Brandon Mashinter snapped a 13-game pointless streak by scoring what held up as the game-winning-goal at 16:23 of the third period while Alex Stalock made 30 saves for his 11th win of the season as the Worcester Sharks defeated the Providence Bruins 3-2 Saturday night at the DCU Center in front of 6503 fans. Sebastian Stalberg and Brodie Reid also scored for the Sharks, who now trial the Portland Pirates by one point for first place in the Atlantic Division.
After a slow start to the game by both teams, the Bruins struck late in the first period at 18:10 when Chris Borque slammed home a rebound from point blank range for his seventh goal of the season just as the Bruins power play expired. Stalberg quickly answered back for the Sharks with his sixth goal of the season at 19:41 on an awesome individual effort that saw Stalberg intercept Bobby Robins' clearing attempt in the left face-off circle, skate across the slot and rip a shot past the glove of Bruins goaltender Michael Hutchinson. The goal, which was unassisted, snapped an 11-game goalless drought for Stalberg.
In the second period, a turnover by the Sharks in their own zone led to the Bruins regaining the lead at 7:55 when forward Justin Florek buried home a rebound from on top of the crease off a center point slap shot from linemate Craig Cunningham for his third goal of the season.
Late in the period, Reid fired a shot on goal from a near impossible angle in the right corner that banked off of Hutchinson's pad and went in for the tying goal at 19:36. Sena Acolatse and Jon Matsumoto were credited with the assists on the goal, which was Reid's fifth of the season.
With the game still tied late in the third period, Mashinter gave the Sharks their first lead of the game at 16:23 when he tucked the puck past Hutchinson during a mad scramble on top of the goal crease. Reid and Matt Irwin were credited with the assists on the goal, which was Mashinter's second of the season. The Bruins pulled Hutchinson for the extra attacker with 36-seconds remaining in the game but the Sharks held the Bruins at bay and held on for the victory.
NOTES: Shots were 32-27 in favor of the Bruins... The Sharks went 0-for-2 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill... Stalock picked up his 70th career win as a Shark and is now 11-6-3-1 with a 2.59 goals-against-average and .912 save percentage... This was the 12th straight one goal game played by the Sharks (7-4-0-1)... Danny Groulx (inj), Taylor Doherty (inj), Nick Petrecki (inj), Travis Oleksuk (inj), Yanni Gourde (scr) and Jimmy Bonneau (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... Acolatse left the game midway through the third period with an undisclosed injury that was revealed on Twitter by Acolatse as a broken jaw... Curt Gogol returned to the Sharks lineup after missing seven games with an injury... Matsumoto now has nine points (4-5-9) in his last six games... Both teams combined for 18 penalty minutes after combining for 144 back on December 21... This was the sixth of 12 meetings between the teams this season, all of which have been decided by one goal... The Sharks are 5-0-0-1 against the Bruins this season, 12-5-1-1 against the Atlantic Division, 7-5-1-1 at the DCU Center and 16-11-1-2 with 35 points overall.
1. Brandon Mashinter - Sharks (1-0-1, GWG)
2. Alex Stalock - Sharks (30 saves, win)
3. Craig Cunningham - Bruins (0-2-2)