The Worcester Sharks 2008-2009 season featured more thrills than a shark infested swim with off of Nantucket Island.
From the hosting the All-Star Classic to the trip through the Calder Cup playoffs and from Claude Lemieux's cameo appearance to Thomas Greiss' shutout in front of a record crowd, the season captured the hearts and imagination of fans each and every night.
Here are the highlights of this magical season at the DCU.
- The Worcester Sharks become just the 20th team in AHL history to win a seven game playoff series when trailing 2-0 after they defeated the Wolf Pack in six games.
- Derek Joslin and Ryan Vesce participate in 2009 All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications in front of a capacity crowd of 7,245 at the DCU Center as PlanetUSA defeats the Canadian All-Stars 14-11 in the highest scoring All-Star game in AHL history.
- Four-time Stanley Cup Champion Claude Lemieux, a 20-year NHL veteran with Montreal, New Jersey, Colorado, Phoenix and Dallas, scored his first goal as a member of the Worcester Sharks in a 4-1 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the DCU Center on November 29th.
- Sharks Captain Ryan Vesce finished 13th in the AHL in points with 71 (24-47-71) and tops in overtime goals (4) and 2nd in game winning goals (9). Vesce also set a franchise record with a 17 game point streak (9-18-27) from Dec 29 – Feb 15th.
- Thomas Greiss made 23 saves for his first professional shutout in his 140th AHL start in front of a franchise record 7,406 at the DCU Center in the Sharks 3-0 win over the Bruins on April 11th. The shutout was also the first shutout by a Sharks netminder at the DCU Center (120 regular season games).
- The Worcester Sharks had eleven players called up to the NHL this season. Ryan Vesce, Lukas Kaspar, Riley Armstrong, Tom Cavanagh, Jamie McGinn, Derek Joslin, Mike Moore, Claude Lemieux, Brad Staubitz, Torrey Mitchell, and Thomas Greiss all had recalls to the San Jose Sharks this season.
Sharks in the Atlantic
The Sharks finished (42-35-1-2) swimming in a 4th place in the Atlantic Division with 87 points, 12 points behind the first place Hartford Wolf Pack. Worcester finished one point behind the Pirates for the 3rd spot and seven points behind the Bruins for the 2nd spot. The 5th place Monarchs finished five points behind the Sharks and the Devils were eight points out in a very choppy Atlantic Division.
*The Sharks finished with a franchise record 42 wins, surpassing their total of 41 wins in 2006-07.
*The Sharks broke a franchise record with 7,406 fans at the DCU Center on April 11th vs. the Bruins. Thomas Greiss made 23 saves in the first shutout at the DCU Center by a Sharks goaltender in 120 games and it was Griess’ first ever shutout in 140 starts.
*With five straight wins on the road to close out the road schedule, the Sharks set a franchise record. The Sharks defeated Bridgeport, Providence, Springfield, Albany and Manchester to close out the season on the road for an 18-20-1-1 record away from the DCU Center.
*43-year-old Conn Smyth winner Claude Lemieux had eleven points (3-8-11) in 23 games along with 24 penalty minutes and was +2 in his return to professional hockey with the Sharks on 11.28.08.
*Thomas Greiss made 16 straight starts in net for the Sharks (franchise record) to close out the regular season. Greiss was 10-6-0 in those starts with a 1.90 gaa and a .930 save %. *Greiss set a franchise record with 30 wins and the lowest gaa in team history (2.47). He also played the most minutes ever in a season (3,346) and most appearances (57).
*Defenseman Derek Joslin scored 11 goals this season to set a franchise record for goals by defenseman.
*Sharks Captain Ryan Vesce finished 13th in the AHL in points with 71 (24-47-71) and tops in overtime goals (4) and 2nd in game winning goals (9). Vesce also set a franchise record with a 17 game point streak (9-18-27) from Dec 29 – Feb 15th.
*Rookie Frazer McLaren ranked 4th among AHL rookies with 21 fighting major penalties and 4th in pims (181). His 21 fighting majors are a franchise record Brad Staubitz had 19 tilts last season.
*The Sharks set a franchise record with 78 fighting major penalties this season through 80 games. 17 different players have dropped the gloves already this season (Frazer McLaren (21), Brett Westgarth (15), Mike Moore (10), Brad Staubitz (10), Jason Demers (2), Andrew Desjardins (5), Jamie McGinn (2), James McEwan (2), Tom Cavanagh, Dan DaSilva, Kyle McLaren, Brendan Buckley (2), TJ Fox, Cory Larose (2), Matt Jones, Riley Armstrong, and Logan Couture. The Sharks had 68 fighting majors last season and 54 in 2007-08.
*Patrick Traverse finished 11th in the AHL defensemen scoring race with 43 points (9-34-43). Traverse had the best offensive season in his 15th professional season.
*The Sharks had the best winning percentage (.750) in the AHL in games that are decided after regulation. Worcester is 7-1 in overtime and 2-2 in the shootout.
*The Sharks scored the first goal of the game in 37 of their 80 games and are 29-7-0-1 when scoring the first tally of the game. (.797)
*Worcester was outscored 60-79 in the first period but outscored their opponents in the second period (76-71) and the third period (78-70).
*Worcester led the AHL with shots per game (35.25) and was 2nd in shots against per game (26.81). The Sharks had 14 players with at least 100 shots on goal.
*The Sharks were 21-3-0-1 when leading after twenty minutes and 28-2-0-1 when leading after forty.
* The Sharks had five players with 100+ penalty minutes this season (Frazer McLaren, Brett Westgarth, Mike Moore, Brad Staubitz, and Riley Armstrong)
Top Regular Season Sharks:
o Goals Armstrong (25)
o Game Winners Vesce (9)* franchise record
o Assists Vesce (47)* franchise record
o Points Vesce (71)
o Power play Points Vesce (5-18-23)
o Shots Armstrong (217)
o PIM F. McLaren (181)
o Fighting Pen. F. McLaren (21)* franchise record
o Plus/Minus Demers (+15)
o Wins Greiss (30)* franchise record
o G.A.A. Greiss (2.47)* Franchise record
o Save % Greiss (.907)
o Shutouts Dakers and Greiss (1)
Worcester Sharks in San Jose!
* The Worcester Sharks had eleven players called up to the NHL this season. Ryan Vesce, Lukas Kaspar, Riley Armstrong, Tom Cavanagh, Jamie McGinn, Derek Joslin, Mike Moore, Claude Lemieux, Brad Staubitz, Torrey Mitchell, and Thomas Greiss all had recalls to the San Jose Sharks this season.
* Ryan Vesce, Riley Armstrong, Jamie McGinn, Derek Joslin, and Brad Staubitz all made their NHL debuts this season.
* Lukas Kaspar, Tom Cavanagh, Jamie McGinn, and Brad Staubitz all scored their first NHL goals this season.
* Player Stats in San Jose sorted by games played
Jamie McGinn 35gp 4-2-6pts 2pim
Brad Staubitz 35gp 1-2-3pts 76pim – 8 fighting majors, 2nd on team
Claude Lemieux 18gp 0-1-1pts 21pim
Tom Cavanagh 17gp 1-1-2pts 4pim
Lukas Kaspar 13gp 2-2-4pts 8pim
Derek Joslin 12gp 0-0-0 6pim
Ryan Vesce 10gp 0-0-0 4pim
Riley Armstrong 2gp 0-0-0 2pim
Mike Moore - recalled
Thomas Greiss – backup goaltender
Torrey Mitchell 4gp playoffs 0-0-0pts 4pims
Philadelphia Phantoms forward Jared Ross set AHL All-Star Game records with six assists and seven points and the PlanetUSA AHL All-Stars scored a record nine times in the third period to rally for a 14-11 win over the Canadian AHL All-Stars at the 2009 AHL All-Star Game in Worcester.
The game was witnessed by a capacity crowd of 7,245 fans at the DCU Center as well as national television audiences in Canada on TSN and in the United States on a series of regional networks. The game was also shown on the Internet at AHL Live and heard on Sirius XM Radio and XM Canada.
Ross, who was selected to participate in the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic but missed the event following an appendectomy, was named the Charter Communications Most Valuable Player for the game.
He combined with linemates Ryan Potulny of the Springfield Falcons (two goals, four assists) and Jeff Taffe of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (three goals, two assists) to lead PlanetUSA to the highest offensive output in event history.
With his father, Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, in attendance, Chris Bourque of the Hershey Bears snapped an 11-11 tie with 4:54 remaining in regulation to send PlanetUSA to the victory. Martins Karsums of the Providence Bruins chipped in with five points (2g, 3a), Michael Ryan of the Albany River Rats also scored twice and had an assist and Artem Anisimov of the Hartford Wolf Pack recorded a goal and two assists.
Corey Locke of the Houston Aeros set an AHL All-Star Game record with four goals and Teddy Purcell of the Manchester Monarchs, last year's All-Star Game MVP, picked up five assists. Both players now have eight career All-Star points, tied for the league record.
For the Sharks, Derek Joslin was as a starter for Team Canada and recorded the hardest shot at the Skills competition recording a 98.6 mph shot. Sharks captain Ryan Vesce was an AHL All-Star for the second time and skated for Planet USA. Ryan recorded a goal and an assist in the 14-11 PlanetUSA victory.
Calder Cup Playoffs:
Atlantic Division Semi-finals Playoffs: Sharks defeat Wolf Pack 4-2 in best of seven series
Thu. 4/16 L Worcester SHARKS 0 @ Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Sat. 4/18 L Worcester SHARKS 3 @ Hartford Wolf Pack 5
Mon. 4/20 W Hartford Wolf Pack 2 @ Worcester SHARKS 3 - Double OT.
Wed. 4/22 W Hartford Wolf Pack 0 @ Worcester SHARKS 6
Thu. 4/23 W Worcester SHARKS 3 @ Hartford Wolf Pack 1
Sat. 4/25 W Hartford Wolf Pack 3@ Worcester SHARKS 5
Atlantic Division Finals Playoff Schedule: Bruins defeat Sharks 4-2 in best of seven series
Tue. 4/28 L Worcester SHARKS 2 @ Providence Bruins 3 - OT
Wed. 5/6 L Providence Bruins 4 @ Worcester SHARKS 2
Fri. 5/8 W Worcester SHARKS 5 @ Providence Bruins 3
Sat. 5/9 W Providence Bruins 0 @ Worcester SHARKS 1
Mon. 5/11 L Worcester SHARKS 3 @ Providence Bruins 4
Wed. 5/13 L Providence Bruins 5 @ Worcester SHARKS 1
*The 2nd round series against the Bruins is just the 3rd ever playoff series for the Sharks. In 2007, the Sharks lost round 1 to the Manchester Monarchs four games to two.
* The Sharks became just the 20th team in AHL history to win a series after losing the first two games.
*Brendan Buckley scored his first playoff goal in Game 2 at Hartford in his 56th AHL playoff game.
*The Sharks had a franchise record 13 power plays in Game 2 at Hartford (1 for 13).
*Kyle McLaren dressed in his first AHL playoff game in Game 1 at Hartford after playing in 70 NHL playoff games.
*Rookie Frazer McLaren recorded one assist in 75 regular season games but had four in 12 playoff games.
* Ryan Vesce scored his first two AHL playoff goals in Game 3 vs. Hartford including his 5th OTG this season.
* Thomas Greiss made 34 saves in Game 3 vs. Hartford for his first AHL playoff victory in six starts and followed up with 30 saves in game 4 for his first playoff shutout in a 6-0 victory. Greiss recorded his 2nd shutout of the playoff season with 26 saves vs. the Bruins in Game 4. Greiss finished the season making 28 straight starts dating back to the end of the regular season.
* Riley Armstrong finished the playoffs leading all Sharks with 13 points.
* Patrick Traverse led all Sharks defensemen in the playoffs with nine points (4-5-9).
* T.J. Fox scored in Game 3 at Providence, making the 3rd straight game he had scored a goal.
* The Sharks spread out their offense in the playoffs, as eight different players had at least three goals.
* The Sharks went 5-1 when scoring the first goal of the game in the playoffs.
* Dan DaSilva finished off a great playoff season ranking 2nd on the Sharks with 10 points (3-7-10).
* Andrew Desjardins shorthanded goal in Game 6 vs. the Bruins was the first shorthanded goal by a Sharks player in the playoffs.
*The Sharks set a franchise record with 78 fighting major penalties this season through 80 games and had six in the AHL playoffs. Frazer McLaren (2x),Andrew Desjardins, Jamie McGinn, Brad Staubitz, and Mike Moore each dropped the gloves in the playoffs.
Top Sharks in the Playoffs:
o Goals Traverse, Desjardins, and McGinn (4)
o Game Winners DaSilva, Vesce, F. McLaren, Fox, Cavanagh, McGinn (1)
o Assists Armstrong (10)
o Points Armstrong (3-10-13)
o Power play Points Traverse (4-1-5)
o Shots Vesce (39)
o PIM F. McLaren (50)
o Fighting Pen. F. McLaren (2)
o Plus/Minus Moore and Desjardins (+7)
o Wins Greiss (6)
o G.A.A. Greiss (2.43)
o Save % Greiss (.912)
o Shutouts Greiss (2)
The Sharks reduced their 2009-10 season ticket prices and are on sale now! Purchases can be made by contacting the Worcester Sharks office at 508.929.0500, or by crashing the net at www.SharksAHL.com.
All games can be heard live on 580AM and 94.9FM WTAG, as well as online through AHL Live, by following the link on the Sharks website at www.SharksAHL.com.
Check out SharksTV on SharksAHL.com for playoff and regular season highlights, exclusive interviews, and features!
The Sharks have a very busy off season planned in Central Massachusetts! Check out the community calendar on SharksAHL.com to find out where FINZ will be hanging out this summer!
What's News is the alternate profile of Bleacher Report writer Todd Civin and is used to publish press releases by the AHL, the Women's Professional Soccer League and the CanAm Baseball League. You can see Todd Civin's regular stories under his profile. Feel free to contact him with story leads and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org