Tim Kennedy extended his point streak to four games by scoring two goals, one of which was his team leading eighth goal of the season, and Alex Stalock made 33 saves but it wasn't enough as the Worcester Sharks saw their four-game road win streak snapped in a 4-3 loss Friday night to the Portland Pirates at the Cumberland County Civic Center. James Sheppard also scored for the Sharks, who went 0-for-7 on the power play and fell to fourth place in the Atlantic Division, three points behind the division leading St. John's IceCaps.
Kennedy put the Sharks up 1-0 at 4:17 of the 1st period off a deflection in front of new Sharks defenseman Mike Brennan's quick snap shot from the point, which got through traffic and past Pirates goaltender Chad Johnson. Bracken Kearns was credited with the secondary assist.
At 10:00, Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin was called for tripping and just eight seconds later, the Pirates tied the game when defenseman David Rundblad blasted a one-timer from the left face-off circle past Stalock for his third goal of the season after the Pirates had won the face-off inside the Sharks zone.
In an action packed second period, the Pirates out shot the Sharks 18-8 and outscored the Sharks 3-1 by scoring three times in a 6:27 span. Pirates captain Alexandre Bolduc fired a backhanded rebound shot past Stalock at 11:32 for his team leading 12th goal of the season to give the Pirates their first lead of the game and then had words with Stalock. Just 41-seconds later and five-seconds into their power play opportunity, Pirates rookie Chris Brown extended the lead to 3-1 with his eighth goal of the season
Looking to spark the team, Sharks rookie Yanni Gourde dropped the gloves for the first time in his professional career as he tangled with Pirates rookie Jordan Martinook at 16:27 after Martinook knocked down Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse with a check inside the Sharks zone. Gourde's fight appeared to spark the Sharks as 17-seconds later, James Sheppard buried home a shot top shelf in front for his third goal of the season after corralling a centering pass from linemate Jon Matsumoto, who was behind the Pirates net. Irwin was credited with the secondary assist.
The fight also sparked the Pirates as 75-seconds after Sheppard's goal, Pirates forward Chris Conner pushed the Pirates lead to 4-2 with his sixth goal of the season off a highlight reel goal that saw Conner rush down the right side with Brennan draped all over him, cut in front and slide the puck past Stalock for the goal.
In the third period, Kennedy scored his second goal of the game at 1:51 with a laser of a shot from on top of the face-off circles after a shot from the point by Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty was blocked in front of the Pirates net. Brodie Reid was credited with the secondary assist.
Kearns dropped the gloves for the third time this season as he tangled with Pirates forward Brett Hextall at 10:03 in a lengthy bout that saw both combatants land several solid shots before being separated by the linesmen. Despite pulling Stalock for the extra attacker with 45-seconds remaining and drawing a penalty on the Pirates with 26-seconds remaining, the Sharks couldn't get the puck past Johnson for the tying goal.
NOTES: Shots were 37-30 in favor of the Pirates... The Sharks went 0-for-7 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill... Stalock is now 8-5-2-0 with a 2.62 goals-against-average and .911 save percentage... With the two fights, the Sharks now have 27 through 19 games, 13 of which have come in five games against the Pirates this season... Kennedy has eight points (3-5-8) during his four-game point streak... Brennan wore #27 in his debut for the Sharks... John McCarthy (inj), Nick Petrecki (inj), Matt Pelech (susp), Travis Oleksuk (scr) and James Livingston (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... Pelech was suspended three games by the AHL for his head check match penalty to Mark Barberio of the Syracuse Crunch on Nov. 25... This was the fifth of 12 meetings between the teams this season and the fourth game between the teams in 22 days... The Sharks finished the month of November 7-4-1-0 with 15 points... The Sharks are 3-2-0-0 against the Pirates this season, 4-4-0-1 on the road, 7-3-1-0 against Atlantic Division opponents and 9-8-1-1 with 20 points overall.
1. Alexandre Bolduc - Pirates (1-2-3)
2. Chris Connor - Pirates (1-0-1, GWG)
3. Tim Kennedy - Sharks (2-0-2)