On a day that started with the breaking news of Worcester Sharks forward Yanni Gourde signing an entry-level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning after his PTO expired the night prior, the Sharks swept their three-in-three weekend for six points by defeating the Albany Devils (AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils) 4-3 in the shootout Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center.
Gourde, who registered 25 points (4-21-25) in 25 games with the Sharks, will finish out this season with the Syracuse Crunch on an AHL contract and then will be on an NHL two-way contract for the next two seasons.
As for the game, the Sharks got regulation goals from forwards Marek Viedensky, rookie Rylan Schwartz and John McCarthy while Daniil Tarasov and Freddie Hamilton scored in the shootout. In addition, Sharks rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick made 37 saves and stopped four-out-five shot attempts in the shootout for his 13th win of the season.
Despite being out-shot 15-3 by the Devils in the first period, Viedensky put the Sharks ahead 1-0 at 16:21 when he found a loose puck in the slot and fired a backhanded shot from just in front of the left hash mark past Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid (who was Grosenick's teammate at Union College) for his sixth goal of the season. Sharks rookie defenseman Dylan DeMelo and forward Brodie Reid were credited with the assists on the goal, which was Viedensky's second of the weekend.
Schwartz extended the Sharks lead to 2-0 at 8:52 of the second period when he crashed the net and fired home a rebound for his fifth goal of the season. Viedensky, who took the initial shot from on top of the hash marks in the slot, and rookie forward Eriah Hayes were credited with the assists on the goal, which was made possible by Sharks forward Chad Rau making a play with the puck at center ice despite getting sandwiched by two Devils players.
The Devils cut the Sharks lead in half at 16:34 when forward Reid Boucher corralled linemate Mattias Tedenby's wrap around attempt deep inside the left face-off circle and fired the puck past Grosenick for his 16th goal of the season. The Devils nearly tied the game towards the end of the period but Grosenick reached out with his glove from on his stomach to keep the puck out of the net.
McCarthy regained the Sharks' two goal lead at 3:16 of the third period when he corralled a loose puck off a Devils turnover and fired a backhanded shot from just in front of the right hash mark past Kinkaid for his third goal of the season. Sharks forwards Bracken Kearns and Dan DaSilva, who caused the turnover with their relentless forecheck, were credited with the assists.
The Devils answered back 130-seconds later when forward David Wohlberg snuck the puck past Grosenick from point blank range for his fourth goal of the season. At 14:24, the Devils tied the game when forward Mike Sislo's shot from the top of the center slot came back in front off the glass and linemate Harri Pesonen poked the puck past Grosenick for his ninth goal of the season.
After a scoreless overtime session that saw DaSilva ring one off the crossbar, the teams headed to the shootout where Tarasov gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead by scoring in the bottom of the first round. Sislo scored for the Devils in the top of the third round and after two more saves by Grosenick, Hamilton won the game for the Sharks in the bottom of the fifth round with a shot from on top of the crease that beat Kinkaid through the wickets.
NOTES... Final shots on goal were 40-23 in favor of the Devils... The Sharks went 0-for-1 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 5-0 in the shootout and has allowed three goals on 23 shot attempts... Grosenick is now 13-10-0 with a 2.67 goals-against-average and .904 save percentage... The Sharks are an AHL best 9-1 in shootouts this season... The Sharks are now 20-4-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game... Tarasov had a team high three shots on goal... Sharks defenseman Nick Petrecki dropped the gloves with Devils defenseman Seth Helgeson at 13:03 of the first period... Viedensky has a three game point streak (2-2-4)... Goaltender J.P. Anderson was assigned to the Ontario Reign of the ECHL... This was the first of two meetings between the Sharks and Devils this season... The Sharks are 1-0-0-0 against the Devils, 14-12-0-1 at the DCU Center and 27-27-3-1 with 58 points overall... The Sharks are back in action March 14 as they travel to play their Atlantic Division rival the Providence Bruins at 7pm/et in the first game of another three-in-three weekend.
1. Marek Viedensky - Sharks (1-1-2)
2. Harri Pesonen - Devils (1-0-1)
3. Troy Grosenick - Sharks (37 saves, Win)
McCarthy / Kearns (A) / DaSilva (A)
Tarasov / Oleksuk / Hamilton (A)
Schwartz / Rau / Hayes
Scheidl / Viedensky / Reid
Abeltshauser / Doherty
Comrie / Pelech
Petrecki / DeMelo