Mink, Patzold Rule over Monarchs
Worcester Sharks vs. Manchester Monarchs
DCU Center – Worcester, MA
February 2, 2008
Mink, Patzold Rule over Monarchs
By: Chris Del Vecchio
WORCESTER, MA - Playing at home for the first time since the AHL All-Star break, the Worcester Sharks pulled two points closer to the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division as they knocked off the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday night by the score of 3-1. Graham Mink led the way for Worcester, notching his seventh multi-point game of the season by way of two goals and an assist.
Despite just two shots over the game’s opening six minutes, the Sharks were able to put pressure on the Manchester defense. An aggressive forecheck forced a turnover outside the Monarchs zone, and Marc Busenburg triggered a quick rush through Dennis Packard to Graham Mink, whose snipe from beyond the circles cleared the shoulder of Manchester netminder Daniel Taylor and tipped off the crossbar on its way into the net. The goal, at 6:16 of the first period, was Mink’s 11th goal of the season. The Sharks captain continued to aggravate the Manchester defense, as his scrappy play behind the goal line earned him his 19th assist of the season just over two minutes later. Mink’s wraparound try was denied by Taylor but the puck trickled across the goal mouth to TJ Fox, who notched his seventh tally of the season to open up an early 2-0 lead for Worcester.
Mink and the Sharks were held in check for the remainder of the period, but sprung to life quickly in the middle frame. An end-to-end rush that started with backstop Dmitri Patzold finished with Graham Mink scoring his second goal of the game just 39 seconds into the second period. Patzold was credited with his second assist of the season, while Derek Joslin earned his 14th. Nate Raduns nearly extended the lead to four goals after a diagonal feed from Patrick Traverse, but his effort was poked away by Taylor.
Meanwhile, as the scoring settled down, tempers grew heated. Brad Staubitz and Drew Bagnall, who had already fought once during the first period, renewed their rivalry in the second stanza, and Kevin Westgarth engaged Riley Armstrong in front of the Sharks bench three minutes later. That skirmish led to an additional roughing call and a ten minute misconduct against Brennan Evans, and Manchester would capitalize on the ensuing power play. At 8:28 of the period, Teddy Purcell fed Gabe Gauthier deep in the right faceoff circle, and Gauthier scored his fifth goal against the Sharks this season, narrowing the Worcester lead to 3-1.
Manchester showed signs of life in the third but were unable to pull any closer, as Patzold made 11 saves over the final 20 minutes to carry the Sharks to victory. Patzold made 27 saves on the night to go along with his assist. The Sharks now sit five points behind Springfield, who took over fourth place with their win at Lowell, but Worcester holds four games in hand over the Falcons.
Worcester now embarks on a six game road swing, beginning tomorrow in Providence with a special 2:05pm puck drop to accommodate Super Bowl XLII. The Sharks return to the DCU Center on Friday, February 22nd for a 3-in-3 weekend, with all three games on home ice. Friday’s matchup features the Lowell Devils, with Portland skating into town on Saturday and the Springfield Falcons wrapping up the weekend with an 8:05pm start on Sunday the 24th. To learn more about ticket packages and other promotions, crash the net at sharksahl.com or call the Sharks offices at 508-929-0500.
NOTES: Six of Staubitz’ 12 fighting majors this season have occurred against Manchester… Craig Valette and John Zeiler fought late in the first period, and Zeiler nearly initiated a tangle with Derek Joslin during the second period… Riley Armstrong was helped from the ice after being wiped out by Joe Piskula at 6:41 of the 1st period, but Armstrong returned to the lineup after the first intermission... Marc Busenburg, who assisted on the first Worcester goal, has played in 5 of 8 contests against Manchester this year and just 7 of 37 against all other opponents… Taylor made 35 saves over 58:50 for Manchester; Patzold stopped 27 shots over 59:47 for Worcester… Power Plays: Manchester 1 for 4, Worcester 0 for 4. Niche Group 3 Stars: Mezcal 3rd star – Packard (2 assists), Bocado 2nd star – Patzold (27 saves, 1 assist), Block 5 1st star – Mink (2 goals, 1 assist).