New year, same result.
For the sixth time this season, the Worcester Sharks were defeated by their Atlantic Division rival the Manchester Monarchs (AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings), this time by a 2-1 margin at the DCU Center Friday night.
The Sharks, who had their two game win streak and four game point streak snapped, had their lone goal scored by forward Willie Coetzee while goaltender Troy Grosenick kept the team in the game by making 31 saves.
"That team, man, we've got to figure out a way," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "They've got a good team. They are where they are for a reason."
After a quick first period that finished in 28 minutes of real time, the Monarchs took a 1-0 lead at 12:00 of the second period when forward Zach O'Brien corralled a bouncing puck on the right circle faceoff dot, cut across the slot and lifted a backhanded shot over a sprawled out Grosenick for his eighth goal of the season. The goal was made possible by Monarchs forward Jordan Weal, who kept the puck in at the right point with a no look pass that bounced passed Sharks defenseman Matt Taormina, who had gone to a knee to play the puck, and right to O'Brien.
"I thought I had the play made," said Taormina post game to Ballou, "but then the puck took a weird bounce and somehow sneaked through. The puck was bouncing a lot all night, and that's the way it was bouncing for me."
The Monarchs extended the lead to 2-0 at 7:24 of the third period when forward Sean Backman buried home a rebound from the right hash mark in the slot for a power play goal, his seven goal of the season. The goal came 14-seconds after Sharks captain Bryan Lerg failed to score on a shot attempt from in the slot between the circles.
Coetzee cut the Monarchs lead in half at 13:23 when he scored his second goal of the season off a rebound shot from on top of the crease. Sharks forward Chris Tierney and Taormina had the assists on the goal, which was made possible by Grosenick, who robbed Monarchs forward Ryan Horvat of a goal 10-seconds prior.
A couple minutes later, it appeared the Sharks were going to tie the game but forward Ryan Carpenter missed an open net with his shot from on top of the crease. Several minutes later, the game was over along with the Sharks win and point streak.
"The bottom line is, when they (Manchester) get an opportunity they bury it," said Sommer. "And when we get an opportunity, like that one by (Ryan) Carpenter near the end, we don't bury it."
NOTES... Shots on goal were 33-23 in favor of the Monarchs... The Sharks went 0-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 9-6-3 with a 2.93 goals-against-average and .894 save percentage... Taormina and Coetzee each had a team high three shots on goal... A scoring change was made in the Bridgeport game as Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo lost an assist on the Greger Hanson goal. The assist was given to Carpenter... This was the sixth of twelve meetings between the Sharks and Monarchs this season... The Sharks are 0-5-1 against the Monarchs, 8-6-3 at the DCU Center and 13-14-4 with 30 points overall... The Sharks continue their three-in-three weekend Saturday night (Jan. 3) as they travel to play the Springfield Falcons at 7pm/et.
1. Sean Backman - Monarchs (1-0-1)
2. Jean-Francois Berube - Monarchs (22 saves, Win)
3. Willie Coetzee - Sharks (1-0-1)
Tarasov / Oleksuk / Hamilton (A)
Hanson / Burish / Carpenter
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Langlois
Brace / Tierney / Coetzee
Taormina (A) / Jones
Abeltshauser / DeMelo
Young / Fedun