Depending upon which club you were cheering for, Saturday night’s encounter between the Worcester Sharks and Hershey Bears at Giant Center was either a memorable one or one that you’d prefer to quickly forget.
If you were the Sharks, it was a wonderful memory, as their 3-2 shootout win gave their coach Roy Sommer his 500th AHL win as an AHL bench boss. But if you were the Bears, it was one you’d likely wish to put in the back of your memory and move on from since they squandered a one-goal lead in the final two minutes of regulation time by taking an untimely penalty, which ultimately led to a game-tying power play goal.
The Sharks struck for the first goal of the game at 17:09 of the first period when Jack Combs corralled a rebound and then deposited his 10th goal of the season behind Hershey netminder Dany Sabourin. Combs’ caper was struck with the Sharks enjoying a five minute power play that was prompted by a major penalty for boarding assessed to Bears captain Boyd Kane, who also received a fighting major and a game misconduct for his devious deed.
However, the Bears battled back to tie the game before the first intermission when Chris Bourque’s wrist shot from the point on the Bears’ first power play of the night sizzled past Worcester netminder Tyson Sexsmith at 18:52. Bourque’s goal was his 23rd of the season and his first extra-man strike in 15 games.
Bourque’s goal, which tied the score at one, was last goal scored for nearly forty minutes of action until Cody Eakin gave the Bears a 2-1 lead at 17:59 of the third period when he poked a rebound by Sexsmith.
However, less than a minute after Eakin’s goal, Bears’ forward Mike Carman took a tripping penalty in the Worcester defensive zone which sent the Sharks on a power play. At that point, Sommer elected to bring Sexsmith to the bench in favor of an extra attacker which gave his club a 6-on-4 manpower advantage, and they quickly capitalized on the opportunity and took only seven seconds of time off the scoreboard clock to tie the game at two when Tim Kennedy captured his fourth goal of the year at 18:44.
After neither team was able to win the game during the remainder of regulation or the overtime session, the game went into the shootout session. In the shootout, both Sabourin and Sexsmith were rock solid through the first six rounds and stopped every salvo they saw. But in the seventh round, Worcester’s Brodie Reid found a wrinkle in Sabourin’s armor, and then Sexsmith promptly snuffed out Patrick McNeill’s attempt to extend the festivities which gave the Sharks the win.
Notes- Sommer began his professional head coaching career in the 1991-92 season with the Roanoke Valley Rebels of the ECHL where he coached former Bear Frank Bialowas.