Worcester Sharks forwards Eriah Hayes and Ryan Carpenter each had a goal and two assists for their first career professional three point games as the Sharks defeated the Providence Bruins (AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins) Saturday night in front of a season high 7,760 fans at the DCU Center on Pink in the Rink night.
Forward John McCarthy also scored for the Sharks, who finished the month of January 10-3-1, while goaltender Aaron Dell made 26 saves for his second AHL win of the season (Dell has eight wins for the Allen Americans of the ECHL).
"That was a great game," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "We had a hell of a defensive performance."
McCarthy put the Sharks ahead 1-0 at 3:41 of the first period with a quick shot from on top of the crease off a behind-the-net centering feed from Hayes for his sixth goal of the season and first since rejoining the Sharks. Carpenter had the secondary assist.
After a spirited fight between 5'10" Sharks forward Micheal Haley and 6'7" Providence defenseman Chris Breen at 7:57, Providence tied the game at 10:01 when forward Ryan Spooner buried home a one-timer from the right side of the goal crease after an across the slot pass from linemate Alexander Khokhlachev for his fourth goal of the season.
Hayes put the Sharks ahead 2-1 at 13:07 off an excellent individual effort that saw Hayes make a strong move to the net from the left corner and stuff the puck at Providence goaltender Niklas Svedberg for his third goal of the season. Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty had the secondary assist on the goal, which was Hayes' first since Nov. 8.
Spooner tied the game at 6:57 of the second period when he finished off a two-on-one rush by lifting a backhanded shot from the edge of the right faceoff circle up-and-over Dell for his second goal of the game and fifth goal of the season.
A little over three minutes later at 10:11, Carpenter won a battle for the puck near the left corner of the Providence zone and got the puck behind the net to Hayes, who fired a wraparound backhanded shot on net from the right side that went through the crease and right to Carpenter, who fired the puck into an open net from the left side for his sixth goal of the season. Sharks defenseman Kyle Bigos, who made his AHL season debut, had the secondary assist on the goal, which held up as the game-winning-goal.
"That's what happens when you sit a couple of games,' said Sommer to Ballou of Carpenter and Hayes. "They were fourth-liners, and now they're back on the radar. That's how they have to play - hungry."
NOTES... Shots on goal were 31-28 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill... Dell is now 2-2-1 with a 1.77 goals-against-average and .919 save percentage... McCarthy had a team high five shots on goal and played in his 250th game as a Shark... The Sharks dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen... The Sharks have had six crowds of over 5000 fans at the DCU Center this season and have won all six games (via Ballou)... This was the eighth of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Providence this season... The Sharks are 7-1-0 against Providence, 14-7-3 at the DCU Center and 23-16-5 with 51 points overall... The Sharks embark on a five game road trip and are back in action Feb. 4 as they travel to play the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at 7:05 pm/et.
1. Eriah Hayes - Sharks (1-2-3)
2. Ryan Carpenter - Sharks (1-2-3)
3. Ryan Spooner - Providence (2-0-2)
Lerg (C) / Tierney / Langlois
McCarthy / Trupp / Coetzee
Haley (A) / Oleksuk / Hamilton
Carpenter / Hayes
Taormina (A) / Doherty
Abeltshauser / DeMelo
Young / Fedun