For the first time all season, the Worcester Sharks are at .500.
The Sharks, who are now 8-8-1-0 with 17 points overall, extended their winning streak to three games Friday night after defeating their Atlantic Division rival the Portland Pirates (AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes) 3-1 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Forwards Bracken Kearns, James Livingston and Freddie Hamilton scored for the Sharks while goaltender Harri Sateri made 25 saves in net for his fourth win of the season (and third win in his last four starts).
"He played well, especially in the third period when they had some good chances," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer of Sateri in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "He's back - Harri's back."
An energetic first period saw three sets of fighting majors, beginning with a heavyweight bout between Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau and Pirates enforcer Kyle Hagel at 9:41. At 12:47, Sharks rookie forward Riley Brace dropped the gloves against Pirates alternate captain Andy Miele in a long battle which was followed by Sharks forward Daniil Tarasov against Pirates forward Chris Brown at 13:25. For the period, the teams combined for 40 penalty minutes, 19 of which were assessed to the Sharks.
With tempers cooled, Kearns put the Sharks ahead 1-0 at 3:35 of the second period when he buried home a rebound from the right side of the goal crease for his fourth goal of the season. Sharks forward Dan DaSilva, who took the initial shot from the top of the slot, and defenseman Rob Davison were credited with the assists, their first points of the season.
Livingston extended the Sharks lead to 2-0 at 9:03 when he crashed the net and buried home a rebound from on top of the crease for his third goal of the season. Sharks forward Sebastian Stalberg, who took the initial shot from near the right side wall, and rookie defenseman Dylan DeMelo were credited with the assists.
At 5:55 of the third period, Pirates forward Brett Hextall fired a shot on goal from the top of the right slot that Sateri saved but the puck deflected off a Sharks skate and into the net for Hextall's third goal of the season.
The Pirates nearly tied the game at 13:00 when defenseman Brandon Gormley fired a wicked shot on net from between the hash marks but Sateri made the save to preserve the Sharks' lead. At 18:10, Hamilton scored an empty net goal, his fourth goal of the season, from the opposite blue line to seal a 3-1 Sharks win.
NOTES... Final shots were 34-26 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 4-7-0 with a 3.13 goals-against-average and .875 save percentage... Sateri is 3-1-0 in his last four starts with a 1.92 goals-against-average and .921 save percentage (via Ballou)... Hamilton had a team high five shots on goal... Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson had the lone assist on Hamilton's empty net goal... Tarasov returned to the Sharks lineup after missing five games due to a groin injury... Brace's fight against Miele was Brace's first professional fight... Sharks forward Matt Nieto had three shots on goal in his season debut after being reassigned from San Jose on November 25 and wore number 17... Sharks forward Matt Pelech was recalled to San Jose on November 26... This is the first three game winning streak for the Sharks since December 2012... The Sharks are 5-1-1-0 in their last seven games despite being outscored 13-12... This was the fourth of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Pirates this season... The Sharks are 2-2-0-0 against the Pirates this season, 4-3-1-0 on the road and 8-8-1-0 with 17 points overall... The Sharks are back in action on December 6 at 7:30 pm/et when they host the Pirates at the DCU Center.
1. Bracken Kearns - Sharks (1-0-1)
2. Brett Hextall - Pirates (1-0-1)
3. Rob Davison - Sharks (0-1-1)
Schwartz / Kearns (A) / DaSilva
Tarasov / Hamilton / Nieto
Stalberg / Oleksuk / Livingston
Bonneau (A) / Brace /Hayes
Comrie / Doherty
Davison (C) / Tennyson
DeMelo / Petrecki