The Worcester Sharks top line of Dan DaSilva, Travis Oleksuk and Yanni Gourde combined for eight points and a plus-nine rating as the Sharks defeated the Springfield Falcons (AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets) 5-2 Friday night at the DCU Center.
DaSilva was the game's number one star with a plus-four rating on two goals and an assist; Oleksuk was the number two star with two goals and a plus-three rating; Gourde was the number three star with three assists and a plus-two rating. The trio has combined for 39 points on 15 goals and 24 assists since being put together on Jan. 11 by Sharks head coach Roy Sommer.
"I was looking at some video from past games, doing a little scouting that way," said Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "Sometimes, you can find two players who work together really well, but finding three like that is really, really tough. The last time we were able to do that was the Crazed Rats (DaSilva, Andrew Desjardins and John McCarthy)."
Oleksuk put the Sharks ahead 1-0 just 75-seconds into the game when he found a loose puck on top of the right face-off circle and fired a quick slap shot past Falcons goaltender Mike McKenna for his eighth goal of the season. Gourde was credited with the lone assist.
Sharks forward Brodie Reid, who returned to the lineup after missing six games with an injury, extended the lead to 2-0 at 9:57 when he buried home a rebound into an open net from on top of the goal crease for his fifth goal of the season. Reid's linemates Freddie Hamilton and Lane Scheidl were credited with the assists.
The Falcons cut the Sharks lead in half at 14:20 when forward Sean Collins stuffed in a loose puck under Sharks rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick, who made the initial save on a Falcons odd man rush, from the right side of the goal crease for his eighth goal of the season.
DaSilva regained the Sharks' two goal lead at 18:42 when he he slid the puck past McKenna from on top of the crease off a rebound of Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty's backhanded shot in the slot for his ninth goal of the season. Sharks defenseman and captain Rob Davison was credited with the secondary assist on the goal, which marked the first time all season the Sharks have scored three goals in the first period.
After Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau dropped the gloves with Falcons forward Dalton Smith at 6:36 of the second period, Falcons forward Lukas Sedlak buried home a one-timer from in the slot off a behind the net centering feed from linemate Alex Aleardi at 7:56 for his seventh goal of the season.
Oleksuk put the Sharks ahead 4-2 at 15:48 when he crashed the net on a 2-on-1 rush with DaSilva and buried home a rebound from on top of the crease for his ninth goal of the season and second goal of the game. DaSilva, who took the initial shot from inside the right face-off circle, and Gourde were credited with the assists.
DaSilva extended the Sharks lead to 5-2 at 18:46 with a wicked one-timer snap shot from the top of the center point that beat McKenna through the wickets for his 10th goal of the season and second goal of the game. Gourde and Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse were credited with the assists.
In the third period, the Falcons out-shot the Sharks 7-2 but Grosenick turned aside all seven shots to get the 19 save win and his third win in a row.
NOTES.... Final shots were 40-21 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-1 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 9-5-0 with a 2.13 goals-against-average and .918 save percentage... Gourde, who has five assists in his last two games, has 16 points (3-13-16) in 11 games with the Sharks after having 14 points (8-6-14) in 54 games last season... DaSilva had a game high eight shots on goal... Oleksuk has scored three of his nine goals this season in his last two games, which matches his entire goal production (three) in 60 games from last season... Davison finished plus-three... Coming into the game tonight, McKenna led the AHL with a 1.68 goals-against-average and .939 save percentage... DaSilva has a four game point streak (3-4-7) while Gourde (1-5-6) and Oleksuk (3-1-4) each have a three game point streak... This was the third of six meetings this season between the Sharks and Falcons... The Sharks are 2-1-0-0 against the Falcons, 11-9-0-1 at the DCU Center and 21-18-3-1 with 46 points overall... The Sharks host their Atlantic Division rival the Providence Bruins Saturday night (Feb. 1) at 7pm/et on Pink in the Rink night.
1. Dan DaSilva - Sharks (2-1-3, GWG)
2. Travis Oleksuk - Sharks (2-0-2)
3. Yanni Gourde - Sharks (0-3-3)
Gourde / Oleksuk / DaSilva
Scheidl / Hamilton (A) / Reid
Gron / Schwartz / Livingston
Gogol / Fleming / Bonneau (A)
Abeltshauser / Acolatse
Petrecki / Tennyson
Doherty / Davison (C)