WORCESTER, MA - This weekend, the seventh-seeded Worcester Sharks began their chase for the Calder Cup against the second-seeded Hershey Bears in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at DCU Center. The Bears would play spoiler to the Sharks, playing in their first playoff game since May 7, 2010, by winning both of this weekend's matches.
The Worcester Sharks opened up the playoffs with a 4-1 loss to the Hershey Bears at DCU Center on Friday evening.
Micheal Haley scored a power play goal for Worcester and Aaron Dell made 20 saves in net in the loss. Hershey broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period with three power play goals in the final 2:21 on a major power play. Pheonix Copley made 41 saves in net for Hershey as the Bears got goals from Connor Carrick, Nate Schmidt, Stan Galiev, and Chris Brown for the 4-1 victory.
With a lineup that had twelve players playing in their first professional playoff game, the Sharks came out buzzing in the opening period as they outshot the Bears 14-5 and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Micheal Haley found a loose rebound in the Bears crease and fired it home past goaltender Pheonix Copley at 19:46 on the power play for the only strike of the period. Aaron Dell was sharp in net for Worcester with five saves, as the Sharks finished the period 1-for-3 on the power play.
Hershey scored the only goal of the second period as defenseman Connor Carrick came in late on a rush and fired a quick shot from the left slot after a great feed by Chandler Stephenson at 18:31. Worcester held a 21-15 shot advantage through 40 minutes, but the score was tied 1-1 after two periods of play.
After a collision between Steve Oleksy and Jeremy Langlois resulted in a major penalty to Langlois for checking from behind and a game misconduct at 17:39 of the third period, the Bears would break the 1-1 tie. Nate Schmidt scored the game winner at 17:39 after he kept in a clearing attempt by the Sharks and then cut diagonal to the left circle and snapped a shot that broke off Aaron Dell and into the net to put Hershey up 2-1. Stan Galiev added an insurance goal at 19:03 with another power play goal after a goal mouth scramble. Chris Brown sealed the deal with an empty netter power play goal at 19:30 to give Hershey the 4-1 victory.
The Worcester Sharks were back at it on Saturday night for Game 2 of the series, but dropped their second straight with a 3-1 loss. The Bears lead the best-of-five series 2-0.
Eriah Hayes scored Worcester's lone goal in the second period as Aaron Dell made 26 saves in net. Hershey scored three goals in the second period with scores by Jim O'Brien, Chris Conner, and Cameron Schilling, as Pheonix Copley made 33 saves in net.
There were no goals scored in a quiet first period. Both Hershey and Worcester were 0-for-1 on the power play as the Sharks outshot the Bears 13-9 through twenty minutes of play.
After a scoreless first period, three goals were scored in a 2½-minute span to kick off the second frame. At 1:03, Hershey center Jim O'Brien scored from the slot to put the Bears on the board. Less than two minutes later, Worcester forward Eriah Hayes fired the puck in the net from the left circle after a solid feed from Ryan Carpenter, tying the game up 1-1. Just 48 seconds later, Hershey regained the one-goal lead when left winger Chris Conner lit up the lamp from the corner. At the 13:58 mark, the Bears tacked on another goal after forward Liam O'Brien fed defenseman Cameron Schilling on a breakaway, who pushed the puck past Sharks' goaltender Aaron Dell. Hershey outshot Worcester 13-10 and held a 3-1 advantage heading into the second intermission.
No goals were scored in a quiet third period. Worcester outshot Hershey 11-7, but the Bears held on to a 3-1 victory.
The Worcester Sharks will look to avoid the sweep on Wednesday, April 29, at 7pm ET as the series heads to Hershey for Game 3.
You can listen to every game live on WTAG Worcester or watch online for a small fee at www.AHLLive.com.