Playing together for only the second time this season, the Worcester Sharks line of Daniil Tarasov, Freddie Hamilton and rookie Matt Nieto combined for 11 points as the Sharks defeated their Atlantic Division rival the Portland Pirates (AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes) 8-2 Friday night at the DCU Center to extend their winning streak to four games.
Leading the way was Nieto, who registered a five point game with two goals and three assists, while Hamilton and Tarasov each had three point games (Hamilton had two goals and an assist; Tarasov had a goal and two assists). In addition, the trio combined for 18 shots on goal as each skater finished with a plus-four rating.
"They're all NHL prospects," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "They're our young guns. The plays they made tonight - those were high-level plays. You can see the difference having one or two guys with speed can make."
Hamilton put the Sharks up 1-0 at 14:29 of the first period when he corralled a pass from Nieto and had his snap shot from on top of the right face-off circle trickle up and over Pirates goaltender Mark Visentin for his fifth goal of the season.
Just 59-seconds later, Sharks rookie Eriah Hayes crashed the net (literally) and stuffed the puck home for his third goal of the season to put the Sharks up 2-0. Sharks alternate captain Marek Viedensky, who made a strong move to the net after stealing the puck along the right side wall inside the Pirates zone, and Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau were credited with the assists.
Nieto scored his first goal of the game (and of the AHL season) at 1:15 of the second period when he buried home a one-timer from deep in the slot to finish off an odd man rush with Hamilton. Sharks defenseman Adam Comrie was credited with the secondary assist on the goal, which came seconds after a blocker save by Sharks goaltender Harri Sateri on Pirates forward Gilbert Brule.
Moments later at 3:10, Tarasov found a rebound deep inside the right face-off circle and fired the puck past Visentin for his eighth goal of the season. Nieto and Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty were credited with the assists on the goal, which ended Visentin's night as he was pulled for backup goaltender Mike Lee.
Sharks forward Travis Oleksuk wasted no time welcoming Lee to the game as he finished off a 2-on-1 rush with Sebastian Stalberg by following his own shot from the right side and beat Lee glove side for his second goal of the season at 5:25. Sharks forward Dan DaSilva and rookie defenseman Dylan DeMelo were credited with the assists.
The Pirates had a chance to stop the bleeding with Brendan Shinnimin's penalty shot at 11:08 but Sateri made a split legged save as Shinnimin tried to slide the puck through the wickets. At 19:10, Brule ended Sateri's shutout bid with a power play goal, his seventh goal of the season, off a one timer blast from on top of the left face-off circle.
With a 5-on-3 power play advantage to start the third period, Nieto pushed the Sharks lead to 6-1 when he corralled a rebound on top of the crease and slid a backhanded shot past Lee. Tarasov, who took the initial shot from the top of the center slot, and DeMelo were credited with the assists.
Hamilton pushed the lead to 7-1 at 6:25 with a one-timer snap shot from just in front of the left face-off circle dot. Tarasov and Nieto were credited with the assists. The Pirates answered right back at 7:17 when Shinnimin deflected defenseman Rastislav Klesla's shot from the left point past Sateri for his third goal of the season.
Viedensky scored his first goal of the season at 18:03 with a wicked snap shot from the top of the center slot off a Pirates turnover that was caused by Bonneau, who was credited with the lone assist for his first career two assist game.
NOTES... Final shots were 41-31 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 1-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill... Sateri finished with 29 saves and is now 5-7-0 with a 3.04 goals-against-average and .881 save percentage... Tarasov had a game high seven shots on goal... Comrie and Doherty finished plus-four... The Sharks had six players with multi point games in Nieto (2-3-5), Hamilton (2-1-3), Tarasov, (1-2-3), Viedensky (1-1-2), DeMelo (0-2-2) and Bonneau (0-2-2)... 11 different Sharks skaters registered a point... The eight goals scored by the Sharks was a franchise record at the DCU Center and matched the number of goals scored by the Sharks in their previous five games... The last time the Sharks scored eight goals in a game was an April 7, 2010, 9-2 road win over the Hartford Wolf Pack... The Sharks are over the .500 mark for the first time all season... The last time the Sharks had a four game winning streak was when they won five in a row from Dec. 9 - 17, 2011.... The Sharks are 6-1-1-0 in their last eight games... This was the fifth of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Pirates this season... The Sharks are 3-2-0-0 against the Pirates, 5-5-0-0 at the DCU Center and 9-8-1-0 with 19 points overall... The Sharks are back in action Saturday night as they host the Providence Bruins at 7pm/et.
1. Matt Nieto - Sharks (2-3-5, GWG)
2. Freddie Hamilton - Sharks (2-1-3)
3. Daniil Tarasov - Sharks (1-2-3)
Schwartz / Kearns (A) / DaSilva
Tarasov / Hamilton / Nieto
Stalberg / Oleksuk / Livingston
Bonneau (A) / Viedensky / Hayes
Davison (C) / Tennyson
Doherty / Comrie
Petrecki / DeMelo