Worcester Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock turned away all 32 shots-on-goal he faced for his second shutout of the season and 75th win in a Sharks sweater, surpassing Thomas Greiss for the franchise lead, as the Sharks ended their season high eight game losing streak Tuesday night with a 3-0 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena.
Defenseman Derek Joslin and rookie forwards Riley Brace and Matt Nieto scored for the Sharks, who now trail the Hershey Bears by six points for the final playoff spot in the AHL Eastern Conference with six games remaining.
Joslin scored what held up as the game-winning-goal at 15:15 of the first period when his blast of a shot from the left point got through traffic in front and beat Sound Tigers goaltender Rick DiPietro. Sharks captain John McCarthy and rookie center Rylan Schwartz were credited with the assists on the goal, which was Joslin's fourth of the season.
At 1:51 of the second period, Brace got positioning in front of DiPietro and tipped in Sharks defenseman Nick Petrecki's snap shot from the left point for his second goal of the season (and second goal in as many games). Sharks right winger James Livingston, who was serving as an alternate captain, was credited with the secondary assist.
The Sharks pushed the lead to 3-0 at 19:05 when Nieto corralled a pass from Sharks rookie defenseman Dylan DeMelo, skated into the Sound Tigers zone down the right side all alone and ripped a shot in off the glove of DiPietro for his second goal of the season.
In the third period, the Sound Tigers came out with a new intensity but couldn't get the puck past Stalock despite out-shooting the Sharks 17-6 for the period and hitting the iron twice. Midway through the period, the Sound Tigers appeared to have ruined Stalock's shutout bid after Stalock slid into the net with the puck but referee Jean Hebert ruled that a Sound Tigers skater had pushed Stalock into the net.
With 10.8-seconds remaining in the game, Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty dropped the gloves with Sound Tigers defenseman Matt Donovan and drilled Donovan with a wicked right overhand that sent Donovan to the ice. On the ensuing face-off, Sound Tigers head coach Scott Pellerin sent his enforcers onto the ice and a near brawl erupted as Sound Tigers left winger Brandon DeFazio went after Sharks rookie center Travis Oleksuk after the final horn sounded. Sharks defenseman Matt Pelech went after Sound Tigers defenseman Nathan McIver and then tried to get at DeFazio before being separated by the the on ice officials.
NOTES... Shots were 32-28 in favor of the Sound Tigers... The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill... The shutout was the sixth in teal for Stalock, who is now 16-14-3 with a 2.59 goals-against-average and .914 save percentage... For the second straight game, the Sharks dressed 11 rookies... Schwartz and Eriah Hayes made their professional debuts and Schwartz picked up his first professional point with the secondary assist on the Joslin's goal... Adam Comrie (inj), Curt Gogol (inj), Yanni Gourde (inj), Bracken Kearns (inj), Brodie Reid (inj), Marek Viedensky (inj), Jimmy Bonneau (scr), Mike Brennan (scr), Denny Urban (scr) and Dane Walters (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... With the one fight, the Sharks now have 78 through 70 games... Pelech registered his 1,000 penalty minute in the AHL with a roughing penalty at 8:54 of the third period... This was the sixth and final meeting between the teams this season... The Sharks went 4-2-0-0 against the Sound Tigers this season, are 17-16-0-2 on the road and 30-31-3-6 with 69 points overall... The San Jose Sharks reassigned center Jon Matsumoto to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL on April 8.
1. Alex Stalock - Sharks (32 saves, WIN)
2. Derek Joslin - Sharks (1-0-1, GWG)
3. Matt Nieto - Sharks (1-0-1)