HARTFORD, Conn. – Kris Newbury was the lone scorer in the third round of a shootout, helping the Connecticut Whale claim a 3-2 victory over the HERSHEY BEARS on Friday night at Hartford’s XL Center.
The two teams played a penalty-free yet physical first period. The hosts eventually got on the board first on a strong effort through neutral ice by Nick Palmieri. The Connecticut winger stickhandled past two BEARS poke-check attempts, carried to the bottom of the left circle and slid a backhand shot underneath the pad of goaltender Philipp Grubauer at 5:32.
HERSHEY tied the score at 12:16 following a broken two-on-one rush. Jon DiSalvatore attempted a pass to Nicolas Deschamps but the pass was blocked. Deschamps followed the play behind the net, walked out in front and fired a shot that was padded aside by Whale netminder Jason Missiaen. Deschamps got enough of his rebound to tuck the puck under Missiaen’s pad for his first goal with the BEARS. Jeff Taffe earned his 41st assist of the season on the play.
The BEARS would take their first lead of the game at 11:45 of the second on hard work by Boyd Kane. The BEARS captain drew two men to him just inside the offensive zone, and then slid a perfect pass ahead to Ryan Potulny. From the inside of the left circle, Potulny let a snap shot go that sailed over the blocker of Missiaen. The assist was the 499th career AHL point for Kane.
But inside the final minute of the middle period, Connecticut tied the score. Kris Newbury picked up his 38th assist of the campaign when he fed the center point for Blake Parlett. The defenseman then sent a slap shot past a screened Grubauer at 19:04.
Neither team would score in the third period, a frame that featured the first power plays of the game. The Whale would kill off two HERSHEY chances, and the BEARS denied the shortened opportunity of Connecticut.
At the 3:18 mark of overtime, Connecticut forward Christian Thomas was impeded on a solo scoring chance, earning him a penalty shot. Grubauer lunged out with his right pad to make a save, and keep the game tied.
Newbury struck in the third round of the shootout when he tucked a backhand shot from in close underneath Grubauer. Missiaen was credited with all five stops in the Whale net.
Missiaen finished with 35 saves on 37 HERSHEY shots to improve to 10-4-2. Grubauer drops to 10-5-2 with 26 saves on 28 shots through regulation and overtime.
The BEARS finished the night 0-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.
With the win, Connecticut jumps into seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 70 points, one point ahead of the eighth-place BEARS.
The BEARS continue their road trip tomorrow, March 23 with a 7:00 PM matchup against the Manchester Monarchs from Verizon Wireless Arena. The club 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 Eater 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.