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Worcester battles back but fall in overtime to Portland

Worcester Sharks forward Micheal Haley scored his team leading 10th goal of the season in the Sharks' 4-3 overtime loss to the Portland Pirates Saturday night at the Cross Insurance Arena (teamshred.smugmug.com).
Worcester Sharks forward Micheal Haley scored his team leading 10th goal of the season in the Sharks' 4-3 overtime loss to the Portland Pirates Saturday night at the Cross Insurance Arena (teamshred.smugmug.com).

In what is becoming a reoccurring theme this season, the Worcester Sharks had more shots on goal and power play opportunities but still lost the game, this time a 4-3 overtime decision to the Portland Pirates (AHL affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes) Saturday night at the Cross Insurance Arena.

Forwards Micheal Haley, Bryan Lerg and Adam Burish scored for the Sharks, who are 3-10-2 in their last 15 games, while goaltender Troy Grosenick made 19 saves in net.

Though the Sharks outshot the Pirates 18-5 in the first period, it was the Pirates who struck first at 14:53 when forward Greg Miller slid a shot under a Grosenick from the left side of the crease after Grosenick had made a sprawled out save on his back to deny Pirates forward Henrik Samuelsson of a goal.

Haley tied the game at 18:14 when he deflected defenseman Matt Taormina's shot from the center point past Pirates goaltender Mike McKenna for a power play goal, his team leading 10th goal of the season. Lerg had the primary assist on the goal, which came on the Sharks' 18th shot on goal of the period.

At 3:40 of the second period, the Pirates regained their one goal lead when forward Darian Dziurzynski beat Grosenick with a quick shot under the blocker from deep inside the left circle for his fifth goal of the season. The lead was extended to 3-1 at 6:59 when forward Jordan Martinook corralled a stretch pass from McKenna in the right corner of the Shark zone and sent a backhanded centering feed in front for Miller, who buried home a one-timer from between the hash marks in the slot for his second goal of the game and of the season.

Lerg pulled the Sharks to within a goal at 8:49 when he chipped away and stuffed home a loose puck for his second goal of the season. Sharks forward Evan Trupp, who made a strong move to the net from the right corner, and Sharks defenseman Gus Young had the assists on the goal.

Burish tied the game nearly four minutes later (at 12:45 to be exact) with his second goal of the season off a backhanded shot from on top of the crease that went up-and-over McKenna. Sharks forwards Ryan Carpenter and Greger Hanson had the assists on the goal.

After a scoreless third period, Reese won the game for the Pirates during the pond hockey portion overtime at 5:45 with a snap shot from inside the left circle that beat Grosenick top shelf glove side.

NOTES... Shots on goal were 46-23 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 1-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 7-5-2 with a 3.01 goals-against-average and .894 save percentage... Lerg had a game high seven shots on goal... The Sharks dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen... This was the fifth of eight meetings between the Sharks and Pirates this season... The Sharks are 2-2-1 against the Pirates, 4-8-1 on the road and 11-13-3 with 25 points overall... The Sharks wrap up their three-in-three weekend Sunday afternoon (Dec. 21) as they travel to play the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 3pm/et.

THREE STARS
1.  Greg Miller - Pirates (2-0-2)
2.  Dylan Reese - Pirates (1-1-2)
3.  Mike McKenna - Pirates (43 saves, win)

LINES
Tarasov / Oleksuk / Hamilton
Haley (A)/ Burish / Carpenter
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Langlois
Bonneau / Hansen

DEFENSE
Abeltshauser / DeMelo
Young / Fedun
Taormina (A) / Jones
Blazek

GOALIES
Grosenick
Anderson

SCRATCHES
Doherty (inj)
Emanuelsson (inj)
Hayes (inj)