Sharks struggle on offense in 2-0 loss to Falcons
Wrapping up their second consecutive three-in-three weekend, the Worcester Sharks were defeated 2-0 by the Springfield Falcons Sunday afternoon at the Mass Mutual Center. Harri Sateri had 17 saves for the Sharks in his second consecutive start after Alex Stalock was a late scratch due to an injury suffered in warmups. With the loss, the Sharks fell to 10th place in the AHL Eastern Conference, three points behind the Connecticut Whale for the eighth seed.
After the Sharks failed to convert on a 90-second 5-on-3 power play opportunity, Falcons right winger Ryan Russell put the Falcons up 1-0 at 16:36 of the first period when he slammed home a loose puck over Sateri's shoulder from the slot after corralling Jonathan Audy-Marchessault deflected shot from near the right post. The goal, which held up as the game-winning-goal, was Russell's sixth of the season.
The Falcons extended their lead to 2-0 at 4:23 of the second period when right winger Tomas Kubalik tapped home a rebound past Sateri's left pad for his 14th goal of the season after Sateri had stopped a backhanded shot from on top of the face-off circles by Falcons center Michael Chaput.
Sharks defenseman Matt Pelech, who was playing right wing for this game, had a chance to cut the Falcons lead in half following Kubalik's goal with a shot from the right face-off circle towards an open net after linemate Tommy Grant had been stopped by Falcons goaltender Curtis McElhinney. However, Falcons captain Ryan Craig robbed Pelech of a goal by making a sliding save and deflecting the puck towards the corner board.
In the third period, the Sharks outshot the Falcons 13-3 but couldn't get the puck past McElhinney, who finished with 30 saves for his AHL leading eighth shutout of the season.
NOTES... Shots were 30-19 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill... Sateri is now 11-12-3 with a 2.59 goals-against-average and .912 save percentage... Sharks defenseman Adam Comrie had a game high four shots on goal... This was the fourth time this season the Sharks have been shutout this season... The Sharks have scored two goals or fewer in 28-of-55 games played this season... Sharks head coach Roy Sommer tied Fred Cook for second all-time with 1,171 games coached in the AHL... The Sharks have gone 193:47 without an even strength goal (via Darryl Hunt of Sharkspage.com)... In their three games this weekend, the Sharks scored two goals (a shorthanded goal by Marek Viedensky on Friday and a power play goal by Sebastian Stalberg on Saturday)... Mike Brennan (inj), Brodie Reid (inj), Bracken Kearns (scr) and Jimmy Bonneau (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... This was the fifth of eight meetings between the teams this season... The Sharks are 3-2-0-0 against the Falcons this season, 16-13-0-2 on the road and 26-23-1-5 with 58 points overall.
1. Curtis McElhinney - Falcons (30 saves, Shutout, WIN)
2. Ryan Russell - Falcons (1-0-1, GWG)
3. Tomas Kubalik - Falcons (1-0-1)