Playing in his seventh game of his pro tryout, Worcester Sharks forward Willie Coetzee had a four point game with a goal and three assists to help lead the Sharks to a 6-3 win over the Binghamton Senators (AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators) Friday night at the DCU Center.
"I'll tell you what - he was a find," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer of Coetzee in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "You've got to give that to (scout) Dirk Graham. He saw him play in Grand Rapids and the people he talked to said he was the best player in the ECHL."
The Sharks, who have earned points in eight of their last 10 games and are back above .500, got goals from forwards Chris Tierney, Daniil Tarasov, Ryan Carpenter, Jeremy Langlois and defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser. In addition, goaltender Troy Grosenick made 26 saves for his 11th win of the season.
Coetzee put the Sharks ahead 1-0 just 2:20 into the first period when he beat Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond with a quick snap shot from the left circle faceoff dot for a power play goal, his third goal of the season. Abeltshauser and his defensive partner Dylan DeMelo were credited with the assists on the goal.
At 8:37, Tierney corralled a flip lead pass in the slot from Tarasov and shot the puck up and under the crossbar to extend the Sharks' lead to 2-0. Coetzee had the secondary assist on the goal, which was Tierney's fourth of the season.
The Senators fourth line got the goal back 16-seconds later as forward David Dziurzynski buried home a quick shot from on top of the crease off a Sharks turnover behind their own net for his fourth goal of the season.
Tarasov regained the Sharks two goal lead at 11:15 when he took an across the slot feed from Coetzee and fired the puck into an open net from deep inside the left circle for a power play goal, his seventh goal of the season. Tierney had the secondary assist on the goal, which gave the trio seven combined points.
Early in the second period at 3:07, the Senators pulled back to within a goal when forward Darren Kramer redirected the puck past Grosenick from on top of the crease, which was set up by an own zone turnover by Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty.
Carpenter put the Sharks ahead 4-2 at 10:45 with his fifth goal of the season off a snap shot from just behind the right circle faceoff dot that beat Hammond far side. Sharks forward Travis Oleksuk and DeMelo had the assists on the goal, which came seconds after the Senators blew a two-on-zero shorthanded breakaway at the tail end of the Sharks' power play opportunity.
With 89-seconds left in the period, Senators forward Matt Puempel cut the Sharks lead to 4-3 when he deflected linemate Shane Prince's shot from on top of the right circle past Grosenick for a power play goal, his ninth goal of the season.
A bit past the midway point of the third period at 12:49, Abeltshauser put the Sharks ahead 5-3 with a quick snap shot from on top of the faceoff circles that beat Hammond glove side for his third goal of the season. Coetzee had the lone assist on the goal.
Langlois ended any hopes the Senators had of a comeback attempt at 18:47 when he buried home a rebound for a power play goal, his 10th goal of the season. Sharks forward Evan Trupp, who took the initial shot from the right circle, and Abeltshauser had the assists on the goal, which tied Langlois with forward MIcheal Haley for the team lead.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 36-29 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 3-for-6 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 11-6-3 with a 2.84 goals-against-average and .899 save percentage... Coetzee had a game high six shots on goal... Tierney (1-1-2), Tarasov (1-1-2), Abeltshauser (1-2-3), DeMelo (0-2-2) and Coetzee (1-3-4) all had mutli point games for the Sharks... Doherty returned to the Sharks lineup after missing 14 games due to a broken hand... Tierney has a three game goal streak and a four game point streak (3-2-5)... Carpenter's goal was his first since Nov. 8.... The Sharks released defenseman Andrew Blazek from his PTO earlier in the week... This was the second and final meeting between the Sharks and Senators this season... The Sharks went 2-0-0 against the Senators, are 9-6-3 at the DCU Center and 15-14-5 with 35 points overall...The Sharks are back in action Saturday night (Jan. 10) as they host the Providence Bruins at 7pm/et.
1. Willie Coetzee - Sharks (1-3-4)
2. Konrad Abeltshauser - Sharks (1-2-3)
3. Daniil Tarasov - Sharks (1-1-2)
Tarasov / Tierney / Coetzee
Hanson / Oleksuk / Carpenter
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Langlois
Bonneau / Brace/ Burish
Taormina (A) / Doherty
Abeltshauser / DeMelo (A)
Young / Fedun