WORCESTER, Mass. – Daniil Tarasov scored with 10.7 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, but Garrett Mitchell and Ryan Potulny scored in the shootout and Philipp Grubauer provided solid goaltending to help the HERSHEY BEARS to their third consecutive victory, a 3-2 decision over the Worcester Sharks on Wednesday night at the DCU Center.
Worcester came out flying on their first shift of the game but came up with just one shot on net. The BEARS then stepped up their play and earned the first power play of the contest at 7:33. It took all of eight seconds for HERSHEY to net their fourth first-period power play goal in the last two games, as Boyd Kane tapped a loose puck behind Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock off of a feed from Potulny. Tomas Kundratek also assisted on the goal. The BEARS killed off the Sharks’ only power play of the period, and took a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
Worcester evened the score just 15 seconds into the second period. Defenseman Denny Urban worked himself free to collect a pass from Mike Banwell, and had plenty of room to launch a slap shot over the blocker of Grubauer from the right point. The goal was checked on video replay but stood.
T.J. Syner was flagged for a penalty at the 2:39 mark of the period, putting the Sharks on their second man advantage of the night. The BEARS were able to kill it off, and the puck was left at the center line as Syner came out of the penalty box. Syner pulled away from forward Patrick Rissmiller with his speed, came in alone on Stalock and tucked a backhander between the netminder’s pads at 4:47 to give the BEARS a 2-1 lead. Syner would leave the game shortly afterward, after taking an undetected stick to the face, but returned prior to the end of the second period.
The BEARS appeared to be on their way to victory but Tarasov used his speed to carry down the right side and send a cross-zone dump-in off of the boards. It came to Urban at the right wall, who quickly fired a shot into traffic. Tarasov picked up the puck out of a scrum and flipped it past Grubauer at 19:49 for the equalizer.
Steve Oleksy and James Livingston were called for coincidental slashing penalties after the goal was scored, setting the stage for a long three-on-three situation to start overtime. The BEARS owned the shot advantage 4-1 in the extra session but there was no further scoring.
Worcester opted to allow the BEARS the first shot in the shootout, and Mitchell fired a nice shot over the glove of Stalock for the lead. Urban tied the shootout in the second round when he beat Grubauer up high, but Potulny answered right back with a backhander for the eventual winner, as Jon Matsumoto was stopped by Grubauer’s pad and Rissmiller lost control on the Sharks’ final shot.
Grubauer improved to 2-1-0 on the season, making 26 saves in regulation and overtime. Stalock took the loss with 29 total saves, and fell to 12-8-2. The BEARS finished the night 1-for-2 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The BEARS return home for a 7:00 PM matchup against the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday, January 18 at 7:00 PM. The BEARS and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will then take to the ice at HERSHEYPARK Stadium for the Capital BlueCross AHL Outdoor Classic on Sunday, January 20 at 5:00 PM. Tickets to the Outdoor Classic include admission to the BEARS-Penguins Alumni Game on Saturday, January 19 at 3:00 PM and a complimentary pass to HERSHEYPARK, valid through July 4, 2013.
Tickets for these and all home games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.
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