Freddie Hamilton scored his first professional goal, which held up as the game winning goal, and Alex Stalock stopped 25 consecutive shots for his fifth straight win as the Worcester Sharks defeated the Portland Pirates 3-1 Friday night at the DCU Center.
Just 62-seconds into the game, the Pirates took an early 1-0 lead when Chris Brown slid a backhanded shot from between the face-off circles through the pads of Stalock for his third goal of the season on the Pirates' first shot on goal.
The game quickly got chippy as Sharks forward Brandon Mashinter engaged in his second fight of the season when he dropped the gloves with Pirates defenseman Mark Louis just 36-seconds after Brown's goal. At 5:22, Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau went toe-to-toe with Pirates toughman Joel Rechlicz in a marathon of a battle near center ice. The fight was Bonneau's second of the season.
After a scoreless second period, the Sharks tied the game just 46-seconds into the third period on a 5-on-3 power play advantage when Bracken Kearns buried home a shot from on top of the crease after taking a behind the net centering pass from linemate Tim Kennedy. Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson was credited with the secondary assist on the goal, which was Kearns' fourth of the season and third on the power play.
Later in the period, Hamilton corralled his own rebound and roofed a backhanded shot from deep inside the right face-off circle over the shoulder of Pirates goaltender Chad Johnson at 8:36 to put the Sharks ahead 2-1. Mashinter and James Livingston were credited with the assists.
At 19:21, Sharks forward Jon Matsumoto sealed the Sharks' win with an empty net goal, his third goal of the season, which was assisted by James Sheppard.
NOTES: Shots were 33-26 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 1-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill... The teams combined for 54 penalty minutes, 44 of which were assessed in the first period... Stalock has won his last five starts and is now 5-2-1-0 with a 2.33 goals-against-average and .915 save percentage... This was the second of 12 meetings between the teams this season... With the two fights, the Sharks now have 14 through 11 games... Brodie Reid (inj), Nick Petrecki (inj), Frazer McLaren (inj), Mikael Tam (inj), Marek Viedensky (scr) and Yanni Gourde (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... The Sharks are 1-1-0-0 against the Pirates this season... The Sharks have earned points in five straight games (4-0-1-0)... The Sharks are now 5-4-1-1 overall.
1. Freddie Hamilton - Sharks (1-01, GWG)
2. Bracken Kearns - Sharks (1-0-1)
3. Alex Stalock - Sharks (25 saves, win)