Worcester Sharks forward John McCarthy scored in the bottom of the seventh round of the shootout to give the Sharks a come from behind 3-2 victory over the Hershey Bears (AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals) Wednesday night at the Giant Center for the Sharks' sixth win in a row.
The Sharks, who jumped up to the fifth seed in the AHL Eastern Conference Calder Cup Playoff standings with the win, got regulation goals from forwards Travis Oleksuk and Matt Willows, while goaltender Aaron Dell made 36 saves in net for his 13th win of the season.
Though the Sharks got the win, it was the Bears who dominated the opening 20 minutes as they outshot the Sharks 20-10, and took a 1-0 lead at 7:01 when forward Casey Wellman deflected in defenseman Connor Carrick's shot from along the right half board for his 23rd goal of the season.
The Bears extended their lead to 2-0 at 4:28 of the second period when Carrick's shot from on top of the right faceoff circle deflected off of forward Jim O'Brien in the slot and trickled past Dell for O'Brien's third goal of the season.
Just 82-seconds later, Sharks forward Micheal Haley carried the puck into the Bears zone along the left side, went behind the net, and sent a behind the net, through the crease centering feed for linemate Travis Oleksuk, who crashed the net and buried the puck home for his ninth goal of the season. Sharks defenseman Karl Stollery was credited with the secondary assist.
Willows tied the game at 2:23 of the third period with an on the rush snap shot from on top of the right faceoff circle that beat Bears goaltender Philipp Grubauer through the wickets for his third goal of the season. Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson had the lone assist on the goal, which extended Willows' point streak to four games.
With overtime not producing a winning goal, the teams headed to the shootout where Sharks forward Daniel Ciampini put the Sharks ahead 1-0 after scoring in the bottom of the first round but was quickly matched on the ensuing attempt in the top of the second round by Bears forward Andre Burakovsky. After the next 10 combined shooters were all denied, McCarthy won the game in the bottom of the seventh round with a snap shot from inside the right circle near the slot that beat Grubauer glove side for the winning goal.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 38-33 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill... Dell is now 13-5-2 with a 1.88 goals-against-average and .932 save percentage... Sharks forward Eriah Hayes had a game high six shots on goal... Willows has four points (3-1-4) during his four game point streak... Prior to the game, San Jose reassigned 2014 draftee Nikolay Goldobin to the Sharks... Defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser was reassigned to the Allen Americans of the ECHL... This was the fourth and final meeting between the Sharks and Bears this season... The Sharks went 2-2-0 against the Bears, are 16-13-3 on the road and 38-23-6 with 82 points overall... The Sharks are back in action Friday night (April 3) when they travel to play the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7 p.m./et.
1. Connor Carrick - Bears (0-2-2)
2. Jim O'Brien - Bears (0-1-1)
3. Philipp Grubauer - Bears (30 saves)
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Ciampini
McCarthy / Carpenter / Hayes
Haley (A) / Oleksuk / Coetzee
Tarasov / Schwartz / Willows
Stollery / Doherty
Taormina (A) / Tennyson
Young / DeMelo