On a night where Worcester Sharks head coach Roy Sommer surpassed Frank Mathers to set the AHL record by coaching in his 1,257th game, the Sharks defeated their Atlantic Division rival the Portland Pirates (AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes) 5-3 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
13 different skaters registered a point for the Sharks, who have won 8-of-their-last-10 games and are nine points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 11 games remaining.
The Sharks took a 1-0 lead at 6:29 of the first period when defenseman Matt Tennyson finished off a give-and-go with forward Dan DaSilva by beating Pirates goaltender Louie Domingue with a backhanded shot from deep inside the left face-off circle for his sixth goal of the season. Sharks forward Bracken Kearns was credited with the secondary assist.
Just 135-seconds later, the Sharks extended their lead to 2-0 when forward Travis Oleksuk buried home a one-timer from the left circle face-off dot for his 15th goal of the season. Sharks rookie forwards Adam Schmidt and Ryan Carpenter were credited with the assists.
With two seconds remaining in the period, the Sharks took a 3-0 lead as defenseman Matt Pelech beat Domingue through the pads with a wrist shot from the center point that got through traffic in front for his second goal of the season. Shark forwards Marek Viedensky and rookie Rylan Schwartz were credited with the assists on the goal, which ended Domingue's night.
The Pirates pulled to within a goal by scoring two goals in a 93-second span inside the final six minutes of the second period. Rookie forward Lucas Lessio got the Pirates on the scoreboard at 14:26 when he beat Grosenick with a snap shot from inside the left face-off circle for his 23rd goal of the season. At 15:59, forward Andy Miele stuffed home a rebound into an open net on the left side for a power play goal, his 24th goal of the season.
The Sharks answered back at 17:41 when rookie forward Eriah Hayes corralled a loose puck at center ice, skated in all alone and beat Pirates goaltender Chris Rawlings through the five-hole for his eighth goal of the season. Sharks rookie defenseman Dylan DeMelo and enforcer Jimmy Bonneau were credited with the assists on the goal, which held up as the game-winner.
With the score still 4-2 late in the third period, the Pirates pulled Rawlings for an extra attacker and at 18:49, defenseman James Melindy beat Grosenick with a slap shot from on top of the right face-off circle for his second goal of the season. However, Sharks forward Chad Rau scored an empty net goal, his first goal with the Sharks, at 19:13 to seal a 5-3 Sharks win.
NOTES... Final shots on goal were 40-30 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 5-for-6 on the penalty kill and 0-for-2 on the power play... Grosenick is now 15-11-0 with a 2.74 goals-against-average and .901 save percentage... No Sharks skaters finished with a minus rating... Schwartz had a game high five shots on goal... Kearns and DaSilva were credited with the assists on Rau's goal... Carpenter, who was signed to an ATO prior to the start of the game, made his professional debut, registered an assist for his first professional point and wore no. 24... The Sharks released forward Mike Pereira from his ATO on March 25... With two assists each, DaSilva extended his point streak to eight games (4-7-11) while Kearns extended his to four games (1-5-6)... Sharks defenseman Rob Davison received a match penalty for checking to the head at 6:13 of the third period while Pirates defenseman Mark Louis got a game misconduct for being the aggressor post whistle... This was the 11th of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Pirates this season... The Sharks are 7-4-0-0 against the Pirates, 16-16-3-0 on the road and 32-29-3-1 with 68 points overall... The Sharks are back in action Friday night (March 28) as they travel to play their Atlantic Division rival the Manchester Monarchs at 7pm/et.
1. Eriah Hayes - Sharks (1-0-1, GWG)
2. Lucas Lessio - Pirates (1-0-1)
3. Troy Grosenick - Sharks (27 saves, Win)
Kearns (A) / Rau / DaSilva
Schwartz / Viedensky / Reid
Carpenter / Oleksuk / Schmidt
Bonneau (A) / Higgs / Hayes
Davison (C) / Tennyson
Abeltshauser / Doherty
DeMelo / Pelech