HERSHEY, Pa. – Casey Wellman tallied a hat trick and added an assist, Chris Brown scored twice and the Hershey Bears went on to a 10-4 rout of the Worcester Sharks on Friday night at GIANT Center in Game Four of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Hershey wins the series three games to one.
Coached to come out with a strong start, the Bears jumped all over the Sharks in the opening period, striking for three goals on the game’s first four shots. On the very first shift, Kris Newbury knocked down a Sharks defenseman and was later himself taken out of the play, which left Dustin Gazley and Chris Brown alone to come in on goaltender Troy Grosenick. Gazley made a short pass across the top of the crease and Brown tapped it in just 24 seconds from the opening faceoff.
The Sharks later earned their first power play, but never got the puck cleanly out of their zone. Dustin Gazley intercepted a Chris Tierney pass, broke in alone from the blue line and beat Grosenick with a snap shot at 3:44.
Jakub Vrana would end Grosenick’s night at 10:40, on a highlight-reel goal that marked his first in the AHL. Skating down the right wing, the left-handed shot fired through a screen and across his body, and the puck caromed in off of the left post for a 3-0 Bears advantage.
Aaron Dell would come on in relief of Grosenick, and just over two minutes later, Worcester would get on the board. With a crowd of players in and around Philipp Grubauer’s crease, the netminder could not cover a shot from in close. Ryan Carpenter dug it loose, skated behind the net and fed a pass in front for DeMelo, who chipped it home at 12:17.
More penalty trouble would doom the Sharks later in the frame. Nate Schmidt would aim a pass toward Wellman on a two-man advantage, and Wellman redirected it home at 16:10 for a 4-1 lead.
The Sharks earned their second power play of the night early in the middle frame, and made it count when Karl Stollery’s shot from the left point sailed through traffic and beat Grubauer at 4:07.
The Bears countered at the 9:05 mark, as Cameron Schilling – who joined in on an odd-man line rush – collected a feed from Chris Conner and snapped the puck past Dell for a 5-2 lead.
Late in the period, the Sharks were flagged for their second major penalty of the series when Evan Trupp caught Stan Galiev with a slash up high. Moments after Worcester gambled on a shorthanded rush, the Sharks were caught and chased a four-on-one rush the other way. Connor Carrick would just miss on a tic-tac-toe passing play, but recovered to feed Tim Kennedy for a shot that beat Dell from the right circle and a 6-2 lead.
Hershey added two more goals on the major penalty early in the third to put the game far out of reach. With Grosenick back in goal, Wellman’s second of the night was a deflection past him off of a Vrana feed just 19 seconds into the frame.
Liam O’Brien then fired a shot from the slot past Grosenick at 2:09, and Wellman completed the hat trick after chipping a shot short-side at 2:09.
Brown scored his second of the game for the Bears’ 10th goal of the night, deflecting a Carrick shot home at 8:06.
Worcester scored the last two goals of the game on Pheonix Copley, who replaced Grubauer at the start of the third. Rylan Schwartz and Matt Taormina would net the last-ever goals by the Worcester Sharks.
Grubauer made 19 saves on 21 shots and earned his first postseason victory. Dell took the loss, and finished 0-3 in the postseason with 26 saves on 32 shots in 31:29 of work.
The Bears will now await their opponent in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, which will be established tomorrow at the conclusion of the game between the Manchester Monarchs and Portland Pirates. Regardless of the opponent, the Bears will host the first two games on Wednesday, May 6 (Game “CC”) and Friday, May 8 (Game “DD”). Individual tickets for these games go on sale tomorrow, May 2 at 11:00 AM at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: The Bears scratched C Joel Broda, LW Philippe Cornet, D Tomas Kundratek and D Jon Landry… Worcester scratched G J.P. Anderson, D Julius Bergman, LW Jimmy Bonneau, LW Daniel Ciampini, RW Willie Coetzee, D Taylor Doherty, RW Daniel Doremus, RW Petter Emanuelsson, LW John McCarthy, RW Trevor Parkes, D Joakim Ryan and RW Matt Willows…Hershey finished the night 4-for-9 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill…Hershey’s 10 goals are the highest single-game total in a postseason contest since the 1998 Hershey Bears defeated the Kentucky Thoroughblades by a 10-3 count on April 22 of that year…Hershey last scored 10 goals in a game on January 15, 2010 at Albany (also a 10-4 win)…RW Casey Wellman also netted the last Bears hat trick, on November 14, 2013 at Charlotte and becomes the first Bears player to record a hat trick in the playoffs since Scott Barney scored three against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on May 11, 2007…The 48 shots on goal established a new franchise record for a single playoff game, breaking the old record of 46 reached on June 1, 2007 against the Hamilton Bulldogs…G Philipp Grubauer became the fifth goaltender ever to win a Stanley Cup playoff game and Calder Cup playoff game in the same postseason...LW Liam O'Brien has points in all four playoff games (2-2-4).