Playing their first home game at the DCU Center since Feb. 1, the Worcester Sharks saw their losing streak extend to four games after being defeated 5-1 by their Atlantic Division rival the St. John's IceCaps Friday night.
Defenseman Sena Acolatse had the lone goal for the Sharks, who have been outscored 22-3 since the All-Star break and are 12 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 26 games left in the season.
"We used to give up maybe eight, 12 scoring chances a game. Now we're at 16, 18," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Tom Flanagan of Telegram.com. "You give those guys a chance, and the puck's in your net.
The IceCaps took a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission as forward Carl Klingberg scored goals at 13:47 and 17:20 respectively for his 14th and 15th goals of the season. The IceCaps lead was extended to the 3-0 at 2:17 of the second period when forward Jason Jaffray snuck a shot past Sharks rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick for his 15th goal of the season.
Acolatse got the Sharks on the scoreboard with a howitzer of a slap shot for a power play goal, his fifth goal of the season, that was assisted by Sharks forward Yanni Gourde at 3:41. The IceCaps regained their three goal lead at 8:02 when enforcer Blair Riley got behind the Sharks defense seconds after a Sharks power play had expired and beat Grosenick with a quick shot from eight feet out for his fourth goal of the season.
Looking to wake his team up, coach Sommer pulled Grosenick in favor of Harri Sateri after Grosenick allowed four goals on 21 shots. However, the goaltending change didn't slow down the IceCaps as forward Kyle MacKinnon fired the puck into an empty net at 8:52 for his sixth goal of the season after faking out the entire Sharks defense.
NOTES... Final shots on goal were 34-31 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 1-for-6 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 11-8-0 with a 2.46 goals-against-average and .913 save percentage... Sateri made nine saves on 10 shots in 31:58 of relief playing time... Gourde and linemates Travis Oleksuk and Dan DaSilva were the only Sharks skaters to not have a minus as they finished even... Sharks forward Freddie Hamilton was a team worse minus-three... Oleksuk had a team high six shots on goal... DaSilva dropped the gloves against IceCaps forward Patrice Cormier in a brief fight at 7:38 of the third period... This was the eighth of 10 meetings between the Sharks and IceCaps this season... The Sharks are 5-2-1-0 against the IceCaps, 12-10-0-1 at the DCU Center and 23-23-3-1 with 50 points overall... The Sharks rematch the IceCaps Saturday night (Feb. 22) at the DCU Center at 7pm/et.
1. Carl Klingberg - IceCaps (2-0-2)
2. Zach Redmond - IceCaps (0-2-2)
3. Michael Hutchinson - IceCaps (33 saves, Win)
Gourde / Oleksuk / DaSilva (A)
Scheidl / Hamilton (A) / Reid
Tarasov / Rau / Hayes
Schwartz / Viednesky / Livingston
Acolatse / Abeltshauser
Tennyson / DeMelo
Doherty / Davison (C)