Worcester Sharks forward Chris Tierney had two goals, including what held up as the game winning goal, and goaltender J.P. Anderson made 29 saves as the Sharks defeated their Atlantic Division rival the Manchester Monarchs (AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings) 4-3 Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena to sweep a three-in-three weekend and extend their winning streak to a franchise best tying seven games.
The Sharks, who last won seven games in a row back in March 2007, have earned points in eight straight games and vaulted themselves into the seventh seed of the AHL Eastern Conference Calder Cup Playoff race with 37 games to go in the season.
Defensemen Matt Taormina and Taylor Doherty also scored for the Sharks, who beat the first place Monarchs three times this past week (Tuesday, Friday, Sunday) after losing the first six meetings of the season.
Taormina put the Sharks ahead 1-0 at 5:57 of the first period with a snap shot from the center point that got through traffic in front and beat Monarchs goaltender Patrik Bartosak glove side for a power play goal, his fifth goal of the season. Sharks forward Bryan Lerg and defenseman Taylor Fedun had the assists on the goal.
Tierney extended the lead to 2-0 at 9:30 with another power play goal, his sixth goal of the season, off a quick shoveling shot from on top of the crease after taking a no look behind the goal line drop pass from linemate Willie Coetzee. Sharks forward Daniil Tarasov had the secondary assist.
Doherty gave the Sharks a three goal lead just 1:15 into the second period with his second goal of the season off a howitzer of a slap shot from the right point that beat Bartosak blocker side. The goal, which was unassisted, came in Doherty's 200th career professional game and was his first professional career road goal.
The Monarchs got on the scoreboard at 11:27 when forward Andrew Crescenzi corralled a loose puck inside his own zone and went coast-to-coast for a shorthanded goal, his second goal of the season.
Tierney scored his second goal of the game at 15:18 off a snap shot from the top of the left slot that beat Bartosak top shelf. Coetzee and Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo had the assists on the goal, which was Tierney's seventh of the season.
Monarchs forward Ryan Horvat cut the Sharks lead to 4-2 at 18:30 when he found a loose puck on top of the crease and lifted a backhanded shot over Anderson for his first goal of the season.
Early in the third period, Sharks defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser appeared to have put the Sharks ahead 5-2 with a 70-foot goal (shot from 10 feet behind the blue line) but the officials waived off the goal as Sharks forward Freddie Hamilton was still exiting the Monarchs zone on a tag-up offsides.
Minutes later at 5:48, Monarchs forward Kenton Miller had his first goal of the season waived off as the net came flying off its moorings when Miller crashed the net to poke at a loose puck. However, referee Jonathan Alarie overturned his on ice ruling of no goal to goal after a video review.
Though the Monarchs pulled to within a goal early in the period, they couldn't get the tying goal past Anderson, who made 10 saves in the period to pick up his fourth win of the season
NOTES... Shots on goal were 32-27 in favor of the Monarchs... The Sharks went 2-for-6 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill... Anderson is now 4-6-1 with a 2.71 goals-against-average and .903 save percentage... Coetzee had a game high six shots on goal and finished with two assists... Tierney had five shots on goal and has 10 poitns (6-4-10) in his last nine games... Fedun was boarded from behind by Monarchs forward Josh Gratton early in the first period and though Fedun returned in the period, he did not play the final two periods... Sharks forward Ryan Carpenter celebrated his 24th birthday... This was the ninth of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Monarchs this season... The Sharks are 3-5-1 against the Monarchs, 7-8-2 on the road and 20-14-5 with 45 points overall... The Sharks are back in action Jan. 21 as they travel to play the Portland Pirates at 7pm/et.
1. Chris Tierney - Sharks (2-0-2)
2. Ryan Horvat - Monarchs (1-0-1)
3. Willie Coetzee - Sharks (0-2-2)
Tarasov / Tierney / Coetzee
Haley (A) / Oleksuk / Hamilton
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Langlois
Hanson / McCarthy / Carpenter
Taormina (A) / Doherty
Abeltshauser / DeMelo
Young / Fedun