Playing the first game of a three-in-three weekend, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 4-1 by the Atlantic Division leading Manchester Monarchs (AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings) at the Verizon Wireless Arena Friday night. Goaltender Harri Sateri made 18 saves in net while forward Curt Gogol had the lone goal for a Sharks team that didn't resemble the team that took five-out-of-six points in Newfoundland last week against the St. John's IceCaps.
"We didn't win many races tonight," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "Either they're really, really fast or we're really slow. You're gonna see some new bodies out there (Saturday) because a lot of the ones out there this time weren't doing much."
The Monarchs took an early 1-0 lead at 3:54 of the first period when forward Sean Backman corralled a right side pass from linemate Scott Sabourin and beat Sateri with a backhanded shot from on top of the crease for his third goal of the season.
Gogol answered back for the Sharks at 7:22 with his second goal of the season when he fired the puck past Monarchs goaltender Jean-Francois Berube from point blank range on the right side after corralling a no look backhand pass from rookie linemate Riley Brace, who was pinned against the end board by Monarchs defenseman Collin Miller. Sharks rookie forward Eriah Hayes was credited with the secondary assist.
The Monarchs regained the lead at 1:46 of the second period when rookie forward Mike Ullrich's centering feed from behind Sateri's net deflected in off of either Sateri's left skate or the right skate of Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty, who was standing next to Sateri, for Ullrich's first career AHL goal.
At 16:46, Sharks alternate captain Bracken Kearns was awarded a penalty shot after being tripped up by the Monarchs defense. On the penalty shot attempt, Kearns skated in, almost came to a stop in the right face-off circle, deked several times and fired a shot on goal that Berube easily saved.
The Sharks had a golden opportunity to tie the game with a four-minute power play that carried over into the opening minutes of the third period but failed to capitalize.
"Our power play was so good all week (in practice)" said Sommer. "I thought it would be one thing that would get us going but we did nothing with it at all. That power play that went into the third period - I don't know if we even got the puck over their blue line."
Sabourin extended the Monarchs lead to 3-1 at 7:21 of the third period with his third goal of the season off a snap shot from inside the right face-off circle that beat Sateri glove side. At 17:20, Monarchs forward Brandon Kozun sealed a 4-1 Monarchs win when he slammed home a rebound for his fifth goal of the season.
NOTES... Final shots were 23-21 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 3-7-0 with a 3.35 goals-against-average and .866 save percentage... Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo engaged in his first professional fight as he fought Monarchs forward Hunter Bishop at 9:53 of the second period... With the one fight, the Sharks now have 22 through 14 games... The Sharks signed ECHL points leader (and former Shark) Dan DaSilva to a PTO on November 20... DaSilva, who was playing for the Ontario Reign, led the ECHL with 26 points (9-17-26)... This was DaSilva's first game as a Shark since April 9, 2011 and wore number 22... Sharks forward Sebastian Stalberg had a game high five shots on goal... The Sharks have allowed the first goal inside the opening 10 minutes six times this season (via Bill Ballou)... This was the second of twelve meetings between the Sharks and Monarchs this season... The Sharks are 0-2-0-0 against the Monarchs, 3-3-1-0 on the road and 5-8-1-0 with 11 points overall.
1. Scott Sabourin - Monarchs (1-1-2)
2. Mike Ullrich - Monarchs (1-0-1, GWG)
3. Jean-Francois Berube - Monarchs (22 saves, WIN)
Kearns (A) / Hamilton / DaSilva
Oleksuk / Schwartz / Reid
Stalberg / Viedensky (A) / Livingston
Gogol / Brace / Hayes
Doherty / Comrie
Davison (C) / DeMelo
Abeltshauser / Tennyson