Vicki Cronis-Nohe of www.pilotonline.com
Despite firing 45 shots on net, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 4-3 in the shootout Saturday night at the Norfolk Scope Arena by the defending Calder Cup Champion Norfolk Admirals, who extended their regular season winning streak to 30 games (the first 28 of which came when the franchise was the AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning).
Matt Irwin had two assists, James Sheppard scored his first career AHL goal, and Harri Sateri stopped 25-of-28 shots for the Sharks, who have now lost 10 consecutive road games and fell to 0-1-0-1.
Just 26 seconds into the game, Bracken Kearns dropped the gloves with John Mitchell but was assessed an extra two minutes for charging. On the ensuing Admirals power play, Patrick Maroon got positioning in front of the net and deflected a Kyle Palmieri shot from the top of the center point past Sateri for his first goal of the season at 1:11.
The Sharks quickly answered back at 3:23 as Yanni Gourde slammed home a loose rebound for his first goal of the season off a shot from the top of the right point by Irwin after a face-off win in the Admirals zone by Frazer McLaren.
Sheppard gave the Sharks their first lead of the season at 19:36 after slamming home a loose rebound from the right side of the goal crease off a blast of a shot by Irwin from the left point. Freddie Hamilton was credited with the secondary assist on the goal for his first professional point.
In the second period, the Admirals tied the game at 6:21 when Devante Smith-Pelly skated with the puck out of the left corner and centered the puck in front for Maroon, who was able to poke the puck through the pads of Sateri for his second goal of the game.
Moments later, the Admirals regained the lead at 8:31 as John Mitchell slammed home a quick shot from inside the right slot after corralling a Smith-Pelly backdrop pass to finish off a 3-on-2 rush. The goal was Mitchell's second of the season.
In the third period, Matt Tennyson tied the game at 16:04 with his first goal of the season as he ripped a laser of a shot from the top of the right point that got through a screen and beat Admirals goalie Igor Babkov through the pads. For the period, the Sharks outshot the Admirals 19-5.
After a scoreless overtime session, the game headed to a shootout (five rounds in the AHL) where the Admirals scored on their first two shots and held on for the victory. Sheppard, who went first for the Sharks, was the only Sharks player to score in the shootout.
NOTES: Shots were 45-29 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill... The AHL is reviewing Travis Oleksuk's goal from Friday night and will most likely change the goal to Sebastian Stalberg's... The Sharks are now 11-7-2 all-time vs. the Admirals... This was the second of four meetings between the teams this season... Irwin (0-3-3) and Sheppard (1-2-3) both have a two game point streak... Jimmy Bonneau (susp), Brodie Reid (inj), Danny Groulx (inj), James Livingston (scr), Curt Gogol (scr) and Daniil Tarasov (scr) did not dress for the Sharks.
1. Devante Smith-Pelly - Admirals (0-2-2)
2. Matt Tennyson - Sharks (1-0-1)
3. Patrick Marron - Admirals (2-0-2)