Playing the second game of their three-in-three weekend, the Worcester Sharks returned home to the DCU Center Saturday night and defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders) 2-1 in the shootout.
The Sharks, who were looking to avenge an embarrassing 7-1 home loss to Sound Tigers three weeks ago, got shootout goals from forwards Brodie Reid and James Livingston while defenseman Taylor Doherty had the lone regulation goal. Rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick made 19 saves in net (4-for-4 in the shootout) for his third win of the season.
"We deserved the two points the way we played all night," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. 'I thought it was one of the best games we've played so far - not even close to what we did (Friday) night."
The tone for a physical game was set early as the teams combined for three sets of fighting majors within the opening four minutes of the first period. Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau, who had missed the last nine games due to a laceration, dropped the gloves with Sound Tigers enforcer Justin Johnson at 2:07 in a heated fight that saw Bonneau drop Johnson with a solid left hand. On the ensuing face-off, Sharks forward Matt Pelech engaged in a lengthy battle against Sound Tigers forward Brett Gallant, which was followed by Sharks rookie forward Eriah Hayes against Sound Tigers defenseman Scott Mayfield at 3:37.
At 13:58, the Sound Tigers took a 1-0 lead when defenseman Dallas Jackson redirected defenseman Mike Cornell's slap pass from on top of the left face-off circle past Grosenick for his second goal of the season, which came on the Sound Tigers' first shot on goal. For the period, the Sharks out-shot the Sound Tigers 13-4.
After a scoreless second period, Doherty tied the game at 4:47 of the third period with his first goal of the season off a blast of a slap shot from the top of the center point at the blue line that got through traffic in front and beat Sound Tigers goaltender Kenny Reiter. Sharks forwards Rylan Schwartz and Freddie Hamilton were credited with the assists on the goal, which was Doherty's first since Nov. 3, 2012.
In overtime, the Sharks nearly won the game when Schwartz's shot from the left corner broke past Reiter and wobbled along the goal line before Reiter covered the puck for a face-off. With under 90-seconds left, the Sound Tigers had several chances to win the game but Grosenick made a skate save at 3:40, a glove save at 4:21 and a stick save at 4:40.
With the extra point on the line in the shootout, Reid and Livingston scored back-to-back goals in the second and third rounds while Grosenick kept the Sound Tigers shooters off the scoreboard for the Sharks win.
NOTES... Final shots were 38-20 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play and 0-for-0 on the penalty kill... This was the first time since Feb. 27, 2010 against the Abbotsford Heat that the Sharks didn't have to kill a penalty (via Bill Ballou)... Grosenick is now 3-2-0 with a 2.07 goals-against-average and .923 save percentage... Schwartz had a game high five shots on goal... With the three fights, the Sharks now have 25 through 15 games... Hayes' fight was the first of his professional career... The Sharks are 3-0 in the shootout this season... This was the second of four meetings between the Sharks and Sound Tigers this season... The Sharks are 1-1-0-0 against the Sound Tigers, 3-5-0-0 at the DCU Center and 6-8-1-0 with 13 points overall... The Sharks wrap up their three-in-three weekend Sunday afternoon as they host the Manchester Monarchs at 3pm/et.
1. Taylor Doherty - Sharks (1-0-1)
2. Kenny Reiter - Sound Tigers (37 saves, Loss)
3. Brodie Reid - Sharks (SO GWG)
Schwartz / Kearns (A) / DaSilva
Hayes / Hamilton / Reid
Gogol / Oleksuk / Livingston
Bonneau (A) / Brace / Pelech
Comrie / Doherty
Davison (C) / Tennyson
Petrecki / DeMelo