For the first time all season, the Worcester Sharks failed to win a game when leading after two periods as they were defeated 3-1 by the Providence Bruins Friday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Marek Viedensky scored a shorthanded goal while goaltender Alex Stalock stopped 20-of-22 shots for the Sharks, who fell to 10th place in the AHL Eastern Conference standings, three points behind the Connecticut Whale for the eighth and final playoff spot.
After 39 minutes of scoreless play, Viedensky put the Sharks up 1-0 with a shorthanded goal at 19:15 of the second period when he corralled a loose puck in the neutral zone after a turnover in the Sharks zone by Bruins right winger Graham Mink, skated down the left side into the Bruins zone and ripped the puck past the glove of Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg for his second goal of the season. The goal, which was unassisted, came moments after Stalock had robbed Bruins left winger Craig Cunningham of a power play goal from the left face-off circle with a post-to-post sliding save.
Midway through the third period, the Sharks were assessed back-to-back penalty calls, one of which was a questionable slashing penalty to defenseman Nick Petrecki, 96-seconds apart to give the Bruins their second 5-on-3 power play opportunity of the game. After failing to score on their 34-second 5-on-3 power play advantage, Bruins center Kyle MacKinnon tied the game at 12:53 with a 5-on-4 power play goal, his 10th goal of the season, when he went backdoor and slammed home an across-the-crease pass from defenseman Jame Tardif.
Nearly five minutes later at 17:33, Bruins forward Alden Hirschfeld stole the puck from Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson on the left side inside the Sharks zone, cut in front and flipped the puck past Stalock to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead. The goal, which held up as the game-winning-goal, was Hirschfeld's third of the season.
With Stalock pulled for an extra attacker inside the final 90-seconds of the period, Bruins captain Trent Whitfield scored an empty net goal, his fifth goal of the season, at 19:02 to seal a 3-1 Bruins victory.
NOTES... Shots were 23-19 in favor of the Bruins... The Sharks went 0-for-4 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill... Stalock is now 15-12-3 with a 2.48 goals-against-average and .917 save percentage... Reid and Sharks rookie Sebastian Stalberg each had a game high four shots on goal... Petrecki fought Bruins toughman Bobby Robins at 7:45 of the first period to give the Sharks 64 fighting majors through 53 games... Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse returned to the Sharks lineup after having missed the last 19 games due to a broken jaw... Mike Brennan (inj), Curt Gogol (scr), Tommy Grant (scr) and Denny Urban (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... Sharks rookie Yanni Gourde was loaned to the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL on February 26 and has three points (1-2-2) with one fighting major in three games played... This was the 10th of 12 meetings between the teams this season... The Sharks are 5-3-0-2 against the Bruins this season, 11-11-1-4 against the Atlantic Division, 15-12-0-2 on the road and 25-22-1-5 with 56 points overall.
1. Alden Hirschfeld - Bruins (1-0-1, GWG)
2. Craig Cunningham - Bruins (0-1-1)
3. Alex Stalock - Sharks (20 saves, loss)