03/25/2009 - BEARS BACK IN FIRST PLACE WITH 4-3 WIN OVER TORONTO
By: John Walton
The BEARS couldn't officially clinch a Calder Cup playoff berth Wednesday, but the club won its third straight contest in downing Toronto 4-3 at GIANT Center.
Toronto took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Andre Deveaux scored his 12th goal of the year at the 5:20 mark. The Marlies would fire 14 shots at HERSHEY goaltender Michal Neuvirth in the first, and maintain the one-goal advantage to intermission.
Much more offense awaited in the second period, and Alexandre Giroux was involved again. Giroux scored his 51st goal of the season at the 3:32 mark to tie the game at one, but it was Toronto that would pick up the next two. Todd Perry scored at 4:41 and Deveaux scored his second of the game at 9:36 to allow the Marlies to build up a three goal lead. But on this night, Toronto would not score again and the BEARS would take over.
Keith Aucoin started the rally with his 23rd goal of the season at 13:22 of the second to make the score 3-2. Andrew Joudrey then took a pass from Jay Beagle across the crease to beat Toronto goaltender Justin Pogge after a miscue by the Marlies backstop clearing the puck. Joudrey's fifth goal of the season tied the score at 3-3. Into the third period with the game still tied, Oskar Osala unloaded a shot from the left circle and beat Pogge for his 23rd of the campaign. The marker proved to be the game-winner as the BEARS slipped by with the one-goal win. Neuvirth won his second straight start and his sixth of the season in a HERSHEY uniform.
Notes: The BEARS now head to Binghamton to take on the Senators Friday night at 7:05 p.m. HERSHEY will then host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this weekend along HERSHEYPARK Drive. Tickets are on sale now at the GIANT Center box office, or by calling (717) 534-3911. Giroux needs two goals to tie Tony Cassolato's franchise record of 53 goals in a single season. Aucoin needs 11 points in his last nine games to reach the 100-point plateau for the first time in his career. The BEARS needed Binghamton to defeat Philadelphia in regulation, overtime or a shootout Wednesday in addition to the victory at home. Philadelphia defeated the Senators 3-1 at Broome County.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game
1. Keith Aucoin (Goal and an assist)
2. Oskar Osala (Scored the third period game-winner)
3. Michal Neuvirth (Won his second straight start)