12/09/2011 - HARTFORD, Conn. – Ryan Potulny and Keith Aucoin each posted three points to help the HERSHEY BEARS skate past the Connecticut Whale by a 5-3 score on Friday night at XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The BEARS took three penalties in the opening period, but the penalty kill did its job by keeping the surging Whale power play off of the scoreboard. HERSHEY’s lone power play chance was unsuccessful. The BEARS outshot Connecticut 8-4 after 20 minutes.
HERSHEY then earned two man-advantage opportunities in the middle frame, but both netminders Dany Sabourin and Connecticut’s Chad Johnson kept the game scoreless. The BEARS would finally break through and grab the lead at 13:52 when former Whale blueliner Tomas Kundratek fired a wrist shot through traffic and over Johnson’s right shoulder. Jacob Micflikier and Potulny earned the assists.
On the BEARS’ fourth power play of the night, Potulny one-timed a feed from Chris Bourque past Johnson and under the crossbar to give the BEARS a 2-0 lead at 16:22. Aucoin also assisted.
The BEARS then opened up a 4-0 lead just after the midway point of the third. Bourque took a center-point slap shot that slid along the ice and underneath the pads of Johnson at 9:40, with assists going to Aucoin and Patrick McNeill. Just 32 seconds later, Christian Hanson forced the Whale defense into a turnover in the right corner, and then made a behind-the-back pass to Matt Pope who turned and fired a snap shot past Johnson.
The Whale began a furious comeback at 11:36 when Tim Erixon’s shot from the right boards deflected off of Kelsey Tessier and past Sabourin. Just 1:13 later, the Whale tried a similar play from the left corner, and Kris Newbury redirected a pass from Mats Zuccarello into the net to cut the BEARS lead to 4-2.
Zuccarello made it 4-3 on the Whale’s seventh power play of the game, as he got a stick on a pass from Erixon and ramped the puck over Sabourin’s glove at 16:59.
With Johnson on the bench for an extra attacker, Aucoin won a defensive zone faceoff and then grabbed a pass from Boyd Kane to take off on a two-on-one rush. With 0.9 seconds left on the clock, Aucoin fed Potulny for the shot into the empty net.
Sabourin improved to 6-4-1 in stopping 21 shots. Johnson fell to 8-4-2 on the season with 22 saves in the losing effort.The win pushes the BEARS back to the top of the East Division with a record of 13-6-3-2.
HERSHEY returns home tomorrow, December 10 for a 7:00 PM matchup with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The first 5,000 fans will receive a flashlight courtesy of Capital BlueCross.
Individual tickets for this and all regular-season home games are on sale now by calling (717) 508-BEAR, or by visiting ticketmaster.com.
HERSHEY BEARS season ticket plans are also on sale now by calling (717) 508-BEAR, with many different flexible plans still available. Season ticket plans start as low as $160.
Game Recap: http://theahl.com/stats/official-game-report.php?game_id=1008991