MANCHESTER, N.H. – Ryan Potulny scored two power-play goals, Chris Bourque took over the AHL scoring lead setting up one and Braden Holtby stopped 33 shots to help the HERSHEY BEARS defeat the Manchester Monarchs by a 2-1 score on Saturday night at Verizon Wireless Arena.
Justin Azevedo got the Monarchs going early, scoring on the first shot of the game when he deflected a chance from Patrick Mullen past Holtby at 1:08.
Joel Rechlicz nearly tied the score when he grabbed a rebound from underneath Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones and stuffed it across the line, but the referee ruled the whistle had blown prior to the puck going in. Rechlicz then dropped the gloves with Manchester’s Justin Johnson. The BEARS earned a power-play chance shortly afterward but were turned aside. The team ended up with an 18-6 shot advantage at the first intermission.
After another fight between Andrew Carroll and Richard Clune in the middle stanza, the BEARS earned their second opportunity on the man advantage and made it count. Patrick McNeill collected a pass from Graham Mink on the left half-wall, and sent a pass through a seam to Potulny at the right circle. Potulny’s one-timer slid through Jones at 3:16, tying the score.
Nearly six minutes later, Potulny one-timed another cross-ice feed from Bourque and beat Jones to the glove side at 9:05, putting the BEARS ahead 2-1.
That was all the offense that the visitors would need, as Holtby turned aside all 15 third-period shots from Manchester. Holtby improves to 19-11-1 on the campaign, while Jones, solid in making 39 saves, drops to 13-14-1. The BEARS ended the night 2-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
The BEARS will continue their road trip tomorrow, February 19 with a 3:00 PM faceoff against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The team returns home to host the Norfolk Admirals on Saturday, February 25 with faceoff at 7:00 PM. Individual tickets for this and all regular-season home games are on sale now by calling (717) 508-BEAR, or by visiting ticketmaster.com.