On a night where the Worcester Sharks were defeated 5-1 by their Atlantic Division rival the Manchester Monarchs (AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings) at the Verizon Wireless Arena, Sharks rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick was the team's lone bright spot as made 38 saves on 43 shots to earn the game's third star honors.
Grosenick faced 18 shots in the first period (eight of which came inside the opening nine minutes) 10 in the second and 15 in third. Had it not been for Grosenick, the final score would've been a lot uglier for the Sharks, whom had a total of 11 shots on goal after 40 minutes of play.
"Thank God for goaltending" said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer of Grosenick in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com.
The Monarchs took a 1-0 lead at 8:25 when forward Jordan Weal lifted a backhanded shot from deep inside the left face-off circle past Grosenick for a power play goal, his 12th goal of the season. The Monarchs had chances later in the period to extend their lead with several breakaway opportunities but Grosenick turn the shots away.
The Sharks tied the game just 93-seconds into the second period when forward Freddie Hamilton found a rebound on top of the goal crease and fired the puck past Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones for a power play goal, his team leading 14th goal of the season. Sharks forward Chad Rau and defenseman Sena Acolatse were credited with the assists.
At 11:18, Monarchs forward Tyler Toffoli scored what held up as the game-winning-goal when he buried home a one-timer from on top of the crease (off a centering feed) past Grosenick for his 11th goal of the season. Three minutes later, Monarchs forward Tanner Pearson extended the lead to 3-1 when he fired a low shot on net from inside the right face-off circle that deflected off of Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson and in for a 5-on-3 power play goal, his 17th goal of the season.
In the third period, Toffoli scored two times in a 3:33 span to seal the hat-trick and a 5-1 Monarchs win.
NOTES... Final shots were 43-24 in favor of the Monarchs... The Sharks went 1-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-6 on the penalty kill... Grosenick had his five game winning streak snapped, and is now 11-6-3 with a 2.27 goals-against-average and .918 save percentage... Hamilton and Sharks forward Dan DaSilva each had a team high four shots on goal... Sharks forward Scott Fleming was released from his PTO on Feb. 10 and Sharks forward Tyler Gron was returned to the Ontario Reign of the ECHL on Feb. 12... Sharks forward John McCarthy played in his first game for the Sharks since Oct. 19, 2013... This was the eighth of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Monarchs this season... The Sharks are 3-5-0-0 against the Monarchs, 11-11-3-0 on the road and 23-20-3-1 with 50 points overall... The Sharks continue their three-in-three weekend Saturday night (Feb. 15) as they travel to play the Binghamton Senators at 7:05pm/et.
1. Tyler Toffoli - Monarchs (3-1-4, Hat Trick)
2. Linden Vey - Monarchs (0-4-4)
3. Troy Grosenick - Sharks (38 saves)
Scheidl / Hamilton (A) / Hayes
Gourde / Oleksuk / DaSilva (A)
McCarthy / Rau / Reid
Schwartz / Livingston
Abeltshauser / Acolatse
Tennyson / Davison (C)
DeMelo / Doherty