By Mike Miccoli
Having been in the AHL since the 2005-06 season, Dan DaSilva should know a thing or two about streaks.
This week the Worcester Sharks winger hit a hot streak, tallying four goals and three assists in four games. Most notably, DaSilva recorded a hat trick and added an assist in the Sharks’ 6-3 win over the Portland Pirates on Friday.
DaSilva’s hat trick was the second of his career, with the first coming during the 2009-10 season in his first stint with the Sharks. He has played on five different AHL teams, returning to Worcester this season. DaSilva has yet to play in an NHL game, but did spend 15 games in the 2011-12 season with KHL club Poprad Lev.
DaSilva’s role is usually that of a bottom-six winger, but with some of the Worcester players called up to San Jose, he was able to get top-six minutes, playing on the second line with Yanni Gourde and Travis Oleksuk. DaSilva’s productive week helped the Sharks to pull within six points of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Sharks play three games this week against the Binghamton Senators, Springfield Falcons, and Providence Bruins, all at home. It’ll be a good test for a Sharks club that is beginning to show signs of life.
1. Manchester Monarchs (28-12-2-5): Back in the top slot this week, the Monarchs’ two wins were enough to propel them to the top of the Eastern Conference yet again. Although Springfield has three games in hand, the Monarchs have been the more successful team as of late. They got their production from recently returned Linden Vey, who had a goal and two assists in Manchester’s four games this week. (Last week: 2-1-0-1, No. 2)
2. Springfield Falcons (28-10-1-4): Three straight losses was probably not the way that the Falcons wanted to close out their week. Even worse, the losses came against weaker teams – Portland, Hartford and Bridgeport. Mike McKenna continues to be a bright spot for the team, stopping 76 of 79 shots in three appearances this week. McKenna finished with a win and one loss, with his third appearance coming in relief for a pulled Jeremy Smith against the Wolfpack. (Last week: 1-2-0-1, No. 1)
3. Providence Bruins (22-17-1-5): The Bruins couldn’t solve the St. John’s IceCaps this week, dropping both games against their division rivals. Further, Providence has just one win in their last five games, a bit of a concern as the halfway point of the season passes. Nick Johnson was the star of the week for the Bruins, scoring two goals and assisting on two others in three games. (Last week: 1-2, No. 3)
4. Worcester Sharks (20-17-3-1): Some strong individual performances from the Sharks’ Matt Tennyson and Dan DaSilva helped Worcester to go .500 this week. They’ll still have to continue to improve and learn how to carry over momentum from win-to-win, though their shootout win against the top-seeded Monarchs was a good start. (Last week: 2-2, No. 4)
5. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (18-22-1-4): Four straight wins, including three this week, help the Sound Tigers climb in the rankings. Offense hasn’t been a problem for the team either, after scoring 13 goals in three games this week. John Persson’s hat trick in their 6-5 win over the Syracuse Crunch on Sunday helped to keep the momentum going. (Last week: 3-0, No. 6)
6. Portland Pirates (16-16-2-7): The Pirates picked up a big overtime win against the Falcons on Sunday, snapping a six-game winless streak. The win couldn’t have come at a bigger time, as the Pirates look to turn their ship around (pun intended) while the Sharks and Sound Tigers start to rise. (Last week: 1-1-1-1, No. 5)
7. Hartford Wolfpack (14-22-0-5): Not to be outdone by their Connecticut cohorts, the Wolfpack had a pretty decent week themselves, winning two out of three. Center Oscar Lindberg led the charge with two goals and three assists for five points in three games. (Last week: 2-1, No. 7)
Wednesday, January 29:
Binghamton Senators @ Worcester Sharks (7 p.m.)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers @ Albany Devils (7 p.m.)
Binghamton Senators @ Manchester Monarchs (7 p.m.)
Springfield Falcons @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (7 p.m.)
Providence Bruins @ Worcester Sharks (7 p.m.)
Manchester Monarchs @ Portland Pirates (1 p.m.)