Opening Thoughts on Sharks Schedule

Opening Thoughts on the Sharks 2012-13 Season Schedule
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The AHL released the 2012-13 regular season schedule on Friday and AHL fans around North America have begun to digest their team schedules and get ready for the start of the season in October! Now that I (Eric Lindquist) have had a good 48 hours with the Worcester Sharks schedule, I have picked out some tidbits and some exciting matchups to look forward to as we approach the start of the season! So here we go…..!
Season Opener in Norfolk – Oct 12 and 13
The Worcester Sharks will begin the season on the road in Norfolk against the defending Calder Cup Champions on Oct 12 and 13. It will be the first time in Sharks history that they open against the defending Calder Cup Champions. Interestingly enough, the San Jose Sharks will open their NHL regular season schedule in Anaheim (the NHL affiliate of the Admirals) on Oct 12 as well. – let’s hope for a Sharks sweep!
Norfolk is also the site of some pretty wild games in Sharks history:
The first and only goaltender fight erupted at the start of the 3rd period as Thomas Greiss and Jonathan Boutin met at center ice during an epic brawl in Norfolk on Feb 15, 2008. The two teams combined for 166 penalty minutes in the 4-2 Admirals victory. Click HERE to watch the war on the shore!
One of the biggest comebacks in Sharks history happened in Norfolk. The date was Jan 17, 2009 and the Sharks were down 5-1 after twenty minutes of play. The Sharks scored three goals in the middle frame (Armstrong, Vesce, McGinn) before Jason Demers tied the score midway through the third period. Ryan Vesce scored at 3:04 of the overtime period for the game winner while Taylor Dakers made 32 saves and stopped a third period penalty shot for the win!
Who can forget one of the best goaltending efforts in Sharks history when Alex Stalock made 46 saves and hit the post on an empty net attempt at the Scope on Mar 27, 2010? The Sharks won the game 2-0 behind Frazer McLaren’s game winner and Tony Lucia’s first professional goal!
The Sharks are 4-1-0-1 in six season openers all-time. (all on the road).
Bad Blood – the Portland Pirates series heats back up on Oct 19
The Sharks and the Pirates had hard fought battles throughout the 2011-12 which all came to a boiling point after the 12th and final meeting of the season in Portland on April 7. After a post game bench clearing brawl, the Sharks were handed down several suspensions – including Jimmy Bonneau’s eight game suspension. In the offseason, the Pirates signed AHL penalty minute leader and heavy weight Joel Rechlicz – which should certainly add to the intensity of this ever growing rivalry. The two teams will meet for the first time in the Pirates home opener in Lewiston, ME on Oct 19 (Bonneau still suspended) and again at the DCU Center on Nov 9. Score your tickets for this intense rivalry with six home dates (Nov 9, Nov 24, Dec 16, Jan 13, Feb 23, Mar 10) at the DCU Center!
Worcester Sharks Home Opener – Oct 20
For the 2nd straight season, the Sharks home opener will feature the Albany Devils. Last season, the Sharks smoked the Devils 6-1 behind James Livingston’s first two professional goals – click HERE to watch the highlights.
 I get excited every season for the home opener – packed house, player introductions, giveaways, catching up with fans, and hockey back at the DCU Center! The Sharks also opened vs. the Devils franchise (then the Lowell Devils) in a 7-5 loss at the DCU Center in 2009. Worcester is 3-1-1-1 in six home openers at the DCU Center.
Lewiston, ME? – Oct 19 and Nov 14
The Portland Pirates will host six games at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, ME (the former home of the Lewiston Maineiacs in the QMJHL) this season. The Sharks will be the opponent on two of those occasions on Oct 19 and Nov 14.
Familiar Foes – Five Times, beginning on Oct 26 and 28
Worcester will host the same opponent in back-to-back home games five different times this season. The Sharks will host Bridgeport on Oct 26 and 28 (a game in Manchester on Oct 27), the CT Whale on Nov 10 and 17 (Sharks travel to Providence and Portland in between), and the Providence Bruins on back-to-back Saturdays on Jan 26 and Feb 2 (travel to Portland on Feb 1). Worcester will host the Penguins for the only two times this season in back-to-back games on Mar 13 and 15, and the defending Calder Cup Champion Norfolk Admirals will make their only trip to the DCU Center on Apr 12 and 13.
November, the month of the Whale – Nov 10 and 17
Worcester will play the CT Whale just four times this season with the only two visits to the DCU Center on back-to-back Saturdays on Nov 10 and 17.  The Sharks have had their troubles with the CT Whale franchise over the years with Worcester posting a 16-27-3 in the six year history.
One Hit Wonders – Oct 20, Nov 25 and Jan 19
The Albany Devils, Syracuse Crunch and the Adirondack Phantoms will each visit the DCU Center only once this season. Catch the Devils on Oct 20, Crunch on Nov 25, and the Phantoms on Jan 19.
Back and Forth – Nov 26 and 28 / Apr 2 and 4
Worcester will participate in two true “home-and-home” series this season – each team playing the other in back-to-back games with each team hosting a game. The Sharks travel to Manchester on Wed, Dec 26 and then will host the Monarchs on Fri, Dec 28. The Sound Tigers visit the DCU Center on Tue, Apr 2 before the Sharks travel to Bridgeport for a school day 11am start on Thu, Apr 4.
Something’s Bruin – Dec 8
The first of six visits from the Providence Bruins to the DCU Center will be Saturday, December 8 which also is the back end of a home and home series vs. the P-Bruins. After not making the playoffs the last two seasons, the Bruins revamped their roster which included signed former AHL top scorer Chris Bourque (son of Ray Bourque) and veteran defenseman Garnet Exelby. All six home games vs. the Bruins this season fall on a Saturday (Dec 8, Dec 29, Jan 26, Feb 2, Mar 9, Mar23)! Make sure to mark your calendars… as these tickets can be tough to get close to game time!
See you again soon – Dec 26, 28, and 31
Last season, the Sharks and Monarch duked it out during their 12 game series with 25 sets of fighting majors and featured a pre game brawl at the DCU Center on Apr 10. The Monarchs and Sharks will meet three times over a six day period to close out the 2012 calendar year. The Sharks will travel to Manchester on the day after X-Mas (Dec 26) on a Wednesday, host the Monarchs at the DCU Center on Friday, and close out 2012 in Manchester on Monday, December 31st.
Remember when… Lukas Kaspar scored on a breakaway past Eric Ersberg with 3.0 seconds remaining in the third period for the game winner in a 3-2 win on Dec 31, 2007 at the Verizon Wireless Arena!
I have a strange feeling that we may see more fireworks during the three game set than after the New Years Eve game during the annual indoor fireworks show at the Verizon Wireless Arena!
Road Trip! – February 5-17
The Sharks host the Providence Bruins on Feb 2 before heading off for a season long seven game road trip with a pair of games in St. John’s on Feb 5 and 6. (can’t wait to buy some 50/50 raffle tickets – last year the winner took home an average of $15,000 during Sharks games!). It will be the only trip to St. John’s this season, after making the trek twice last year. Worcester will then bus to Bridgeport on Feb 10, Springfield on Feb 15, the only visit to Adirondack on Feb 16, and finish up the roadie on Feb 17 in Providence. The Sharks finally return home to host the Manchester Monarchs on Feb 22.
Clear the Calendar! – Feb 22, 23, and 24
Get your hockey fix with the only 3-in-3 weekend at the DCU Center with a trio of games to close out February! The Sharks will host the Monarchs on Friday, the Pirates on Saturday, and close out the busy weekend with a 3pm start vs. the Falcons on Sunday! Pace yourself and make sure you still have a voice come Sunday afternoon!
Home Cooking – Mar 9-27
The Sharks will host seven games in an eight game stretch at the DCU Center during an 18 day period in March! This stretch could make or break the Sharks playoff chances in the Eastern Conference. The Sharks will host the Bruins and Penguins twice, and the Pirates, Bears, and Monarchs during this busy home schedule run. In all, Worcester will host 8 of 12 total games in the month of March at the DCU Center. Can you say March Madness!?
One last look – Apr 17
Worcester’s last regular season home game is Wed, Apr 17 vs. the Springfield Falcons. Let’s hope it isn’t the last time the Sharks play at the DCU Center! The Sharks close out the regular season with a pair of road games in W-B/Scranton on Apr 19 and their only visit to Syracuse on Apr 20 (can you say Dinosaur BBQ!)
What games are you looking forward to this season? Tweet @WorcesterSharks with the tagline #MustSeeGame and why you are looking forward to that game! We will retweet some of the best games that you are looking forward to this season! In the mean time score your tickets today by calling 508-929-0500! The promotions schedule will be out in mid September…. Make sure to check back at on a regular basis to stay up to date!

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