Despite having defenseman Mirco Mueller and forwards Tomas Hertl and Barlcay Goodrow in the lineup, the Worcester Sharks saw their franchise record setting eight game winning streak snapped with a 3-2 loss to the Albany Devils (AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils) at the DCU Center Friday night.
Mueller and forward Evan Trupp scored for the Sharks, who lost for the first time since Jan. 3, while goaltender J.P. Anderson made 17 saves in his second consecutive start.
"We kept the puck on the perimeter too much," said Sharks head coach Roy Sommer in a post game interview with Bill Ballou of Telegram.com. "It looked good, but it didn't help us create chances. And around the net, it seemed like we were always taking the long way to do something."
Though shots on goal were even at five a piece in the first period, it was Albany that scored two times in a six-and-a-half minute span to take a 2-0 lead. Forward Joe Whitney, who was positioned just below the hash marks in the slot, redirected defenseman Brandon Burlon's shot from the right point at 6:06 for his 16th goal of the season. At 12:44, forward David Wohlberg beat Anderson with a wrist shot from inside the left circle near the slot for his fourth goal of the season.
After the Sharks failed to convert on a power play opportunity several minutes in the second period, Albany extended the lead to 3-0 when Burlon ripped a one-timer from on top of the right circle past Anderson for his fourth goal of the season.
Mueller got the Sharks on the scoreboard at 13:12 with a power play goal, his first career AHL goal, off a quick shot from on top of the crease on the left side that was set up by Mueller pinching down from the blue line and Sharks forward Chris Tierney feeding him an across the slot pass from the right side. Hertl had the secondary assist on the goal, which came on the Sharks' second and final shot of the period.
With only seven shots on goal through 40 minutes of play, the Sharks nearly doubled that amount in the third period with 13, and cut Albany's lead to one at 7:19 when Trupp fired home a rebound from the bottom edge of the right faceoff circle for his ninth goal of the season. Sharks captain Bryan Lerg, who took the initial slot from the top of the slot off an Albany own zone turnover, had the lone assist.
Inside the final five-seconds of the period, Sharks defenseman Taylor Fedun fired a one-timer from on top of the right faceoff circle that got through Albany goaltender Maxime Clermont but trickled just wide of the net and over the stick of forward Daniil Tarasov, who had an open net to shoot into had the puck landed on his hockey stick.
"That's a tough deficit, 3-0," said Sommer, "but I thought we were going to come back from it, I did, right up until the end."
NOTES... Shots on goal were 20-20... The Sharks went 1-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill... Anderson is now 5-7-1 with a 2.68 goals-against-average and .899 save percentage... Mueller had a team high four shots on goal... Hertl, Goodrow and defenseman Dylan DeMelo were reassigned from San Jose on Jan. 22... The Sharks recalled goaltender Aaron Dell from the Allen Americans of the ECHL and loaned defenseman Nick Jones to the ECHL's Indy Fuel on Jan. 22... This was the first of four meetings between the Sharks and Albany... The Sharks are 0-1-0 against Albany, 13-7-3 at the DCU Center and 21-15-5 with 47 points overall... The Sharks rematch Albany Saturday afternoon (Jan. 24) in Albany at 2pm/et.
1. Brandon Burlon - Albany (1-1-2)
2. Mirco Mueller - Sharks (1-0-1)
3. Joe Whitney - Albany (1-0-1)
Tarasov / Tierney / Coetzee
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Langlois
Haley (A) / Oleksuk / Hamilton
McCarthy / Hertl / Goodrow
Taormina (A) / Doherty
Mueller / DeMelo
Young / Fedun