Despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead by out-shooting the Portland Pirates 14-2 within the opening 10-minutes of the game, the Worcester Sharks were unable to sustain their momentum as they allowed five unanswered goals by the Pirates in a 7-3 loss Tuesday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Brodie Reid had a two goal night while Jon Matsumoto and James Sheppard each had two assists for the Sharks, who now trail the Pirates by five points for first place in the Atlantic Division.
With a 5-on-3 power play advantage early in the first period, Sharks defenseman Denny Urban put the Sharks up 1-0 at 5:31 with his first career AHL goal off a laser of a shot from on top of the face-off circles that got through traffic in front and beat Pirates goaltender Chad Johnson. Matsumoto and Sharks rookie defenseman Matt Tennyson were credited with the assists.
After a heavyweight fight between Sharks enforcer Frazer McLaren and Pirates enforcer Joel Rechlicz at 6:40, Reid extended the Sharks lead to 2-0 at 9:31 with his sixth goal of the season off rocket of a slap shot from just inside the right slot that beat Johnson glove side. Matsumoto and Sheppard were credited with the assists.
The Pirates cut the Sharks lead in half at 12:09 when Pirates captain Alexandre Bolduc slammed home a point blank shot past Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock for his 17th goal of the season after corralling a centering feed by linemate Chris Conner, who was positioned behind Stalock's net. Pirates rookie Brendan Shinniman tied the game at 18:09 with a power play goal, his fifth goal of the season, when he found a loose puck in front of Stalock and lifted it over Stalock's shoulder for his sixth goal of the season.
Reid scored his second goal of the game at 2:35 of the second period to put the Sharks up 3-2. After corralling a feed in front from Sheppard, Reid was able to stuff the puck through the pads of Johnson for his seventh goal of the season. The lead wouldn't last long as Pirates forward Evan Brophey tied the game 29-seconds later when he buried home a rebound left by Stalock after a save on Pirates forward Ron Hextall for his third goal of the season. Brophey's goal would be the first of five straight goals scored by the Pirates.
At 8:39, the Pirates took their first lead of the game when defenseman Michael Stone blasted home a wicked shot from the blue line for a power play goal, his sixth goal of the season, after the Sharks failed to clear the zone. Shinniman extended the Pirates lead to 5-3 with his second goal of the game at 12:42 off a shorthanded rush that saw Shinniman crash head first into Stalock and the net after Stalock had made the initial save. Even though the goal net came off after Shinniman crashed into it, the official on top of the play ruled that Shinniman had scored. After an instant replay review, Shinniman's goal stood.
In the third period, the Sharks were outshot 16-8 and Pirates rookie Chris Brown scored two times for his 11th and 12th goals of the season. Brown scored his first goal at 9:30 after corralling a cross-ice pass from Bolduc and ripping the puck past Stalock. At 13:04, Brown knocked a Brandon Gormley shot out of the air and into the back of the net to seal a Pirates victory.
NOTES... Shots were 39-33 in favor of the Pirates... The Sharks went 1-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-7 on the penalty kill... Stalock made 32 saves and is now 12-7-3-1 with a 2.72 goals-against-average and .909 save percentage... Reid had a team high seven shots on goal... Sharks defenseman Matt Pelech fought Pirates defenseman Mark Louis at 16:04 of the second period for his team leading eighth fight of the season... With the two fights, the Sharks now have 43 through 34 games... Danny Groulx (inj), Taylor Doherty (inj), Sena Acolatse (inj), Brandon Mashinter (inj), Tim Kennedy (inj), Jimmy Bonneau (scr) and Matt Irwin (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... Curt Gogol returned to the Sharks lineup after missing the last three games as a result of a blindside hit by Andy Andreoff of the Manchester Monarchs on Dec. 31, 2012... This was the seventh of 12 meetings between the teams this season... The Sharks are 3-4-0-0 against the Pirates this season, 13-6-1-1 against the Atlantic Division, 11-8-0-1 on the road and 18-13-1-2 with 39 points overall.
1. Brendan Shinnimin - Pirates (2-0-2
2. Chris Brown - Pirates (2-0-2)
3. Alexandre Bolduc - Pirates (1-1-2)