Although the Hershey Bears have won four games in the month of December, all the victories have been coming on the road. Saturday night, Hershey returned to Giant Center with plans of home cooking against the Worcester Sharks. In the first shootout this season at Giant Center, the Bears again fell short in front of their home crowd of 10,075, by a 4-3 margin.
Both teams traded early goals at the start of regulation,and it began with a Cameron Schilling rocket only 36 seconds in. Following an early Worcester icing, Ryan Potulny won an offensive zone face off leading to a Schilling shot from the point. The Miami University, Ohio graduate tallied his third of the season giving his team the early lead.
Former Phantoms’ forward, Jon Matsumoto cashed in on the Sharks’ first man-advantage of the game. At the 6:17 mark, he fired a shot past a screened Braden Holtby to knot the game at 1-1. Holtby remained on his feat as the low shot quickly zipped into the cage.
The game would not remain tied for much longer, as 33 seconds after the frame’s midway mark, Mike Carman tallied with a perfect redirection of a Garrett Stafford shot. Carman’s redirection went five-hole on Alex Stalock giving Hershey their second lead in the first ten minutes.
2:50 later, Zach Hamill redeemed himself after taking a slashing minor which led to the lone Worcester goal in the period. Hamill walked into the offensive zone, forcing Stalock out of his crease to challenge. Hamill placed a low snapshot into the net, giving the Bears a 3-1 lead to carry into the first period.
Into the middle frame, the Sharks quickly trimmed the Bears’ lead back down to one. James Sheppard tallied Worcester’s second power play goal of the night when he entered the offensive zone and slapped a shot by a beaten Holtby with 15:55 left in the middle stanza. It would be the lone tally for either side in the period, as Hershey carried a 3-2 lead into the third.
Worcester dominated second period play with 12 second period shots on Braden Holtby, opposed to Hershey’s five second period shots on Alex Stalock.
Throughout the first half of the opening period, Worcester has been knocking on the door to tie the game. At the 9:44 mark, right off the face off James Sheppard tallied his second of night to tie the game, 3-3. All three Worcester goals to that point were scored via the man-advantage.
Braden Holtby stopped a crucial penalty shot with 2:01 left in regulation, as both teams were soon headed to overtime. 65 minutes was not enough and for the first time this season at Giant Center, the Bears were heading to a skills competition to decide who gets the “W”.
Alex Stalock denied all five Hershey shooters, and Matsumoto scored in round four for Worcester to secure a 1-0 shootout win in Chocolate Town.