A day after suffering their worst loss in franchise history, the Worcester Sharks showed more bite in their game Sunday afternoon at the MassMutual Center against the Springfield Falcons (AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets) but were defeated 4-1 to wrap up a forgettable three-in-three weekend that saw the Sharks outscored 17-2.
After a heavyweight fight between Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau and Falcons defenseman Dalton Prout at 7:51 of the first period, the Falcons took a 1-0 lead at 12:31 when forward Michael Chaput beat Sharks rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick glove side with a snap shot from the right circle face-off dot for a power play goal, his 13th goal of the season.
Following an early second period fight between Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse and Falcons forward Cody Bass, Chaput found a loose puck in the center slot and ripped a slap shot past Grosenick at 5:47 for his second goal of the game and 14th goal of the season.
The Sharks cut the Falcons lead in half at 7:51 when forward Daniil Tarasov buried home a one-timer from deep inside the right face-off circle for his 12th goal of the season. Sharks defensemen Matt Tennyson, who set up Tarasov with a backhanded diagonal across-the-crease pass, and Nick Petrecki were credited with the assists.
Midway through the period at 10:38, Petrecki dropped the gloves against Falcons forward Dalton Smith, who took exception to a hit Petrecki put on his linemate Trent Vogelhuber. Exactly one minute later, Acolatse and Bass had their rematch with Acolatse getting the upper hand.
In the third period, Falcons forward Jonathan Marchessault got behind the Sharks defense, corralled a stretch pass and beat Grosenick on a breakaway with a snap shot from the left slot hash mark at 14:13 for his 14th goal of the season.
With Grosenick pulled for the extra skater, Chaput completed the hat trick with an empty net goal at 17:43 to seal a 4-1 Falcons victory.
NOTES... Final shots were 33-30 in favor of the Falcons... The Sharks went 0-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill... Grosenick made 29 saves in his second straight loss and is now 11-7-0 with a 2.31 goals-against-average and .917 save percentage... Acolatse finished tied with a game high 12 penalty minutes... Tarasov and Sharks forward Eriah Hayes each had a team high five shots on goal... The Sharks logged 13 hours of bus travel for their three-in-three weekend... This was the fourth of six meetings between the Sharks and Falcons this season... The Sharks are 2-2-0-0 against the Falcons, 11-13-3-0 on the road and 23-22-3-1 with 50 points overall... The Sharks are back in action Feb. 21 as they host the St. John's IceCaps in a two game home set at the DCU Center.
1. Michael Chaput - Falcons (3-0-3, Hat Trick)
2. Mike McKenna - Falcons (29 saves, Win)
3. Cody Bass - Falcons (12 penalty minutes)
Scheidl / Hamilton / Hayes
Gourde / Rau / DaSilva (A)
Tarasov / Oleksuk / Reid
Bonneau / Schwartz
Acolatse / Abeltshauser
DeMelo / Davison (C)
Tennyson / Petrecki