HERSHEY, Pa. – Jeff Taffe and Jon DiSalvatore combined for two goals and three assists, and Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves to help the HERSHEY BEARS skate to a 4-3 win over the Binghamton Senators on Saturday night at GIANT Center.
The BEARS earned the first power play of the game against the league’s second-best penalty kill, and made it count. Off of a sharp-angle shot from Peter LeBlanc, Boyd Kane slammed the rebound past Robin Lehner from the top of the goal crease at 6:22.
On the team’s second power play of the game, instead of using the chance to take a two-goal lead, the BEARS would allow a shorthanded goal, the Senators’ league-leading 12th of the season. Corey Cowick helped block a pass across the Binghamton blue line, and then led Jean-Gabriel Pageau on a breakaway from center ice. Pageau tucked a shot past Grubauer at 11:25, tying the game.
But just over two minutes later, the BEARS regained the lead. DiSalvatore sent a pass ahead to Taffe, who carried down the right wing into the offensive zone. His pass then found a trailing Cameron Schilling for a blast that sailed past Lehner’s glove and inside the right post at 13:51.
Trailing early in the second period, the Senators again knotted the score on a strike from Derek Grant. David Dziurzynski found Grant with a cross-ice pass, and Grant’s backhander handcuffed Grubauer at 2:29.
Danick Paquette, who made his HERSHEY debut, fought Binghamton’s Darren Kramer at 4:04 of the period, and the hosts immediately responded. 16 seconds later, Ryan Stoa set up Julien Brouillette for a slap shot from the left point. Taffe deflected the shot off of the goal post, and the puck bounced in off of Lehner for a 3-2 lead.
The BEARS made it 4-2 on their fourth power play of the night. DiSalvatore would possess the puck in the left corner, and looked in front when Senators defenseman Eric Gryba went down to attempt a block. DiSalvatore banked a pass off of Gryba’s leg and into the net at 14:19, giving DiSalvatore his team-leading 13th goal of the season.
Not long after Senators defenseman Chris Wideman saved what would have been a 5-2 deficit by stopping a puck that snuck through Lehner on the goal line, Binghamton cut the BEARS lead to one. Cole Schneider snuck a pass from behind the BEARS net into the slot, where an uncovered Brett Lebda fired a slap shot over Grubauer’s glove at 18:11.
The two teams combined for five power plays in the third period, and the BEARS outshot Binghamton 11-4, but there would be no further scoring.
Grubauer improves to 4-3-0 with the win, while Lehner made 25 saves and fell to 17-8-1. The BEARS finished the night 2-for-8 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
The BEARS remain home tomorrow, February 10 to take on the Norfolk Admirals at 5:00 PM. “Chocolate-Covered February” continues, and all fans will receive candy upon exit courtesy of the HERSHEY Company. Tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.
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