WORCESTER, MA - Center Gabe Gauthier scored three goals in seven and a half minutes for his first professional hat trick to carry the Manchester Monarchs to a 3-2 come from behind overtime win to sink the Worcester Sharks in front of 5,011 fans at the DCU Center on Saturday night.
Manchester (14-13-4-1) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 33 points. Worcester (13-11-3-2) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with 31 points.
At 4:19 of the overtime session, defenseman Jeff Likens fired a shot from the right point that squeaked through traffic, bounced off of Gauthier and past Sharks goaltender Thomas Greiss for the 3-2 come from behind victory. Gauthier and defenseman Tom Walsh battled in front of Greiss creating the screen as Likens shot the puck from the right point. Defenseman TroyMilam earned the second assist on Gauthier's third goal of the night and 12th tally of the season.
The Sharks bit first with a power play tally at 7:10 of the first period as Monarchs Likens sat in the penalty box for hooking. Defenseman Dan Spang's shot from the slot was saved by Monarchs goaltender Erik Ersberg's right pad. The rebound bounced onto the stick of left wing Lukas Kaspar whose one-timer soared over Ersberg on his glove side for the 1-0 lead. Center Tomas Plihal earned an assist on Kaspar's eighth goal of the season.
Center Josh Prudden doubled Worcester's lead at 19:15 of the middle frame with his third goal of the season. Left wing Dennis Packard fired the puck into the Monarchs zone and right wing Graham Mink beat Manchester defenseman Drew Bagnall to the puck behind the net. Mink's wrap around attempt was denied by Ersberg but the puck slid into the slot for Prudden who beat the goaltender with a wrist shot glove side.
After missing an open net earlier in the third period, Milam set up Gauthier for his 10th tally of the season and first goal of the night to break Greiss' shutout bid. Left wing Matt Moulson handed off the puck to Milam along the points and the defenseman carried it down the right wing. At the end red line, Milam passed the puck through the slot for a one-timer from Gauthier over Greiss' right pad to cut the Sharks lead in half at 16:49 of the final period.
As center Brian Boyle sat in the penalty box for interference and Ersberg took a seat on the bench for the extra attacker, the Monarchs scored a shorthanded goal to even the game at 2-2 at 19:39 of the final stanza. Right wing Teddy Purcell stole the puck from the Sharks defense in the right corner and threw the puck toward the net. Gauthier was positioned in the crease and redirected the puck past Greiss to even the score with his 11th goal of the season and second tally of the night.
Ersberg collected the victory stopping 21-of-23 shots. Greiss turned aside 42 shots in the overtime loss.
Manchester went 0-for-5 on the power play. Worcester was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.