Sharks vs. Admirals preview
Sharks look to sink Admirals in pair of big weekend games!!!
By: Andrew Nawn
After snapping a franchise long eight game losing streak on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Bridgeport and getting their first win in the month of April, the Worcester Sharks (30-31-3-6, 69 pts) will look to use the momentum they gained to make one final playoff push when they host the Norfolk Admirals (35-30-4-1, 75 pts) this weekend at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday
Worcester currently sits in 13th place in the Eastern Conference with 69 points trailing Hershey by six points for the final playoff spot and need to win their 6 remaining games to have a chance at the postseason. On the other side, Norfolk sits in ninth place tied with Hershey for the eighth and final spot with 75 points apiece but finish the season on a season high six game road trip starting in Worcester this Friday.
The Sharks have been recently trying out many new faces as they skated eleven rookies on Sunday in their overtime loss to Manchester and nine in their win verse Bridgeport. Some of the new guys that have been making an immediate impact for Worcester are; Matt Nieto (2g,2a in 4 games), Riley Brace (2g,1a in 2 games), Dylan Demelo (2a in 4 games), Lane Scheidl (1a in 5 games), and Rylan Schwartz (1a in 1 game).
When veteran forward Bracken Kearns takes the ice this weekend it will be against the team that he has played for in three out of his seven professional seasons. In the three seasons with the Admirals, Kearns posted 73 points (32 goals, 41 assists) in 185 games.
Previous Meetings between these two opponents
Worcester @ Norfolk October 12, 2012 4-2 Loss
Worcester @ Norfolk October 13, 2012 4-3 Shootout Loss
A look at Norfolk…
Norfolk is coached by former San Jose Assistant Coach Trent Yawney who is in his sixth season with the Admirals but his first since 2004-05. During his time away from Norfolk, Yawney was the Head Coach of the Chicago Blackhawks from 2005-07 and an Assistant Coach with San Jose from 2008-11, where he saw the Sharks reach the Western Conference Finals twice (2010, 2011) and win a Presidents’ Trophy in 2009.
As the defending Calder Cup Champions enter this weekend’s match ups and barely sit out of the playoffs, the kind of success the Admirals have enjoyed is considered to be rare having no returning players on their current roster from the past season’s Calder Cup victory. The actions behind the massive roster overhaul to Norfolk were because of the off-season affiliation change between the Anaheim Ducks and the Tampa Bay Lightning as the two teams switch affiliates leaving Norfolk with a completely new roster for the 2012-13 season.
Admirals to look out for…
Norfolk is led by their 2012-13 Player of the Year, forward Patrick Maroon. The fifth-year pro leads the Admirals with 55 points and 23 goals; his 22 assists are second only to teammate and AHL All-Rookie member Sami Vatanen, who was recently recalled up to Anaheim on April 8th. Between the pipes for Norfolk is Frederik Anderson, another rookie enjoying a solid first year as he is atop most individual goalie categories. On the season Anderson has been a brick wall in net boasting the best save percentage in the AHL with a .932 percentage and the second best goals against with a 2.08 average in 42 appearances this season.
· The last time these two teams met this season was in the first week of the season when Norfolk won both games, winning 4-2 in regulation and 4-3 in a shootout back in October. This will be Norfolk’s first game at the DCU Center since November 14, 2010 when they were defeated by Worcester by a score of 3-1. The Sharks are (11-7-1-1) against the Admirals all-time.
· With the win on Tuesday in Bridgeport, Worcester’s’ Alex Stalock surpassed Thomas Greiss for most franchise wins in Shark’s history with his 75th win.
· With 25 points on the season ( 9 goals, 16 assists) Captain John McCarthy is currently third all-time in totals points scored with 126 points (51 goals, 75 assists). McCarthy only trails Steve Zalewski 128 points and Tom Cavanagh 138 points for sole possession of being Worcester’s all-time leading scorer.
· Rookie forward Freddie Hamilton remains the only Worcester player to skate in all 70 games this season. Hamilton has posted 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in first professional season.
· Matt Pelech recently reached 1000 penalty minutes for his AHL career with his minor roughing penalty in the game on Tuesday. Pelech continues to set the Worcester record for individual penalty minutes in one season as he has racked up 238 PIMS with six games to go. The previous record was set by Brennan Evans with 211 minutes in the 2008-09 season.
As always here are the ways you can listen or watch the game if you can’t make the trip to the rink.
All 76 regular season games can be heard live on 580AM and 94.9FM WTAG or online at www.wtag.com. Email Sharks broadcaster Eric Lindquist at radio@Sharksahl.com to send questions or a special shout out!
For a small fee watch EVERY Worcester Sharks game online at www.AHLlive.com.
Get live updates at all three preseason games and all 76 regular season games through www.twitter.com/SharksAHLinGame (goals, assists, fights, and big saves)
Get the inside scoop and behind the scenes stuff on game days via www.twitter.com/WorcesterSharks
Interact with other Sharks fans on game day by following the Worcester Sharks on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WorcesterSharks). Exclusive game day photos will be posted after most games!
Visit www.SharksAHL.com every game day for previews, special features, game photos, post game highlights, and recap!