HERSHEY – The Hershey Bears (6-5-2-2) successfully closed out a team at home Saturday night, stomping the Binghamton Senators (12-5) seven game winning streak with a 5-2 victory at Giant Center. Philipp Grubauer (4-3-1) earned the win in net for the Chocolate and White, recording 29 saves on 31 shots. Hershey increased a 3-2 second period lead, picking up their sixth win when leading after two periods (6-1-2-1).
“I thought it was the most complete game we’ve played all year,” Hershey Bears coach Mike Haviland said after the game. “It has to be that way when you’re playing one of the best teams in the Conference. I thought from the start right to the end, maybe a little lapse in the third, but that’s understandable.”
“They’re a really good team, but I really liked the way we played tonight. I thought we had energy, emotion and I thought we did a great job down low on them in the offensive zone cycling the puck. We did a good job eliminating their second chances in our end.”
The Bears improved to 5-2-1-2 in their last ten games and 4-0-0-1 when scoring four goals or more.
Brandon Segal and Julien Brouillette (power play) provided insurance goals in the final period, following numerous undisciplined Senators’ penalties. Binghamton forwards Matt Puempel and Mark Stone added consecutive goals over a span of 8:22 beginning with 2:30 left in the second frame.
“He’s a big body, he’s got a touch, he’s got good hands,” Haviland praised of Segal, a veteran forward in his first year with Hershey. “We’re a pretty decent sized team with him, we’ve got some big wingers. I think he brings a lot to the table, he can fight, he sticks up for his teammates, he got a big goal there to make it 4-2. He’s been playing well and it’s good for us as a team.”
Hershey notched three goals in the first period, all coming during even strength play over a span of 1:37. Jeff Taffe weaved his way down the right wall and briskly fed winger Casey Wellman who blasted the puck past Binghamton net minder Nathan Lawson (8-2).The Senators goalie registered 35 saves on 40 shots in his 11th game of the season.
Dmitry Orlov’s rocket shot from the point found twine just 30 seconds later, developed by forwards Derek Whitmore and Ryan Stoa. Peter LeBlanc prolonged the Bears’ offensive barrage 12:54 into the opening stanza, beating Lawson up high on a wrist shot following a feed from defenseman Cameron Schilling.
The Bears’ penalty kill, which entered 9th in the AHL at 84.4%, continued to play strong, going 4-4 shorthanded. They’ve killed off ten power plays in their past ten games, including a 6-6 night last Saturday on the road against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Hershey returns home Sunday night for another home contest against Binghamton.
“I think guys are really starting to understand where they’re supposed to be and what we expect out of them in certain areas,” Haviland said. “It’s a process, it’s them getting used to me, it’s a new group, a new system. I think we’re really eliminating teams’ chances in the last month and giving ourselves a chance.”
- Attendance: 10,100
- Bears Injuries: Tomas Kundratek
- Hershey Healthy Scratches: Defensemen Chay Genoway, Patrick Wellar and forwards Jamie Johnson, Joel Rechlicz and Garrett Mitchell
Nathan Walker-Jeff Taffe-Casey Wellman
Derek Whitmore-Ryan Stoa-Brandon Segal
Josh Brittain-Peter LeBlanc-Dane Byers
John Mitchell-Matt Watkins-Nicolas Deschamps
Cameron Schilling-Patrick Wey
Julien Brouillette-Dmitry Orlov
David Kolomatis-Connor Carrick
- Peter LeBlanc (goal, assist, five shots on goal)
- Derek Whitmore (two assists)
- Brandon Segal (goal, fight, three shots on goal)