GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – Julien Brouillette scored two power play goals, punctuating the night with an empty-net tally and fending off an Adirondack Phantoms comeback attempt in a 5-3 Hershey Bears victory on Friday night at Glens Falls Civic Center.
The Bears used a relentless attack down low to create the game’s first goal. After the Phantoms failed to clear the zone, Michael Latta rushed back to cover the left point for a pinching Cameron Schilling. Latta sent a pass toward the net that was deflected on goal. Phantoms goaltender Yann Danis made the save but could not control the rebound. After Dustin Gazley hit the goal post on an in-close chance, Jeff Taffe scooped the loose puck into the net at 10:27.
The Phantoms countered at 17:10, after the Bears coughed up the puck in the neutral zone. Bruno Gervais forced the play, and then Chris VandeVelde led a two-on-one rush. Netminder David Leggio made the original save on VandeVelde, but the rebound was slammed home by Rob Bordson.
The Bears opened up a three-goal lead in the second period, rattling off three straight tallies. Brouillette scored his fifth power play goal of the season, pinching in from the left point to deposit a cross-crease pass from Nicolas Deschamps at 5:08.
Just 57 seconds later, captain Dane Byers would finish a behind-the-back pass from Matt Watkins by chipping a shot past the arm of Danis for a 3-1 Hershey lead.
Peter LeBlanc then made it 4-1, following up another puck that Danis was unable to tie up. Watkins again factored into the play by getting a scoring chance in close. With Danis down, LeBlanc flipped his ninth goal of the season into the net at 15:43.
The Phantoms then woke up in the third period, playing a large part of the early minutes in the Hershey zone. Oliver Lauridsen would work the puck off the side boards for Mark Alt. Alt skated toward the slot, and after Leggio denied him twice in the frame, slid a low shot through a screen at 7:34.
The Bears then were tagged for back-to-back minor penalties, giving the Phantoms a two-man advantage. Gervais cashed in at 15:34, cutting the Hershey lead to one goal.
But a holding penalty on Bordson with 1:28 left to play would halt the Adirondack rally. With Danis off for a sixth attacker, Brouillette fired into the empty net at 18:46, sealing the win.
Leggio made 29 saves in improving to 14-12-2 on the season, while Danis fell to 6-5-2, stopping 19 saves on 23 shots.
The Bears won their sixth consecutive game to improve to 23-14-3-3 on the season.
The Bears and Phantoms will play again tomorrow, February 1 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. Faceoff is at a special 1:00 PM start time. The Bears then return home on February 2 for a special 2:00 PM matchup against the Norfolk Admirals, in the annual Super Bowl Sunday game. Tickets for this and all remaining home games are available by calling (717) 508-BEAR, by stopping into the GIANT Center box office or by visiting TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: The Bears injury scratches were RW Stanislav Galiev, D Tomas Kundratek, RW Garrett Mitchell and D Patrick Wellar…The healthy scratches were LW John Mitchell, RW Joel Rechlicz and LW Derek Whitmore…Hershey finished the night 2-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill...C Jeff Taffe’s goal was the 100th point of his Hershey career…D Julien Brouillette set a new personal AHL best for goals in a season (eight) with his two power-play tallies.