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Bears Hold On to Defeat Penguins

by Scott Stuccio / Washington Capitals

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa.Dany Sabourin held off a furious charge by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, making 24 of his 32 saves over the final two periods to help the HERSHEY BEARS hold on for a 3-2 victory on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

The BEARS struck for three goals before the first period was halfway completed, and did it in a span of 4:45. At the 4:45 mark and at the expiration of a BEARS power play, Boyd Kane backhanded a shot from the right of Brad Thiessen’s goal crease over the goaltender’s glove hand for his 12th of the season. Steve Oleksy and Garrett Stafford earned the assists.

Just four minutes later, Jon DiSalvatore placed a perfect pass from the left circle onto the tape of Jeff Taffe, who also scored on a backhander over Thiessen’s blocker.

Ryan Potulny then made it 3-0 when he scored in his third consecutive game. Taking a pass from Casey Wellman, Potulny let a tricky shot go from the slot that deflected off of the right goal post and past Thiessen at 9:30. Jeff Zatkoff would come on in relief of Thiessen after the BEARS’ third goal.

The Penguins then earned consecutive power plays and the momentum began to swing. On the second chance and after Kevin Marshall helped Sabourin make a stop on the goal line, Tom Kostopoulos forced the puck home at 15:15 to get the hosts on the board.

The second period was all Penguins, as the BEARS were outshot 16-2. At 7:37, the lone shot to beat Sabourin came from a right-point shot by Joey Mormina that clanged in off of the crossbar.

Moments before the BEARS converted a big penalty kill in the third period, Sabourin made his best save when he stopped Jayson Megna’s rebound attempt off of a shot from Bobby Farnham.

With time winding down, the Penguins got Zatkoff to the bench for a sixth attacker. The hosts had a scoring chance in the final 20 seconds but could not convert. With 16.5 seconds remaining, Kostopoulos and Oleksy dropped the gloves in front of Sabourin’s crease. The ensuing faceoff came at neutral ice, allowing the BEARS to skate to victory.

Sabourin improves to 8-8-3, while Thiessen fell to 12-10-1 in making four saves on seven shots in 9:30 of work. Zatkoff stopped all eight shots he faced in 49:10 of relief work.

The BEARS ended the night 0-for-1 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.

The HERSHEY BEARS return home tomorrow, March 2 for a 7:00 PM faceoff against the Norfolk Admirals. The first 8,000 fans will receive a rally towel courtesy of Ames Janitorial Services. Individual tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at

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