01/23/2009 - BEARS GAIN POINT BUT FALL TO PENS
By: John Walton
A back-and-forth game at GIANT Center Friday night fell in the hands of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4-3 in a shootout at GIANT Center.
HERSHEY opened the scoring in the first period when Chris Bourque scored his 10th goal of the season at 14:19. Karl Alzner one-timed a pass to Sami Lepisto, who in turn one-timed a look to Bourque who scored on the backhand. The BEARS picked up 13 shots in the first period to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's nine.
The BEARS began the second period by posting two goals, starting with Alexandre Giroux's 35th of the season at 5:41. Tyler Sloan scored his first goal of the season at the AHL level at 10:21 to give HERSHEY a 3-1 lead, but the Penguins would rally late in the stanza on a five-on-three power play goal at 19:32 from Mark Letestu. Moving into the third period, Chris Minard scored at 3:42 with Chris Bourque in the penalty box for a five-minute interference call, and the game was tied at 3-3. Both teams had chances in the remaining time in regulation and the subsequent shootout, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's J.M Daoust scored in the fourth round of the skills competition. It was enough to clinch the win when HERSHEY failed to score in the fifth round. Despite the shootout loss, the BEARS gained a standings point and lead now third place Bridgeport by nine points in the East Division race.
Notes: HERSHEY will host the Manchester Monarchs Saturday night at GIANT Center at 7:00 p.m., the final game before the AHL All-Star break. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who played in the ECHL All-Star game in Reading on Wednesday night, returned to the BEARS on Thursday. HERSHEY will travel to Wilkes-Barre Township for a game at Wachovia Arena next Friday, January 30, and will not face the Penguins after that until Saturday, March 14. Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau attended the game Friday.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game
1. J.M. Daoust (A brilliant goal in the SO wins it)
2. John Curry (Winning goaltender with a big night)
3. Michal Neuvirth (A great effort despite the setback)