After being unable to defeat their Atlantic Division rival the Manchester Monarchs (AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings) in six attempts this season, the Worcester Sharks have defeated the Monarchs twice within a span of several days, this time a come from behind 5-4 win in the shootout Friday night at the DCU Center.
The Sharks, who have won a season high five games in a row, had regulation goals from forwards Jeremy Langlois, Chris Tierney, Travis Oleksuk and defenseman Taylor Fedun. Sharks captain Bryan Lerg scored the lone goal in the shootout and goaltender Troy Grosenick made 30 saves for his 14th win of the season.
The Monarchs, who were 18-4-0 coming into the game when scoring the game's first goal, struck first at 5:03 when forward Adam Hughesman settled a bouncing puck on top of the crease and beat Grosenick with a quick shot for his first goal of the season. The lead was extended to 2-0 when forward Andrew Crescenzi stole the puck from Sharks forward Evan Trupp on top of the crease and swept the puck past Grosenick for his first goal of the season at 7:26.
Langlois cut the Monarchs lead in half at 11:19 of the second period when he deflected defenseman Gus Young's shot from the blue line of the left point past Monarchs goaltender Jean-Francois Berube for his 11th goal of the season. Lerg picked up the secondary assist.
Tierney pulled the Sharks even at 15:03 on a highlight reel goal that saw Tierney fire a wicked off balance snap shot from in the slot past Berube for his fifth goal of the season. Sharks forwards Ryan Carpenter and John McCarthy had the assists on the goal, which extended Tierney's point streak to seven games.
Just as it appeared the Sharks were going to head into intermission tied 2-2, the Monarchs took a 3-2 lead at 19:05 off defenseman Colin MIller's wrist shot from the left point that got through traffic in front and beat Grosenick over the glove for his 10th goal of the season.
In the third period, Sharks defenseman Taylor Fedun fired a backhanded shot on net from inside the left faceoff circle that was knocked down in front by Langlois, who slid the puck across the slot to Oleksuk, who lifted a quick shot over Berube at 5:58 for the tying goal, his fourth goal of the season.
Minutes later at 12:51, Fedun put the Sharks ahead 4-3 when off a Sharks faceoff win inside the Monarchs zone, Fedun fired a drifting low snap shot from the center point that beat Berube for a power play goal, his second goal of the season. Lerg and Langlois were credited with the assists on the goal.
The Monarchs tied the game at 17:42 when forward Michael Mersch settled a bouncing puck and lifted a backhanded shot from on top of the crease up-and-over the outstretched glove of a diving Grosenick for his eighth goal of the season.
With neither team finding the back of the net in overtime, the game headed to the shootout where Lerg put the Sharks ahead 1-0 with a goal in the bottom of the first round. After Sharks forward Freddie Hamilton rang one off the iron in the bottom of the second round, Monarchs forward Sean Backman had a chance to extend the shootout to a fourth round but Grosenick made a sprawling left pad save for a thrilling 5-4 Sharks victory.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 34-29 in favor of the Monarchs... The Sharks went 1-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 14-6-3 with a 2.79 goals-against-average and .902 save percentage... Lerg had a team high five shots on goal... Earlier in the week, Adam Burish was loaned to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL in exchange for McCarthy... Tierney has eight points (4-4-8) during his seven game point streak and 18 points (5-13-18) in 19 games this season... Sharks forward Micheal Haley picked up with team leading seventh fighting major after a quick tussle with Monarchs defenseman Derek Forbort at 17:35 of the first period... Langlois (1-2-3), Lerg (0-2-2) and Fedun (1-1-2) had multi point games for the Sharks... This was the eighth of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Monarchs this season... The Sharks are 2-5-1 against the Monarchs, 12-6-3 at the DCU Center and 18-14-5 with 41 points overall... The Sharks' three-in-three weekend continues Saturday night (Jan. 17) as they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7pm/et.
1. Taylor Fedun - Sharks (1-1-2)
2. Jeremy Langlois - Shark (1-2-3)
3. Colin Miller - Monarchs (1-2-3)
Tarasov / Tierney / Coetzee
Haley (A) / Oleksuk / Hamilton
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Langlois
McCarthy / Carpenter
Taormina (A) / Doherty
Abeltshauser / DeMelo
Young / Fedun