Playing the first game of a two game set in Newfoundland, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 5-2 by their Atlantic Division rival the St. John's IceCaps (AHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets) Saturday night at the Mile One Centre. Sharks goaltender Harri Sateri made 22 saves while rookie defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser and rookie forward Rylan Schwartz scored the two Sharks goals.
Abeltshauser put the Sharks ahead 1-0 just 35-seconds into the game when he fired a shot from the left side wall that got through a screen in front and beat IceCaps goaltender Michael Hutchinson. Sharks forward Brodie Reid was credited with the lone assist on the goal, which was Abeltshauser's third of the season.
The IceCaps tied the game at 14:07 when forward Kael Mouillierat corralled a cross ice pass in the right face-off circle from linemate Jason Jaffray, who intercepted the puck along the left side in the neutral zone, and beat Sateri with a snap shot for his 13th goal of the season. Just 16-seconds later, the IceCaps went ahead 2-1 when forward John Albert buried home a one-timer from on top of the goal crease for his seventh goal of the season.
Sharks defenseman Nick Petrecki appeared to have tied the game late in the period but his goal was waived off by referee Mark Lemelin, who ruled there was a Sharks player in the goal crease of Hutchinson.
After Sharks defenseman Rob Davison dropped the gloves with IceCaps rookie forward Austen Brassard at 3:48 of the second period, the IceCaps extended their lead to 3-1 at 5:54 when forward Jerome Samson found a loose puck deep inside the left face-off circle and snapped the puck past Sateri for his 17th goal of the season.
Schwartz pulled the Sharks to within a goal at 12:12 with his fourth goal of the season off a snap shot from inside the right face-off circle that beat Hutchinson top shelf. Schwartz's linemate James Livingston was credited with the lone assist.
With the Sharks on a power play early in the third period, Albert found a loose puck and skated in all alone for a shorthanded rush but was stopped by Sateri. However, referee Lemelin awarded Albert penalty shot as Reid, who was trying to catch Albert, got his hockey stick parallel with Albert's hands as Albert shot the puck. Albert converted the penalty shot at 2:22 for his second goal of the game and eighth goal of the season.
IceCaps rookie forward Adam Lowry sealed a 5-2 IceCaps win when he buried home a rebound from on top of the crease at 8:20 for his 12th goal of the season.
"We have to win the little battles that cost us the game tonight - those little battles on the wall, on our blue line and on their blue line," said Abeltshauser in a post game interview with Ed Veilleux of The Canadian Press. "We weren't 100 percent there tonight, and we didn't win those battles."
NOTES... Final shots were 33-27 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 12-17-1 with a 3.08 goals-against-average and .889 save percentage... Sharks forward Yanni Gourde had a team high five shots on goal... Sharks forward Tyler Gron was a team worse minus-two... Chad Rau, who played in his 300th career AHL game, made his Sharks debut after being acquired from the Minnesota Wild for Curt Gogol on Feb. 5 and wore no.20... Also on Feb. 5, Sharks forward Riley Brace was traded to the Iowa Wild, Minnesota's AHL affiliate... Albert's penalty shot was the first penalty shot scored in IceCaps franchise history... Reid has a three game point streak (3-2-5)... Schwartz's goal snapped a 22-game goalless drought... Sharks forward Eriah Hayes returned to the lineup after playing 15 NHL games with San Jose... This was the sixth of 10 meetings between the Sharks and IceCaps this season... The Sharks are 4-1-1-0 against the IceCaps, 10-10-3-0 on the road and 22-19-3-1 with 48 points overall... The Sharks and IceCaps rematch Sunday at 2:30pm/et.
1. John Albert - IceCaps (2-0-2)
2. Adam Lowry - IceCaps (1-0-1)
3. Dan DaSilva - Sharks (0-0-0, four shots on goal)
Scheidl / Hamilton (A) / Reid
Gourde / Oleksuk / DaSilva
Gron / Rau / Hayes
Bonneau (A) / Schwartz / Livingston
Abeltshauser / Acolatse
Doherty / Davison (C)
Petrecki / DeMelo