For the first time since April 2008, the Worcester Sharks swept a three-in-three weekend as they defeated their Atlantic Division rival the Portland Pirates (AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes) 4-3 Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center.
The Sharks, who are only four points behind the St. John's IceCaps for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, got goals from forwards Lane Scheidl, Travis Oleksuk, Yanni Gourde and defenseman Taylor Doherty. Goaltender Harri Sateri picked up his ninth win of the season by making 18 saves on 20 shots in 32 minutes of relief time after rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick left the game in the second period with a right leg injury.
Scheidl put the Sharks ahead 1-0 at 5:18 of the first period when he slid a rebound from on top of the crease past Pirates goaltender Mark Visentin for his first goal of the season. Sharks rookie defenseman Dylan DeMelo, who took the initial shot from the right point, and linemate Marek Viedensky were credited with the assists.
Oleksuk extended the Sharks lead to 2-0 at 8:21 when he slammed home a rebound from in the slot for a power play goal, his fifth goal of the season. Sharks forward Dan Dan DaSilva, who stole the puck in the right slot from Pirates defenseman Randy Jones off a nice back check and fired the initial shot on goal from inside the right circle, was credited with the lone assist.
The Pirates cut the Sharks lead in half before intermission as defenseman Mathieu Brodeur fired a rocket of a slap shot from the left point through traffic and past Grosenick at 18:24 for his first goal of the season.
Gourde regained the Sharks' two goal lead at 3:57 of the second period when he fired a snap shot from on top of the face-off circles past Visentin for a shorthanded goal, his second goal of the season and second goal in as many days. Sharks forward Freddie Hamilton, who stole the puck along the left half boards inside the Pirates zone, was credited with the lone assist.
With 12 minutes remaining in the period, Sateri came on in relief of Grosenick, who left the game with a leg injury after getting tangled up with a Pirates player. It was the second time a Pirates player made contact with Grosenick as defenseman Daine Todd clipped Grosenick in the first period, which went uncalled by the on ice officials.
At 3:36 of the third period, the Pirates pulled to within a goal of the Sharks when forward Jordan Martinhook beat Sateri with a snap shot from the left point for his sixth goal of the season. However, Doherty answered back for the Sharks at 8:11 with a power play goal, his third goal of the season, off a howitzer of a slap shot from the right point that beat Visentin. Sharks forwards James Livingston and Rylan Schwartz were credited with the assists on the goal, which held up as the game winner.
The Pirates once again pulled to within a goal at 10:56 when forward Chris Brown deflected Todd's right point shot past Sateri for his sixth goal of the season. With 12-seconds remaining in the period, the Pirates won a face-off inside the Sharks zone but Hamilton and Sharks defenseman Adam Comrie killed off the final seven seconds by keeping the puck tight against left corner board, sealing a 4-3 Sharks win.
NOTES... Final shots were 42-28 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 1-for-3 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 9-12-1 with a 3.09 goals-against-average and .891 save percentage... Grosenick made seven saves on eight shots in 27:39 of playing time... DaSilva and Scheidl each had a team high five shots on goal... With an assist, DeMelo extended his point streak to five games (1-4-5)... Gourde has a three game point streak (2-3-5)... The Pirates only dressed 17 skaters due to injury and call-ups... The Sharks improved to 14-2-0-1 when they score three or more goals... This was seventh of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Pirates this season... The Sharks are 4-3-0-0 against the Pirates, 9-7-0-1 at the DCU Center and 17-15-2-1 with 37 points overall... The Sharks kick off a four game road trip on Jan. 17 as they travel to play the Norfolk Admirals at 7:30 pm/et.
1. Taylor Doherty - Sharks (1-0-1, GWG)
2. Lane Scheidl - Sharks (1-0-1)
3. Jordan Martinhook - Pirates (1-1-2)
Gourde / Oleksuk / DaSilva
Tarasov / Hamilton (A) / Gron
Scheidl / Viedensky / Livingston
Gogol / Schwartz / Reid
DeMelo / Davison (C)
Petrecki / Abeltshauser
Comrie / Doherty (A)