HERSHEY, Pa. – Alex Stalock made 30 saves in the Worcester Sharks net, while Jon Matsumoto scored the game-winning goal and set up another in a 2-1 win over the HERSHEY BEARS on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
The visitors were the first to strike in tonight’s contest. On the Sharks’ second power play of the period, hard work by James Sheppard worked the puck loose from the left corner. Matsumoto walked out with the puck and slipped a pass for a driving Matt Tennyson, who buried the shot past Braden Holtby at 18:19. The BEARS outshot the Sharks 13-11 after the first period.
Matsumoto then scored the eventual game-winner on a slow entry into the BEARS zone early in the second period. Brodie Reid’s drop pass sat perfectly for Matsumoto in the right circle, and the center snapped a shot off of the back crossbar behind Holtby at 6:22. Video replay was consulted to confirm the goal.
After Steve Oleksy and Bracken Kearns dropped the gloves at the 8:20 mark, the BEARS gained life and dictated the pace for the rest of the period. The BEARS would earn three consecutive power plays but the Sharks penalty killing was solid. Stalock made his best save on a point-blank chance from Zach Hamill on one of the BEARS power plays.
HERSHEY finally hit the back of the net at 4:48 of the third. Jeff Taffe drove down the middle of the ice while Jon DiSalvatore carried along the right boards. DiSalvatore sent a perfect pass across that Taffe one-timed over Stalock’s blocker to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The BEARS would get no further however, even on a six-on-four power play situation with 1:41 left to play.
Stalock improves to 12-6-1 on the season, while Holtby saw his record even out at 12-12-1 with 19 saves on 21 shots. The BEARS finished 0-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
HERSHEY will take to the road for a matchup on Tuesday, January 8 at 7:00 PM against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The BEARS return home on Saturday, January 12 to host the Connecticut Whale at 7:00 PM. The first 5,000 fans will receive an ice scraper courtesy of UGI. Tickets for this game and all home games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.