Playing the final game of their trilogy set at the Mile One Centre, the Worcester Sharks defeated their Atlantic Division rival the St. John's IceCaps (AHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets) 2-1 in the shootout Saturday night to take five-out-of-six points and extend their winning streak to two games.
The Sharks' lone regulation goal was scored by second year forward Travis Oleksuk, who also scored in the shootout along with forward Brodie Reid, while goaltender Harri Sateri made 24 saves (four-of-five in the shootout) for his third win of the season and second in a row.
"I actually hate them (shootouts), but it's part of the job, so of course I practice them," said Sateri in a post game interview with Ed Veilleux of The Canadian Press for a special article on Telegram.com. "Winning felt pretty good. It was a big win for me and big for us. We've been struggling and I've been struggling so bad."
The game got off to a physical start as IceCaps forward Adam Lowry drilled Sharks rookie forward Eriah Hayes with a solid hit in open ice at 2:29 that Sharks enforcers Curt Gogol and Matt Pelech took exception to. Gogol cross-checked Lowry and ended up fighting IceCaps defenseman Ben Chiarot, who answered the call for Lowry, while Pelech pounded IceCaps enforcer Blair Riley.
Gogol received an extra minor penalty for the cross-check and on the ensuing IceCaps power play, forward Jerome Samson beat Sateri over the blocker with a wrist shot from the top of the center slot at 3:25 for his sixth goal of the season.
Following Samson's goal, the IceCaps had a chance to blow the game wide open with four more power play opportunities in a seven minute span as the Sharks amassed 30 penalty minutes (14 of which were assessed to alternate captain Bracken Kearns, who received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a 10-minute misconduct for arguing his boarding penalty at 5:05) but the Sharks penalty killers and Sateri prevented the IceCaps from extending their lead.
Oleksuk tied the game at 7:49 of the third period when he beat IceCaps goaltender Jussi Olkinuora top shelf from point blank range on the right side of the crease for his first goal of the season. Sharks forward Sebastian Stalberg, who fed Oleksuk a sweet cross ice pass from inside the left face-off circle, and defenseman Adam Comrie were credited with the assists.
After a scoreless overtime session that saw the Sharks out-shoot the IceCaps 5-1, the teams headed to the shootout for the second consecutive night. With the shootout tied 1-1 in the fourth round, Reid scored what held up as the game-winning-goal when his snap shot from in the slot deflected off of Olkinuora's glove and floated in. IceCaps forward Jason Jaffray had a chance to extend the shootout to a sixth round but lost the puck before firing a shot on goal.
NOTES... Final shots were 34-25 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-6 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 3-6-0 with a 3.27 goals-against-average and .871 save percentage... In his back-to-back starts in St. John's, Sateri made 51 saves on 54 shots for a 1.38 goals-against-average and .944 save percentage... Kearns had a game high 14 penalty minutes... Reid had a game high six shots on goal... Pelech returned to the Sharks lineup after serving a two game suspension... The Sharks now have 21 fighting majors through 13 games... This was the fourth of 10 meetings between the Sharks and IceCaps... The Sharks are 3-0-1-0 against the IceCaps this season, 3-2-1-0 on the road and 5-7-1-0 with 11 points overall... The Sharks are back in action November 22 at 7pm/et as they travel to play their Atlantic Division rival the Manchester Monarchs.
1. Harri Sateri - Sharks (24 saves, four-of-five shootout, WIN)
2. Jussi Olkinuora - IceCaps (32 saves, Loss)
3. Travis Oleksuk - Sharks (1-0-1, SO goal)
Reid / Hamilton / Kearns (A)
Oleksuk / Schwartz / Livingston
Stalberg / Viedensky (A) / Hayes
Gogol / Brace / Pelech
DeMelo / Davison (C)
Acolatse / Tennyson
Doherty / Comrie