Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Hershey Wins In Head Coach's Milestone Game

Three Straight Goals Lead Bears Past Slumping Pirates
Hershey Bears 5, Portland Pirates 2
(Photo courtesy of Just Sports Photography)

Tonight marked the 1,000th professional game of Head Coach Bruce Boudreau's career. And the Bears made sure he would have something to celebrate it by as they triumphed at home before 6,511 at the Giant Center.

Frederic Cassivi returned to the Bears lineup today after his short recall to the Washington Capitals on Sunday. He services were needed to backup Olie Kolzig following a lower body injury to reserve Brent Johnson.

The first period had the same feel as some of the recent Capitals games as sound defensive play dominated the early action. That would change as the intermission approached. The Pirates would strike first following a Timo Helbling turnover in his own zone. Helbling blew a tire as he was trying to clear the puck and fell to the ice, sending the puck right to the waiting stick of Joe Motzko. He found himself wide open in the slot and beat Cassivi glove side for his 14th goal of the season in an unassisted fashion.

The Bears were able to respond back before the end of the period, following a Trevor Byrne penalty they recorded their team's 18th short handed goal of the season when Alexandre Giroux entered the offensive zone on a two on one break. He slid a nice pass across to Quinton Laing who made the most of it, tying the score at one with his 11th of the season as the teams headed into the intermission.

The turning point of the game might just have been Hershey's ability to kill of a Pirates two man advantage at the start of the second period. They used that momentum to score twice in the period and take a 3-1 lead heading into the third. Joey Tenute put home the rebound from the left faceoff circle following a Chad Wiseman shot from the point for a power play goal, his 15th of the year. Hendricks followed that up with a hard working goal as he stuffed home the loose puck right at the goal line after Pirates goaltender Sabastien Caron could not coral it.

Less than five minutes into the third the Pirates tried to make a game of it after a weak backhand shot by Clay Wilson slipped past Cassivi to pull them within one at 3-2. It was definitely a shot that Cassivi would like to have back, but it didn't hurt the Bears as only three minutes later a Kyle Wilson goal would put Hershey back up by 2. A nice individual effort by Dave Steckel later in the period on a 4 on 4 situation put the game away for good. He pick-pocketed a Pirates defenseman in Portland's zone and went in all alone on Caron. A nice deke notched his 19th goal of the year and made the final 5-2.

With the game no longer in doubt, things got a little chippy towards the end. A pair of fights ensued less than a minute apart between the Pirates' Geoff Peters and the Bears captain Matt Hendricks, and Dean Arsene and Greg Amadio.

The win improved Hershey's record to 31-9-5-5 for 72 points on the season. That kept the Bears within 5 points of the division leading Norfolk Admirals as they were able to come from behind and beat the Albany River Rats in a shootout 5-4.

Your Top 3 Stars:

1. Dave Steckel, Hershey 1 goal
2. Alexandre Giroux, Hershey 2 assists
3. Frederic Cassivi, Hershey 32 saves

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