Looking to avoid a sweep in the final game of a three-in-three weekend, the Worcester Sharks failed to protect a third period lead as they were defeated 4-3 by their Atlantic Division rival the Portland Pirates (AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes) at the DCU Center Sunday evening.
"That was discouraging, to battle back like that and not have anything to show for it," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "I thought we played hard, and we deserved a better fate."
The Pirates took an early 1-0 lead at 3:55 of the first period when forward Tobias Rieder corralled a loose puck at the top of the left slot off a turnover by Sharks defenseman Adam Comrie and beat Sharks goaltender Harri Sateri with a quick snap shot for his third goal of the season.
Comrie made amends for his turnover at 12:17 when he beat Pirates goaltender Mark Visentin with a wrist shot from inside the left face-off circle for a power play goal, his first goal of the season, to tie the game at 1-1. Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse and forward Travis Oleksuk were credited with the assists.
Rieder put the Pirates ahead 2-1 at 16:59 when he beat Sateri with a quick snap shot from inside the right face-off circle near the slot after corralling a right corner pass from linemate (and ex Shark) Tim Kennedy.
Sharks defenseman Nick Petrecki tied the game at 6:58 of the second period when his wrist shot from the top of the center point got through traffic and beat Visentin. Sharks forwards Daniil Tarasov and Freddie Hamilton were credited with the assists on the goal, which was Petrecki's first of the season.
After killing off a Pirates 5-on-3 power play advantage that started at the tail end of the second period and carried over to the start of the third period, Sharks forward James Livingston gave the Sharks their first lead of the game (and of the weekend) at 3:52 when he beat Visentin with a snap shot from on top of the left face-off circle. Acolatse was credited with the lone assist on the goal, which was Livingston's second of the season.
Pirates forward Chris Brown tied the game at 8:01 when he corralled a loose puck on top of the crease and fired the puck through the wickets of Sateri from the right side for his second goal of the season. At 11:27, Brown scored what held up as the game-winning-goal when he capped off a 3-on-2 rush with a one-timer from on top of the left face-off circle that beat Sateri low.
Despite having a power play opportunity following Brown's second goal and pulling Sateri for the extra attacker, the Sharks couldn't get the tying goal past Visentin, who finished with 30 saves.
"We knew what we had to do," said Acolatse in a post game interview with Ballou. "We knew we had to be way better than (Saturday) night, and we were ready. We had chances and didn't capitalize on them, and they capitalized on the ones they had. That was the difference.
"But losing (stinks), either way."
NOTES... Final shots were 33-22 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 1-for-4 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 1-6-0 with a 3.89 goals-against-average and .848 save percentage... Comrie had a game high five shots on goal... With two assists, Acolatse leads all Sharks defensemen with six points (1-5-6)... Kennedy had two assists for the Pirates in his first game back at the DCU Center... The two teams combined for 18 penalty minutes, 10 of which were assessed to the Sharks... Konrad Abeltshauser (scr), Jimmy Bonneau (inj), Rob Davison (inj) and Lane Scheidl (inj) did not dress for the Sharks... For the weekend, the Sharks outshot their opponents 106-78 but were outscored 14-6 as opposing goalies stopped 100 of the 106 shots for a .943 save percentage while Sharks goalies allowed 13 goals (one empty netter) on 77 shots for a .831 save percentage... This was the the third of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Pirates this season... The Sharks are 1-2-0 against the Pirates, 2-5-0 at the DCU Center and 3-7-0 with six points overall... The Sharks are back in action November 13 at 6pm/et as they travel to play the St. John's Icecaps for three consecutive games (November 13, 15, 16).
1. Chris Brown - Pirates (2-0-2, GWG)
2. Sena Acolatse - Sharks (0-2-2)
3. Tobias Rieder - Pirates (2-0-2)
Stalberg / Kearns (A) / Oleksuk
Tarasov / Hamilton / Livingston
Gogol / Viedensky (A) / Hayes
Reid / Schwartz / Pelech
Doherty / Comrie
Acolatse / Tennyson
Petrecki / DeMelo