12/06/2008 - BEARS TAME WOLF PACK
Hershey Beats Hartford for First Time in Giant Center
By Jess Mikula
Patrick McNeill netted the game winning goal for HERSHEY on a short-handed effort Saturday night, as the BEARS defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack by a score of 4-2. The victory stretches the team's winning streak to 10 games, tying the record set in 2001-02.
The BEARS found the back of the net at 5:41 with Maxime Lacroix. His first goal of the season would send the teddy bears sailing onto the ice, with Andrew Gordon and Andrew Joudrey adding the assists. With a two-man advantage for 1:32, HERSHEY looked to increase its lead to two goals with a power play unit of five forwards—Chris Bourque, Oskar Osala, Graham Mink, Alexandre Giroux, and Gordon—but was unable to find the score sheet. The BEARS did not score again in the first, though Steve Pinizzotto came close midway through the period, as he fired two shots on net while down. The home team carried a one-goal lead to the dressing room after 20 minutes of play.
HERSHEY struck again at 5:16 of the second period, as Mathieu Perreault and Osala fed Francois Bouchard for his eighth of the year. Hartford answered with Artem Anisimov's 11th of the season past a fallen Simeon Varlamov at 11:19. The BEARS held a 2-1 advantage after two.
McNeill potted his first goal of the season and the eventual game winner on a short-handed effort at 3:55 of the third period. Kyle Wilson and Gordon added the helpers. A turnover in the HERSHEY zone resulted in a Hartford goal little under two minutes later, with Tommy Pyatt putting the puck in a wide open net for his third of the year at 5:37. Breaking into the Hartford zone late in the period, Giroux netted his 18th goal of the year with an unassisted tally at 16:48.
Varlamov earned his 10th win of the season in net, turning aside 26 of 28 shots.
The victory marks the BEARS' first win against Hartford in the GIANT Center and the team's first win against the Wolf Pack in HERSHEY since November 21, 1998.
Notes: The BEARS will host the Norfolk Admirals Sunday afternoon at GIANT Center. Face-off is at 5:00 p.m., with tickets available at the GIANT Center box office, or by calling (717) 534-3911. HERSHEY signed defenseman Johann Kroll Saturday to a professional tryout contract. Kroll had been skating with the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL). Defenseman Sean Collins made his NHL debut for Washington Saturday, after being recalled to the Capitals earlier in the day. The Caps have now had 11 different defenseman play at least one game in 2008-09. The BEARS will travel to Hartford to play the Wolf Pack on Saturday, January 3.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game:
1. Patrick McNeill
2. Simeon Varlamov
3. Maxime Lacroix