After seeing their goalless drought reach seven consecutive periods, the Worcester Sharks rallied from a first period two goal deficit by exploding for five goals on 22 shots in the second period en route to a 5-2 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL affiliate of the New York Ranger) Friday night at the DCU Center.
The Sharks, who jumped up to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference of the AHL Calder Cup playoff race with the win and are just two points out from tying for the fourth seed, also set a franchise record when forwards Daniil Tarasov and Micheal Haley scored six seconds apart.
For the game, Haley scored two goals; Tarasov registered a goal in his first game back; defensemen Taylor Fedun and Gus Young each scored a goal; and forwards Bryan Lerg and Willie Coetzee dished out two assists each.
"We really haven't had a good run against that team," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Doyle of Telegram.com. "That's what made me worry, especially when they went up 2-0. Maybe it was good they went up 2-0 because then they kind of sat back a little and we came on."
In a quick moving first period, the Wolf Pack scored two times within an eight minute span to take a 2-0 lead. Forward Oscar Lindberg beat Grosenick with a quick shot from deep inside the right faceoff circle for a power play goal, his 17th goal of the season, at 8:33. Near the end of the period at 16:35, forward Marek Hrivik stuffed a rebound past Grosenick for his ninth goal of the season.
Haley got the Sharks on the scored just 94-seconds into the second period when he snuck a rebound past Wolf Pack goaltender Jeff Malcolm for his 16th goal of the season. Coetzee, who forced a turnover in the right corner of the Wolf Pack zone and fired the initial shot on goal from inside the right faceoff circle, had the lone assist.
Fedun tied the game 73-seconds later just five seconds into the Sharks' power play opportunity with a one-timer from the left point for his fifth goal of the season. Sharks defenseman Matt Taormina and Lerg were credited with the assists.
Young put the Sharks ahead 3-2 at 13:04 when he deflected in DeMelo's one-timer rocket from near the top of the center point for his third goal of the season. Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson had the secondary assist on the goal, which came 13-seconds after the Sharks had killed off Tennyson's tripping penalty.
Tarasov extended the lead to 4-2 with 16:47 when he flipped the puck up and over Malcolm from the left side of the goal crease for a power play goal, his 11th goal of the season, off a through the crease feed from Lerg. Sharks forward Evan Trupp was credited with the secondary assist on the goal.
On the ensuing faceoff, the puck went straight back to Malcolm, who left the puck behind the net for a Wolf Pack teammate. However, Coetzee got to the puck first and sent a centering feed to a trailing Haley, who buried the puck home from on top of the crease for his second goal of the game and 17th of the season just six seconds after Tarasov had scored.
"That's the way we want to play - in your face," said Haley in a post game interview with Doyle. "A good team will answer back like we did. I'm proud of the group and we need to keep it going for the rest of the weekend."
NOTES... Shots on goal were 38-35 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 2-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill... Grosenick made 33 saves and is now 17-7-3 with a 2.64 goals-against-average and .907 save percentage... Haley had a game high six shots on goal... Sharks forward Derek DeBlois made his AHL debut after being signed to a PTO on March 4... Tarasov's goal was his first for the Sharks since Jan. 24... The Sharks' 22 shots on goal and five goals in the second period were both season highs... The win was the Sharks' first over Hartford since Jan. 10, 2014... Sharks defenseman Karl Stollery made his debut after being acquired from the Colorado Avalanche on trade deadline day for forward Freddie Hamilton... This was the fourth and final meeting between the Sharks and Wolf Pack this season... The Sharks went 1-3-0 against the Wolf Pack, are 18-8-3 at the DCU Center and 31-19-6 with 68 points overall... The Sharks' three-in-three weekend continues Saturday night as they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7 p.m./et.
1. Micheal Haley - Sharks (2-0-2)
2. Taylor Fedun - Sharks (1-0-1)
3. Willie Coetzee - Sharks (0-2-2)
McCarthy / Carpenter / Hayes
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Tarasov
Haley (A) / Oleksuk / Coetzee
DeBlois / Crane / Parkes
Taormina (A) / Tennyson
Stollery / DeMelo
Young / Fedun