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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pirates bitten by Sharks; Gragnani recalled

After receiving a brief opportunity to showcase their skills with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, Brandon Mashinter, Andrew Desjardins, and Justin Braun each scored a goal in their first games back with Worcester to lead the home team to a 5-3 victory over the Portland Pirates in an American Hockey League game played tonight in front of 2,439 at the DCU Center.

Tommy Wingels and T.J. Trevelyan also contributed to the scoring effort and Alex Stalock made 27 saves as Worcester avenged their recent 8-3 setback against Portland on Saturday, and improved their record to 20-16-2-5.

Igor Gongalsky scored a goal in his second straight game against Worcester and extended his points streak to three as the Pirates record dropped to 24-13-4-1.

After killing off a lengthy five-on-three Pirates power play early in the first, the Sharks would gain momentum on a power-play goal by Mashinter (first game back after a 10-game stint with San Jose) at 16:18 to give the hosts a 1-0 lead heading into the locker room for the first intermission. Worcester would continue their offensive blitz in the second, striking for two in a span of 27 seconds to give them a comfortable 3-0 advantage. Desjardins put one home at the 13:41 mark on a tip-in, and Braun sent a shot from the point off a Portland skate and past Jhonas Enroth at 14:08. Heading into the second intermission, Worcester led Portland in shots 32-9 with most of the action happening in front of Enroth. The Pirates would attempt a comeback three minutes into in the third on Gongalsky’s second of the season, however the Sharks would answer as soon as Gongalsky left the penalty box due to a hooking infraction on a strike by Tommy Wingels at 5:23. A second comeback effort would ensue as Derek Whitmore knocked home a power-play goal on a rebound with seven minutes left, and Mark Mancari beat Stalock to cut the Sharks lead to one with just under three minutes remaining. However, Stalock would hold strong against the third period Portland shot barrage (20 shots faced in the period) and Trevelyan sealed the game with an empty-net goal with four seconds left to send the home team to victory.
The Sharks out-shot the Pirates 37-29 as Stalock improved his record on the year to 17-16-3 and Enroth dropped to 13-12-1.

The Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the game were all from Worcester: 1. Nick Schaus (two assists), 2. Wingels (game-winning-goal and assist) and 3. Jody Pederson (two assists)

Notes: Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier announced today that defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani has been recalled from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.

This is the first recall of the season for Gragnani (6’2”, 200 lbs., 3/11/1987), who is second on the Pirates in scoring with 30 points (7+23) in 38 games. His 23 assists are tied for the team lead, and he equaled a Portland franchise record on January 15 when he collected five assists in an 8-3 win over Worcester. The 23-year-old Gragnani has 176 points (42+134) in 258 career AHL games with Portland/Rochester. Gragnani has six previous games of NHL experience with Buffalo since 2007-08.


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