01/11/2012 - CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Garrett Mitchell scored in the 12th round of the shootout, Keith Aucoin and Jacob Micflikier scored power-play goals in regulation, while Dany Sabourin made 37 saves in regulation and overtime and eight of 12 in the shootout to pace the HERSHEY BEARS to a 3-2 win over the Charlotte Checkers on Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The BEARS were forced to kill two penalties in the first period, and faced abundant chances by the Checkers but Dany Sabourin kept the team in the game with a number of good saves. With 2:29 left in the frame, however, the Checkers got the first goal of the game when Zach Boychuk spun off of the right boards and sent a shot off of a BEARS stick and over Sabourin’s glove from the slot.
The BEARS then found the game that the club is known for, scoring on both power play chances given to them in the second period. Without veteran scratch Chris Bourque, Aucoin shared the point duty and carried down the left boards on the first chance. His slap shot from the left circle deflected and slowed down on its way through Mike Murphy’s pads, allowing the visitors to tie the score at 13:09.
On the next man advantage, Graham Mink’s one-time deflection off of Aucoin’s pass was saved by Murphy. Jacob Micflikier found the puck in the right corner, held it, then banked a shot off Murphy’s arm and into the net at 17:27, giving the BEARS a 2-1 lead at the second intermission.
The hosts tied it up with a quick strike in the third period. With a bouncing puck eluding two BEARS defensemen in front of Sabourin, Boychuk found it and slapped it home from the top of the crease at 2:09.
The teams would play the remainder of regulation and overtime without any further scoring, and the play of the period came when the Checkers killed off the only penalty of the period with 2:07 left in regulation.
The BEARS had to tie the score in the shootout at two key points. Down 3-2 in the sixth round, Danny Richmond put a nifty flip shot over the right pad of Murphy to push the shootout onward, while Patrick McNeill’s chance in the 11th round saved the BEARS a setback after Nicolas Blanchard beat Sabourin with a high wrist shot. After Sabourin turned aside Bobby Sanguinetti, Mitchell skated down center ice and lost his balance while trying a deke to the right. Falling down, Mitchell deposited the puck behind Murphy for the winner.
Sabourin improves to 10-4-2 with the win, while Murphy falls to 13-9-1 in making 27 saves in regulation and overtime.
The BEARS finished the night 2-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
With the win, HERSHEY claims the overall lead in the American Hockey League, improving to 22-8-4-3 for 51 points.
The BEARS and Checkers will play again tomorrow night, January 12 at 7:00 PM at Time Warner Cable Arena. The team returns home on Saturday, January 21 for a 7:00 PM faceoff against the Manchester Monarchs. Individual tickets for this and all regular-season home games are on sale now by calling (717) 508-BEAR, or by visiting ticketmaster.com.
Game Recap: http://theahl.com/stats/official-game-report.php?game_id=1009180