Grubauer Shines, but Bears Fall 2-1Posted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
On Saturday night, both the Hershey Bears and the Binghamton Senators suffered excruciating setbacks after coughing up large leads in high-scoring games on home ice. Both clubs sought to rebound on Sunday at Giant Center, the third game in as many nights for both squads. The Bears were unable to maintain a 5-2 lead on Saturday against Rochester; they fell 8-7 to the Amerks. Binghamton watched a 5-0 lead turn into a 6-5 overtime loss to the Syracuse Chiefs. Both teams played better in Sunday’s game at Giant Center, but Binghamton prevailed by a 2-1 count in overtime, getting the game-winner off the stick of Hugh Jessiman with just 6.5 seconds left in the extra session. Jessiman’s game-winner was initially and emphatically waved off by the officials, and some of us in the press box believed it was because Binghamton’s Derek Grant was in the crease and virtually swinging on the crossbar. The net was dislodged just after the puck entered, and a video review – a new tool available to AHL officials in certain specific instances – was conducted. After a three-minute deliberation, the call on the ice was reversed, the goal counted and the game was over. “It was initially waved off,” said Bears coach Mark French of the game-winner. “What [the officials] communicated after they allowed the goal was that they were checking whether the net was off before the puck crossed the line. And in the review they got, it was conclusive enough to overrule the call and that the net was still on the moorings when the puck crossed the line.” With Braden Holtby (day-to-day) out of action for the weekend, the Bears went with Dany Sabourin in the nets on Friday and Saturday. Philipp Grubauer got the call between the pipes for the Bears in Sunday’s game. Making his first AHL start, Grubauer wasn’t seriously tested until late in the first frame. The Bears held Binghamton without a shot on goal for the better part of 10 minutes in the middle of the first, and the Sens needed some extra-man time to start generating serious scoring chances. Hershey took three penalties in succession in a span of just 5:16 late in the first frame, and Binghamton had a two-man advantage for a total of 1:42 late in the stanza. The Bears went with forwards Boyd Kane and Garrett Mitchell and defenseman Cameron Schilling to kill off the penalties, and they were able to withstand the five-shot barrage thanks to some strong saves by Grubauer. Three of the stops came in quick succession, and he was able to freeze the last two to get needed personnel changes. Kane also came up big with a key shot block during the lengthy 5-on-3. Binghamton drew first blood, taking a 1-0 lead when team captain Andre Benoit followed up a Mike Hoffman shot to tap the rebound into a yawning cage at 3:02 of the second period. Grubauer made a pad save on the Hoffman shot, but was unable to right himself in time to challenge Benoit. Hershey’s Jeff Taffe evened the score with his second goal of the season at 16:52 of the second period. Taffe gained the Binghamton line with speed, then fired a slapshot from above the circles. The puck somehow got through Sens goaltender Robin Lehner. Neither side was able to muster much in the way of offense thereafter. The Bears' best chance to grab a lead came late in the third when rookie Stanislav Galiev drew a tripping call on Binghamton's Andre Petersson. Hershey pivot Zach Hamill had the best chance to put the Bears up on the resulting power play, but his shot missed the net on the short side. The Bears missed the cage on more than a couple of their prime scoring chances in Sunday's game. Grubauer stopped 24 of 26 shots in his first taste of AHL action. “I thought he played well,” said French of Grubauer’s maiden AHL voyage. “He gave us a chance to win. He looked very calm and composed in the net. I thought he played the puck very well. I thought it was a real good start for him.” Hershey went 1-2 on the busy weekend, with each game being decided by a single goal. The Bears are 1-3 on the season, and they’ve played four one-goal contests to date. The Bears are back in action next Friday night when they travel to Hartford to take on the Connecticut Whale. Hershey then returns home on Saturday to host Albany and then Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday at Giant Center. NOTES: The Bears played without forward Ryan Potulny, who left Saturday’s game with a lower body injury. He is listed as day-to-day. The Bears will have Monday off, and Potulny will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.
Some next day observations in the wake of Saturday night's Hershey Bears-Rochester Americans game, a contest in which the Amerks prevailed by an 8-7 score. Gordie Howe Hat Trick – Garrett Mitchell, a second-year pro who was Washington’s sixth-round (175th overall) choice in the 2009 NHL Entry