the way of a fifty foot slap shot from Morris but could not recover as Zalewski buried the rebound to notch his first goal of the season.
Morris completed the Sharks comeback early in the third, picking up a goal of his own at 4:29. Ryan Vesce played the puck to Morris just outside the crease, and Morris baited Enroth before lifting the puck stick side to tie the game. Portland regained the lead when Gerbe intercepted the puck in neutral ice and beat Greiss on a clean breakway. After Enroth denied the Sharks on two golden chances on a late power play, Gerbe completed his hat trick with an empty net goal.
The Portland Pirates and the Worcester Sharks will battle through a 10 game series for the Unum Cup. A fan at each game will be named the Unum Fan of the Game and receive a jersey and five tickets to a future game. At the end of the series, one fan from each city who guessed the correct total will be named the Grand Prize Winner, receiving a prize and the chance to help present the Cup to the winning team.
Worcester heads back on the road this weekend for a pair of contests, the first being a Friday night rematch with the Hartford Wolf Pack, a team against which tempers flared just a week ago. The Sharks continue down Interstate 84 to Binghamton for Saturday night’s game, before returning home for a Veterans Day matinee at the DCU Center on Tuesday. Fans are encouraged to bring a canned food item to donate in exchange for a ticket voucher good for a future Sharks home game, and are also invited to lace up their skates and take part in a post-game skate with the team. The entire Family Day event is made possible by Price Chopper. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Sharks offices at 508-929-0500 or crash the net at sharksahl.com.
NOTES: Former Sharks Mathieu Darche, who led Worcester in scoring two seasons ago and spent much of last year with the Tampa Bay Lightning, laced up for Portland… Tim Kennedy assisted on the first three Pirate goals… Three Stars: 3. Morris (1g, 1a), 2. Gerbe (3g, 1a), 1. Mancari (2g, 1a)… Enroth made 27 saves on 30 shots for Portland; Greiss stopped 20 of 24 shots for Worcester… Power Plays: Worcester 1/5; Portland 2/7.
Home of the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications