03/22/2009 - GIROUX SCORES NUMBER 50 AS BEARS WIN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
By: John Walton
The BEARS finished a three-game road trip Sunday with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Manchester Monarchs at Verizon Wireless Arena, with Alexandre Giroux providing a touch of history in the triumph. Giroux became the fifth player in HERSHEY history to score 50 or more goals in a single season Sunday, and the first in 22 years to achieve the feat in a HERSHEY uniform.
HERSHEY would score first Sunday, with Graham Mink tying a personal season high with his 31st goal of the season. The power play marker was assisted by Keith Aucoin and Giroux just 51 seconds into the game to give the BEARS a 1-0 lead. Manchester would answer before first intermission with a goal from Trevor Lewis at 18:11, and the two teams were locked at one after 20 minutes.
The Monarchs would score the only goal of the second period late when Marty Murray picked up his 14th of the season at 19:30. HERSHEY trailed in the game after two for the second straight night, and for the second straight night the team would rally behind the AHL's most prolific goal scorer in 2008-09.
Tim Tookey was the last BEARS player to score 50 or more in a season before Sunday, when he scored 51 during the 1986-87 season. Giroux stepped into the elite HERSHEY goal scoring fraternity early in the third period, scoring from the top of the right circle against Manchester goaltender Jonathan Bernier. The goal was historic in nature, but it also tied the game for the BEARS at 2-2. Neither team would score the rest of the way, forcing a sudden death overtime and shootout. The skills competition would last nine rounds, with Keith Aucoin finally scoring to win the game for the visitors. Michal Neuvirth was brilliant in winning his fifth game of the season, making 47 saves and backstopping HERSHEY to the shootout win.
Notes: Aucoin now leads the AHL with 87 points. Neuvirth's 47 saves is the most by a HERSHEY goaltender this season. The nine-round shootout was the longest the BEARS have been involved with in 2008-09. HERSHEY returns home Wednesday to face the Toronto Marlies at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, or by calling (717) 534-3911.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game
1. Alexandre Giroux (5th player in team history to score 50)
2. Michal Neuvirth (47 saves and a clutch performance)
3. Jonathan Bernier (37 saves in a losing effort for the Monarchs)