Worcester Holds Off Bears’ Late Power Surge

On January 6, 2013, in Game Recap, by Matt Trust

HERSHEY, PA – Sharks players celebrate their goal in front of goalie Braden Holtby during Hershey’s 2-1 loss to Worcester (Kyle Mace – Sweetest Hockey on Earth)

A night after a deflating loss to the Senators, the Hershey Bears looked to rebound back against the Worcester Sharks. Three weeks ago, the Sharks handed Hershey their only shootout loss of the 2012-13 season to date. Sunday the Bears looked to overcome a two goal deficit in the third period, but fell to the Sharks, 2-1.

Despite a solid opening frame for the Bears, they entered the locker room down 1-0 after 20 minutes. Hershey out shot the Sharks in the period 13-11 and possessed one power play opportunity. Matt Tennyson opened the scoring for Worcester with only 1:41 left in the first stanza.

During his team’s second power play chance of the night, Jon Matsumoto was standing near the corner and found an uncontested Tennyson in the low-slot. Matsumoto connected a quick pass to the front of the net to Tennyson, who beat Braden Holtby with a bullet top shelf.

6:22 into the middle frame, Jon Matumoto doubled his team’s lead with a quick snipe over Holtby’s glove hand. He entered the offensive zone on an even-man rush and unleashed a quick shot that nipped the bottom of the cross-bar and hit twine. Following a short video review, referee Ryan Fraser confirmed it was a good goal.

Soon after that, Steve Oleksy would drop the gloves to try to pump-up his team. “Before that if we were a little scared,” head coach Mark French said. “We’re certainly playing like it a little bit. We’re playing on our heals, I don’t know if their fourth line scared us a little bit, but that seemed to get some life into us.”

Worcester carried the 2-0 lead into the third period, where the Bears looked to battle their way back into the contest.

Only 4:48 into the third period, the Bears tallied on their 26th shot of the night on Alex Stalock. Jon DiSalvatore sent a quick pass to Jeff Taffe in front of the net, who finally hit pay-dirt to cut the Sharks’ lead to one.

Despite an array of scoring chances for the Bears in the final period of regulation, Alex Stalock claimed first star honors and denied Hershey of yet another home ice win by stopping 30 of 31 shots. The Sharks hung on and claimed a 2-1 victory at Giant Center.

“The first and third there was a flow to the game and the second we took it to them a lot,” said Braden Holtby after the game. “We didn’t end up coming out and end up scoring some goals.”

Mark French felt that the team didn’t really only played half the game. “We have to play 60 minutes for a reason and unfortunately we played 30. If we played a full 60 the decision would have worked out in our favor.”

The Bears head up to Bridgeport for Tuesday’s game against the Sound Tigers, but maybe without Braden Holtby after the NHL and NHLPA agreed on a new CBA this morning. “Obviously everybody is happy. It’s a long time coming. I think everybody is relieved and ready to get back at it.”

More photos from tonight’s game:

Braden Holtby makes a save as Cameron Schilling looks on

During the instant replay of Worcester’s second goal, Mark French held somewhat of a team meeting on the bench

Steven Oleksy drops the gloves

Zach Hamill celebrates Jeff Taffe’s goal