Jon Matsumoto had a two point night with an assist and the game-winning-goal (his second in his last three games) at 16:05 of the third period as the Worcester Sharks defeated the Manchester Monarchs 2-1 Friday night at the DCU Center for their first home win since November 24. Harri Sateri made 22 saves for his fifth win of the season, and James Sheppard had a two point night as well for the Sharks, who now trail the Portland Pirates and Providence Bruins by one point for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Wanting to avenge their 2-1 loss to the Monarchs Wednesday night in Manchester, the Sharks came out with attitude in the first period. Sheppard put the Sharks up 1-0 at 12:06 on a highlight reel goal that saw Sheppard skate into the Monarchs zone down the left side, cut in front, go backhand-to-forehand on top of the crease and beat Monarchs goalie Peter Mannino on the blocker side for his eighth goal of the season. Matsumoto was credited with the lone assist on the goal.
Nine seconds after Sheppard's goal, Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse dropped the gloves with Monarchs forward Andy Andreoff in a solid 30-second battle that saw both combatants exchange solid shots before being separated while standing by the officials. For the period, the Sharks outshot the Monarchs 18-7.
The physical play continued into the second period as Sharks defenseman Mike Brennan dropped the gloves with Monarchs alternate captain Richard Clune in a short but spirited scrap at 9:39 after Brennan had hip-checked Clune on the left side of the Sharks zone. At 16:21, Monarchs defenseman Jake Muzzin tied the game with his second goal of the season off a quick snap shot from the left face-off circle dot that beat Sateri over the shoulder.
With the game still tied late in the third period, Matsumoto put the Sharks up 2-1 at 16:05 with his seventh goal of the season off a wrap around shot on the right side that caught Mannino by surprise as Matsumoto had faked coming out on the left side. Sheppard and Brodie Reid were credited with the assists on what held up as the game-winning-goal.
NOTES: Shots were 34-23 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill... With the two fights, the Sharks now have 40 through 29 games... Danny Groulx (inj), Taylor Doherty (inj), Curt Gogol (inj), Nick Petrecki (inj), Travis Oleksuk (inj) and Jimmy Bonneau (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... This was the sixth of 12 meetings between the teams this season... The Sharks are 4-2-0-0 against the Monarchs this season, 11-5-1-1 against the Atlantic Division, 6-5-1-1 at the DCU Center and 15-11-1-2 with 33 points overall.
1. James Sheppard - Sharks (1-1-2)
2. Jon Matsumoto - Sharks (1-1-2)
3. Harri Sateri - Sharks (22 saves, win)