In just his second professional game, Worcester Sharks rookie forward Brock Higgs scored his first two professional goals and goaltender Harri Sateri made 25 saves for his first shutout of the season (fourth of his career) as the Sharks defeated a depleted Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders) 4-0 Saturday night at the Webster Bank Arena.
"The win is always the most important things for a goalie but of course the shutout makes it even better," said Sateri in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "I felt good all night."
Rookie defensemen Konrad Abeltshauser (goal, assist), Dylan DeMelo (two assists) and forward John McCarthy (two assists) each had multi-point games for the Sharks, who remain 10 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Higgs put the Sharks ahead 1-0 at 12:56 of the first period when he found a rebound on top of the crease and lifted a backhanded shot from his knees past Sound Tigers goaltender Kevin Poulin for a power play goal, his first professional goal. DeMelo, who took the initial shot from the left point, and forward Travis Oleksuk were credited with the assists.
The Sharks extended their lead to 2-0 at 5:28 of the second period when forward Dan DaSilva beat Poulin top corner with a quick snap shot from deep inside the left face-off circle for a power play goal, his 13th goal of the season. McCarthy and Abeltshauser were credited with the assists.
With a brief 5-on-3 power play advantage early in the third period, Abeltshauser put the Sharks ahead 3-0 at 3:01 when he beat Poulin with a snap shot from the top of the center slot for his fifth goal of the season. McCarthy and DeMelo picked up the assists.
The Sound Tigers thought they had ended Sateri's shutout bid at 12:27 when the puck got behind him as Sharks defenseman and team captain Rob Davison went crashing into the net. A video review confirmed referee Trevor Hanson's call on the ice of no goal.
Higgs scored his second goal of the game at 15:26 when he fired a quick shot on net from deep inside the right face-off circle after linemate Rylan Schwartz had his backhanded attempt from on top of the crease turned aside by Poulin. Higgs and Schwartz's linemate Marek Viedensky was credited with the secondary assist.
NOTES... Final shots on goal were 34-25 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 3-for-8 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 15-20-1 with a 3.00 goals-against-average and .889 save percentage... Forward Daniil Tarasov had a game high four shots on goal... Forward Bracken Kearns returned to the Sharks lineup and played in his 100th game with the Sharks... Defenseman/forward Matt Pelech was a healthy scratch due to the veteran rule... Prior to the start of the game, the Sharks signed forward Mike Pereira to an ATO and he wore no. 37... The Sharks are now 25-4-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game... It was the first time the Sharks had scored three power play goals in a game since Dec. 2012... This was the fourth and final meeting between the Sharks and Sound Tigers this season... The Sharks went 3-1-0-0 against the Sound Tigers, are 15-15-3-0 on the road and 29-27-3-1 with 62 points overall... The Sharks wrap up their three-in-three weekend Sunday afternoon (March 16) at the DCU Center as they host their Atlantic Division rival the Manchester Monarchs.
1. Konrad Abeltshauser - Sharks (1-1-2)
2. John McCarthy - Sharks (0-2-2)
3. Dan DaSilva - Sharks (1-0-1)
McCarthy / Kearns / DaSilva
Tarasov / Oleksuk / Hamilton (A)
Schwartz / Viedensky / Higgs
Bonneau (A) / Rau / Pereira
Davison (C) / DeMelo
Abeltshauser / Doherty
Comrie / Bigos