Taffe, Bears Climbing in Standings
For the first time this season, the HERSHEY BEARS Hockey Club swept a set of three games on three weekend dates, and as a result enters the new week in a new position in the Eastern Conference standings. The BEARS began the weekend on Friday by scoring three goals on seven shots in the first period, and then riding the 32-save performance of Dany Sabourin in defeating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins by a 3-2 score at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Boyd Kane, Jeff Taffe and Ryan Potulny tallied for the BEARS. On Saturday, after finding themselves down 2-1 in the third period against the Norfolk Admirals, Ryan Stoa scored from a nearly impossible angle to tie the game inside the final three minutes of play, while Potulny chipped in a rebound with 45.1 seconds left on the clock to give the BEARS a 3-2 victory.
The league-leading Syracuse Crunch came to Chocolatetown on Sunday and wiped out a Jon DiSalvatore goal by scoring three consecutive times. Down 3-1 early in the second period and with Philipp Grubauer making a relief appearance in goal, the BEARS rattled off four unanswered goals of their own to claim a 5-3 win and wrap up a perfect weekend. Taffe contributed with his second four-point game of the season (2G, 2A) while Cameron Schilling and Casey Wellman respectively provided the go-ahead and insurance markers. Grubauer stopped all 20 shots he faced in relief of Sabourin.
The BEARS, now sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, will play a pair of games in Hampton Roads against the Norfolk Admirals on Friday and Saturday. A quick turnaround will follow as the club returns home to face the Binghamton Senators on Sunday.
BEARS NEWS AND NOTES
FOUR GETS HIM FOURTH: C Jeff Taffe's second four-point effort of the season on Sunday against Syracuse has lifted him into fourth place among active players in the AHL scoring race (15-36-51). Taffe leads the AHL with 36 assists.
OH WHAT A RELIEF: Rookie G Philipp Grubauer completed a memorable week with three significant games, two of which were perfect relief appearances. After being recalled by Washington on Wednesday, Grubauer was pressed into action in the second period that night at Wells Fargo Center against the Philadelphia Flyers and stopped all 14 shots he faced. After his 19-save victory over the Norfolk Admirals on Saturday, Grubauer entered Sunday's game in the second period and stopped all 20 shots he faced to backstop the BEARS' 3-2 win over Syracuse.
THE BIG SCHILL: In addition to setting up the game-tying goal, rookie D Cameron Schilling took over the team lead by scoring his fourth game-winning goal of the season in Sunday's win over Syracuse. Schilling recorded four points (1-3-4) in the BEARS' three weekend wins. The Carmel, IN native did not have a multiple-point game since joining the BEARS, but finished the weekend with one on Saturday (0-2) and one on Sunday (1-1).
STILL PLAYING WELL: C Casey Wellman picked up the insurance goal in the third period of Sunday's win over Syracuse. The goal keeps him at an average production of a point-per-game (4-10-14 in 14 GP) since being acquired for Zach Hamill on January 31.
PATIENCE BY POTULNY: C Ryan Potulny saw a four-game goal streak snapped on Sunday. The two goals that finished the streak were both game-winners. Saturday's game-winning goal over Norfolk was the second consecutive goal that Potulny scored in the final minute of play against the Admirals.
MAKING A COMEBACK: The BEARS entered the month without a win when trailing after one period. The team won both games this weekend in which they trailed after the first (Saturday vs. NOR, 3-2 and Sunday vs. SYR, 5-3).
STILL NUMBER ONE: After a weekend with a total of 21,088 fans filling GIANT Center, the BEARS continue to lead the AHL with an average attendance of 9,905 fans per game. The BEARS have just six home games remaining in the 2012-2013 regular season.
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