Playing their first game in a week, the Worcester Sharks showed no signs of rink rust as they defeated the St. John's IceCaps (AHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets) 3-1 at the Mile One Centre Saturday night for their 13th win in their last 16 games.
The Sharks, who moved into the seventh seed in the AHL Eastern Conference Calder Cup Playoff race with the win, got goals from defenseman Gus Young and forwards Trevor Parkes and Bryan Lerg. Goaltender Aaron Dell made 24 saves for his fifth win of the season and has made 62 saves in his last two starts.
In a fast moving first period, Young put the Sharks ahead 1-0 at 12:32 when he blasted a howitzer of a slap shot from just inside the top of the right faceoff circle past IceCaps goaltender Connor Hellebuyck for a power play goal, his second goal of the season. Sharks defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser and forward Micheal Haley had the assists on the goal.
Parkes extended the lead to 2-0 at 12:13 of the second period off a nice individual effort that saw him intercept a clearing attempt by Hellebuyck along the right side, skate behind the net and beat Hellebuyck blocker side with a wrap-around shot for his first AHL goal and point of the season. Sharks forward Chris Crane had the lone assist.
Just 87-seconds later, Lerg stuffed home a loose puck inside the crease for a power play goal, his eighth goal of the season, after linemate Evan Trupp had his initial shot on goal from on top of the left face-off circle break off Hellebuyck and trickle near the goal line. Sharks defenseman Taylor Fedun was credited with the secondary assist.
IceCaps forward Austen Broussard got his team on the scoreboard at 8:38 of the third period when he fired a rebound past Dell for his third goal of the season.
Though the Sharks faced a 5-on-3 penalty kill with 70-seconds left in the period, which eventually became a 6-on-4 penalty kill, Dell and the Sharks kept the IceCaps at bay by allowing only one shot on goal to secure a 3-1 victory.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 31-25 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 2-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill... Dell is now 5-3-1 with a 1.66 goals-against-average and .935 save percentage... Sharks forward Micheal Haley had a game high five shots on goal... The Sharks made a good amount of roster transactions in the past week as forward Spencer Asuchak was released from his PTO (Feb. 7); defenseman Dylan DeMelo was called up to San Jose (Feb. 7); forward Rylan Schwartz was called up from the ECHL Allen Americans (Feb. 8); forward Chris Crane was called up from the ECHL Missouri Mavericks (Feb. 8); defenseman Nick Jones was called up from the ECHL Indy Fuel (Feb. 8); and Parkes was signed to an AHL contract (Feb. 9)... Sharks head coach Roy Sommer did not make the trip due to a medical issue and assistant coach Ryan Mougenel was joined by Bryan Marchment behind the bench... The game was almost postponed as the Sharks' sticks and jerseys didn't arrive until four hours before the drop of the puck due to travel issues... The Sharks are 10-3-1 all time at the Mile One Centre... This was the third of eight meetings between the Sharks and IceCaps this season... The Sharks are 2-1-0 against the IceCaps, 12-10-4 on the road and 26-17-5 with 57 points overall... The Sharks rematch the IceCaps Sunday afternoon (Feb. 15) at 2:30 pm/et
1. Micheal Haley - Sharks (0-1-1, 5 SOG)
2. Gus Young - Sharks (1-0-1)
3. Connor Hellebuyck - IceCaps (28 saves)
McCarthy / Carpenter / Hayes
Lerg (C) / Trupp / Coetzee
Haley (A) / Oleksuk / Hamilton
Parkes/ Crane / Schwartz
Taormina (A) / Jones
Abeltshauser / Doherty
Young / Fedun