December 9, 2013

AHL Journal: Sharks turning a corner?

By Mike Miccoli

Freddie Hamilton (above) and linemate Matt Nieto were recalled to San Jose after an offensive outburst last week. (Getty Images)

Defense may win championships, but to get there, you’ll need a bit of offense. It was something that was missing from the Worcester Sharks’ game all season. After this weekend, it seems that Worcester may have addressed their greatest flaw.

The Sharks have won seven of their last nine games, putting together a consistent streak of victories and picking up points in their last 10 games. That’s not bad for a team that was once at the bottom of the AHL in goals scored. After an eight-goal outburst on Friday night against the Portland Pirates, is it safe to say that the Sharks have turned a corner? Perhaps.

A big reason for the Sharks’ success on Friday night was due to the two goals and three assists that came off of the stick of usual San Jose forward and former BU Terrier Matt Nieto. Along with fellow linemates Freddie Hamilton and Daniil Tarasov, the trio combined for five of the team’s goals and a total of 11 points.

Shortly after the game, both Nieto and Hamilton were called up, leaving Tarasov as the sole Worcester Shark still on the roster.

So, was it an anomaly for the Sharks to break out of their low-scoring ways for one night, fueled with a powerful offensive line? Maybe, but if Worcester keeps rolling and playing the way that they have, perhaps both lightened offense and staunch defense can contribute to their success.

News and Notes

- Following up on last week's profile, New England Hockey Journal can confirm: Ryan Strome is still ridiculously good. Now leading the AHL with 33 points in 23 games, Strome has been the main reason why the Bridgeport Sound Tigers keep rolling, capping off three victories this week for four consecutive wins. Strome now has a nine-game point streak going with five goals and 12 assists for 17 points.

- The Hartford Wolfpack have little to be thankful for after dropping their last five games. It has been 12 days since the last Wolfpack, victory which came on Wednesday, Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving. While Hartford started the season strong, it's been an abysmal spiral downwards since the Rangers called up key pieces of the Wolfpack's success. Even worse, leading scorers Danny Kristo, Aaron Johnson, and Oscar Lindberg are a combined -21.

- After a five-game win streak, the Providence Bruins dropped their final contest of the week against the Portland Pirates on Sunday. The Bruins were without top-scorers Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser, who provided ample offense during the team’s win stream, after being recalled to Boston. The Bruins offense as a whole came together during the past six games, winning five and scoring a total of 24 goals.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, December 10

Albany Devils @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (11am)

Wednesday, December 11

Providence Bruins @ Portland Pirates (7pm)

Springfield Falcons @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (7:05pm)

Friday, December 13

Bridgeport Sound Tigers @ Albany Devils (7pm)

Adirondack Phantoms @ Hartford Wolfpack (7pm)

Portland Pirates @ Providence Bruins (7:05pm)

Springfield Falcons @ Norfolk Admirals (7:30pm)

Manchester Monarchs @ Worcester Sharks (7:30pm)

Saturday, December 14

Hartford Wolfpack @ Albany Devils (5pm)

Manchester Monarchs @ Adirondack Phantoms (7pm)

Providence Bruins @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (7pm)

Worcester Sharks @ Portland Pirates (7pm)

Springfield Falcons @ Norfolk Admirals (7:15pm)

Sunday, December 15

Bridgeport Sound Tigers @ Manchester Monarchs (3pm)

Twitter: @MikeMiccoli