With Graham Mink leading the offense, the BEARS defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins by a score of 3-2 before a sellout crowd in Giant Center Saturday night.
Amidst a playoff-like atmosphere, the BEARS and Penguins came out fighting, though neither team found the score sheet in the first period. Sprawled on the ice in front of the net, HERSHEY backstop Simeon Varlamov made a seemingly impossible save on a shot from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton center Dustin Jeffrey late in the period. Varlamov kept the game scoreless, despite three Baby Pen power plays in the first 20 minutes.
The BEARS found the back of the net twice in the second period, with Mink potting his 29th and 30th goals of the season. Mink's first of the night came at 13:30 when he deflected a shot from Jay Beagle. Oskar Osala added the secondary assist. With Alex Goligoski in the penalty box for a hooking infraction, Alexandre Giroux and Chris Bourque set up Mink for his second of the game at 19:45. HERSHEY carried a two-goal advantage to the dressing room after two.
Crashing the net early in the third period, Grant McNeill finished a shot from Andrew Joudrey and Steve Pinizzotto for his second goal of the season at 3:40. Two quick goals put the Penguins back within one goal. With Osala in the box for hooking, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored on a Mark Letestu wrister at 5:28. Deryk Engelland then tipped in a pass from Letestu at 6:59 to make the score 3-2. Giroux was awarded a penalty shot after he was pulled down by Ben Lovejoy at 7:34 of the third, but his shot sailed wide of the net. Neither team would score through the remainder of regulation.
The BEARS went 1-for-4 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill Saturday night. Simeon Varlamov earned his 18th win in net this season, turning aside 29 of 31 shots.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game:
1. Graham Mink (two-goal effort)
2. Simeon Varlamov (29 saves on 31 shots)
3. Grant McNeill (scored the game-winning goal)
Sporting green Saint Patrick's Day sweaters, the BEARS battled to defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers by a score of 3-2 Sunday night. With the win, HERSHEY pulled ahead in the East Division points race.
HERSHEY seemed to have struck first, as a wrist shot from Sami Lepisto appeared to ricochet out of the net early in the game, but referee Ian Croft signaled no goal. With Kyle Wilson and Chris Bourque both in the box, the BEARS could not kill an extended two-man deficit. Bridgeport's Jon Sim fired the puck past a diving Daren Machesney to put the visiting team on the board at 15:28. The home team quickly answered, as Bourque went top shelf on Sound Tiger netminder Michael Mole for his 18th of the year, finishing a pass from Andrew Gordon and Wilson at 16:22. The score was deadlocked at 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.
The BEARS nearly took the lead midway through the second period when Bourque broke into the Bridgeport zone short-handed, but Mole made a glove save on the shot. Just after killing the sixth consecutive Bridgeport power play of the night, Oskar Osala buried a screamer from Lepisto and Staffan Kronwall, his 21st of the season, to give the Chocolate and White the go-ahead goal. Alexandre Giroux capitalized on the man advantage, potting his 47th goal of the year and the eventual game winner from the top of the crease at 16:11. Mathieu Perreault and Bourque tallied the assists. The BEARS held a two-goal advantage after two.
The Sound Tigers came back within one in the third period when they were given their second two-man advantage of the night. Andrew MacDonald netted a goal from Sim and Ben Walter at 16:27. The BEARS held off Bridgeport for the remainder of regulation to earn the win.
Daren Machesney earned his 18th win of the season between the pipes, turning aside 36 of 38 shots. HERSHEY went 1-for-4 on the power play and 7-for-9 on the penalty kill in the victory.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game:
1. Daren Machesney (made 36 saves)
2. Alexandre Giroux (scored the game-winning goal)
3. Chris Bourque (recorded a goal and an assist)
Per the team: "The Washington Capitals have signed free agent center Trevor Bruess to a two-year entry-level contract beginning in 2009-10, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In keeping with club policy terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Capitals expect Bruess to join the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) next week on an amateur tryout agreement.
"Bruess (pronounced BRISS), 23, has spent the past three seasons with Minnesota State of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). The 6í0", 200-pound Minneapolis native was an assistant captain for the Mavericks in 2008-09. He had 12 goals, 17 points and 117 penalty minutes in 35 games on the season, leading the team in penalty minutes and finishing tied for third in goals.
"Bruess led Minnesota State in points (30) and assists (21) as a sophomore in 2007-08 in 38 games. His nine goals included a team-high three shorthanded goals, one power-play goal and one game-winner. He won the teamís Hardest Worker Award for the second year in a row and led the team in plus/minus rating (+22). In three collegiate seasons Bruess posted 24 goals and 61 points in 110 games.
Hershey faces Philly in the 1st round of AHL Playoffs. Here is the schedule.
Game 1: Thursday, April 16, at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m., Wachovia Spectrum.
Game 2: Saturday, April 18, at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m., Wachovia Spectrum.
Game 3: Wednesday, April 22, at Hershey, 7 p.m., Giant Center.
Game 4: Friday, April 24, at Hershey, 7 p.m., Giant Center.
Game 5 (if necessary): Saturday, April 25, at Hershey, 7 p.m., Giant Center.
Game 6 (if necessary): Sunday, April 26, at Philadelphia, 5:05 p.m., Wachovia Spectrum.
Game 7 (if necessary): Tuesday, April 28, at Hershey, 7 p.m., Giant Center.
On the road with home-ice advantage in the series, HERSHEY made the most of its Game 1 trip to Philadelphia, downing the Phantoms 4-2 at the Wachovia Spectrum Thursday night. The win on foreign ice gives the BEARS a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven 2009 East Division Semi-Finals.
Jumping out to a 6-0 shot run to begin the game and a 13-10 shot advantage after one, the BEARS would score first in Game 1 Thursday night with Andrew Gordon's first of the playoffs at 15:18. A big primary assist came from Kyle Wilson, who was denied earlier in the period on a spectacular save from Philadelphia goaltender Scott Munroe. HERSHEY goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped all 10 shots he faced, and the Chocolate and White took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room after 20 minutes.
Jonathan Matsumoto opened the scoring in the second period, with his first of the playoffs at 3:21, tying the game at 1-1. Neither team would score the rest of the middle period, and the two teams went to the third all tied up.
It was in the third where the BEARS would pull away. Kyle Wilson scored his first goal of the postseason just 91 seconds into the third period, picking up his second point of the night in the process. HERSHEY took a 2-1 lead, and would increase it to 3-1 when Oskar Osala scored in close to beat Munroe from the top of the crease. Osala's goal, which proved to be the game-winner, was scored at the 5:31 mark. Philadelphia would pull within one midway through the third with a goal from Lasse Kukkonen at 11:31, but Jay Beagle put the game on ice with goal number one of the playoffs at 18:02. The win gives HERSHEY a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, with potentially four home games still ahead at Giant Center.
BEARS DOWN PHANTOMS 6-2, UP 2-0 IN EAST DIVISION SEMIS
04/18/2009 - BEARS COMING HOME UP 2-0 IN EAST DIVISION SEMI-FINALS AFTER CONVINCING 6-2 WIN AT PHILADELPHIA SATURDAY
By: John Walton
An early Philadelphia lead turned into a runaway victory Saturday night for HERSHEY, as the BEARS defeated the Phantoms 6-2 in Game 2 of the East Division Semi-Finals. HERSHEY leads the series two games to none.
Needing a good push from the start, Philadelphia got what they needed with a goal from former BEARS captain Boyd Kane just 53 seconds into the game. Philadelphia would then take a 2-0 lead at the 6:42 mark when Patrick Maroon scored his first of the postseason from Jonathan Matsumoto and David Laliberte. Down 2-0, the BEARS turned to their captain to cut the lead in half. Bryan Helmer fired a shot from the left point that went through traffic and past Phantoms backstop Scott Munroe at 11:03. The goal pulled the Chocolate and White within a goal at 2-1, with that score holding into first intermission. HERSHEY fired eight first period shots at Munroe, while BEARS goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped five of seven.
HERSHEY picked up the lone goal of the second period to tie the game when Staffan Kronwall buried a power play goal from the slot at the 14:58 mark. The BEARS collected 15 shots in the middle period, but saved the real firepower for the final 20 minutes. Alexandre Giroux scored his first goal of the playoffs at 2:27 of the third, which ultimately proved to be the game winner. Goals from Mathieu Perreault, Steve Pinizzotto and Francois Bouchard came late in the game, allowing the BEARS to pull away for the 6-2 win. Neuvirth won his second straight playoff start, making 25 saves. HERSHEY takes a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, with the next three games scheduled at Giant Center next week.
Notes: HERSHEY now heads home to face the Phantoms Wednesday night in Game 3 of the series. Face-off at Giant Center is at 7:00 p.m. Coach Woods opted to use the same lineup in Game 2 as he did in Game 1, scratching Patrick McNeill, Joe Finley, Sean Collins, Stefan Della Rovere, Darren Reid, Grant McNeill, Sami Lepisto and Kip Brennan. Simeon Varlamov started his first Stanley Cup playoff game Saturday for Washington, falling to the New York Rangers 1-0 at Verizon Center. Call or visit the Giant Center box office for tickets to Games 3 and 4, (717) 534-3911. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defeated Bridgeport 5-4 in overtime Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the other best-of-seven series in the East Division. The Penguins and Sound Tigers meet Sunday afternoon in Wilkes-Barre Township at 5:05 p.m.
BEARS ONE WIN AWAY FROM MOVING ON
04/22/2009 - BEARS UP THREE GAMES TO NONE IN EAST SEMIS AFTER 3-2 WIN AT Giant Center WEDNESDAY NIGHT
By: John Walton
HERSHEY moved within one victory of the 2009 East Division Finals Wednesday night, slipping by the Philadelphia Phantoms in Game 3 of the East Division Semi-Finals 3-2 at Giant Center. The win put the BEARS position to advance to the second round as soon as Friday night.
Staffan Kronwall opened the scoring Wednesday night with his second goal of the postseason. The goal at 8:27 came on the power play from Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux, and gave HERSHEY a 1-0 lead. Late in the period, Mathieu Perreault would lift the BEARS to a 2-0 lead, scoring at 19:33. Perreault's goal came on a breakaway as he exited the penalty box for a goaltender interference call at 17:26. With 12 shots to Philadelphia's six, the BEARS led 2-0 after one. Phantoms goaltender Scott Munroe made 10 saves to six for HERSHEY'S Michal Neuvirth.
The Phantoms got one back in the second period when Jonathan Kalinski scored his first of the postseason at 15:54. Worse than the goal against, HERSHEY defenseman Staffan Kronwall was injured when Kalinski's stick made contact with Kronwall's face. Kronwall left the game and did not return. The goal proved to be the only marker of the period, and the BEARS took a 2-1 lead into the final period. Alexandre Giroux scored just 1:20 into the third period to give HERSHEY a 3-1 advantage. The goal from Giroux became the game winner when Lasse Kukkonen scored a short-handed goal at 6:19. The win for the BEARS lifted the top seed in the East Division within one game of advancing to the 2009 East Division Finals. The Chocolate and White now lead the series three games to none.