Travis Oleksuk and Brodie Reid scored in regulation, and Alex Stalock made 28 saves but it wasn't enough as the Worcester Sharks blew two leads in the third period and lost 3-2 in the shootout to the Providence Bruins at the DCU Center Saturday night in front of 6,621 fans on Matt Irwin bobblehead night. With the loss, the Sharks are now tied for first place of the Atlantic Division with the Manchester Monarchs, who they will play Sunday afternoon in Manchester.
Oleksuk put the Sharks up 1-0 at 11:10 of the first period with this second professional goal off a quick shot from in the slot that beat Bruins goaltender Michael Hutchinson glove side. Linemates Yanni Gourde and Jon Matsumoto were credited with the assists.
On the ensuing face-off, Sharks enforcer Frazer McLaren dropped the gloves with Bruins alternate captain Lane MacDermid in a good battle at center ice that saw both combatants land several shots before McLaren knocked MacDermid down with a right hand. The fight was McLaren's fifth of the season and MacDermid's sixth.
After a scoreless second period that saw the Sharks out-shoot the Bruins 15-7, the Bruins tied the game at 2:20 of the third period when Jamie Tardif got positioning in front and deflected a Zach Trotman shot from the right point past Stalock for his eighth goal of the season.
At 13:01, the Bruins were assessed a bench minor for too many men, and Reid made the Bruins by blasting a laser of a shot from on top of the right face-off circle through traffic in front and over Hutchinson's shoulder for his third goal of the season. Sena Acolatse and Tim Kennedy were credited with the assists on the power play strike.
Shortly after Stalock denied Bruins rookie Ryan Spooner on a breakaway at 16:35, Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski corralled a feed from Chris Borque and ripped a shot past Stalock from inside the left slot for the tying goal, his first goal of the season, at 17:58. The goal had to be reviewed as the puck went into the net and came back out through the right side of the net.
In overtime, the Sharks outshot the Bruins 5-2 but couldn't get the puck past Hutchinson. In the shootout, both teams went 0-for-5 before Maxime Sauve scored in the sixth round for the Bruins. Brandon Mashinter had a chance to extend the shootout to a seventh round but missed the net on his shootout attempt.
NOTES... Shots were 34-31 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 1-for-6 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill... Stalock is now 8-5-2-1 with a 2.56 goals-against-average and .913 save percentage... With an assist, Kennedy, who was named AHL Player of the Week on Dec. 4, extended his point streak to seven games (6-6-12)... With the one fight, the Sharks now have 30 through 22 games... Taylor Doherty (inj), Nick Petrecki (inj), Danny Groulx (inj), Jimmy Bonneau (scr), Sebastian Stalberg (scr) and Curt Gogol (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... This was the fourth of 12 meetings between the teams this season... The Sharks are now 3-0-0-1 against the Bruins this season, 8-3-1-1 against the Atlantic Division, 5-4-1-1 at the DCU Center and 11-8-1-2 with 25 points overall... There was a moment of silence before the start of the game to recognize the one year anniversary of fallen Worcester fire fighter Jon Davies.
1. Maxime Sauve - Bruins (GWG in shootout)
2. Alex Stalock - Sharks (28 saves, shootout loss)
3. Matt Bartkowski - Bruins (1-0-1)