HERSHEY, Pa. – Mike Sgarbossa and Bill Thomas each registered one goal and two assists, and the Lake Erie Monsters benefitted from six consecutive power plays en route to a 3-2 win over the HERSHEY BEARS on Friday night at GIANT Center.
The HERSHEY power play had two chances early and once again clicked in the first period, as Boyd Kane netted his second strike on the man advantage in as many games to give the BEARS the lead. Holding the puck in the right corner, Kane banked a shot off of a Monsters defenseman and into the net at 12:39. Ryan Potulny and Tomas Kundratek earned the assists.
Off of the ensuing faceoff, the Monsters peeled back and then turned up ice on a two-on-one rush led by Sgarbossa. His cross-ice pass found Thomas, who fired it past goaltender Philipp Grubauer at 12:54 to tie the game.
Lake Erie, who were on the penalty kill four consecutive times in the first period, picked up the first two power plays in the second frame and scored just as a two-man advantage expired. With Grubauer’s pad briefly tied up by Thomas, Sgarbossa fed the right circle for an easy tap-in by Andrew Agozzino at 14:05.
The BEARS then spent nearly the first half of the third period on the penalty kill, which ultimately cost the team the win. After Jeff Taffe picked up a high sticking minor, Jon Kalinski was called for an apparent elbowing major, which gave the Monsters a lengthy two-man advantage. Sgarbossa deflected a shot off of Grubauer at 2:32, giving Lake Erie a two-goal lead.
Things went from bad to worse as Kane was handed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the time of the goal, keeping the Monsters on a two-man advantage for another full two minutes. The BEARS were able to kill it off, and escaped trailing by just two goals.
The Monsters held the lead until the final three minutes. But it was another power play strike that helped the BEARS make things interesting. With Grubauer on the bench and a sixth attacker on the ice, Taffe set up in the slot to fire a low one-timer from Jon DiSalvatore past Aittokallio at 18:24.
Grubauer was again pulled for an extra attacker inside the final 40 seconds of regulation, but the BEARS could not find the equalizer.
Grubauer suffered his first regulation loss of the season to fall to 2-2-0, making 20 saves. Aittokallio improves to 11-8-0 with 24 saves on the night. Each team finished the night 2-for-6 on the power play.
The BEARS now head outside to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the Capital BlueCross AHL Outdoor Classic on Sunday, January 20 at 5:00 PM at HERSHEYPARK Stadium. The two teams’ alumni will face off in a game tomorrow, January 19 at 3:00 PM. All tickets purchased include admission to the Alumni Game, the Outdoor Classic, and one complimentary pass to HERSHEYPARK valid through July 4, 2013.
Tickets are still available for the weekend, and are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, the HERSHEYPARK Stadium box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.