Playing the first game of their first three-in-three weekend of the season, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 5-1 by their Atlantic Division rival the Portland Pirates (AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes) Friday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Matt Pelech had the lone goal for the Sharks while goaltender Harri Sateri stopped 24-of-29 shots.
"It didn't seem like a 5-1 game," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "We didn't give them a whole lot of chances, but it seemed like whenever they'd come down on a rush, the puck wound up in the net. With a team as skilled as that one is, if you don't manage the puck well, that's where it winds up."
The Sharks, who out-shot the Pirates 46-29, thought they had took an early 1-0 lead at 5:50 of the first period when the puck got behind Pirates goaltender Mark Visentin but referee Jean-Phillippe Sylvain waived the goal off due to Pelech making incidental contact with Visentin. 47-seconds later, the Pirates took a 1-0 lead when forward Brandon McMillan slammed the puck into the open net from the right side of the goal crease for his first goal of the season.
The Pirates extended their lead to 3-0 in the second period with two goals in a 2:29 span. Forward Brandon Yip buried home a one-timer from on top of the crease at 6:24 for his second goal of the season. At 8:53, forward Gilbert Brule fired a slap shot from on top of the right face-off circle past Sateri for a power play goal, his third goal of the season.
Pelech got the Sharks on the scoreboard at 10:21 when he had his shot from the left corner beat Visentin through the pads after deflecting off a skate in front. The goal, which was Pelech's first of the season, was assisted by defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser and forward Sebastian Stalberg, their first points of the season.
Pirates rookie forward Lucas Lessio squashed any hopes the Sharks had of a comeback when he beat Sateri at 14:01 with a snap shot from the right face-off dot for his first goal of the season that capped off a 2-on-1 rush set-up by a Sharks turnover inside their own zone at the blue line. In the third period, Lessio scored his second goal of the game, this time off a rebound deflection, at 2:34 to seal a 5-1 Pirates win.
NOTES... Finals Shots were 46-29 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-5 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 1-5-0 with a 3.85 goals-against-average and .852 save percentage... Coach Sommer became the second coach in AHL history to reach the 1200 game mark and is 56 games behind Frank Mathers' all time record... Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty had a team high 17 penalty minutes... Doherty was ejected along with Pirates forward Chris Brown at the end of the second period for their secondary fighting majors after Sharks forward Daniil Tarasov fought Pirates defenseman Connor Murphy... The fight was Tarasov's first as a pro... The Sharks now have 14 fighting majors through eight games... Sharks forward Brodie Reid had a game high seven shots on goal while Pelech added six... Jimmy Bonneau (inj), Lane Scheidl (inj), Adam Comrie (scr) and Nick Petrecki (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... Earlier in the week, the Sharks sent defenseman Collin Bowman and forward Riley Brace to the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL... The teams combined for 92 penalty minutes with each team being assessed 46... This was the second of 12 meetings between the teams this season... The Sharks are 1-1-0-0 against the Pirates this season, 1-2-0-0 on the road and 3-5-0-0 with six points overall... The Sharks are back in action Saturday night at the DCU Center as they host the Providence Bruins at 7pm/et.
1. Lucas Lession - Pirates (2-0-2)
2. Mark Visentin - Pirates (45 saves, WIN)
3. Brandon McMillan - Pirates (1-1-2)
Reid / Kearns (A) / Tarasov
Schwartz / Hamilton / Hayes
Gogol / Viedensky (A) / Livingston
Stalberg / Oleksuk / Pelech
Abeltshauser / Tennyson
Acolatse / Davison (C)
DeMelo / Doherty