HERSHEY, Pa. – Dane Byers netted the game’s only goal 2:24 into overtime, ending a superb goaltending battle that featured a 41-save shutout by Philipp Grubauer and sending the Hershey Bears to a 1-0 victory over the Binghamton Senators on Sunday evening at a sold-out GIANT Center.
The first period ended scoreless thanks mainly to stellar goaltending by Andrew Hammond and Grubauer. The Bears escaped the period scoreless by killing off 1:27 of a Senators two-man advantage that carried to the intermission.
Neither team cashed in on one second-period power play each, keeping the tension running high. In the third, Binghamton would outshoot Hershey 18-11, but again Grubauer kept the team alive.
The overtime belonged entirely to Hershey. The Bears fired five shots at Hammond before finding the back of the net, when Byers set up in between the hash marks. Nate Schmidt kept a puck onside and then fed David Kolomatis at the top of the right circle. Kolomatis labeled a perfect slap pass onto Byers’ tape, and the puck deflected past the blocker of Hammond for the winner.
Grubauer’s third shutout of the season moves him to 13-11-2, while Hammond – the game’s deserving third star – stopped 38 of 39 but fell to 24-18-3.
The point puts Binghamton into the Calder Cup Playoffs, and the two points for Hershey – combined with the Norfolk Admirals’ two points earned in a shootout win at Portland – keep the Bears and Admirals tied at 86 points. Thanks to the Bears having more regulation wins, the Bears remain in the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed.
The final week of the AHL’s regular season will fittingly feature the Bears and Admirals against each other in a pair of games at Norfolk Scope, beginning Wednesday, April 16 at 7:15 PM. The two teams meet again on Friday, April 18 at 7:30 PM.
The team returns home to host the Adirondack Phantoms on Saturday, April 19 at 7:00 PM. Limited tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or by visiting TicketMaster.com. All games are also available on the Bears Radio Network of affiliates WQIC-FM 100.1, WKBO-AM 1230, WRBT-FM 94.9 HD-2 and WOYK-AM 1350, and on WHP-AM 580 on the iHeart Radio application for smartphone users. The Bears Radio Network is proudly presented by Turkey Hill Minit Markets. Fans may also watch the game for a small fee at http://www.ahllive.com.
NOTES: The Bears injury scratch was C Matt Watkins…The Bears healthy scratches were D Brett Flemming, RW Stanislav Galiev, RW Joel Rechlicz and LW Nathan Walker… Hershey finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill…The Bears extended their regulation unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-1-1)…LW Dane Byers extended his point streak to five games with his game-winning goal (3-3-6)…The Bears won for the first time this season when scoring one goal (1-10-0-1)…D David Kolomatis set a new personal best for points in a single season with his assist (7-23-30).