Playing the third game of a five game home stand at the DCU Center, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 6-3 by the Binghamton Senators (AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators) Wednesday night.
The Sharks, who are six points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, got two point games from rookie defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser (goal, assist) and forward Yanni Gourde (two assists) while goaltender Harri Sateri made 22 saves.
After Sharks enforcer Jimmy Bonneau dropped the gloves with Senators forward Darren Kramer two minutes into the game, the Senators went ahead 1-0 at 3:22 when forward Buddy Robinson got behind the Sharks defense and beat Sateri on a breakaway for his eighth goal of the season.
The Senators pushed their lead to 3-0 with two goals in a 2:57 span by alternate captain Mike Hoffman, who beat Sateri at 9:08 with a quick shot from on top of the crease after stripping Sharks rookie defenseman of the puck in the slot of the Sharks' own zone for his 19th goal of the season. At 12:01, Hoffman beat Sateri with a rocket of a slap shot from on top of the left face-off circle for a power play goal, his 20th goal of the season.
"How about that for a first period?" said a steamed Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "Think we weren't ready for them? It was like watching an NHL team play a junior team."
The Sharks responded with two power play goals in a 6:50 span of the second period by forward Travis Oleksuk and Abeltshauser. At 6:45, Oleksuk found a loose puck in the slot and fired the puck past Senators goaltender Nathan Lawson blocker side for his seventh goal of the season. Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse, whose center point slap shot from the blue line was blocked in front, and Gourde were credited with the assists.
Abeltshauser pulled the Sharks to within a goal at 13:35 when he beat a scrambling Lawson with a snap shot from on top of the right face-off circle for his second goal of the season. Sharks forwards Gourde and Dan DaSilva were credited with the assists. The Sharks had a golden opportunity to tie the game inside the final five minutes of the period with their third power play opportunity but Lawson robbed Oleksuk of goal.
In the opening minute of the third period, the Sharks went on their fourth power play and Lawson robbed Gourde of the tying goal. At 3:38, the Senators regained their two goal lead when forward Cole Schneider redirected Hoffman's left point swing shot past Sateri for a power play goal, his 15th goal of the season.
Exactly four minutes later, Sharks rookie forward Tyler Gron cut the Senators lead to 4-3 when he corralled linemate James Livingston's across the slot pass and beat Lawson with a snap shot from deep in the left face-off circle for his second goal of the season. Abeltshauser was credited with the secondary assist.
Following Gron's goal, Hoffman put on an encore performance of his first period by scoring two times in a 4:02 span to seal a 6-3 Senators win. Hoffman finished off a 2-on-1 rush with linemate Jean-Gabriel Pageau at 9:28 to complete the hat trick, and then beat Sateri at 13:30 with a nifty individual move at the right side of the crease for his fourth goal of the game and 22nd goal of the season.
NOTES... Final shots were 29-28 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 2-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 12-16-1 with a 3.01 goals-against-average and .891 save percentage... Gourde and Abeltshauser each had a team high four shots on goal... Gourde has 13 points (3-10-13) in 10 games with Worcester... Sharks forward Marek Viedensky along with Sharks defensemen Matt Tennyson and Adam Comrie were a game worst minus-three each... The Sharks signed forward Scott Fleming to a PTO on Jan. 28 and wore no. 24 in his debut with the Sharks... Fleming had 34 points (11-23-34) in 39 games for the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL... With the ceasing of the Sharks' ECHL affiliate the San Francisco Bulls, Sebastian Stalberg, Riley Brace, Steven Tarasuk and Kyle Bigos were assigned to the Ontario Reign while goaltender J.P. Anderson was reassigned to the Sharks... This was the first of two meetings between the Sharks and Senators this season and the first meeting between the teams since a 5-2 Sharks win at Binghamton on Dec. 127, 2011... The Sharks are 0-1-0-0 against the Senators, 10-9-0-1 at the DCU Center and 20-18-3-1 with 44 points overall... The Sharks are back in action Friday night (Jan. 31) as they host the Springfield Falcons at 7:30pm/et.
1. Mike Hoffman - Senators (4-1-5)
2. Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Senators (0-4-4)
3. Yanni Gourde - Sharks (0-2-2)
Scheidl / Hamilton (A) / Fleming
Gourde / Oleksuk / DaSilva
Gron / Schwartz / Livingston
Gogol / Viedensky / Bonneau (A)
Comrie / Tennyson
DeMelo / Doherty
Abeltshauser / Acolatse