HERSHEY, Pa. – Eric Tangradi posted one assist, Robert Bortuzzo tallied two goals, and John Curry’s 27 saves earned a share of the win in helping the Eastern Conference All-Stars to an 11-8 victory over the Western Conference All-Stars on Monday night at Giant Center, in the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital Blue Cross.
Hershey’s Andrew Gordon got the East on the board a record 16 seconds into the contest, but the Western Conference, co-coached by Penguins head bench boss John Hynes, rattled off four unanswered goals to take a 4-1 lead halfway through the first. But as a part of a three-goal comeback, Tangradi first set up Syracuse forward Kyle Palmieri for the East’s second tally at 13:47, and Bortuzzo began his night to remember when he scored his first All-Star goal at 14:08.
His second of the game came in the middle frame when All-Star MVP Bobby Butler fed Bridgeport’s Rhett Rakhshani in the slot, who in turn dropped a pass across to the left circle. Bortuzzo one-timed a shot past Hamilton’s Curtis Sanford to give the East a 5-4 edge at 10:13 of the second, a lead which the squad would not relinquish.
Coinciding with Bortuzzo’s goal was the entrance of John Curry, who came on to replace Manchester’s Martin Jones. The East played with just two goaltenders due to an injury to Hershey’s Braden Holtby, so Jones and Curry split half of the game. Curry, fresh off of earning the top goaltender award in Sunday’s AHL Skills Competition, went on to make several highlight-reel saves and help the East outscore the West 7-4 over the final two periods.
The Penguins will resume their quest to stay on top of the American Hockey League standings when they play the next home game on Friday, February 4 at 7:05 p.m. The Manitoba Moose will be in town for the first of two visits. The first 5,000 fans through the gates will receive a Penguins All-Star poster.
This Friday is also a special Black and Gold Friday, presented by McCarthy Tire. The night will revolve around the NFL championship game featuring the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Fans are encouraged to show their allegiance by wearing their favorite team’s football jersey to the game. There will be super football themed giveaways throughout the night, football-styled intermission contests, and trivia questions concerning the big game. The Penguins organization will also show it’s backing for the cross-state football team, by offering fans a chance to win a special Steelers raffle item. McCarthy Tire will also donate four tickets to a future Steelers home game which will be raffled for charity. The team’s support will be obvious to everyone in attendance as the center ice logo, which usually features the Penguins crest, will be switched to showcase the Pittsburgh Steelers emblem.