Playing in their first home game at the DCU Center since February 2 and their first game of a three-in-three weekend, the Worcester Sharks suffered a humiliating 7-2 loss to the Manchester Monarchs Friday night in front of 3978 fans for their seventh consecutive home loss. With the loss, the Sharks fell four points behind the Connecticut Whale for the eighth seed in the AHL Eastern Conference and 13 points behind the Providence Bruins for the Atlantic Division lead.
After a scoreless first period, the Monarchs took a 1-0 lead at 8:47 of the second period when center Jordan Weal, who was left all alone in front of Sharks goaltender Harri Sateri, corralled an Andrew Bodnarchuk pass from the left point, went backhand-to-forehand, and fired the puck past Sateri for his seventh goal of the season.
Sharks rookie defenseman Matt Tennyson answered back for the Sharks at 10:20 with a power play goal, his fourth goal of the season, off a blast of a shot from the center point that beat Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones low on the glove side. Matt Irwin and Bracken Kearns were credited with the assists on the goal.
Following Tennyson's goal, the Monarchs scored four unanswered goals in a 6:41 span to take a commanding 5-1 lead heading into the second intermission. Defenseman Bryan Rodney beat Sateri with a quick wrist shot from the left point that got through traffic for a power play goal, his third goal of the season, at 11:09 to give the Monarchs a 2-1 lead. Right winger Brandon Kozun scored what held up as the game winning goal at 13:04 when he capped off a 2-on-1 rush by beating Sateri top shelf with a wicked wrist shot from the left side for his 17th goal of the season. Just 32-seconds later, the Monarchs extended their lead to 4-1 when left winger Tanner Pearson deflected home a Nick Deslauriers slap shot from the left point for his 14th goal of the season. Right winger Tyler Toffoli pushed the lead to 5-1 at 17:50 when he corralled his own rebound deep inside the right face-off circle and fired the puck past Sateri for his 25th goal of the season.
In the third period, Sharks rookie right winger Daniil Tarasov was awarded a penalty shot at 4:17 but was denied by Jones. 29-seconds later, Matsumoto finished off a 2-on-1 rush with Kearns by roofing a wrist shot over Jones' glove for his 12th goal of the season. Kearns and Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty were credited with the assists.
Kozun dashed any hopes the Sharks had for a comeback by slamming home a loose puck on the left side doorstep for his second goal of the game, 18th goal of the season, at 12:47. Nearly two minutes later at 14:37, Monarchs center Linden Vey beat Sateri glove side with a wrist shot from on top of the face-off circles for his 14th goal of the season.
NOTES... Shots were 32-31 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 1-for-3 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill... Sateri had 24 saves and is now 10-11-2 with a 2.69 goals-against-average and .909 save percentage... Doherty returned to the Sharks lineup after missing the last 29 games due to a sliced Achilles tendon injury and registered an assist with three shots on goal... Sharks defensemen Nick Petrecki and Denny Urban were both minus-4... Tarasov's penalty shot was the second penalty shot of the season for the Sharks (Brandon Mashinter had a penalty shot against the Hershey Bears on Dec. 15, 2012)... The Sharks have lost seven straight home games (0-5-2) for the first time since the 2006-07 season, where they went 0-6-1... Sharks left winger Curt Gogol dropped the gloves with Deslauriers at 18:15 of the second period and Sharks defenseman Matt Pelech dropped the gloves with Monarchs enforcer Justin Johnson at 3:25 of the third period... With the two fights, the Sharks now have 63 through 50 games... Gogol had a game high 19 penalty minutes... Sena Acolatse (inj), Brodie Reid (inj), Jimmy Bonneau (scr), Mike Brennan (scr), Adam Comrie (scr) and James Livingston (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... This was the ninth of 12 meetings between the teams this season... The Sharks are 5-4-0-0 against the Monarchs this season, 10-10-1-4 against the Atlantic Division, 8-10-1-3 at the DCU Center and 23-21-1-5 with 52 points overall.
1. Tanner Pearson - Monarchs (1-1-2)
2. Brandon Kozun - Monarchs (2-0-2)
3. Tyler Toffoli - Monarchs (1-1-2)