Worcester skates into All-Star break with 50 points
Wrapping up their two game set in Newfoundland, the Worcester Sharks defeated their Atlantic Division rival the St. John's IceCaps (AHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets) 4-2 Sunday afternoon at the Mile One Centre in both team's final game before the AHL All-Star break.
The Sharks, who enter the All-Star break with 50 points and seven points out of a playoff spot with four games in hand, got goals from forwards Travis Oleksuk, Eriah Hayes, Dan DaSilva and defenseman Rob Davison. Sharks rookie goaltender Troy Grosenick made 29 saves for his 11th win of the season and fifth win in a row.
Oleksuk put the Sharks ahead 1-0 at 5:27 of the first period when he fired the puck into an open net from deep in the left slot after corralling a through the crease backhanded pass from Sharks rookie forward Rylan Schwartz, who was positioned near the right corner. Sharks rookie defenseman Dylan DeMelo was credited with the secondary assist on the goal, which was Oleksuk's 10th season of the season (Oleksuk had three goals in 2012-13).
Davison extended the Sharks lead to 2-0 at 14:57 of the second period when he buried home a one-timer from just in front of the face-off dot inside the left circle for his first goal of the season and first AHL goal since March 2011 when he was a member of the Albany Devils. Sharks forwards James Livingston and Scott Fleming were credited with the assists.
Hayes put the Sharks up 3-0 at 2:50 of the third period when he tapped in a loose puck at the right side of the goal crease for a power play goal, his sixth goal of the season. Sharks forwards Chad Rau and Freddie Hamilton were credited with the assists.
The IceCaps spoiled Grosenick's shutout bid at 8:50 when forward Blair Riley redirected defenseman Zach Redmond's slap shot from on top of the right circle past Grosenick for his third goal of the season. Exactly six minutes later, IceCaps forward Kael Mouillierat cut the Sharks lead to one goal when buried home a rebound from on top of the crease for his 14th goal of the season.
Moments after Mouillierat's goal, the IceCaps nearly tied the game on an odd man rush but Grosenick made a tremendous glove save to preserve the Sharks' one goal lead. With IceCaps goaltender Michael Hutchinson pulled for the extra attacker inside the final 70 seconds of the period, DaSilva sealed a 4-2 Sharks win with an empty net goal at 19:38 for his 11th goal of the season.
NOTES... Final shots were 31-28 in favor of the IceCaps... The Sharks went 1-for-3 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill... Grosenick is now 11-5-0 with a 2.11 goals-against-average and .921 save percentage... DaSilva had a game high six shots on goal... Sharks defenseman Sena Acolatse fought Riley at 11:25 of the first period... Sharks forward Yanni Gourde had the lone assist on DaSilva's empty net goal... Schwartz has a two game point streak (1-1-2)... This was the seventh of 10 meetings between the Sharks and IceCaps this season... The Sharks are 5-1-1-0 against the IceCaps this season, 11-10-3-0 on the road and 23-19-3-1 with 50 points overall... The Sharks return to the ice on Valentine's Day when they travel to play their Atlantic Division rival the Manchester Monarchs in the first game of a road three-in-three weekend.
1. Rob Davison - Sharks (1-0-1)
2. Kael Mouillierat - IceCaps (1-0-1)
3. Rylan Schwartz - Sharks (0-1-1)
Scheidl / Hamilton (A) / Hayes
Gourde / Oleksuk / DaSilva (A)
Rau / Schwartz / Reid
Gron / Fleming / Livingston
DeMelo / Davison (C)
Doherty / Comrie
Abeltshauser / Acolatse