Playing the first game of a home-and-home set and the final game of a five game road trip, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 5-1 by the Providence Bruins (AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins) Friday night in front of 10,237 fans at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
Despite the loss and falling from fifth to seventh in the the Eastern Conference Calder Cup Playoff standings, the Sharks just need one point with five games remaining to clinch their first playoff berth since the 2009-10 season.
Sharks forward Daniil Tarasov scored the team's lone goal while goaltender Aaron Dell, who made 22 saves, had his personal seven game winning streak snapped.
It didn't take long for Providence to get on the scoreboard as forward Brian Ferlin had his wraparound shot from the left side go through the crease and deflect in off the skate of Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo at 1:09 for his 10th goal of the season.
The lead was extended to 2-0 at 3:01 of the second period when Providence forward Rob Flick knocked the puck away from Dell near the left corner and tapped the puck into an open net for a shorthanded goal, his 16th goal of the season.
Tarasov cut the Providence lead in half at 8:56 with a deflection in front of defenseman Gus Young's shot from the left point for his 14th goal of the season. Sharks forward Barclay Goodrow was credited with the secondary assist for his first career AHL point.
In the third period, Providence sealed a 5-1 win by scoring three goals in a 10-minute span, starting with forward Justin Florek's 11th goal of the season at 5:16 off a wrist shot from the top of the right slot that beat Dell up high. At 8:28, forward Andrew Cherniwchan buried home a rebound from point blank range for his 10th goal of the season, and defenseman Tommy Cross scored his third goal of the season at 15:14 off a wrist shot from on top of the faceoff circles the knocked the water bottle off Dell's net.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 31-27 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill... Dell is now 15-6-2 with a 1.94 goals-against-average and .930 save percentage... Sharks forward Ryan Carpenter had a team high four shots on goal... Goodrow was in the lineup after being reassigned from San Jose earlier in the week... Sharks forward John McCarthy played in his 277th game as a Shark, tying him with defenseman Nick Petrecki for the most games played in Sharks history... McCarthy left the game near the midway point of the first period and didn't return... Sharks forward Jimmy Bonneau was behind the bench for the second consecutive game... This was the 10th of 12 meetings between the Sharks and Providence this season... The Sharks are 7-3-0 against Providence this season, 18-15-3 on the road and 40-25-6 with 86 points overall... The Sharks host Providence Saturday night (April 11) at the DCU Center with the puck dropping at 7 p.m/et.
1. Andrew Cherniwchan - Providence (1-1-2)
2. Justin Florek - Providence (1-2-3)
3. Jeremy Smith - Providence (30 saves, Win)
McCarthy (A) / Carpenter / Hayes
Goldobin / Trupp / Goodrow
Haley (A) / Oleksuk / Coetzee
Ciampini / Schwartz / Tarasov
Taormina (A) / Tennyson
Ryan / Doherty
Young / DeMelo