HERSHEY, Pa. – Dany Sabourin and Philipp Grubauer combined to turn aside all 27 Connecticut Whale shots, and Tom Poti contributed one of the HERSHEY BEARS’ three first-period power play goals in the start of his conditioning loan en route to a 5-0 win on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
The BEARS needed just 42 seconds to grab the lead, and it came off of a Connecticut turnover. Barry Almeida took the puck off of the stick of a Whale defenseman and sent a low wrist shot inside the right post and past goaltender Cam Talbot.
Connecticut then became troubled by penalties, as the BEARS would rattle off three consecutive power play goals to open up a 4-0 lead at the first intermission. Tomas Kundratek later scored his sixth power-play goal of the season on a one-timer from the left faceoff circle while the BEARS worked a two-man advantage. His one-timer of a pass from Zach Hamill sailed past Talbot at 11:58.
Jon DiSalvatore made it 3-0 at 15:39 on a strong play by Kundratek in keeping a Connecticut clearing attempt alive. Kundratek fed Ryan Potulny on the right boards, who in turn slipped a pass toward the slot. DiSalvatore collected the puck and backhanded a shot high over Talbot’s glove for his 11th goal of the season.
Poti - a veteran of 808 NHL games and playing in his first professional game since January 12, 2011 - then snuck in from the point to tap a pass from Almeida behind Talbot at the top of the goal crease at 18:51, opening up the four-goal lead for HERSHEY.
Grubauer would replace Sabourin at the start of the second, a period which featured much more Connecticut pressure. On the visitors’ third power play of the game, Grubauer made his best save of the night when he slid across the crease and denied Christian Thomas’ one-timer with his blocker.
The BEARS would finish up their scoring on a three-on-two rush started from their defensive zone. The line of Almeida, Garrett Mitchell and Jon Kalinski again combined for a score at 10:25, when Mitchell finished off a give-and-go with Almeida by backhanding a shot over Talbot.
Talbot takes the loss and falls to 12-16-0 with 26 saves on 31 shots. The BEARS earn a team shutout but Sabourin earns the win, and improves to 6-5-0 with four saves on four shots faced in 20 minutes of work.
The BEARS ended the night 3-for-9 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The BEARS will hit the road to face the Worcester Sharks on Wednesday, January 16 at 7:00 PM. The team returns home for a 7:00 PM matchup against the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday, January 18 at 7:00 PM. Tickets for this game and all home games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.