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Worcester pushed to brink of elimination

Worcester Sharks forward Travis Oleksuk attempts to score on Hershey Bears goaltender Pheonix Copley during Saturday night's game at the DCU Center (Steve Lanava, Telegram.com).
Worcester Sharks forward Travis Oleksuk attempts to score on Hershey Bears goaltender Pheonix Copley during Saturday night's game at the DCU Center (Steve Lanava, Telegram.com).

4,045 faithful Worcester Sharks fans might have seen their team play their last game ever at the DCU Center as the Sharks find themselves one loss away from elimination after falling 3-1 to the Hershey Bears Saturday night.

The Sharks, who got 26 saves in net from goaltender Aaron Dell and had their lone goal scored by forward Eriah Hayes, are going to have to sweep all three games in Hershey at the Giant Center to in order to advance and give their fans another game at the DCU Center. For the season, the Sharks were 17-18-3 on the road and 1-1-0 in the two games at the Giant Center.

After a scoreless first period, the Bears took a 1-0 lead just 63-seconds into the second period when forward Jim O'Brien skated into the Sharks zone down the left side, cut across the middle of the zone and fired a snap shot from on top of the faceoff circles that beat Dell through the wickets for his first goal of the post season.

Hayes tied the game at 2:46 when he buried home a one-timer from the left hash mark off a centering feed from linemate Ryan Carpenter, who was positioned deep inside the right faceoff circle, for his first career Calder Cup playoff goal.

However, the game didn't stay tied for long as just 48-seconds later, Bears forward Chris Conner beat Dell with a quick shot from deep inside the right circle after intercepting the puck in the right corner of the Sharks zone off a Sharks faceoff win. The goal was Conner's first of the playoffs and held up as the game winning goal.

The Bears added an insurance goal at 13:58 when on a delayed penalty call, defenseman Cameron Schilling finished off a 3-on-1 Bears rush by flipping the puck over a sprawled out Dell from the left side of the crease for his first goal of the playoffs.

Though the Sharks outshot the Bears 11-7 in the third period, Bears goaltender Pheonix Copley turned them all aside to finish with 33 saves.

NOTES... Shots on goal were 34-29 in favor of the Sharks... The Sharks went 0-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill... Hayes had a game high six shots on goal... The 4,045 in attendance sent a new record for a Sharks playoff game at the DCU Center, eclipsing the previous record of 3,026 that was set the night before... Game three is Wednesday night (April 29) at 7 p.m./et.

THREE STARS
1. Cameron Schilling - Bears (1-0-1, GWG)
2. Jim O'Brien - Bears (1-0-1)
3. Pheonix Copley - Bears (33 saves, Win)

LINES
Tarasov / Tierney / Goodrow
Goldobin / Trupp / Lerg (C) 
Haley (A) / Carpenter / Hayes
Schwartz / Oleksuk / Langlois

DEFENSE
Taormina (A) / Tennyson
Stollery / DeMelo
Young / Fedun

GOALIES
Dell
Grosenick

SCRTACHES
Anderson
Bergman
Bonneau
Ciampini
Doherty
Ryan
Willows
Coetzee (inj)
Emanuelsson (inj)
McCarthy (inj)
Parkes (inj)