HERSHEY, Pa. – Jeff Taffe scored twice and set up two others, three teammates had multiple-point games and Philipp Grubauer made 36 saves to push the HERSHEY BEARS to a 5-2 win over the Adirondack Phantoms on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
Despite being outshot 12-1 early in the first period, the BEARS would be the team to go in front with 45.3 seconds left. Garrett Stafford started the play by passing down the wall to Taffe in the left corner. Taffe then chipped a puck in front that trickled into the pads of Phantoms goaltender Brian Boucher. Peter LeBlanc fished the puck loose and quickly tucked a backhander home for his seventh goal of the season.
Penalty trouble then plagued Adirondack in the second period, as the BEARS would earn three power plays. With Matt Pope and Zack FitzGerald in the box serving coincidental roughing penalties, the BEARS capitalized with open ice when Boyd Kane worked a puck loose from the left corner and fed a wide-open Ryan Potulny at the net front for a tap-in and a 2-0 lead.
Just 1:08 later, on a four-on-three power play, Dmitry Orlov worked the puck from the center point to the right circle for Casey Wellman. Wellman then fired a cross-crease pass to Taffe, whose one-timer eluded Boucher for a 3-0 lead.
The BEARS earned another power play early in the third period and made it count for a 4-0 lead. Wellman blasted a feed from Taffe off of the skate of a Phantoms defenseman and past Boucher at 4:06.
The Phantoms finally broke the weekend shutout bid of Grubauer at 4:26 when Marcel Noebels slammed a rebound of Garrett Roe’s chance in front into the net.
At the expiration of a penalty kill, Orlov exited the penalty box and joined Taffe on a two-on-one rush. The two played catch, with Taffe finishing off the play at 12:49 for a 5-1 HERSHEY lead.
The Phantoms added their second goal with 1:55 left when Jason Akeson set up Garrett Roe from behind the net, and Roe’s one-timer from in close snuck under Grubauer’s pad.
Grubauer improves to 10-5-1 with the win, while Boucher stopped 19 of 24 shots and fell to 3-5-1. The BEARS finished 2-for-5 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Jon DiSalvatore (0-2-2), Orlov (0-2-2) and Wellman (1-1-2) all recorded multiple-point efforts in the BEARS’ 30th win of the season.
The HERSHEY BEARS will now embark on a three-game road trip beginning in Hartford’s XL Center on Friday, with a 7:00 PM faceoff against the Connecticut Whale. The BEARS will return home on Saturday, March 30 for a 7:00 PM matchup against the Providence Bruins. All fans in attendance will receive a ticket to Pocono International Raceway for the June 8th NASCAR Event Weekend, and all fans will also have the opportunity to come down onto the ice post-game for the Dietz and Watson Ham Shoot and a chance to win Easter food items.
Tickets for the three remaining BEARS home games may be purchased at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.