Staying Hot at Home, Bears Close Gap in Division, Conference
The Hershey Bears Hockey Club picked up four out of six points on the weekend, moving to within two points of second place in the East Division and fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The club opened with a 5-3 win in Glens Falls over the Adirondack Phantoms on Friday. Jeff Taffe and Rob Bordson traded first period goals, before the Bears poured it on in the second period. Julien Brouillette scored the first of his two power play goals to put the Bears ahead, and then Dane Byers and Peter LeBlanc opened the game up. Adirondack would make a game of it though, when Mark Alt and Bruno Gervais tallied in the third period. Brouillette put the seal on the win by hitting the empty net while the Phantoms were shorthanded, and while the hosts had goaltender Yann Danis pulled for a fifth attacker.
The Phantoms exacted their revenge at the home of their NHL affiliate Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon, winning 4-1 at Wells Fargo Center in front of 16,173. Tyler Brown and Tye McGinn gave the Phantoms a 2-0 lead, before Matt Watkins beat goaltender Cal Heeter later in the opening period to put the Bears on the board. Ben Holmstrom and Jason Akeson scored third-period goals to ensure the victory.
On Sunday, Philipp Grubauer rebounded to make 27 of 28 saves and help the Bears defeat the Norfolk Admirals by a 3-1 count. Brouillette scored his third power play goal of the weekend, and seventh of the season, to put Hershey in front early. Devante Smith-Pelly tipped a shot past Grubauer to tie the game, but Brandon Segal and Taffe would set each other up for power play goals and help the Bears stay perfect at home in 2014.
HERSHEY BEARS NEWS AND NOTES
BET ON BROUILLETTE: D Julien Brouillette finished his best weekend of the season, scoring three power play goals over the three games. Brouillette moved into second place among AHL defensemen in power- play goals (seven) while adding to his personal AHL best for goals in a season (nine). He also leads the entire league in shooting percentage (9/30 = 30.0%). Brouillette and C Jeff Taffe lead the Bears in power play goal scoring.
SEGAL STRIKES BACK: RW Brandon Segal finished the weekend on a high note. After being held scoreless in his past four games, he scored the game-winning goal and assisted on the insurance marker - both coming on the power play - to nab first-star honors. Segal leads the Bears in goals (14), assists (22) and points (36). His game-winner was his fourth of the season, tying him with C Peter LeBlanc and RW Casey Wellman for the team lead.
TAFFE HITS MILESTONE: C Jeff Taffe picked up three points on the weekend to become the second Hershey player to crack the 30-point plateau. Taffe scored the first goal of the night in Friday's win over Adirondack, the 100th point of his Hershey Bears tenure. He then added a power play goal and a power play assist in Sunday's win over Norfolk, to take his point total to 31 (12-19-31). 19 of Taffe's 31 points (7-12-19) have come on the power play. He now shows 30 goals and 72 assists for 102 points in 118 career games with the Bears.
A LATTA HARD WORK: C Michael Latta continues to hit the score sheet, adding three assists in his last three games for a total of 19 points (6-13-19) in 23 total contests with Hershey.
- Following Sunday's victory over Norfolk, the Bears have now racked up nine consecutive wins at GIANT Center, and remain perfect on home ice (8-0-0-0) in 2014. The nine-game home winning streak is the longest active in the AHL, and second-longest home winning streak of the entire AHL season. It also is the Bears' second-longest home winning streak since their AHL record-setting 24-game stretch during 2009-10.
- The Bears lead the Eastern Conference with 16 home wins, and are tied with Grand Rapids for second in the entire AHL. Only Texas (19) has more.
- The Bears rank fifth in the AHL in goals per game average (3.18).
- The Bears are tied for the second-most goals in first periods this season (47).
- The Bears lead the AHL in home-ice power plays (145) after the nine awarded to the team on Sunday.
- All goals in the Bears-Norfolk game on Sunday came on the power play. The last time all goals were recorded on the power play in a Bears game was on February 7, 1998 (Rochester 2 at Hershey 4).
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American Hockey League Stories from February 3, 2014
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- Bowl with the IceHogs in the 5th Annual Bowl-A-Thon - Rockford IceHogs
- Falcons to Hold Press Conference February 4 - Springfield Falcons
- Staying Hot at Home, Bears Close Gap in Division, Conference - Hershey Bears
- Emmerton Assigned to Griffins - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Monarchs Weekly Report - Manchester Monarchs
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