April 1, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Hershey Bears
The HERSHEY BEARS Hockey Club split last weekend's games, picking up one loss and one big victory. On Friday night in the Capital District, the Bears opened up the scoring on a power play but ultimately saw the Albany Devils score three unanswered goals to help the hosts earn a 5-3 victory at Times Union Center. Peter LeBlanc put the visitors ahead just 4:20 into the game, but Cam Janssen's first of the season brought the hosts even 1:08 later. Darcy Zajac and Jay Leach scored early in the second period to build the Devils' lead and bring Dany Sabourin on in relief of Philipp Grubauer. Casey Wellman would net his 15th goal of the season on a power play to bring the Bears back within one. Joe Whitney and Joey Crabb then traded third-period goals to put the Devils' lead at 4-3. Inside the final minute and with Sabourin off for an extra attacker, Leach struck again, hitting the empty net from the length of the ice to seal the Albany win. On Saturday, Grubauer rebounded nicely and stopped 37 of 39 shots to help the Bears come back and defeat the Providence Bruins. Alexander Fallstrom's goal with 39.6 seconds left in the first period put Providence ahead, and Jamie Tardif's team-leading 28th goal of the season gave the Bruins a 2-0 advantage halfway through regulation. Boyd Kane would get the Bears on the board shortly afterward with his 14th of the season. Trailing 2-1, the Bears thrilled the sold-out GIANT Center crowd when Nicolas Deschamps beat Niklas Svedberg with a hard snap shot to tie the game, and when Ryan Potulny snuck past the Providence defense to slip a shot through Svedberg's legs for the game-winner with 7:29 left to play. The Bears will begin April with a home-and-home against the East Division-leading Syracuse Crunch beginning Friday at Syracuse, and will wrap up the weekend with the 12th and final meeting against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on the road on Sunday.
BEARS NEWS AND NOTES
TAFFE ON TOP: C Jeff Taffe added two more assists over the weekend to again enter this week tied for the AHL scoring lead with 62 points (18-44-62). Taffe has posted the point total in just 64 games. His 44 assists rank second in the league. Taffe is also just six assists shy of his career-best 50, recorded in 2008-09.
RYAN'S MARCH: C Ryan Potulny, who racked up eight goals in the Bears' playoff push last March, scored his seventh of the month on Saturday - a big goal that ended up as the game-winner against Providence. Potulny is now tied for the team lead with four game-winning goals.
PLAYING VERY WELL: C Casey Wellman continued to keep nearly a point-per-game pace active since joining the Bears on January 31. After scoring a power-play goal on Friday at Albany, he set up Ryan Potulny's game-winner on Saturday against Providence. Wellman shows 23 points (8-15-23) in 24 games with the Chocolate and White, and enters the weekend on a four-game point streak (2-4-6).
CRABB-ITALIZING: In his first three games in a Hershey sweater, RW Joey Crabb has recorded four points (1-3-4) and a plus-two efficiency rating. Crabb was loaned to Hershey by the Washington Capitals after clearing waivers on March 23.
CAPTAIN KANE CLIMBING: Captain Boyd Kane joined RW Jon DiSalvatore as the second Hershey player this season and became the 85th player in the history of the league to reach 500 career AHL points with his goal on March 23 at Manchester. The goal was also the 100th of Kane's tenure in Hershey. With 929 career AHL games played, Kane has passed former Bears winger Les Duff for 12th place all-time. He is also two games behind former Bears captain and Calder Cup champion Dave Fenyves for 29th place in all-time games played in Hershey (356).
Kane enters the weekend tied for the Bears' second-longest point streak of the season, a six-game run (2-5-7).
THE 10K RACE: Yet another sellout crowd of 10,819 saw the Bears skate past the Providence Bruins on Saturday. For a seventh consecutive season, the Bears lead the AHL with an average attendance of 9,995 fans per game. With two home games remaining, the team is poised to become the first since the 1998-99 Philadelphia Phantoms to average 10,000 fans per game. The team already set a new GIANT Center record on December 19 for the largest regular-season crowd (10,936).