Bears’ Sabourin Stops 32, Blanks Bridgeport

Early Saturday morning the Hershey Bears returned home from Norfolk, Virginia after beating the Admirals for the second time in six days. Going into Saturday’s matinée against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Bears were only defeated once during the month of December. Their lone defeat came on December 10, when the first-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins downed the Bears, 4-2.

Saturday, the power-play went a successful 3-for-6 without Graham Mink in the lineup leading to a 5-0 beat down over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Going into the matchup, the Bears’ power-play remained best in the AHL both overall and at home. Graham Mink leads the league with nine PPG’s. He was not in the lineup Saturday missing his sixth game of the season. Without Mink in the lineup, the Hershey Bears’ man-advantage throughout the season was a total of 5-for-19 before their duel against Bridgeport.

Just over seven minutes into the game, the Bears received their first opportunity on power-play when Trevor Frischmon was sent to the box for a slash. On their first man-advantage of the game, Christian Hanson fired a turn-around slap shot past a fooled Kevin Poulin.

Exactly two minutes later, Boyd Kane picked up a pass fumbled at the point in the Hershey end and took it down ice on a breakaway. Kane went upstairs with a wrist shot making it a 2-0 Bears heading into intermission. Friday afternoon before Hershey battled Norfolk, it was announced by the American Hockey League that Boyd Kane will captain the AHL Eastern Conferecne All-Stars in the 2012 All-Star Classic. After two periods the Bears were in favor of shots, 7-5.

Into the middle frame, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers came out of the locker room and dominated the Bears from start to finish. Dany Sabourin, however, stood on his head for the Bears stopping all 16 shots he faced in the period including a breakaway and several point-blank chances. The S-Tigers began the period on a 5-0 shot run over Hershey, and again held the Chocolate and White to only seven shots in the period.

To frustrate Bridgeport even more, with only 2:39 left in a period controlled by the Tigers, Matt Ford scores for Hershey to give them a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes. Off an offensive zone faceoff, Jacob Micflikier wrapped around the net and sent a pass through the slot to a wide-open Ford who tapped it past Poulin. Shot totals after two periods were 21-14 in favor of Brideport. Period shots were 16-7.

The third goal before intermission proved to be the momentum killer, as the Bears went on to score two more in the final frame blanking the S-Tigers, 5-0. Ryan Potulny scored for Hershey twice in the period five minutes apart gaining his eighth and ninth goal of the campaign. His second two-goal game of the season dating back to Black Friday against Wilkes-Barre.

Dany Sabourin was in cruise control stopping 11 shots in the stanza. Unlike the second period, he faced little quality scoring opportunities. He gained first-star honors and recorded his second shutout of the season.

The Hershey Bears return to the ice on Sunday, December 18. They face-off against the Norfolk Admirals for the third time in eight days. The Bears escaped victorious in the first two against the Admirals by the scores of 6-3 and 4-3.

Puck drop is at 5 p.m. in Hershey.

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