Kaspar, Vesce Work Magic in 3-2 Topping of Pirates

Worcester Sharks vs. Portland Pirates
DCU Center – Worcester, MA
December 29, 2008
Kaspar, Vesce Work Magic in 3-2 Topping of Pirates
Sharks tie the Unum Cup Challenge with Portland at three games apiece.
By:  Justin Lafleur
WORCESTERBehind three goals from the combination of Lukas Kaspar and Ryan Vesce, the Worcester Sharks avenged Sunday’s loss to Portland with a 3-2 win over the Pirates on Monday evening at the DCU Center.
Vesce scored twice in the third period and added an assist on Kaspar’s first-period tally while Kaspar scored in the first and assisted on both Vesce scores. Matt Fornataro was also credited with two assists.
The Sharks quickly got on the board when Kaspar lit the lamp for the sixth time this season. Vesce made the pass from the back boards to Kaspar who was stationed in between the faceoff circles. His shot beat Portland goalie Johnas Enroth low on the glove side for the 1-0 lead only 1:31 into the contest. Fornataro picked up the other assist on the play.
Portland took advantage of a full two minutes of a 5-on-3 late in the third period to tie the score at one heading into the second intermission. Referee Terry Koharski called Kaspar for a slash along with a bench minor for too many men on the ice as a scuffle nearly ensued at the 18:25 mark. The Pirates’ Marc-Andre Gragnani converted with his third of the season at 19:36, beating Worcester goaltender Taylor Dakers inside the right post.
Vesce scored his ninth goal of the year at 1:24 of the third period to propel the Sharks back ahead, 2-1. With their second power play to work with, T.J. Fox made a pass from behind the net to Kaspar, who then swung it across the crease to Vesce for the score.
The Kaspar-Vesce magic continued at 8:05 of the third period when Kaspar sped down the left wing side. After circling behind the net, he fed the puck in front where Fornataro made the touch over to Vesce stationed at the side of the crease. The Worcester captain finished for his second of the period and 10th of the season.
It only took Portland 1:20  to get back within one as Marek Zagrapan sped down the right wing side, absorbed a hit from Mike Moore, then made a move around Dakers to force him to commit before sliding the puck into the open goal. Gragani was credited with the only assist on the play.
Dakers and the Sharks’ defense stood strong the rest of the way for the 3-2 victory.
NOTES:  Three Stars: (3) Gragani (goal, assist) (2) Kaspar (1 goal, 2 assists) (1) Vesce (2 goals, 1 assist) …Attendance for the contest was 3,119…Dakers saved 22 of 24 shots for the Sharks, while Enroth stopped 31 of 34 for Portland …Worcester went 1/4 on the power play; Portland went 1/8 … Final shots were 34-24 Worcester … Kaspar and Vesce’s three point nights tied the team’s high for 2008-09. A Sharks player has recorded three points on six other occasions … The two goal effort by Vesce was also the seventh time a Sharks player has had multiple goals. One other came by Vesce on Nov. 29 vs. Bridgeport … It was also the third time a Worcester player has had two goals in a period … Fornataro’s two assists gave him his first-career multi-point (and multi-assist) AHL game … Fox’s assist gives him a mini two-game point and assist streak … The eight power plays by Portland equaled the most attempts allowed by the Sharks this season … Worcester’s two-goal third period marked only the third time in six games the Sharks have scored multiple goals in a period against Portland (3 of 18 periods).
Worcester reamains home for four more games this week. Next up is Houston on Wednesday night (New Year’s Eve) at 7:35 p.m. The Sharks then host Norfolk on Friday night, Lowell on Saturday night, and Hershey on Sunday afternoon.
All games can be heard live on 580 & 94.9 WTAG as well as online through AHL Live by following the link on the Sharks website, www.sharksahl.com.
Be sure not to miss any of the action of the 2008-09 Worcester Sharks season and buy your tickets today! Fans can also purchase tickets to the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications. Purchases can be made by visiting the box office, contacting the Worcester Sharks office at 508.929.0500, or by crashing the net at www.sharksahl.com.
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