WORCESTER, Mass – Rookie Troy Grosenick made 30 saves in his first professional start to lead the Worcester Sharks (1-2-0-0, 2pts) to a 3-2 victory over the Portland Pirates (0-3-0-1, 1pt) on Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center.
Bracken Kearns scored two first period power play goals and Daniil Tarasov added the eventual game winner late in the second period as the Sharks broke a ten game winless skid on home ice. Andy Miele put up some strong numbers for the Pirates, scoring two goals while Portland goaltender Mike Lee went 27-for-30 in net for the loss.
Power plays were the key to the Sharks first period success as Worcester took a 2-1 lead over Portland, going 2-for-2 with Bracken Kearns netting both goals. Rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick was strong after letting up a goal at the 4:25 mark to Andy Miele (2nd), assisted by Jordan Szwarz and Chris Brown, giving the Pirates the 1-0 lead. Worcester capitalized on their first power play opportunity when Brett Hextall went to the box at 5:40 for unsportsmanlike conduct. Bracken Kearns tipped a slap shot from Eriah Hayes, positioned at the top of the right circle, past Portland goaltender Mike Lee, tying the game 1-1. Both teams settled in after that, avoiding penalties until the 14:36 mark when Jimmy Bonneau (3rd FM) and Mark Louis (1st FM) dropped the gloves. The Pirates made a costly mistake with 1:36 remaining in the period when they had too many men on the ice, leading to a Sharks power play to end the period. Once again, Kearns (2nd) capitalized on the opportunity. With 40 seconds remaining in the period, Daniil Tarasov fed the puck to Kearns who snapped it past Lee for his second power play goal of the night. The period ended with the Sharks out-shooting the Pirates 15-to-13 and leading 2-1.
More power play opportunities arose for the Sharks in the second period but this time they were unable to capitalize. Worcester went 0-3 on the power play but was effective on the penalty kill and managed to come away with another goal. At 15:53 the DCU Center crowd was treated to Daniil Tarasov’s (1st) exciting stick skills, when he flicked the puck past Lee to notch his first goal of the season. The opportunity came on assists from Riley Brace and Dylan DeMelo. However, at 17:49 Portland exhibited some stick skills of their own when Andy Miele (3rd)scored his second goal of the game. The goal came on a two-on-one against Konrad Abeltshauser. Shots were just about equal with Worcester getting the slight edge, outshooting Portland 9-to-8. At the end of the middle period, the Sharks led 3-2.
The final period of the game proved to be a frustrating one for both teams as neither could convert on power play opportunities. The Sharks were extremely effective all night in the penalty kill, and proved that they could maintain that effectiveness through the final buzzer. Portland outshot the Worcester 11-to-6 in the period but Grosenick made some magnificent saves in key moments, including a two-on-none with 12:43 remaining.
Notes: Three Stars: 3rd Star: Troy Grosenick (30 saves and Win), 2nd Star: Andy Miele(2-0-2), 1st Star: Bracken Kearns (2-0-2)… Rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick had his first professional start…Nick Petrecki, John McCarthy, Lane Scheidl (inj.), Freddie Hamilton, Collin Bowman and Marek Viedensky did not play for the Sharks…Adam Comrie played the game as a forward…the two teams combined for 58 penalty minutes, with only two fighting majors handed out… Portland, who previously possessed the best power play conversion percentage went 0-for-4…Worcester went 2-for-7…The Pirates outshot the Sharks 32-30.