WORCESTER, Mass. – Jim O’Brien, Chris Conner and Cameron Schilling all scored their first goals of the postseason in the second period, and Pheonix Copley turned in another outstanding performance with 33 saves, helping the Hershey Bears claim a 3-1 victory over the Worcester Sharks on Saturday night at DCU Center. The Bears take a two games to none lead in the best-of-five Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
The first period ended scoreless and was much more even than that from Game One. Worcester outshot Hershey 13-9, and each team was unsuccessful on one power play chance. The second period, however, was nothing of the sort. Three goals would be registered in the first 3:34 of the middle period, and Hershey eventually owned a 3-1 lead after two.
O’Brien got things started with his first of the playoffs, skating into the Worcester end and snapping a shot through a screen and past the stick side of goaltender Aaron Dell just 1:03 into the frame.
Worcester would answer when Copley could not control a bouncing puck at his crease. He would wave at the puck after stopping Ryan Carpenter, but the Sharks forward would hurry a cross-crease feed that Eriah Hayes slammed home at 2:46.
But the Bears continued their strength of controlling momentum swings and regained the lead just 48 seconds later. Off of a faceoff win from Tim Kenendy, Conner skated around the right dot and sent a wrist shot short-side past Dell.
Later in the frame and on a delayed penalty forthcoming to Worcester, Schilling joined a rush and deposited a feed from Liam O’Brien behind Dell at 13:58.
Copley would deny all 11 shots sent his way in the third period to preserve the win and improve to 2-0. Dell stopped 26 of 29 in the loss.
The Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the Bears and Sharks now shifts to GIANT Center for Game Three, with face-off set for 7:00 PM on Wednesday, April 29. Individual tickets for this game (Game “AA”), as well as Game “BB” are on sale 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 Steve Oleksy… 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 0-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill…RW Chris Conner netted the game-winner, his eighth with Hershey in the regular season and playoffs combined…D Cameron Schilling now has five points (3-2-5) against the Sharks in the combined regular season and playoffs…LW Liam O’Brien has points in both games (0-2-2)…LW Jakub Vrana had an official scoring change remove an assist in Friday’s game one; he recorded his first AHL postseason point with an assist in the Game Two victory… G Pheonix Copley has turned aside 74 of 76 Worcester shots (.976 save percentage).