MANCHESTER, NH – Defenseman Derek Joslin's first professional goal proved to be the game-winner, as the Worcester Sharks defeated the Manchester Monarchs 3-1 in front of 6,435 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (6-9-1-1) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with 14 points. Worcester (8-7-1-0) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 17 points.
Worcester's second and deciding goal came 23 seconds into the middle frame. With the Sharks on the power play after a first period hooking penalty by Monarchs left wing Jeff Giuliano, Worcester gained possession in the offensive zone. Center Mike Iggulden freed the puck to Joslin who was stationed at the top of the right wing face-off circle. Joslin unleashed a shot that beat Monarchs goaltender Dan Cloutier blocker side, giving him his first goal of the season and the first of his professional career. Defenseman Tom Walsh earned the secondary assist.
The Sharks struck first with 1:38 remaining in the opening period. With a flurry of activity around the net and Cloutier down searching for the puck, Worcester forward T.J. Fox managed to win the battle in the crease and chipped the puck past the sprawled goaltender for his second goal of the season. Right wing Graham Mink and center Riley Armstrong collected the assists on the play.
Manchester cut Worcester's lead to one with a 5-on-3 power play goal from defenseman Peter Harrold at the 10-minute mark of the third period. Harrold gathered the puck at the left point, stepped up and uncorked a shot that bounced off the left post, then off the back of goaltender Dimitri Patzold and into the net. The goal was Harrold's second of the year. Center Gabe Gauthier and right wing Teddy Purcell were credited with the assists on the play.
Worcester's third goal came just over four minutes after Manchester got on the board. After the Monarchs failed to clear the zone, Sharks defenseman Brennan Evans collected the puck and released a shot from the left point that right wing Ashton Rome deflected past Cloutier for his third tally of the season.
Cloutier (2-7-0-0) stopped 17-of-20 shots in the loss. Patzold (1-1-0-0) turned aside 28 of the 29 shots he faced for his first AHL victory of the season.
Manchester went 1-for-5 on the power play. Worcester was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.