Worcester Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau battles against Portland Pirates enforcer Joel Rechlicz in a heavweight battle at center ice late in the first period of Sunday afternoon's game at the DCU Center. - Jacob Vaillette (@JVaillette)
Bracken Kearns had a two goal game and Adam Comrie scored what held up as the game-winning-goal at 1:57 of the third period as the Worcester Sharks defeated their Atlantic Division rivals the Portland Pirates 5-3 Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center. Sharks rookie Freddie Hamilton dished out two assists and goaltender Harri Sateri made 29 saves for Sharks, who remain in 11th place of the AHL Eastern Conference and are three points behind the Connecticut Whale for the eighth and final playoff spot.
James Livingston put the Sharks up 1-0 at 5:11 of the first period with a highlight reel goal that saw Livingston skate down the left side, get around Pirates captain Alexandre Bolduc, cut in front and beat Pirates goaltender Chad Johnson for his fifth goal of the season. Sharks forwards Curt Gogol and Travis Oleksuk were credited with the assists.
At 16:33, Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau dropped the gloves with Pirates enforcer Joel Rechlicz in a heavyweight battle. At the end of the fight, Rechlicz shoved one of the linesmen and threw his elbow pad. Rechlicz was assessed an additional two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and six seconds later, Kearns scored his ninth power play goal of the season, 14th goal overall, when he tapped the puck past Johnson after the puck came back in front off the end wall on a slap pass shot from the center point by Sharks defenseman Danny Groulx. Comrie was credited with the secondary assist on the goal.
Sharks rookie Daniil Tarasov pushed the lead to 3-0 at 5:55 of the second period when he buried home a rebound off a Nick Petrecki shot from the point. Sharks rookie defenseman Matt Tennyson was credited with the secondary assist on the goal, which was Tarasov's eighth of the season.
Pirates defenseman David Rundblad, who was returned to the Pirates on March 8 after appearing in eight NHL games for the Phoenix Coyotes, got the Pirates on the scoreboard at 11:14 with a power play goal, his 11th goal of the season, off a one-timer blast from the point that got through traffic in front and beat Sateri.
In the opening 94-seconds of the third period, the Pirates scored two goals to tie the game at 3-3. Bolduc beat Sateri through the pads for his 21st goal of the season just 43-seconds into the period, and rookie Jordan Martinhook tied the game 51-seconds later with his sixth goal of the season after corralling an Andy Miele pass from the right corner in front and beat Sateri through the pads with a quick shot.
The game didn't stay tied for long as Comrie ripped a one-timer blast from the center point that beat Johnson, who had Sharks center Marek Viedensky screening him in front, for his first career AHL goal just 24-seconds after Martinhook had tied the game. Hamilton was credited with the secondary assist.
Kearns would seal a 5-3 Sharks win with an empty net goal at 18:56 after Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty blocked a Pirates shot on goal and got the puck out to Hamilton, who found Kearns for his team leading 15th goal of the season.
NOTES... Shots were 32-27 in favor of the Pirates... The Sharks went 1-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill... Sateri stopped 63-of-69 shots in his two starts this weekend and is now 12-12-3 with a 2.61 goals-against-average and .912 save percentage... 13 different Sharks skaters registered a point... Kearns had a team high four shots on goal... Viedensky and Hamilton both had a plus-3 rating... With the one fight, the Sharks now have 65 through 57 games played, 16 of where against the Pirates... Mike Brennan (inj), Brodie Reid (inj) and Tommy Grant (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... This was the 12th and final meeting of the season between the teams... The Sharks went 6-5-0-1 against the Pirates this season, are 13-11-1-5 against the Atlantic Division, 11-10-1-4 at the DCU Center and 27-23-1-6 with 61 points overall.
1. Adam Comrie - Sharks (1-1-2, GWG)
2. Jordan Martinhook - Pirates (1-1-2)
3. James Livingston - Sharks (1-0-1)