SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Stanislav Galiev scored on his first career AHL shootout attempt and helped Braden Holtby’s 31 saves in regulation and overtime – and six stops in the shootout – stand up in a 3-2 victory over the Springfield Falcons on Friday night at MassMutual Center. The win was the BEARS’ third in a row.
The Falcons opened up the scoring when Holtby was unable to find a loose puck that deflected toward his left. Michael Chaput pounced on the loose puck and slid a shot inside the right post for a 1-0 lead 8:51 into the game.
It took just over two minutes for the BEARS to find the equalizer. The line of Boyd Kane, Mike Carman and Garrett Mitchell connected when the trio chased a dump-in toward the right corner. Mitchell won the puck battle and flipped a bouncing puck toward the slot. Kane was there to lift a shot over the glove of Falcons goaltender Curtis McElhinney at 10:57 for his first goal of the campaign.
The Falcons once again regained their lead when Ryan Johansen held the puck on a two-on-two rush. He sent a shot toward the net from the right circle and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault held his stick low to deflect the shot over Holtby’s glove at 4:14.
The BEARS again bounced right back, this time getting production from their fourth line. Garrett Stafford started the play by firing a hard pass from the point to Barry Almeida, who was stationed at the right post. Almeida’s stuff attempt snuck under the arm of McElhinney and came to Matt Pope, who had a gaping net into which he deposited the puck at 7:15. The goal was also Pope’s first of the campaign.
From this point, the Falcons began a parade to the penalty box, first allowing the BEARS 45 seconds’ worth of a two-man advantage late in the second period, then giving HERSHEY four minutes of power play time when Audy-Marchessault was slapped with two minor penalties after a goalmouth scrum. At the end of the two-man advantage, Cam Atkinson earned a shorthanded breakaway on his way out of the penalty box, but Holtby stopped him with a point-blank save.
The two teams played an up-tempo third period and overtime, but both netminders held their own.
The BEARS were allowed the first shot of the shootout and Jeff Taffe converted, while Matt Calvert answered for the Falcons. From there, both Holtby and McElhinney turned aside their next five shooters. Galiev jumped the boards for the top of the seventh round and snapped a shot over the glove of McElhinney, while Holtby stopped former BEARS captain Andrew Joudrey on the final shot.
Holtby improves to 2-1-0 on the season, while McElhinney fell to 5-1-1 with 27 saves through regulation and overtime.
The BEARS ended the night 0-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
HERSHEY will visit the Bridgeport Sound Tigers tomorrow, November 3, with faceoff set for 7:00 PM. Fans may listen to the game on the BEARS Radio Network of stations WQIC-100.1 FM, WTKT-1460 AM, WRBT-94.9 FM HD-2, and the iHeartRadio application for Android and Apple devices.
The BEARS return home on Saturday, November 10 for a 7:00 PM faceoff against the St. John’s IceCaps. Tickets for this game and all HERSHEY BEARS home games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR, or online at TicketMaster.com.