Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rats fall to Sharks, 5-3

The River Rats' four-game winning streak came to an end today in Worcester as Albany fell 5-3 to the Sharks. 

After giving up two goals in the first period, the Rats were forced to play catch-up for the rest of the game. Albany was able to pull within one on two separate occasions, but they never made it out of the hole.

A defensive breakdown midway through the first allowed the Sharks to send a cross-ice pass from one set of hash marks to the other. Netminder Mike Murphy went side-to-side and made a huge kick save, but the rebound landed in the slot square on the stick of Worcester's Andrew Desjardins for an easy goal. 

Minutes later the Sharks went up 2-0 by cycling the puck and running traffic in front of the net. A shot from the top of the circle by Worcester's John McCarthy was deflected directly in front of the crease by Jamie McGinn, leaving Murphy no chance.

Captain Pat Dwyer took things into his own hands on the next shift, scoring top shelf on a breakaway and bringing the Rats back within one.

But the Sharks did not slow down. Worcester again took a two-goal lead 34 seconds into the second period. Some nifty stick work behind the net and a quick pass in front by Worcester's Steve Zalewski caught both defenders and Murphy off guard.

Worcester made it 4-1 less than two minutes later. Sharks' center Logan Couture, despite being hooked down by Bryan Rodney, found a rebound off a point shot and put it over Murphy's shoulder from an incredibly sharp angle. 

Captain Pat Dwyer responded again less than a minute and a half later. Receiving a nice pass in front from Drayson Bowman in the corner, Dwyer quickly shuffled the puck from left to right and then fired, beating the defenseman and the goaltender. 

That's where the game stood until late in the third period. 

Albany, trailing 4-2 with about two minutes remaining, pulled netminder Mike Murphy.

Jamie McBain scored from the point with 1:11 left on the clock. Assists went to Jerome Samson and Brandon Sutter.

Unfortunately, the Rats' last minute efforts were too late. The Sharks held on and landed an empty net goal with less than two seconds to go, sealing the deal at 5-3.

Post-game coverage: