Despite firing a season high 54 shots on goal, the Worcester Sharks went 0-for-7 on the power play and were defeated 3-2 by the Providence Bruins (AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins) Sunday afternoon at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
The Sharks, who had a chance to move into the fifth seed of the Eastern Conference standings for the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs with a regulation win, got goals from forwards Travis Oleksuk, Derek DeBlois and 22 saves in net from goaltender Aaron Dell.
Though the Sharks outshot Providence 23-10 in the first period, it was Providence that had the lone goal as forward Justin Florek scored 15-seconds into the game when he intercepted Dell's clearing attempt and fired the puck into an open net from inside the left faceoff circle for his ninth goal of the season.
Oleksuk tied the game at 1:57 of the third period when he got positioning in front of Providence goaltender Jeremy Smith and deflected in linemate Daniil Tarasov's wrist shot from on top of the right circle for his seventh goal of the season. Sharks forward Willie Coetzee had the secondary assist.
Providence took a 3-1 lead by scoring two times in near four minute span following Oleksuk's goal. At 4:14, forward Colin Stuart went unnoticed by the Sharks defense and beat Dell through the wickets with a shot from deep inside the left faceoff circle for his 11th goal of the season. Stuart struck again at 8:10 when his through-the-crease pass from behind the goal line on the right side deflected in off Sharks defenseman Taylor Doherty for a power play goal, which was set-up by Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo taking an uncharacteristic and undisciplined cross-checking penalty at 7:12.
DeBlois pulled the Sharks to within a goal at 11:22 after stuffing home a loose puck inside the crease for his first career AHL goal. Sharks defenseman Karl Stollery and forward Rylan Schwartz were credited with the assists on the goal.
Even though the Sharks outshot Providence 9-1 over the final eight minutes of the period and had a power play opportunity, they couldn't get the tying goal past Smith, who made 52 saves for his 16th win of the season.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 54-25 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-7 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill... Dell is now 8-5-2 with a 1.98 goals-against-average and .927 save percentage... Coetzee had a game high seven shots on goal and extended his point streak (1-4-5) to three games... Sharks forward and leading scorer Micheal Haley was the only Sharks skater to not register a shot on goal... Haley has been held without a shot on goal 10 times this season and the Sharks' record in those games is 2-6-2 (via Darryl Hunt of SharksPage.com)... Sharks captain Bryan Lerg missed his first game of the season as he was a late scratch... Stollery's assist on DeBlois goal was his first point as a Shark... This was the ninth of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Providence... The Sharks are 7-2-0 against Providence, 13-12-3 on the road and 31-21-6 with 68 points overall... The Sharks are back in action March 11 when they travel to play the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7 p.m./et.
1. Colin Stuart - Providence (2-0-2, GWG)
2. Jeremy Smith - Providence (52 saves, Win)
3. Derek DeBlois - Sharks (1-0-1)
McCarthy (A) / Carpenter / Hayes
Haley (A) / Trupp / Parkes
Coetzee / Oleksuk / Tarasov
Schwartz / Crane / DeBlois
Taormina (A) / Doherty
Stollery / Abeltshauser
Young / DeMelo