Despite out-shooting the Providence Bruins 48-42 and getting 39 saves from goaltender Harri Sateri, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 4-3 in the shootout Saturday night at the DCU Center in the first game of a four game home stand. Sebastian Stalberg, Freddie Hamilton and John McCarthy scored in regulation for the Sharks, who are in 11th place of the AHL Eastern Conference and three points behind the Manchester Monarchs for the eighth seed.
Stalberg put the Sharks up 1-0 at 7:40 of the first period when he crashed the net and slammed home a rebound from on top of the crease after Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg had made a save on a shot from the left face-off dot by Sharks defenseman Denny Urban. Tommy Grant was credited with the secondary assist on the goal, which was Stalberg's ninth of the season.
The Bruins turned up the pressure following Stalberg's goal but couldn't get the puck past Sateri, who made 13 saves in the period, one of which was a full split-legged save to rob Bruins right winger Jamie Tardif of a goal. Moments later, Sateri robbed Bruins left winger Craig Cunningham of a goal on a breakaway.
In the second period, Cunningham scored a pair of power play goals, his 19th and 20th goals of the season, to put the Bruins ahead 2-1. Cunningham scored his first goal just 21-seconds into the period when he fired the puck past a sprawled out Sateri with a quick shot from deep inside the left face-off circle. At 11:39, Cunningham scored from the exact same spot but this time it was off a rebound of a Chris Borque shot from in the slot.
The Sharks tied the game at 13:02 when Hamilton beat Svedberg with a backhanded shot off a sweet deke on a breakaway after corralling a Travis Oleksuk stretch pass at the Bruins blue line upon exiting the penalty box. Sateri was credited with the secondary assist on the goal, which was Hamilton's eighth of the season.
The Bruins regained the lead at 16:36 of the third period when center Christian Hanson corralled a cross zone pass from defenseman Matt Bartkowski and ripped a shot from the left face-off dot past Sateri for his ninth goal of the season.
With Sateri pulled for the extra attacker, the Sharks applied tremendous pressure on the Bruins and were rewarded for their hard work when McCarthy scored the tying goal at 19:00 by jamming the puck past Svedberg from on top of the crease after linemate Bracken Kearns had tried to bank the puck off of Svedberg from the left side. Daniil Tarasov was credited with the secondary assist on the goal, which was McCarthy's ninth of the season.
After a scoreless overtime session that saw the Sharks out-shoot the Bruins 5-3, the game headed to the shootout where Urban's goal in the second round gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead until Cunningham scored in the fifth round to extend the shootout. In the seventh round, Bruins captain Trent Whitfield jammed the puck past Sateri for the go ahead goal even though the red light never went on and the on ice officials didn't signal goal. Hamilton had a chance to extend the shootout to an eighth round but shot the puck off the crossbar.
NOTES... Shots were 48-43 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-1 on the power play and 1-for-3 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 11-12-3 with a 2.59 goals-against-average and .913 save percentage... McCarthy had a game high eight shots on goal... Sharks head coach Roy Sommer moved into second place all-time in AHL history with his 1,172nd coached game in the AHL... Defenseman Matt Pelech and goaltender Alex Stalock were recalled to San Jose prior to the start of the game while goaltender Thomas Heemskerk was assigned to Worcester from San Jose after being called up from the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL on March 8... Mike Brennan (inj), Brodie Reid (inj) and Jimmy Bonneau (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... Of the Sharks' 20 remaining games, 13 are home at the DCU Center... This was the 11th of 12 meetings between the teams this season... The Sharks are 5-3-0-3 against the Bruins this season, 12-11-1-5 against the Atlantic Division, 10-10-1-4 at the DCU Center and 26-23-1-6 with 59 points overall.
1. Craig Cunningham - Bruins (2-0-2)
2. John McCarthy - Sharks (1-0-1)
3. Niklas Svedberg - Bruins (39 saves, WIN)