Despite 30 saves from goaltender J.P. Anderson, the Worcester Sharks were unable to overcome an early 3-0 deficit in a 5-2 loss to the Manchester Monarchs (AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings) at the DCU Center Friday night.
Defensemen Matt Tennyson and Matt Taormina scored for the Sharks, who had their three game winning streak snapped with the loss and found themselves trailing 3-0 inside the first 16-minutes of the game.
"We've got to do something about these (lousy) starts," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "I don't know what's going on with that, but we've got to get better."
The Monarchs took a 1-0 lead just 68-seconds into the game when forward David Van der Gulik tipped defenseman Collin Miller's low shot from the left point past Anderson for his third goal of the season.
Monarchs forward Jordan Weal extended the lead to 2-0 at 13:00 when he finished off an odd-man rush with a quick shot from near the right hash mark in the slot that beat Anderson glove side just seconds after Tennyson had been stopped on a one-timer blast from the right hash mark in the slot at the other end by Monarchs goaltender Jean-Francois Berube.
At 15:25, Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty was assessed minor penalties for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct for going after and pounding Monarchs forward Andrew Crescenzi, who had laid a thunderous hit on Sharks forward Travis Oleksuk in the neutral zone. Off the ensuing faceoff in the Sharks zone, Weal beat a screened Anderson with a snap shot from inside the top of the right circle just eight seconds into the power play for his second goal of the game and fifth goal of the season.
Tennyson got the Sharks on the scoreboard at 18:23 he beat Berube with a quick shot from the right circle faceoff dot for a power play goal, his third goal of the season. Sharks forward Freddie Hamilton had the lone assist on the goal, which extended Tennyson's point streak to four games.
With five and half minutes left in the third period, Sharks forward Ryan Carpenter appeared to have an open net for a sure goal but Berube was able to make a sprawling save to preserve the Monarchs' two goal lead.
"That was the key play of the game," said Sommer.
With Anderson pulled for the extra attacker inside the final two-and-a-half minutes of the period, Taormina cut the Monarchs lead to one at 17:47 when he took a quick shot of a bouncing puck from near the top of the right circle that got through traffic and beat Berube for his second goal of the season.
Unfortunately, the Sharks' comeback hopes were quickly dashed as Monarchs forwards Sean Backman and Nick Shore scored empty net goals at 18:35 and 19:15 to seal a 5-2 victory.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 35-31 in favor of the Monarchs... The Sharks went 1-for-5 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill... Anderson is now 1-2-0 with a 3.02 goals-against-average and .892 save percentage... Carpenter had a game high five shots on goal... Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau had a solid fight with Monarchs forward Josh Gratton at 3:28 of the first period... Earlier in the week, Sharks goaltender Troy Grosenick received his first NHL call-up as he was summoned to San Jose due to Alex Stalock having minor knee surgery... Prior to the game, Sharks forward Bryan Lerg was named team captain and is the seventh captain in Sharks franchise history... The Sharks have allowed a power play goal in five straight games after allowing only two in their first eight games (via Ballou)... With the assist on Tennyson's goal, Hamilton now has a team leading 12 points (5-7-12)... This was the first of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Monarchs this season... The Sharks are 0-1-0 against the Monarchs, 5-3-1 at the DCU Center and 8-4-1 with 17 points overall... The Sharks are back in action Saturday night (Nov. 15) as they host the Springfield Falcons at 7pm/et.
1. Jordan Weal - Monarchs (1-2-3)
2. Jean-Francois Berube - Monarchs (29 saves, win)
3. Matt Tennyson - Sharks (1-0-1)
Tarasov / Hamilton / Langlois
Lerg (C) / Tierney / Hayes
Haley (A) / Karlsson / Carpenter
Bonneau / Oleksuk / Trupp
Tennyson / Taormina (A)
Fedun / DeMelo
Young / Doherty