Opening Night a Success; A Precursor to what's Possible?

Opening Night a Success; A Precursor to what’s Possible?
 By: Andrew Stepanek
There were plenty of “glimpses” on Sunday Evening as the Worcester Sharks opened the 2011-12 season. The Sharks cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
We all know the familiar story that accompanies the Worcester Sharks on opening night. The first game of the last two seasons has acted like a crystal ball. It has been a glimpse at what’s in store for the Sharks and their ultimate fate at that season’s end. 
As Bill Ballou’s article “Sharks wearing toothy smile” explained; the Worcester Sharks’ performance in the season opener is a precursor.
In 2009-10 they opened the year in Adirondack and showed amazing team effort as they won in come-from-behind fashion. They had superb goaltending from Alex Stalock and scored two goals in the final 10 minutes to get the victory.
That team went on to win the Atlantic Division and made some noise in the playoffs before being eliminated in a hard fought series with the Manchester Monarchs.
Last season, in the 2010-11 season opener, the Sharks blew the lead in Bridgeport and coughed up a few goals in a shootout to go home empty handed. That team missed the playoffs and failed to meet expectations.
If this parody rings true then last year is in the past and the 2011-12 season is something to get excited for.
“This team reminds me of the team we had two years ago” –Roy Sommer, Worcester Sharks Head Coach
This Worcester Sharks team looked like a group of guys that are hungry for success.
Tyson Sexsmith defended his crease with authority as he, 20 times, told Providence to guess again.
Curt Gogol had a game that makes other teams cringe at what he is capable of. Gogol appeared in his first professional game. He opened the Sharks scoring with his first professional goal, and got in his first professional bout.
Jimmy Bonneau gave Lane MacDermid of Providence a taste of what he brings to Worcester’s lineup as they dropped the gloves in the 2nd period.
Worcester fans saw familiar faces on the score sheet as well.
Sean Sullivan, Benn Ferierro, and Brandon Mashinter all were scorers of beautiful, hard fought goals while Nick Petrecki had two assists with his ability to move the puck up ice at the perfect time.
The Sharks played like a true team as the offense clicked and the defense shut down the opposition. The goaltending was the anchor behind the solid play up front. The Worcester Sharks were the real deal in the opening game of the 2011-12 season.
Based on Sunday’s performance, the Worcester Sharks will make waves in 2011-12.
Is this a true representation of what we can expect this season? Only time will tell.  

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