10/08/2008 - OFF AND RUNNING: BEARS WIN 8-4 WEDNESDAY
By: John Walton
A former BEARS forward returned to the lineup Wednesday night for the first time in two years and led the HERSHEY BEARS to an impressive 8-4 opening night win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Wachovia Arena.
The BEARS came out roaring in the first period, scoring four times to take a 4-1 lead to the dressing room. Keith Aucoin didn't take long to score his first goal in a HERSHEY uniform, lighting the lamp just 96 seconds into his first game. The even strength goal came from Graham Mink, and the BEARS led 1-0. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went to the penalty box three times in the first period, and HERSHEY'S success rate in the first 20 minutes was 100 percent. Chris Bourque scored an unassisted goal at 7:11, Mathieu Perreault found the back of the net at 15:46 and Mink scored at 17:56 to put the BEARS up 4-1 by virtue of three power play goals.
The second period was much more even, but the Pens ultimately could draw no closer. Ryan Stone scored a power play marker just 52 seconds into the period to close the Pens within two, but Mink's second goal of the game would give the BEARS a 5-2 lead after two. A quick goal to start to third by Connor James pulled Wilkes-Barre/Scranton within two, but the BEARS then found a way to pull away for good.
Mink's storybook ending came early in the third period when he finished his hat trick. His third goal was assisted by Aucoin at 4:12, and the BEARS led 6-3. Andrew Gordon and Alexandre Giroux would round out the scoring in the 8-4 triumph.
Notes: HERSHEY continues the current season opening four-game road trip Friday night in Norfolk. The BEARS skate this Friday and Saturday at Norfolk Scope before traveling to Philadelphia Friday, October 17. The 71st home opener in club history will be on Saturday, October 18 against the Syracuse Crunch at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, or by calling (717) 534-3911. HERSHEY scratched Greg Amadio, Francois Bouchard, Sean Collins, Andrew Joudrey, Maxime Lacroix, Grant McNeill and Patrick McNeill. The line of Mink, Aucoin and Giroux produced 12 points in the victory. Aucoin is the early leader in scoring in the American Hockey League with five points.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game
1. Graham Mink (You can't script a better homecoming with a hat trick and four points)
2. Keith Aucoin (Leading the AHL in scoring with five points on opening night)
3. Alexandre Giroux (A three point night for Alex, 12 for his line)