Worcester raced out to another quick start and never looked back, advancing to the Atlantic Division Finals with a 5-3 win over Hartford in Game 6 at the DCU Center on Saturday night.
With their first series victory in franchise history, the Sharks move on to face Providence in the second round beginning Tuesday.
Andrew Desjardins pounced on a rebound for his second goal of the series just 3:53 into the game, and after the Wolf Pack pulled even, Lukas Kaspar redirected a Matt Fornataro centering attempt home at 12:17 and Dan DaSilva converted a give-and-go off a Hartford turnover 2:12 later to give Worcester a 3-1 lead at the first intermission.
It was the second straight game in which the Sharks scored three goals in the opening frame, and marked the fourth time in the series they scored at least three in a period.
After Dale Weise snapped home a shot to cut the deficit to 3-2, Thomas Greiss made several key stops to preserve the lead before DaSilva’s second goal of the night restored the Sharks’ two-goal lead late in the second.
Logan Couture made it 5-2 on a breakaway with 6:42 to play. Weise’s second goal of the night for Hartford finished the scoring with 1:17 left.
The Sharks become the 20th team in AHL history to win a best-of-seven Calder Cup Playoff series after losing the first two games. Worcester outscored Hartford by a 17-6 count in winning the last four contests.
Hartford, which won the Atlantic Division but finished with just four more victories than fourth-place Worcester, suffered a first-round elimination for the third year in a row.
A2-Providence Bruins vs. A4-Worcester Sharks
Game 1 – Tue., Apr. 28 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
Game 2 – Wed., May 6 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
Game 3 – Fri., May 8 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
Game 4 – Sat., May 9 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 5 – Mon., May 11 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 13 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 7 – Thu., May 14 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05