Playing their third game in three days, the Worcester Sharks looked to move within two points of the Hershey Bears for the eighth and final playoff spot in the AHL Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for the Sharks, the hockey gods weren't on their side as a disallowed goal and a bad bounce off the wall that led to the game-winning-goal contributed to the Sharks' 4-1 loss to the Bears Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center.
With a power play opportunity several minutes into the game, center Jon Matsumoto thought he had given the Sharks a 1-0 lead with a power play goal but the goal was disallowed after a lengthy video review even though video replay showed the puck had crossed the line and was in the net. Moments after play resumed, the Bears took a 1-0 lead when defenseman Patrick McNeil beat Sharks goaltender Harri Sateri glove side with a one-timer from in the right slot at 5:22 for his fourth goal of the season.
The Bears extended their lead to 2-0 at 8:28 when a clear in attempt by McNeil took a funny bounce off the wall extension and came out in front to right winger Matt Pope, who fired the puck into an empty net for his second goal of the season.
In the second period, the Sharks outshot the Bears 16-7 but couldn't get the puck past Bears goaltender Dany Sabourin. Bears center Casey Wellman pushed the lead to 3-0 with his 14th goal of the season at 13:18 off a 50-foot shot that got through a screen and beat Sateri through the pads just as the penalty to Sharks captain John McCarthy expired.
Sharks defenseman Derek Joslin got the Sharks on the scoreboard at 6:19 of the third period with his third goal of the season, first with the Sharks, off a quick shot from the left face-off circle that beat Sabourin over the shoulder. McCarthy and Sharks alternate captain Bracken Kearns were credited with the assists.
Bears right winger Garrett Mitchell got the goal back for the Bears at 8:29 when he skated down the left side, got around Sharks rookie defenseman Matt Tennyson, cut in front, went backhand-to-forehand and slipped the puck past Sateri for his 13th goal of the season.
NOTES... Shots were 33-19 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill... Sateri made 15 saves and is now 14-15-3 with a 2.64 goals-against-average and .909 save percentage ... Matsumoto and Joslin each had a game high four shots on goal... Sharks rookie Yanni Gourde had his four-game point streak come to an end (1-3-4)... Sharks defenseman/right winger Matt Pelech fought Bears defenseman Patrick Wellar at 7:46 of the first period... Pelech now has a team leading 15 fights... With the one fight, the Sharks now have 67 through 62 games played... Curt Gogol (inj), Nick Petrecki (inj), Brodie Reid (inj), Marek Viedensky (inj), Jimmy Bonneau (scr) and Mike Brennan (scr) did not dress for the Sharks... This was the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season... The Sharks went 2-1-0-1 against the Bears this season, are 13-12-1-4 at the DCU Center and 29-26-1-6 with 62 points overall... The Sharks are in 11th place of the Eastern Conference, six points behind the Bears, but do have three games in hand.
1. Garrett Mitchell - Bears (1-0-1)
2. Patrick McNeil - Bears (1-1-2)
3. Chay Genoway - Bears (0-2-2)