Through 40 minutes of play, the Worcester Sharks held a 3-1 lead while being outshot 25-23.
In the third period, the Sharks were outshot 14-4, scored on twice and eventually lost 4-3 in the shootout to the Springfield Falcons (AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets) Saturday night at the MassMutual Center.
"We thought that with a 3-1 lead, we had it," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com, "and we sat back a little bit, but (Springfield) kept coming at us."
The Sharks, who have yet to score a shootout goal this season, got goals from forwards Bryan Lerg, Chris Tierney and Evan Trupp while goaltender J.P. Anderson made 40 saves in net. In addition, forward Freddie Hamilton dished out two assists.
Lerg put the Sharks ahead 1-0 at 18:21 when he slammed the puck into an open net from on top of the crease off a turnover behind the Falcons net by goaltender Oscar Dansk. Sharks forwards Ryan Carpenter and Hamilton had the assists on the goal, which was Lerg's fourth goal of the season.
Tierney extended the lead to 2-0 at 3:39 of the second period when he beat Dansk with a snap shot from deep inside the right faceoff circle for a power play goal, his second goal of the season. Hamilton and Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo were credited with the assists.
The Falcons cut the Sharks lead in half at 8:35 when forward Marko Dano fired home a rebound into an open net for his seventh goal of the season after linemate Trent Vogelhuber made a strong move to the net.
Trupp regained the Sharks' two goal lead at 12:53 when he buried home a one-timer from point blank range on the left side of the goal crease after an across the slot centering feed from Sharks defenseman Taylor Fedun. The secondary assist on the goal, which was a power play goal and Trupp's eighth goal of the season, went to Sharks defenseman Matt Taormina.
In the third period, Falcons forward Jaime Sifers pulled the Falcons to within a goal at 3:17 with his second goal of the season when he beat Anderson with a quick snap shot from just in front of the right circle faceoff dot after corralling an across the zone pass from linemate T.J. Tynan.
With Dansk pulled for the extra attacker inside the final two minutes of the period, Tynan tied the game with a one-timer from on top of the crease after some crisp tic-tac-toe passing deep inside the Sharks zone for his fourth goal of the season.
After a scoreless overtime session that saw the Falcons out-shoot the Sharks 4-0 (and saw rookie referee Alex Garon make a phantom interference penalty call on Tierney eight seconds into the Sharks' power play opportunity), the Falcons won the game in the shootout when forward Kerby Rychel deked out Anderson in the bottom of the second round. Tierney had a chance to extended the shootout with his attempt in the tho top of the third round but was stopped by Dansk.
"That was the worst (darned) call I've seen in years," said Sommer post game to Ballou of the Tierney penalty. "(Garon invented that call. He just invented it. It's a (darned) joke. If I ever saw a makeup call in my life, that was it."
Added a puzzled Tierney post game to Ballou, "I don't think I even touched the (Falcons) guy. I didn't feel anything. I just thought I had my ice. We just went on a power play, so I'm trying to stay away from any kind of penalty. Maybe he (Garon) called it because it was overtime; I don't know. But it was a tough break."
NOTES... Shots on goal were 44-27 in favor of the Falcons... The Sharks went 2-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill... Anderson is now 3-6-2 with a 2.68 goals-against-average and .903 save percentage... Lerg and Sharks forward Daniil Tarasov had a team high four shots on goal... Anderson's shutout streak ended at 109:23 (via Ballou)... Sommer coached in his 1300th career AHL game... This was the fourth of six meetings between the Sharks and Falcons this season... The Sharks are 1-1-2 against the Falcons, 5-8-2 on the road and 13-14-5 with 31 points overall... The Sharks wrap up their three-in-three weekend Sunday afternoon (Jan 4) as they travel to play the Providence Bruins.
1. Kerby Rychel - Falcons (Shootout game winning goal)
2. Marko Dano - Falcons (1-1-2)
3. Evan Trupp - Sharks (1-0-1)
Burish / Hamilton / Carpenter
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Langlois
Tarasov / Tierney / Coetzee
Hanson / Oleksuk / Hayes
Taormina (A) / Jones
Abeltshauser / DeMelo
Young / Fedun