The Worcester Sharks nine-year era came to an end Friday night with a 10-4 loss to the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center in game four of their first round Calder Cup Playoff series.
Scoring the final goals for the Sharks were defensemen Dylan DeMelo, Karl Stollery, Matt Taormina (who scored the Sharks' last ever goal) and forward Rylan Schwarz.
In net, goaltender Troy Grosenick started the game for the Sharks but was pulled for backup goaltender Aaron Dell at the 10:40 mark of the first period after allowing three goals on four shots. Dell made 26 saves on 32 shots in 31:29 of playing time but was relieved for Grosenick at the 2:09 mark of the third period after the Bears scored three goals in that span, two of which came on a five minute major penalty for slashing that was assessed to Sharks forward Evan Trupp near the end of the second period.
A nightmarish first period saw the Sharks scored on just 24-seconds into the game by Bears forward Chris Brown. Three-and-a-half minutes later at 3:44, Bears forward Dustin Gazley beat Grosenick on a breakaway for a shorthanded goal after intercepting a pass at center ice by Sharks forward Chris Tierney.
After Bears forward Jakub Vrana made 3-0 at 10:40, DeMelo got the Sharks on the scoreboard at 12:17 with his first goal of the playoffs. However, the Sharks couldn't capitalize on the momentum as DeMelo was assessed an elbowing penalty 30-seconds later. Then at 14:45, Stollery, and Sharks forwards Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Carpenter were all assessed roughing penalties after a post whistle scrum that resulted the Bears going on the power play. On the ensuing penalty kill, DeMelo was assessed a delay of game penalty at 15:29, and Bears forward Casey Wellman scored a power play goal at 16:10 to give the Bears a 4-1 lead after 20-minutes of play.
In the second period, Stollery pulled the Sharks to within two goals at 4:07 with a power play goal, his first goal of the playoffs. Nearly two minutes later at 6:01, the Sharks went on their second consecutive power play with a chance to cut the Bears to lead to one goal but were unsuccessful. Even worse was that 64-seconds after the Sharks' power play expired, Bears defenseman Cameron Schilling regained the Bears' three goal lead at 9:05 with his second goal of the playoffs.
Near the end of the period at 17:55, Trupp was assessed a game misconduct for slashing Bears forward Stanislav Galiev as well as a five minute major that the Bears scored three times on, starting with forward (and ex Shark) Tim Kennedy at 19:32 to give the Bears a 6-2 lead going into the third period.
In the opening 2:09 of the third period, Wellman scored twice (one of which was on the power play) to complete the hat-trick and forward Liam O'Brien scored as well to end Dell's night. Grosenick faced 12 shots once re-entering the game and stopped 11 shots as Brown got the puck past him at 8:06.
With Bears backup goaltender Pheonix Copley playing the third period after starter Phillip Grubauer exited the game at the end of the second with an upper body injury, Schwartz scored at 11:05 and Taormina scored at 15:07 to make the final score 10-4.
NOTES... Shots on goal were 48-34 in favor of the Bears... The Sharks went 1-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-9 on the penalty kill... Grosenick finished with 12 saves on 16 shots in 28:09 of playing time... 11 different Sharks skaters registered a point... DeMelo, who celebrated his 22nd birthday, had a two point game with a goal and an assist... The Sharks were assessed a season high 29 penalty minutes, 15 of which were assessed to Trupp... Wellman's hat trick was the first one of the season surrendered by the Sharks (via Bill Ballou)... The Bears' 10 goals marked the first time a team scored in double figures in a Calder Cup Playoff game since April 22, 1998, when the Bears closed out their best-of-five series against the Kentucky Thoroughblades, who was San Jose's AHL affiliate then, with a 10-3 victory (via Ballou)... The Sharks will now head west and become the San Jose Barracuda.
1. Casey Wellman - Bears (3-1-4)
2. Jakub Vrana - Bears (1-2-3)
3. Chrsi Brown - Bears (2-0-2)
Tarasov / Tierney / Lerg (C)
Goldobin / Trupp / Goodrow
Haley (A) / Carpenter / Hayes
Schwartz / Oleksuk / Langlois
Taormina (A) / Tennyson
Stollery / DeMelo
Young / Fedun