It took until their seventh meeting of the season but the Worcester Sharks finally beat their Atlantic Division rival the Manchester Monarchs (AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings).
The Sharks, who have won four games in a row and earned points in eight of their last nine games, defeated the Monarchs 3-1 at the DCU Center Tuesday night thanks to goals by forwards Daniil Tarasov, Micheal Haley, Freddie Hamilton and 32 saves from goaltender Troy Grosenick.
Tarasov put the Sharks ahead 1-0 at 7:56 of the first period when on a delayed penalty call that was drawn by linemate Willie Coetzee in the left corner of the Monarchs zone, Sharks forward Chris Tierney skated with the puck behind the Monarchs net and sent a centering pass on top of the crease for Tarasov, who went forehand-to-backhand for the goal, which was his ninth of the season.
On the ensuing faceoff, the Monarchs entered the Sharks zone and forward David Van der Gulik deked out Grosenick from on top of the crease for his seventh goal of the season to tie the game just nine seconds after Tarasov's goal.
Haley scored what held up as the game-winning-goal at 2:21 of the third period on a quick shot from in the slot near the right hash mark that beat Monarchs goaltender Patrik Bartosak and was generated by an aggressive forecheck from Haley, Hamilton and Travis Oleksuk. Hamilton had the lone assist on the goal, which was Haley's team leading 11th of the season.
With Bartosak pulled for the extra attacker inside the final 90-seconds of the period, Hamilton sealed a 3-1 Sharks win with an empty net goal that he shot from on top of the circles inside his own zone.
"I'm pretty confident with that shot," said Hamilton post game to Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "We practice it when we skate in the summertime."
NOTES... Shots on goal were 33-30 in favor of the Monarchs... The Sharks went 0-for-5 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 13-6-3 with a 2.75 goals-against-average and .903 save percentage... Sharks captain Bryan Lerg had a team high four shots on goal... Every Sharks skater registered a shot on goal... Hamilton's empty net goal was his fourth as a Shark and trails Dan DaSilva by one for the franchise record (via Ballou)... The Sharks released forward Riley Brace from his PTO on Jan. 12... Tierney has a six game point streak (3-4-7), Coetzee has a four game point streak (2-7-9) and Tarasov has a three game point streak (3-2-5)... The trio of Tarasov/Tierney/Coetzee have combined for 17 points (6-11-17) in the three games they have been a line... This was the seventh of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Monarchs this season... The Sharks are 1-5-1 against the Monarchs, 11-6-3 at the DCU Center and 17-14-5 with 39 points overall... The Sharks are back in action Jan. 16 as they host the Monarchs in a rematch at 7:30 pm/et.
1. Micheal Haley - Sharks (1-0-1, GWG)
2. Troy Grosenick - Sharks (32 saves, Win)
3. Daniil Tarasov - Sharks (1-0-1)
Tarasov / Tierney / Coetzee
Haley (A) / Oleksuk / Hamilton
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Langlois
Burish / Carpenter
Taormina (A) / Doherty
Abeltshauser / DeMelo
Young / Fedun