Needing to win out their final five games of the season and needing the Albany Devils to lose their remaining five games in order to have a chance to make the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 2-1 by the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers) Wednesday night at the DCU Center.
Rookie forward Adam Schmidt scored his first professional goal for the Sharks, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss, while rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick made 29 saves in net.
"I actually thought we played a pretty good game," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Rich Garven of Telegram.com. "We just don't have a lot of scoring in our lineup."
In a fast moving first period, the Wolf Pack went ahead 1-0 at 13:17 when forward Marek Hrivik deflected defenseman Aaron Johnson's slap shot from the right point past Grosenick for a power play goal, his 11th goal of the season. The Wolf Pack extended their lead to 2-0 at 15:14 of the second period when forward Darroll Powe finished off an odd man rush by ripping a one-timer past Grosenick from inside the right face-off circle for his 13th goal of the season.
The Sharks came alive in the third period as they out-shot the Wolf Pack 15-6 and cut the lead in half at 10:45 when Schmidt got to a loose puck in the neutral zone along the right side and fired a snap shot from just inside the right circle past Wolf Pack goaltender David LeNeveu.
Despite getting two power play opportunities inside the final three minutes of the period that resulted in 65-seconds of 5-on-3 power play time and some 6-on-3 time after Grosenick was pulled for the extra attacker, the Sharks couldn't get the tying goal past LeNeveu, who finished with 35 saves for the win.
NOTES... Final shots on goal were 36-31 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 17-13-0 with a 2.70 goals-against-average and .901 save percentage... Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson had a team high five shots on goal... Sharks defenseman Nick Jones made his professional debut and had four shots on goal... This was the fourth and final meeting between the Sharks and Wolf Pack this season... The Sharks went 2-1-1-0 against the Wolf Pack, are 17-15-1-1 at the DCU Center and 34-32-4-2 with 74 points overall... The Sharks are back in action April 11 when they host the Adirondack Phantoms at 7:30 pm/et... Marley Sommer, the eldest son of coach Sommer, sang the National Anthem and his rendition received a standing applause from the DCU Center crowd as well as loud stick taps from both team benches.
1. David LeNeveu - Wolf Pack (35 saves, Win)
2. Aaron Johnson - Wolf Pack (0-2-2)
3. Troy Grosenick - Sharks (29 saves)
Hamilton (A) / Oleksuk / Hayes
Schmidt / Carpenter / DaSilva (A)
Schwartz / Rau / Reid
Higgs / Viedensky / Pelech
Abeltshauser / DeMelo
Davison (C) / Jones
Tennyson / Mueller