The Hershey Bears entered Saturday with only one win out of four attempts this season against the Binghamton Senators. Philipp Grubauer faced the Senators in his first career AHL game back on October 21, and fell 2-1 in overtime. Looking for his first career win against the Senators, Grubauer yielded three, but topped Bingo 4-3.
Binghamton has only lost one game in regulation this entire season when they score the game’s first goal. With superb goaltending from Robin Lehner, the Bears’ looked to pound the crease and draw first blood early. For the second consecutive home game, Boyd Kane tallied first for Hershey to give his squad the 1-0 lead.
On their first power play of the night, Peter LeBlanc walked the goal line and sent a sharp angle shot on frame. Lehner left a juicy rebound in the low-slot for Kane to knock into the net. Kane’s tenth tally of the season was at the 6:22 mark of the opening frame.
The Sens lead the AHL in shorthanded goals, and with 8:35 left in the first period, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his team’s 12th shorty of the 2012-13 campaign. Following a Garrett Stafford turnover in the offensive zone, Pageau walked in on a breakaway and fooled Grubauer with a shot low to the ice.
But 2:26 later, Cameron Schilling put the Bears back on top, 2-1. Jeff Taffe sent a perfect cross-ice feed to Schilling, leading to a quick snap shot from the top of the right face off circle.
Despite the shots tied at 10-10, after 20 minutes Hershey possessed a 2-1 lead at Giant Center.
Only 2:29 into the middle period, Derek Grant drew even for Bingo. He entered the offensive zone and surprised Grubauer with a quick backhander to tie the game.
Minutes later, Danick Paquette in his very first game at the AHL level made it well-known to the fans that he is not afraid to drop the mitts. Paquette threw hay-makers with Darren Kramer to send a spark of energy and motivation throughout his team’s bench.
The fight evidently worked for Hershey, as only 16 seconds later at the 4:20 mark, Jeff Taffe gave his their third lead of the night. A Julien Brouillette shot from the point rolled across the goal line to put the Bears back on top. The fortunate bounces continued for the Bears, as they grabbed their first insurance tally of the night with 5:41 left in the period.
On the man-advantage, Jon DiSalvatore sent a pass towards the front of the net. The puck hit the stick of a defender in front and bounced behind Robin Lehner to make it a 4-2 game.
But with just under two minutes remaining in the stanza, Binghamton cut Hershey’s lead back to one. Brett Lebda slapped into the net his second goal of the season to make it a 4-3 hockey game before second intermission.
Hershey looked to hang on in the third period for their first home win against Binghamton this season. The Bears only allowed five third period shots to secure a 4-3 Saturday night win.
Any coach will tell you that wins come much more easily when special teams are clicking. The Bears tallied two power play goals on eight attempts and went a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill to help preserve a late one goal lead.