Worcester Sharks rookie center Freddie Hamilton, the only player to play in every Sharks game this season, scored two short-handed goals in a 56-second span inside the final two minutes of the third period to lift the Sharks to a stunning 4-2 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Defenseman Adam Comrie had a three point game with a goal and two assists, rookie center Rylan Schwartz scored his first professional goal and goaltender Alex Stalock made 20 saves for the Sharks, who will conclude their season Saturday night against the Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial at OnCenter.
The Penguins took a 1-0 lead at 3:06 of the first period when center Adam Payerl collected his own rebound on top of the crease and lifted the puck over a sprawled out Stalock for his third goal of the season. The lead didn't last long as Schwartz tied the game at 14:39 when he roofed a rebound backhanded shot past Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff after Zatkoff had denied Comrie on a wraparound attempt. Sharks rookie left winger Lane Scheidl was credited with the secondary assist.
After a scoreless second period, the Sharks took a 2-1 lead at 6:00 of the third period when Comrie beat Zatkoff with a blast of a shot from 40-feet out for a power play goal, his third goal of the season. Sharks defenseman Denny Urban and rookie right winger Sebastian Stalberg were credited with the assists.
On the ensuing shift at 6:19, Penguins left winger Bobby Farnham boarded Sharks rookie right winger Eriah Hayes and several fights broke out as Sharks defensemen Taylor Doherty and Nick Petrecki came to the aid of Hayes. Farnham was assessed five minutes for boarding, five for fighting and a game misconduct for boarding; Petrecki and Penguins defenseman Alex Grant were assessed five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct for the secondary altercation; Doherty was assessed five minutes for fighting, two for instigating and a misconduct for instigating; Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau received a misconduct as well.
The Penguins tied the game at 12:56 when center Riley Holzapfel corralled the rebound of defenseman Brian Dumoulin's shot from inside the blue line and stuffed home his 21st goal of the season.
At 17:08, the Penguins went on a power play as Urban was assessed a cross-checking penalty. During the Sharks' penalty kill, Hamilton led and capped off a 2-on-1 rush as he beat Zatkoff glove side with a wicked shot from the left side at 18:06 for what held up as the game-winning-goal. Comrie was credited with the lone assist on the goal, which was Hamilton's 12th of the season.
With Zatkoff pulled for the extra attacker and a 6-on-4 power play advantage, Hamilton fired the puck into the empty at 19:02 for his second short-handed goal of the game, 13th goal of the season, to seal a 4-2 Sharks victory. Sharks rookie defenseman Dylan DeMelo was credited with the lone assist.
NOTES... Shots were 25-22 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 1-for-5 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill... Stalock is now 17-16-3 with a 2.60 goals-against-average and .913 save percentage... The two shorthanded goals by Hamilton were the fourth and fifth for the Sharks this season... The game-winning-goal was Hamilton's team leading fourth of the season (via SharksAHL.com)... The teams combined for 105 penalty minutes, 58 of which were assessed to the Sharks... Doherty (23), Petrecki (15) and Bonneau (10) combined for 48 of the Sharks' 58 penalty minutes... Schwartz had a game-high five shots on goal... Yanni Gourde (inj), Tommy Grant (inj), Bracken Kearns (inj), John McCarthy (inj), Matt Pelech (inj), Brodie Reid (inj), Marek Viedensky (inj), Mike Brennan (scr), Curt Gogol (scr), Christophe Lalancette (scr) and Dane Walters (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... This was the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season... The Sharks went 2-2-0-0 against the Penguins this season, are 18-17-0-2 on the road and 31-34-4-6 with 72 points overall.
1. Freddie Hamilton - Sharks (2-0-2, GWG)
2. Adam Comrie - Sharks (1-2-3)
3. Riley Holzapfel - Penguins (1-0-1)