The 2012-13 season kicked off Friday in the American Hockey League (AHL). Thanks to the lockout, some of the NHL's best young talent are taking to the ice. As hockey fans try desperately to get their fix, the AHL is more popular than it has been
since the last lockout in years.
San Jose Sharks affiliate the Worcester Sharks opened its season in Norfolk, Va., against the reigning Calder Cup champion, the Norfolk Admirals, the affiliate for the Western Conference rival Anaheim Ducks.
At the NHL level, the Ducks and Sharks have a nasty rivalry; it doesn't necessarily translate to the AHL. The last time Worcester and Norfolk played each other was in 2010; a little too long in between to form a hatred. Friday and Saturday's games were physical at times, but mostly consisted of fast-paced, back-and-forth hockey.
Worcester would lose Friday's game to Norfolk 4-2. The Sharks controlled a majority of the game on Saturday. After the Admirals scored a quick goal 1:11 into the game, the Sharks countered with two straight goals. Norfolk evened the score in the third and took the game to overtime, earning Worcester its first point of the season. Neither team scored in OT and it went to a shootout. Norfolk bested Worcester, 2-1, with the only shootout goal coming from James Sheppard.
Sheppard and Matt Irwin lead the team in scoring with three points apiece. Rookie Sebastian Stalberg scored two goals, one of which was on the power play. Defenseman Matt Tennyson had one goal and leads the team in plus/minus with plus-4.
The Sharks are currently ninth in the Eastern Conference and third in the Atlantic Division. Worcester's next game is on Friday, Oct. 14, against the Portland Pirates, the affiliates of the Phoenix Coyotes.
1. Springfield Falcons (4 points)
2. Manchester Monarchs (4 points)
3. Norfolk Admirals (4 points)
4. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (4 points)
5. Syracuse Crunch (3 points)
6. Binghamton Senators (2 points)
7. St. John's IceCaps (2 points)
8. Adirondack Phantoms (2 points)
9. Worcester Sharks (1 point)
10. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (0 points)
11. Albany Devils (0 points)
12. Hershey Bears (0 points)
13. Portland Pirates (0 points)
14. Connecticut Whale (0 points)
15. Providence Bruins (0 points)
1. Abbotsford Heat (4 points)
2. Chicago Wolves (4 points)
3. Texas Stars (4 points)
4. Lake Erie Monsters (4 points)
5. Charlotte Checkers (3 points)
6. Milwaukee Admirals (2 points)
7. Hamilton Bulldogs (2 points)
8. Oklahoma City Barons (2 points)
9. San Antonio Rampage (2 points)
10. Toronto Marlies (2 points)
11. Rochester Americans (2 points)
12. Grand Rapids Griffins (1 point)
13. Rockford IceHogs (1 point)
14. Houston Aeros (0 points)
15. Peoria Rivermen (0 points)