HERSHEY, Pa. – Ryan Potulny tallied a hat trick and one assist and Boyd Kane also added four points to help the HERSHEY BEARS wipe out two three-goal deficits, but Eric Gryba’s shootout tally in the 13th round vaulted the Binghamton Senators to a 6-5 victory on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
The Senators scored just 51 seconds into the game when Mark Parrish carried the puck down the right wing and fed the high slot. Wacey Hamilton collected the pass after getting past the defense, broke in alone and slid a backhander through Dany Sabourin’s pads for a 1-0 lead.
Jack Downing made it 2-0 when his wrist shot from the right circle deflected in off of Sabourin’s stick at 8:05.
Potulny began his stellar night when he one-timed a Kyle Greentree pass under the crossbar behind Binghamton netminder Robin Lehner at 10:11, pulling the BEARS within one.
Leading 2-1 in the second period, the Senators stormed ahead with two more strikes. Derek Grant beat Sabourin from the right wing with a wrist shot that was set up by Stephane Da Costa just 56 seconds in. Da Costa then deposited the rebound of Gryba’s shot from the slot on the power play at 9:38, pushing the Senators ahead 4-1.
A fluke goal brought HERSHEY back within two, as Billy Ryan scored his first AHL goal at 17:37. The center tried to kick the puck onto his tape, but he couldn’t settle it. The puck then slid right through Lehner’s pads and into the goal.
The visitors scored inside the opening minute once again when Pat Cannone was allowed to walk out of the deep left corner to the bottom of the left circle, and sweep a shot past Sabourin just 18 seconds into the third period.
The BEARS then stormed back, largely because of Potulny and Boyd Kane. Sean Collins worked the puck out of his own end ahead to Kane, who crisscrossed with Potulny and dropped the puck off. Potulny grabbed the pass and snapped a shot past Lehner’s glove hand at 3:35, cutting the deficit to 5-3.
Kane was then the recipient of hard work by Potulny, who was being hooked while he carried the puck down the right wing. Potulny one-handed a pass into the slot, where Kane picked it up and fired a shot that beat Lehner at 14:03, making it a 5-4 game.
Potulny completed the hat trick by scoring his 17th power play goal of the season and 31st overall at 15:02. The BEARS worked a power play with Chris Bourque on the right point. Bourque found Kane behind the goal line, and after his stuff attempt was turned aside by Lehner, Kane got it back and passed to the top of the crease. Potulny was there to slap it home and tie the game 5-5.
An exciting overtime followed, with the BEARS outshooting Binghamton 7-5. Lehner made two tremendous stops on Kane and especially Bourque, whose one-timer off of a pass from Patrick Wellar was gloved aside.
Both fourth-round shooters, Da Costa and Kane, connected on their shootout chances and both netminders then stopped the next eight chances in succession. Gryba beat Sabourin with a wrist shot, and Lehner stopped rookie Cameron Schilling, who was making his pro debut, in the last of the 13th round.
Sabourin falls to 18-10-5 on the season, making 25 saves in regulation and overtime and 11 of 13 in the shootout. Lehner picked up the win, improving to 12-20-1 with 30 stops overall and 12 of 13 in the shootout.
The BEARS and Senators each ended the night 1-for-3 on the power play.
The point gained by the BEARS moves them to within two points of fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 38-21-4-7 (86 points).
The BEARS will travel to northeastern Pennsylvania to conclude their regular season series with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday, April 6 at 7:05 PM. The team returns for the final two regular-season games at GIANT Center on Saturday, April 7 at 7:00 PM against the Syracuse Crunch, and Sunday, April 8 at 5:00 PM against the Connecticut Whale. Tickets for these games are on sale by calling (717) 508-BEAR, or by visiting ticketmaster.com.