Despite a solid outing from goaltender Alex Stalock, who made 25 saves, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 2-1 by the Manchester Monarchs on boxing day Wednesday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena. James Livingston had the lone goal for the Sharks, who fell to fourth place in the Atlantic Division and now trail the division leading Portland Pirates by three points.
Livingston gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 9:25 of the first period when he crashed the net and buried home a rebound off a Matt Irwin blast from the left point. Sharks rookie Freddie Hamilton was credited with the secondary assist on the goal, which was Livingston's second of the season.
Stalock kept the Monarchs off the scoreboard in the first period by making 13 saves, one of which was an unbelievable split save on a one-timer that robbed the Monarchs of a power play goal. For the period, the Sharks were outshot by the Monarchs 13-7.
In the second period, the Monarchs scored two times in a 1:55 span to take a 2-1 lead. Stefan Legein tied the game at 6:35 with his second goal of the season off a quick wrist shot from on top of the face-off circles that beat Stalock low on the stick side. Monarchs forward Andy Andreoff put the Monarchs up 2-1 at 8:30 when he corralled a loose puck in the neutral zone off a turnover at the blue line of the Monarchs zone by Sharks defenseman Mike Banwell, rushed down the right wing and finished off a 2-on-1 rush by firing quick wrist shot over Stalock's shoulder on the glove side for his fourth goal of the season, which held up as the game winning goal.
In the third period, the Sharks outshot the Monarchs 13-3, had two power play opportunities and pulled Stalock for the extra attacker with 42-seconds remaining in the game but couldn't get the tying goal past Monarchs goaltender Peter Mannino, who picked up his seventh win of the season.
NOTES: Shots were 30-27 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill... Stalock is now 10-6-3-1 with a 2.62 goals-against-average and .910 save percentage... Sharks defenseman Nick Petrecki fought Monarchs forward Richard Clune at 9:07 of the second period, giving the Sharks 38 fights through 28 games... Danny Groulx (inj), Taylor Doherty (inj), Curt Gogol (inj), Sena Acolatse (inj), Travis Oleksuk (inj) and Jimmy Bonneau (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... Irwin returned to the Sharks lineup after missing four games with an injury... The Sharks have now played in ten straight one goal games and are 5-4-0-1... This was the fifth of 12 meetings between the teams this season and the first of three games in six days between them... The Sharks are 3-2-0-0 against the Monarchs this season, 10-5-1-1 against the Atlantic Division, 9-6-0-1 on the road and 14-11-1-2 with 31 points overall... There was a scoring change to the December 21 game against the Providence Bruins as Matt Tennyson's unassisted power play goal was changed to Jon Matsumoto's goal with Tennyson getting the assist.
1. Andy Andreoff - Monarchs (1-0-1)
2. Stefan Legein - Monarchs (1-0-1)
3. Peter Mannino - Monarchs (29 saves, win)