ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Philipp Grubauer made 35 saves and Ryan Potulny scored a shorthanded goal to kick-start the HERSHEY BEARS offense in a 4-1 victory over the Rochester Americans on Sunday afternoon at the Blue Cross Arena.
The game started out very well for the BEARS, as the team earned quality chances on their first power play of the contest. But goaltender Nathan Lieuwen, making his AHL debut, thwarted three shots in succession to delight the crowd and keep the visitors off of the sheet.
Rochester’s power play then earned back-to-back chances but could not convert on a steady BEARS penalty kill. The Amerks also hit the post twice in the opening period.
Rochester again had a chance to grab the lead on their third power play, which carried over for 1:42 into the second period. But 26 seconds into the middle frame, Potulny knocked down a pass along the Amerks’ offensive zone boards and took off through neutral ice. Three Amerks were nearby but Potulny had a lane to the net, and he slipped a shot through the pads of Lieuwen for a 1-0 BEARS advantage.
The BEARS doubled their lead at 5:18 after a forced turnover in the Rochester zone. Garrett Mitchell poked the puck to the left for Peter LeBlanc, who cut to the net and got off a backhander that Lieuwen pushed aside. Ryan Stoa was there for the rebound, and stuffed it home at 5:18.
Patrick Rissmiller finally solved Grubauer in the third period, finishing off a four-on-two rush on the Amerks’ fifth power play of the game with a wrist shot from the right circle.
BEARS captain Boyd Kane gave his club a big insurance goal just under two minutes later. After setting up Casey Wellman for a one-timer, the puck was blocked right back to Kane, who fired a shot upstairs for his 11th of the season.
The BEARS kept the puck in the offensive zone for the balance of the period, and tacked on their fourth goal on Mitchell’s power move to the net from the left corner. He deked Lieuwen down and slid the puck in for his 10th goal of the campaign at 18:18.
Grubauer improves to 5-3-1 with the win, while Lieuwen, who stopped 17 shots, falls to 0-1-0. The BEARS finished the night 0-for-2 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
The BEARS will finish up a string of four consecutive road games on Friday, February 22 with a 7:05 PM matchup against the Binghamton Senators. The team returns home on Saturday, February 23 for a 7:00 PM faceoff against the Adirondack Phantoms. The first 4,000 fans will receive an eco-friendly tote bag courtesy of Proac Corporation. The Central PA Blood Bank will be on-site and encourage fans to donate blood prior to the game. Additionally, “Chocolate-Covered February” continues, and all fans will receive candy upon exit courtesy of the HERSHEY Company.
Tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.