The Worcester Sharks had Friday night off, which is rare for a team in the AHL when they have not played any games during the previous week. They were back at it at home on Saturday night, though, as they hosted the current leaders of the division, the Providence Bruins. With 21 games remaining the Sharks came into the game knowing that they needed to turn the games they had in hand into some points. The Sharks are currently on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
It was immediately clear that the Sharks showed up prepared to really skate with the Providence Bruins, who have been on a hot streak. The Sharks struck first as rookie Sebastian Stalberg found the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season. Later in the first period, James Livingston was awarded a penalty shot after Bruins goalie, Niklas Svedberg, threw his stick at the puck to keep it out. Unfortunately, Livingston was unable to capitalize on the penalty shot. The second period saw two power play goals from the Bruins, one of which coming with two men in the penalty box for the Sharks. The penalties certainly did not go in the Sharks favor during the game overall.
The third period started tied at two, despite the two power play goals in the second for the Bruins as Freddie Hamilton also notched a goal. Both teams would score again in the third. The Sharks were down with just over a minute to play and pulled Harri Sateri from the net. Captain John McCarthy scored with a minute left to force overtime. Despite a hard fought game, the Sharks fell after seven rounds of the shootout, earning a point in the process.
The Sharks were back at it on Sunday afternoon as they hosted the Portland Pirates. The Sharks looked to extend their winning streak against the Pirates, having won the past two meetings. Coach Roy Sommer made a small roster change, replacing Tommy Grant with Jimmy Bonneau. Despite giving up a lead, the Sharks were able to come away with a win again.
The first period seemed to set the tone for a high scoring game for the Sharks, who have struggled to score more than a couple goals at times. James Livingston broke away, skating in with only one Pirates defenseman. He was able to get around the Pirate and bury the puck. Towards the end of the period, Jimmy Bonneau dropped the gloves with Pirates tough guy, Joel Rechlicz. With an extra penalty to Rechlicz, the Sharks had a powerplay and were able to capitalize on it just six seconds in with a goal from Bracken Kearns.
The second period saw a goal from each of the teams, with Daniil Tarasov getting the score for the Sharks. The third period started with the Sharks leading 3-1, but it would not stay that way for long. The Pirates put up two quick goals in less than the first two minutes and the game was tied. However still inside the first two minutes, Marek Viedensky put the Sharks back on top, redirecting a hard shot from Adam Comrie at the blue line. The Sharks sealed the win when the Pirates pulled the goalie and Bracken Kearns skated down, easily getting the empty net goal.
The Sharks finished off the weekend with three out of four points but definitely had some changes to deal with coming into the weekend. Goaltender Alex Stalock was recalled to the San Jose Sharks to be the back up goalie while Thomas Greiss was hurt. Thomas Heemskerk got to call up from the ECHL to replace Stalock. Bracken Kearns was also reassigned to Worcester on Friday while Matt Pelech was called back up. Following the weekend, San Jose reassigned Matt Pelech to Worcester after having his as a healthy scratch both games. Yanni Gourde also got a call up from the ECHL after being sent down and recording 4 goals and 6 assists in just 8 games. While he got the call up, Tommy Grant was sent down to the ECHL after having recorded just 3 points in 14 games with Worcester this year. The Sharks host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Wednesday and again on Friday as they hope to gain ground in the playoff push.