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Worcester closes out 2014 with a 6-2 win over Bridgeport

Worcester Sharks forward Travis Oleksuk celebrates with the Sharks bench after scoring one of his goals during the Sharks' 6-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the DCU Center Tuesday night (teamshred.smugmug.com)
Worcester Sharks forward Travis Oleksuk celebrates with the Sharks bench after scoring one of his goals during the Sharks' 6-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the DCU Center Tuesday night (teamshred.smugmug.com)

For the first time since early November, the Worcester Sharks have won back-to-back games and have points in four straight games after defeating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders) 6-2 Tuesday night at the DCU Center.

Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo registered his first professional four point game with a goal and three assists while forward Freddie Hamilton dished out four assists and linemate Travis Oleksuk scored two goals. In addition, Sharks defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser and forward Adam Burish both had two point games with a goal and an assist each.

Goaltender Troy Grosenick made his fifth consecutive start for the Sharks and had 21 saves for his ninth win of the season.

The Sound Tigers took a 1-0 lead at 2:24 of the first period when forward Colin McDonald finished off a two-on-one rush by firing the puck into an open net from deep inside the right circle for his 12th goal of the season.

Just as it appeared the Sharks would head into the first intermission down a goal, Oleksuk found a bouncing puck in between the hash marks in the slot and fired the puck past Sound Tigers goaltender David Leggio at 19:48 for his second goal of the season. Hamilton, who fired a shot on goal from the left circle, and DeMelo, who started the play initially with a deke move from the right circle off a give-and-go with forward Daniil Tarasov, had the assists on the goal.

At 7:13 of the second period, the Sound Tigers regained their one goal lead when defenseman Ryan Pulock blasted a howitzer of a slap shot from on top of the right circle past Grosenick for a power play goal, his 12th goal of the season.

DeMelo answered back for the Sharks nearly three minutes later at 10:07 when he fired a slap shot from the top of the left point that got through traffic in front (specifically an Oleksuk screen) and beat Leggio for a power play goal. Hamilton and Abeltshauser had the assists on the goal, which was DeMelo's second of the season.

Oleksuk gave the Sharks their first lead of the game at 19:18 when he deflected Hamilton's shot from deep in the edge of the right circle near the goal line for his second goal of the game and third goal of the season. Tarasov was credited with the secondary assist.

After several spectacular saves by Grosenick early in the third period, highlighted by a glove save on Sound Tigers forward Kael Mouillierat and a circus spinning save on forward Alan Quince, the Sharks extended their lead to 4-2 at 6:04 when forward Gregor Hanson redirected a right circle pass from Burish past Leggio from on top of the crease for his first goal of the season. DeMelo registered the secondary assist on the goal.

Abeltshauser pushed the lead to 5-2 at 9:16 with a snap shot from the center point that got through an Oleksuk screen in front and beat Leggio for a power play goal. DeMelo, who made a nice save at the right point to keep the puck in zone, and Hamilton had the assists on the goal, which was Abeltshauser's second of the season.

Burish made it 6-2 at 17:11 when he found a drop pass left on top of the crease by linemate Willie Coetzee and beat Leggio with a quick shot that trickled over the goal line inside the left post for his fourth goal of the season.

NOTES... Shots on goal were 40-23 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 2-for-7 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 9-5-3 with a 2.98 goals-against-average and .891 save percentage... DeMelo had a game high six shots on goal... Sharks forward Riley Brace and defenseman Gus Young were the only Sharks skaters to not register a shot on goal... Chris Tierney was reassigned to the Sharks earlier in the day from San Jose... Sharks head coach Roy Sommer tied John Paddock for third most coaching wins in AHL history with 588 (via Bill Ballou)... This was the first of four meetings between the Sharks and Sound Tigers this season... The Sharks are 1-0-0 against the Sound Tigers, 8-5-3 at the DCU Center and 13-13-4 with 30 points overall... The Sharks are back in action Friday night (Jan. 2) as they host the Manchester Monarchs at 7:30pm/et to kickoff another three-in-three weekend.

THREE STARS
1. Travis Oleksuk - Sharks (2-0-2)
2. Freddie Hamilton - Sharks (0-4-4)
3. Dylan DeMelo - Sharks (1-3-4)

LINES
Tarasov / Oleksuk / Hamilton (A)
Hanson / Burish / Carpenter
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Langlois
Bonneau / Brace / Coetzee

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

GOALIES
Grosenick
Anderson

SCRATCHES
Blazek
Tierney (trv)
Doherty (inj)
Emanuelsson (inj)
Hayes (inj)