01/03/2009 - WELCOME BACK ALEX: GIROUX LEADS BEARS TO 6-2 WIN
By: John Walton
The BEARS rebounded from a loss in Providence Friday, winning at Hartford 6-2 Saturday night at XL Center.
Alexandre Giroux wasted little time in making his presence known to his former team Saturday night, dishing out two assists in the first 6:35 of the game. Keith Aucoin scored his 12th goal of the season at 1:25 from Giroux and Bryan Helmer, which was quickly followed by Graham Mink's 14th goal of the year at 6:35. The BEARS fired 18 first period shots at Hartford goaltender Miika Wiikman to just seven against Simeon Varlamov, and HERSHEY led it 2-0 after 20 minutes.
The second period went much like the first, with the BEARS again scoring twice in the first 6:20 to take a 4-0 lead. Steve Pinizzotto picked up his second goal in as many games by scoring 36 seconds into the second to lift HERSHEY to a 3-0 advantage. The lead ballooned to 4-0 when Kyle Wilson potted his 15th of the year at 6:20 of the second. Greg Moore finally got the Pack on the board at 19:59 with his 11th of the year, but it was 4-1 HERSHEY after two.
The Wolf Pack closed within two when Patrick Rissmiller scored at 1:44 of the third, but a power play goal from Mink at 4:15 and a goal from Giroux at 14:26 rounded out the scoring. HERSHEY wins for the 25th time this season, the most by any American Hockey League club. Varlamov wins for the 13th time this season, leading the BEARS in that department.
Notes: Giroux was assigned by Washington Saturday afternoon, and rejoined the lineup in Hartford at XL Center. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth was assigned to South Carolina (ECHL) Saturday, as Daren Machesney backed up Varlamov. The BEARS now head to Worcester to play the fourth game of the current five-game road trip Sunday at 4:05 p.m. The final game of the trip will be Wednesday night in Norfolk against the Admirals. Kip Brennan, Darren Reid and Patrick Wellar were healthy scratches Saturday in Hartford.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game
1. Alexandre Giroux (Simply outstanding with four points)
2. Graham Mink (Two goals, including a PPG in the third)
3. Keith Aucoin (Part of the best line on the ice Saturday, three points)