Back To The Grind
The HERSHEY BEARS Hockey Club goes back to work this weekend, trying to pile up some points after falling in both games prior to the All-Star break. On Friday, Jon DiSalvatore netted his team-leading sixth power play goal of the season, but the St. John's IceCaps scored one power play marker, one goal at even strength and hit the empty net in a 3-1 victory. Goaltender Philipp Grubauer was named the game's third star after making 25 saves on 27 shots. IceCaps netminder Eddie Pasquale stopped all 26 other shots he faced in the win. The BEARS then played in Binghamton for the first time since the season opener, but came out with only one point in a 3-2 shootout setback. Senators goaltender Robin Lehner, who posted a perfect game the previous night in a 1-0 shootout win over Syracuse, wasn't perfect but made 38 saves to keep the Senators in the game. Ryan Stoa and Steve Oleksy tallied the HERSHEY goals. In the shootout, Lehner needed only three stops to help Binghamton earn two points. Dany Sabourin suffered a tough loss but his goals-against average continues to slide downward, as for the fifth time in the last six starts, Sabourin has allowed two goals or less.
Forward Jeff Taffe represented the BEARS at the 2013 Dunkin' Donuts AHL All-Star Classic in Providence, RI. In his third AHL All-Star appearance, Taffe chipped in one assist in the Eastern Conference's 7-6 setback against the Western Conference on Monday. AHL teams will now return to practicing on Thursday. The BEARS will then host the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday at 7:00 PM and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a special 2:00 PM faceoff on Super Bowl Sunday. HERSHEY concludes three games in four nights with a game in Cleveland against the Lake Erie Monsters on Tuesday.
BEARS NEWS AND NOTES
TAFFE STILL TOPS: C Jeff Taffe, who is tied for the AHL assist lead among active players (29), picked up one helper in the AHL All-Star Game on Monday in Providence. Taffe leads the BEARS with 38 points (9-29-38), a point total that is tied for fourth among active AHL players. His 12 power-play assists rank tied for fifth overall.
STOPPED BY SABOURIN: With his 28-save performance on Saturday at Binghamton, goaltender Dany Sabourin has allowed two goals or less in five of his last six starts. He has a record of 2-2-1 in those games.
HOME HEAVY, ROAD HEAVY: The BEARS will play four of their first five February games at home, while five of the last six will be away from GIANT Center. Of the 11 games in the month, only four are against East Division opponents. The BEARS will finish out their regular-season series against the North Division with games at Lake Erie (2/6), Hamilton (2/15), Toronto (2/16) and Rochester (2/17).
WELLAR'S BACK: Defenseman Patrick Wellar has rejoined the BEARS after being recalled from the Reading Royals on Wednesday. Wellar has recorded (2-13-15), a plus-7 rating and 45 penalty minutes in 37 games with the Royals. During his recent one-game recall on January 26 at Binghamton, Wellar went scoreless with a plus-2 rating. The game was his 200th in a HERSHEY sweater.
100 MORE: Wellar's 200th HERSHEY game was also the game in which defenseman Patrick McNeill climbed closer to his milestone. McNeill's next game will be his 300th on the BEARS blue line. The Strathroy, ON native played his entire career - nearly six years - in Chocolatetown.
TOUGH TANDEM TO TOUCH: Dany Sabourin and Philipp Grubauer, along with the recalled Braden Holtby, have all combined to push the BEARS into fifth place in the AHL in goals against per game (2.44).
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American Hockey League Stories from January 30, 2013
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