After being shut out for nearly the first 52 minutes of the game, the Worcester Sharks furiously rallied for three goals in a 6:56 span of the second half of the third period but fell one goal short as they were defeated 4-3 by the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers) Sunday afternoon at the XL Center.
Ryan Carpenter, Freddie Hamilton and Tyler Kennedy scored for the Sharks, who have lost 16 of their last 20 games against the Wolf Pack and nine of their last 10 in Hartford.
"We're definitely giving up too many goals," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "We've gotten to tighten it up defensively. Fortunately, we've been scoring goals, but giving up that many goals every night won't win you many games."
The Sharks found themselves trailing 3-0 at the end of the first period as the Wolf Pack scored their trio of goals in a 5:19 span. Ryan Bourque started the scoring flurry for the Wolf Pack at 8:46 when he corralled a backhanded across the slot pass from his brother Chris and fired the puck from deep in the left circle over the outstretched glove of Sharks goaltender JP Anderson for a power play goal, his third goal of the season.
Forward J.T. Miller pushed the lead to 2-0 at 11:24 when he finished off an odd man rush with defenseman Matt Bodie by firing a shot from the left circle past Anderson for his third goal of the season. Nearly three minutes later at 14:05, forward Danny Kristo fired a snap shot from inside the left circle (near the wall) that got through traffic in front and beat Anderson for his third goal of the season.
At the start of the second period, the Sharks had a golden opportunity to get back into the game with a couple of power play opportunities that resulted in 52-seconds of 5-on-3 power play time. However, the Sharks were unable to convert as Wolf Pack goaltender Cedrick Desjardins made a point blank save on Hamilton and then another save on a shot from the left circle by Kennedy.
"If we had scored there, it might have made the difference," said Hamilton post game to Ballou. "You have that much time with a two-man advantage, you should score."
Just 29-seconds into the third period, the Wolf Pack took a 4-0 lead when a shot from the left point by Bodie hit a cutting Jesper Fast in front and deflected past Anderson for Fast's first goal of the season.
Carpenter got the Sharks on the scoreboard at 11:52 when he found a loose puck in front of the net and buried the puck home for his second goal of the season. Kennedy and Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo were credited with the assists.
On the Sharks' seventh power play opportunity of the game, Hamilton corralled an across the slot pass from linemate Daniil Tarasov and buried home a shot from deep in the left circle at 16:47 for his fifth goal of the season. Sharks defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser had the secondary assist.
With Anderson pulled for the extra attacker inside the final two minutes of the period, DeMelo sent an across the slot pass from the right point to Kennedy, who blast a one-timer from the left circle past Desjardins at 18:48 for his second goal of the season and second goal in as many games to pull the Sharks to within a goal.
Unfortunately for the Sharks, their furious rally ran out of time as they weren't able to generate one final scoring chance to tie the game in the final 72-seconds.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 37-18 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 1-for-7 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill... Anderson had 14 saves in his first career AHL start and is 0-1-0 with a 4.06 goals-against-average and .778 save percentage... Kennedy (goal, assist) and DeMelo (two assists) had multi point games for the Sharks... Kennedy had a game high eight shots on goal... Hamilton extended his point streak to five games (5-2-7)... Sharks forward Bryan Lerg had the secondary assist on Kennedy's goal... Sharks forward Tyler Shattock scrapped with Wolf Pack forward Nick Tarnasky in the second period... This was the second of four meetings between the Sharks and Wolf Pack this season... The Sharks are 0-2-0 against the Wolf Pack, 2-1-0 on the road and 5-3-1 with 11 points overall... The Sharks are back in action Wednesday night (Nov. 5) when they host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at 7pm/et.
1. Cedrick Desjarinds - Wolf Pack (34 saves, Win)
2. J.T. Miller - Wolf Pack (1-1-2)
3. Chris Bourque - Wolf Pack (1-0-1)
Langlois / Hamilton / Tarasov
Haley / Karlsson / Hayes
Lerg (A) / Kennedy / Carpenter
Trupp / Schwartz / Shattock
Tennyson / Taormina
Fedun (A) / DeMelo (A)
Abeltshauser / Doherty