HERSHEY, Pa. – Curtis McElhinney stopped 19 shots and Matt Calvert netted a shorthanded goal to give the Springfield Falcons all the offense needed in a 1-0 victory over the HERSHEY BEARS on Saturday night at GIANT Center.
After two solid penalty kills in the opening period, the BEARS earned their first power play chance with an opportunity to grab momentum when Andrew Joudrey was called for interference. But on an attempted BEARS dump-in from the neutral zone, Calvert stole the puck, raced down center ice untouched and beat BEARS netminder Braden Holtby with a deke to the forehand at 18:24.
The Falcons carried their 1-0 edge into the second period and earned a huge opportunity to take a bigger lead when Garrett Stafford was whistled for a double-minor high sticking penalty. But Holtby and the BEARS penalty killing unit shut the door, and did it again shortly afterward on a penalty called on Stanislav Galiev.
Still trailing by just one goal in the third period, the play of the game came from Stafford. With Tomas Kubalik bearing down the left wing on a partial breakaway, Holtby came out for a poke check and missed, leaving the net vacant. Kubalik shot the puck at the net but Stafford came out of nowhere to jump in front of the shot and bat the puck away with his arm. The play was reviewed and the call of no goal was confirmed.
Another late double-minor for high sticking against the BEARS proved to be costly as the hosts were never able to get back to even strength before time ran out.
McElhinney earned his league-best 15th win and sixth shutout and improved to 15-3-2. Holtby stopped 29 shots to earn the third star of the game, but took the tough-luck loss and fell to 11-9-1. The BEARS failed on five power play chances but killed off all nine Springfield chances.
The BEARS will resume play the day after Christmas on Wednesday, December 26, as they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:00 PM. Tickets for this game and all HERSHEY BEARS home games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR, or online at TicketMaster.com.