Playing together for the first time this season, the line of Yanni Gourde, Travis Oleksuk and Freddie Hamilton combined for six points and a plus-nine rating as the Worcester Sharks defeated their Atlantic Division rival the Providence Bruins (AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins) 5-4 in the shootout Friday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Hamilton led the way for the Sharks with three points (goal, two assists) while Gourde (goal, assist) and rookie defenseman Dylan DeMelo (two assists) each had two point games. Sharks rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick made 19 saves and stopped all four shots he faced in the shootout for his first win since Feb. 9.
"We've got some forwards and we can score some goals," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "A game like this is going to, I think, get us on a really good roll now."
Hamilton put the Sharks ahead 1-0 at 5:41 of the first period when he beat Bruins rookie goaltender Malcolm Subban with a quick snap shot from inside the left face-off circle for his team leading 17th goal of the season. Gourde was credited with the lone assist on the goal.
After Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty dropped the gloves with Bruins forward Tyler Randell at 7:06, Bruins captain (and former Sharks captain) Mike Moore tied the game three seconds later on the ensuing face-off with a shot from the left point that got through traffic in front and beat Grosenick for his seventh goal of the season.
Gourde regained the Sharks lead at 16:45 when he slammed home a rebound from on top of the crease for his fourth goal of the season. Hamilton and DeMelo were credited with the assists on the goal, which was Gourde's first in 14 games.
In the second period, the Bruins scored two times in a near two-minute span to take a 3-2 lead. Forward Ryan Spooner tied the game at 9:55 when he beat Grosenick with a shot from the right face-off circle for his sixth goal of the season. The Bruins went ahead 3-2 at 11:48 when rookie forward Alexander Khokhlachev beat Grosenick on a breakaway for a power play goal, his 16th goal of the season.
The Sharks came out for the third period with a renewed sense of urgency as they outshot the Bruins 15-1 in the first 12 minutes of the period. Sharks forward Marek Viedensky tied the game at 5:52 when he corralled a stretch pass from DeMelo and beat Subban on a breakaway for his fifth goal of the season. The goal, which was Viedensky's first of 2014, snapped a 19-game goalless drought and came with his parents watching him play for the first time as a professional (reported by Ballou).
"I was trying to shoot it past his glove but I think it went between his legs," said Viedensky in a post game interview with Ballou. "Sometimes, you get lucky like that."
At 9:37, the Sharks took a 4-3 lead when forward Daniil Tarasov fired the puck in off the post from inside the left face-off circle for his 13th goal of the season. The Bruins tied the game at 11:57 on their first shot of the period when forward Seth Griffith stayed with the puck and beat Grosenick on a wrap-around shot for his 13th goal of the season.
In overtime, the Bruins had a golden opportunity to win the game with a power play advantage inside the final three minutes but the Sharks penalty killers and Grosenick turned them away. In the shootout, forward Dan DaSilva put the Sharks ahead 1-0 when he beat Subban with a nifty deke in the top of the third round and Hamilton sealed a Sharks win by scoring in the top of the fifth round.
NOTES... Final shots on goal were 38-23 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 12-10-4 with a 2.66 goals-against-average and .902 save percentage... Grosenick is now 4-0 in the shootout and has allowed two goals on 18 shot attempts... The Sharks are an AHL best 8-1 in the shootout (via Ballou)... Tarasov had a game high six shots on goal... The Sharks are 1-for-36 on the power play in their last 10 games... Matt Pelech returned the Sharks lineup after missing 25 games due to a broken hand and skated on defense... Of Hamilton's 17 goals, eight have been the first goal of the game (via Ballou)... DaSilva is now 5-for-7 in the shootout this season... With an assist, Oleksuk extended his point streak to four games (2-2-4)... Sharks forward James Livingston was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on March 5 for a conditional seventh round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft... This was the eighth of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Bruins... The Sharks are 2-5-0-1 against the Bruins this season, 13-15-3-0 on the road and 25-27-3-1 with 54 points overall... The Sharks continue their three-in-three weekend Saturday night as they host their Atlantic Division rival the Portland Pirates at 7pm/et.
1. Freddie Hamilton - Sharks (2-1-3)
2. Alexander Khokhlachev - Bruins (1-1-2)
3. Malcolm Subban - Bruins (33 saves)
McCarthy / Kearns / DaSilva (A)
Gourde / Oleksuk / Hamilton (A)
Tarasov / Rau / Hayes
Schwartz / Viedensky / Reid
Doherty / Albeltshauser
Davison (C) / DeMelo
Comrie / Pelech