Playing their first game in a week and second game of the AHL season, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 3-2 in their home opener at the DCU Center by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins). Forwards Freddie Hamilton and John McCarthy scored for the Sharks while goaltender Harri Sateri made 20 saves in net.
Both teams combined for 46-penalty minutes in the opening two minutes. The fireworks started when Sharks forward Curt Gogol fought Penguins defenseman Reid McNeil at 1:43 after Gogol ran over Penguins forward Adam Payerl in the left corner of the Penguins zone. On the ensuing face-off, Sharks forward Bracken Kearns dropped the gloves with Penguins forward Brian Gibbons after Kearns had been hit from behind by Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackl, who was assessed a tripping penalty. Kearns was assessed 17 penalty minutes (five for fighting, two for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct).
Once tempers cooled down, Hamilton put the Sharks up 1-0 at 9:27 with his first goal of the season off a quick snap shot from in front of the face-off dot of the right circle that beat Penguins goaltender Peter Mannino top shelf. The goal, which was Hamilton's first of the season, was assisted by forwards Brodie Reid and Rylan Schwartz.
After a scoreless second period that was highlighted by a heavyweight fight on the opening face-off between Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau and Penguins enforcer Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, the Penguins tied the game at 1:48 of the third period when Kuhnhackl burred a home a one-timer from in the slot off a centering feed from behind Sateri's net for his second goal of the season.
The Sharks regained the lead at 4:02 when Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse skated into the Penguins zone down the right side, went behind the Penguins net and centered the puck in front for McCarthy, who blasted the puck into the net from on top of the goal crease for his first goal of the season. Sharks forward James Livingston was credited with the secondary assist.
Penguins forward Andrew Ebbett tied the game at 12:45 when he beat Sateri with a snap shot from inside the left face-off circle that was set up off a turnover by Sharks defenseman Nick Petrecki in the right corner of the Sharks zone. At 17:40, Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson was assessed a hooking penalty by referee Geno Binda, and on the ensuing power play, Kuhnhackl scored his second goal of the game at 19:20 when he corralled a rebound in the left slot and beat Sateri with a quick shot for what held up as the game-winning-goal.
NOTES... Final shots were 30-23 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-2 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 0-2-0 with a 3.54 goals-against-average and .833 save percentage... Hamilton had a game high six shots on goal... Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty dropped the gloves against Leblond at 15:16 of the second period... Both teams combined for 86 penalty minutes, 46 of which were assessed to the Sharks... Kearns had a game high 17 penalty minutes... Adam Comrie (scr), Riley Brace (scr), Dylan DeMelo (scr), Collin Bowman (inj), Lane Scheidl (inj) and Daniil Tarasov (inj) did not dress for the Sharks... The game was delayed 22 minutes due to player introductions and an ice delay... This was the first of two meetings between the teams this season... The Sharks are 0-1-0-0 against the Penguins this season, 0-1-0-0 at the DCU Center and 0-2-0-0 with 0 points overall... The Sharks' next game is Sunday (5pm/et) against the Portland Pirates at the DCU Center.
1. Tom Kuhnhackl - Penguins (2-0-2, GWG)
2. Freddie Hamilton - Sharks (1-0-1)
3. Andrew Ebbett - Penguins (1-1-2)