Amerks Take Down Bears In 15-Goal Affair

The Rochester Americans defeated the Hershey Bears 8-7 Saturday night in Hershey’s home opener, in what was a high stakes special teams battle. Half of the Americans’ goals came from the power play, which converted four of six chances on the man advantage. The Bears were also successful with the power play, netting three goals on six power plays opportunities. Hershey goalie, Dany Sabourin, stopped 22 of the 30 shots he faced, but the numbers don’t tell the entire story.

“Dany [Sabourin] was very good the other night”, Bears’ co-coach Mark French said post-game. “I think it’s probably unfair for me to characterize his performance tonight without actually really watching and sit down and watching the goals. I think it would be understandable if a little fatigue set in with the body of work he’s had the past two nights.”

Marcus Foligno led the charge offensively for the Amerks, potting two goals along with two assists on the night. Rochester forward and NHL lockout casualty, Cody Hodgson added three assists for the Amerks, with two of the helpers on the Foligno goals.

Foligno talked about the great comeback post-game, responding to if the Amerks could have written a better script.

“No, I dreamt it last night, but, no, it was just something that right from the first period” Foligno said. “I thought we had a lot of momentum and then the second I thought to myself it’s time to get going and all it takes is one point or one hit or something like that to get the game going in another direction.”

The Hershey Bears held a video presentation prior to faceoff, documenting the Bears history as they enter their 75th season in the AHL. Following the opening night video, it was game on at Giant Center.

Hershey scored first just under eight minutes into the first period on Jaff Taffe’s first goal in chocolate and white. Bears forward, Garrett Mitchell made a great pass to Taffe on the two on one chance and Taffe ripped it past Amerks goalie, David Leggio.

Rochester answered Hershey’s opening goal with some help from the Bears. Amerks forward, Rick Schofield got credit for the goal, with aid from Hershey defense-man Patrick McNeill who tipped the puck with his hand and the puck gently trickled past Sabourin.

Hershey finished off the first period with two goals in a three minute time period. Garrett Mitchell deflected a shot from defense-man Garrett Stafford and Hershey defense-man Tomas Kundratek potted home a rebound on the man advantage for his first goal of the season.

The Bears quickly converted on an early power play in the second period, increasing their lead to 4-1 over Rochester. Jon DiSalvatore ripped his second of the year past Leggio, following the set up by forwards Jeff Taffe and Ryan Potulny.

Rochester would make a spectacular comeback following the Bears early tally, notching four goals in the second frame. Evan Rankin, Marcus Foligno and T.J. Brennan potted even strength goals and Luke Adam recorded his first goal of the season on the man advantage.

“We knew energy wasn’t going be a problem”, Mark French said post-game. “Certainly the players were excited to play in front of a good crowd. We got off to the start, but obviously could of done a better job with the finish.”

Washington Capitals newly acquired forward Ryan Stoa netted his first goal with the Bears on the power play early in the second period. Both teams would enter the third period tied at five.

The Bears quickly took the lead in the third period, moving ahead 6-5 on Mattias Sjogren’s first goal of the year. He received the pass from Bears captain, Boyd Kane who placed the pass right in front of Leggio.

Rochester would maintain the momentum they generated in their four goal second period, adding three goals in the third stanza. T.J. Brennan, Marcus Foligno and Mike Mancari all tallied power play goals, pushing the Amerks lead to an 8-6 advantage.

The Bears added a late goal courtesy of Ryan Stoa, his second on the night. Stoa tipped a shot delivered from the point by Garrett Stafford. Hershey pulled net minder, Dany Sabourin with about a minute left, but couldn’t capitalize on a few chances in the offensive zone.

Post-game, the Hershey Bears sold their home opener jerseys. Matt Clackson’s uniform had the highest return, with the jersey going for $3500.

The Hershey Bears return to Giant Center tonight to take on the Binghamton Senators.

Game Notes:

  1. Ryan Potulny left for the locker room early in the second period due to injury, no update post-game from Hershey head coach, Mark French.
  2. Attendance: 9,704
  3. Garrett Mitchell earned a game misconduct due to jumping a second fight, following a fight by Patrick Wellar.
  4. Braden Holtby is also still listed as day to day
  5. Garrett Mitchell registered a Gordie Howe Hat Trick: goal, assist, fight

Three Stars:

  1. Marcus Foligno (2 goals, 2 assists)
  2. T.J. Brennan (2 goals, 1 assist)
  3. Jon DiSalvatore (1 goal, 2 assist)

You can follow Matthew on twitter @m_speck and email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.

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