Playing their first game in six days and since the announcement of their west coast relocation as part of the AHL Pacific Division, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 5-4 by the Providence Bruins (AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins) Friday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Forward Jeremy Langlois scored his team leading 15th and 16th goals of the season for the Sharks, who also got goals from forward Freddie Hamilton and defenseman Matt Taormina,. Goaltender J.P. Anderson made 37 saves in his fifth consecutive start as regular starter Troy Grosenick continues to battle an illness that Bill Ballou of Telegram.com reported Friday night has still been undiagnosed by doctors.
Langlois put the Sharks ahead 1-0 just 43-seconds into the game when he corralled an up ice pass from defenseman Taylor Fedun after getting behind the Providence defense and beat Providence goaltender Niklas Svedberg top shelf on a breakaway with a quick shot from in the slot. Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty had the secondary assist.
Following Langlois' goal, Providence exploded for three goals in a four minute span to take a 3-1 lead into intermission. Defenseman Zach Trotman tied the game with his first goal of the season at 5:27 off a wrist shot from the right point that got through traffic in front and beat Anderson; At 6:41, forward Alexander Khokhlachev waited out and beat a sprawled out Anderson with a drifiting wrist shot from on top of the crease on the left side for his 11th goal of the season; defenseman Joe Morrow beat Anderson with a one-timer blast from the top of the right point just in front of the blue line for a power play goal, his second goal of the season, at 9:27.
Providence extended the lead to 4-1 at 6:03 of the second period when forward Seth Griffith faked a slap shot from the left point, skated down to inside the left faceoff circle and beat Anderson top shelf with a wrist shot for a power play goal, his fourth goal of the season.
Hamilton stopped the bleeding at 19:33 with a quick shot from the left side of the crease that beat Svedberg top shelf and went in off both the crossbar and the far post. Sharks forwards Willie Coetzee and MIcheal Haley had the assists on the goal, which was a power play goal and Hamilton's ninth goal of the season.
With the Sharks thinking a third period comeback, Griffith regained Providence's three goal lead at 4:36 with a power play goal, his second goal of the game and fifth goal of the season, off a nice deke move from on top of the crease on the left side.
Langlois pulled the Sharks to within two goals at 17:56 when he buried home a rebound from on top of the crease for a power play goal, his second goal of the game. Sharks captain Bryan Lerg and Fedun had the assists on the goal.
Just 52-seconds later, Taormina cut the Providence lead to 5-4 when he beat Svedberg with a wrist shot from the right point off a faceoff win in the Providence zone for his sixth goal of the season. Sharks forward Chris Tierney had the lone assist.
Despite pulling Anderson for the extra attacker following Taormina's goal, the Sharks' late rally fell short as they couldn't get the tying goal to force overtime.
"They battled, and that's good," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer post game to Ballou, "but you can't be giving up five goals an expect to win. Not in this league. Not in any league."
NOTES... Shots on goal were 42-29 in favor of Providence... The Sharks went 2-for-7 on the power play and 1-for-3 on the penalty kill... Anderson is now 6-8-1 with a 2.71 goals-against-average and .900 save percentage... Fedun dish out two assists for the Sharks... The Sharks recalled defenseman Kyle Bigos from the Ontario Reign of the ECHL on Jan. 29 while forward Daniil Tarasov was called up to San Jose on Jan. 28... Sharks forward Travis Oleksuk dropped the gloves with Providence defenseman Ben Youds at 10:36 of the third period for his first professional fighting major in 170 games... With an assist, Tierney extended his point streak to three games (0-3-3)... This was the seventh of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Providence... The Sharks are 6-1-0 against Providence, 9-9-4 on the road and 22-16-5 with 49 points overall... The Sharks rematch Providence Saturday night (Jan. 31) at the DCU Center on Pink in the Rink night at 7pm/et.
1. Seth Griffith - Providence (2-1-3)
2. Joe Morrow - Providence (1-1-2)
3. Colin Stuart - Providence (0-1-1)
McCarthy / Tierney / Coetzee
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Langlois
Haley (A) / Oleksuk / Hamilton
Bonneau / Carpenter / Hayes
Taormina (A) / Doherty
Abeltshauser / DeMelo
Young / Fedun