The aggressive forecheck of the Worcester Sharks was too much for the Hershey Bears on Saturday night as the Sharks held on to win 5-4. The Sharks were all over the Bears' defensemen in the defensive zone and really made them have to move the puck quickly. Likewise, Hershey's offense found it tough to even get through the neutral zone and sustain pressure in the Sharks' end.
This is not to say that the Sharks dominated the Bears. Every time Hershey tied the game or got close the Sharks would just pull away. However, the Bears clawed their way back into the game late in the third period but it was too little too late.
The Sharks scored a minute and a half into the game but Joel Broda tied in less than 15 seconds later. Former Penguin (Wilkes-Barre and Pittsburgh) Tyler Kennedy, who's in Worcester on a conditioning stint, made it 2-1 around the midway point of the period. There were no penalties in the first period as the referees just let the guys play.
Five minutes into the second Cameron Shilling lasered a nice one-timer that found a way through Worcester goalie Troy Grosenick to make it 2-2. However, a minute later Freddie Hamilton would score to give the Sharks another lead 3-2. From there and into the third period Worcester would add two more goals to make it 5-2.
A few minutes after the Sharks took the 3 goal lead, Kris Newbury continued his torrid point streak by deflecting a Tomas Kundratek point shot. This goal gave Hershey some life and they kept the pressure on Worcester. It looked like the Bears might get back in it and tie the game when in the last two minutes, and with Pheonix Copley pulled, Steve Olesky fired a bomb from the point to make it 5-4. But the Sharks' defense held tough around Grosenick to get the win.
Pheonix Copley sustained his first loss of the season and this was definitely his hardest test so far. Some bounces didn't go his way but he also let a couple goals get by him that he probably should have had. Notably, the goals by Freddie Hamilton and Daniil Tasarov in which both players had clear chances in the slot and around the net. At the same time, Hamilton and Tarasov were wide open with no Hershey defender even close enough to get a stick on puck. There were many instances of defensive breakdowns by the Bears so Copley certainly cannot be held solely responsible.
The Bears head back to Manchester, NH for an afternoon game against the Monarchs in hopes of finishing the weekend 2-1-0.