Rallying in the final period for an AHL leading third time this season, the Worcester Sharks ended the Portland Pirates nine game home winning streak with a 4-2 come-from-behind victory Wednesday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Alex Stalock made 20 saves for his seventh consecutive win and 10 different skaters registered a point for the Sharks, who now sit atop the AHL Atlantic Division.
Just 68-seconds into the game, Rob Klinkhammer gave the Pirates an early 1-0 lead as he broke down the left side and finished off a Pirates 2-on-1 rush with a shot from the left face-off circle that beat Stalock through the pads for his fourth goal of the season.
Sharks rookie Sebastian Stalberg answered back for the Sharks on the power play at 3:37 with his fifth goal of the season, third on the power play, off a shot from the left slot that beat Pirates goaltender Mark Visentin between the wickets. Defensemen Matt Tennyson and Matt Irwin were credited with the assists on the goal.
Klinkhammer regained the lead for the Pirates as he scored his second goal of the game at 8:27 of the second period off a one-timer blast from the right face-off circle to finish off another Pirates 2-on-1 rush. The Sharks had a chance late in the period to tie the game with 63-seconds of 5-on-3 power play time but couldn't generate a shot on goal.
In the third period, the Sharks stunned the Pirates by scoring twice in a 68-second span to take a 3-2 lead. James Sheppard tied the game with his second goal of the season at 11:05 off a great individual effort as he rushed into the Pirates zone down the left side, spun around Pirates defenseman Maxim Goncharov and fired a quick wrist shot on net that beat (and surprised) Visentin. Sharks rookie Yanni Gourde and defenseman Danny Groulx were credited with the assists.
Tim Kennedy gave the Sharks their first lead of the game at 12:13 with his fifth goal of the season off a 60-foot rocket slap shot from the blue line that beat Visentin through the pads. Bracken Kearns and Sharks captain John McCarthy were credited with the assists on the goal, which held up as the game winner.
At 17:43, Irwin was assessed a two minute minor for hooking and the Pirates pulled Visentin for a 6-on-4 power play advantage. However, the Sharks held their ground and just seconds after coming out of the penalty box, Irwin corralled a pass from defensive partner Sena Acolatse and sealed a Sharks victory with an empty net goal, his first goal of the season, at 19:52.
NOTES: Shots were 33-22 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 1-for-4 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill... Stalock is now 7-2-2-0 with a 2.35 goals-against-average and .915 save percentage... With an assist, Kearns extended his point streak to four games (3-1-4)... Sharks defenseman Matt Pelech dropped the gloves for the fourth time this season when he fought Pirates defenseman Mark Louis at 13:46 of the first period... With the one fight, the Sharks now have 16 through 14 games... Brodie Reid (inj), Frazer McLaren (inj), Jon Matsumoto (inj), Nick Petrecki (inj), Daniil Tarasov (scr), Marek Viedensky (scr) and Mikael Tam (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... This was the third of 12 meetings between the teams this season... The Sharks are 2-1-0-0 against the Pirates this season, 3-3-0-1 on the road and 7-5-1-1 overall.
1. Tim Kennedy - Sharks (1-0-1, GWG)
2. Rob Klinkhammer - Pirates (2-0-2)
3. James Sheppard - Sharks (1-0-1)