The Worcester Sharks and goalie Alex Stalock lost a third-period lead and lost the game in the American Hockey League's Atlantic Division Championships series in overtime against Manchester on Wednesday night in Worcester, Mass. The best-of-7 series is 1-1 and continues Friday. This Thursday story from the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette:
WORCESTER — Worcester Sharks coach Roy Sommer did not have a comfortable afternoon yesterday.
He got a sense at the morning skate that his Sharks were not quite ready to play the Manchester Monarchs in the Game 2 scheduled for here last night, and his coach’s intuition was right. Worcester was beaten 3-2 on Bud Holloway’s goal at 4:29 of overtime.
“They took it to us,” Sommer said of the Monarchs. “We sat back when it was 2-1 and thought we had won the game. Instead of going out and playing to win, we just kept it right there.”
Brandon Mashinter and Derek Joslin had the Sharks goals while Corey Elkins and Justin Azevedo scored in regulation for Manchester.
The next two games will be played in Manchester Friday and Saturday night. There will at least be a Game 5 and will be in Worcester next Wednesday night.
On the winning goal, Holloway fired a wrist shot past Alex Stalock from the right circle. In truth, the Sharks were fortunate to get it into OT. Manchester dominated the closing minutes of the third period but could not convert its chances and, over the course of the game, hit the post three different times.
Holloway has five playoff goals — the Monarchs have five playoff victories, and Holloway has had the winner in all of them.
“You’d figure,” Sommer said of his team, “that they’d know not to let that guy shoot the puck.”
“His history,” Monarchs coach Mark Morris said, “is that he gets stronger as the season goes on. Right now, he’s really riding a wave. We wouldn’t be where we are now if not for what he’s done.”
Elkins scored on the power play at 10:15 of the second period to give Manchester the lead, then Mashinter responded at 11:22 with a bullet from the left circle that went over Jonathan Bernier’s shoulder and in off the crossbar.
Joslin gave Worcester a 2-1 lead at 14:45 with a power-play goal, drilling a slap shot from the left point that broke through Bernier and trickled in. It stayed 2-1 until Azevedo tied it at 7:37 of the third period, deflecting home Alec Martinez’s wrist shot from the left point.
“I don’t know if we took our foot off the gas,” Andrew Desjardins said, “but we let them take control of the game. We didn’t keep playing the same way we played to get the lead. We didn’t keep trying to get that next goal.”
“This is a big momentum swing,” Morris said. “We didn’t want to be down, two to nothing, going back home, and now we’re in our building for two games.”