03/27/2009 - HERSHEY looks to increase its lead in the East Division Saturday night, hosting the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at GIANT Center. Face-off is at 7:00 p.m.
Alexandre Giroux scored his 52nd goal of the season and Michal Neuvirth notched his first American Hockey League shutout as the BEARS blanked the Binghamton Senators 4-0 Friday at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Kyle Wilson, Chris Bourque and Karl Alzner all chipped in goals Friday, with Alzner's tally in the second period coming on a power play. The win was HERSHEY'S fourth in a row, and lifted the Chocolate and White three points up on second place Bridgeport with just over two weeks remaining in the regular season.
With an AHL best 52 goals, Alexandre Giroux stands just one goal shy of tying former BEARS forward Tony Cassolato's single season record of 53 goals. Cassolato set the franchise record 26 years ago in the spring of 1983. Giroux with two more goals can set a new team record. The Quebec City native became just the fifth player in club history last Sunday in Manchester to score at least 50 goals in a single season. Giroux picked up number 51 in the second period Wednesday night against Toronto before adding on number 52 Friday night in Binghamton. The high-flying left winger has made a mockery of the AHL goal scoring race this season. Quad City's Kyle Greentree ranks second in the league in goals as play starts Saturday with a mere 35. Hartford's Artem Anisimov ranks third in the league in lamp-lighters with 32.
Bridgeport has the fewest games left of any team in the East Division entering play tonight. The Sound Tigers have just seven games remaining, traveling to Lowell tomorrow to play the Devils at 4:00 p.m. Two games with Albany, one game with the BEARS at the Arena at Harbor Yard, one with Springfield and one final game against Lowell will round out the schedule. A loss in regulation would drop the Tigers five points back of HERSHEY with six to go.
Around the East Division Saturday, the reeling Binghamton Senators will try to get back in the win column Saturday, hosting the Rochester Americans at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena at 7:05 p.m. The Senators have scored just one goal in its last six periods of hockey, losing to Philadelphia and HERSHEY this week. The B-Sens start the night six points in front of the Phantoms for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East Division, but Philly has two games in hand on the Senators. John Paddock's Phantoms are home Saturday against Grand Rapids. Elsewhere in the East, Albany is at home against Springfield and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is home against Toronto.
Saturday's game can be heard via the BEARS Radio Network (100.1 FM, 1490 AM, Sportsjuice.com, AHLLive.com) beginning with the pregame show at 6:40 p.m. John Walton and Ed Coffey have the call of the action. Call the GIANT Center box office for more information at (717) 534-3911.