Grubauer Steals Show Again, Bears Win in Shootout
Bears 3, Sharks 2 (SO) There is no doubt that Bears goaltender Philipp Grubauer is a true AHL rookie with only a handful of games under his belt. But he is playing like a grizzled AHL vet backstopping the Bears with long time stalwart Braden Holtby’s Bear career most likely finished and veteran Dany Sabourin out with a lower body injury. Grubauer (2-0-1) turned away 26 of the 28 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, and four of the five in the shootout (his second one in five days) to lead the Bears to a 3-2 victory over the Worcester Sharks on enemy ice. The Bears got goals in regulation from Captain Boyd Kane (7) and TJ Syner (3) and goals in the skills competition from Garrett Mitchell and Ryan Potulny to squeak out the victory.
The Bears got on the board first and got the loan goal of the opening period as Kane struck at the 7:41 mark on the power play. With Sharks defenseman Michael Wilson off for interference, the Bears won the face up and Potulny ended up with the puck in the right circle. He sent a pass to the opposite circle to defenseman Tomas Kundratek who found a wide open Kane back post. Kane corralled it with his skate and tapped it in to the wide open net to stake the Bears to the advantage.
The Sharks would draw even very early in the second as Grubauer’s Reading Royal teammate Denny Urban, up to Worcester on a PTO, would uncork an absolute bomb from just inside the right circle and beat Grubauer high blocker side to even the game at the :15 second mark. The goal was Urban’s third of the season and defenseman Mike Banwell and forward Freddie Hamilton picked up helpers on the play. The tie would be short lived as the Bears would go back in front at the 4:47 mark. Speedy forward TJ Syner, fresh out of the box would pick up a loose puck at the red line and turn on the jets to pull away from the Sharks back checkers and put a nifty move on Sharks’ goalie Alex Stalock (12-8-2) to beat him five hole and net his third of the campaign. Both teams would exchange solid scoring chances throughout the rest of the second but both goalies would stand strong and the Bears would go into the locker room leading 2-1.
After more scoring chances from both teams in the third, the Sharks would finally not the game in the waning seconds as forward Daniil Tarasov would score his first career AHL goal to send the game into overtime tied at 2. Tarasov would put in the rebound of an Urban point shot with 10.7 seconds left to knot the game. Defenseman Mikael Tam was credited with a secondary assist on the play.
After the Bears outshot the Sharks 4-1 in overtime, it was off to the skills competition. Forward Garrett Mitchell started the shootout off in the top of the first by speeding down and beating Stalock glove side high to put the good guys in front. After the Sharks’ Brodie Reid and the Bears’ Garrett Stafford were both turned aside, Urban would even it up in the bottom of the second for the home team. Ryan Potulny would then sneak one by Stalock to score what would prove to be the winner, as Grubauer would then shut down Tarasov, Jon Matsumoto and Patrick Rissmiller to close out the game for the Bears. Stalock was able to turn aside 29 of the 31 shots he saw in regulation and overtime, while stopping three of the five in the shootout.
There is no doubt that Bears goaltender Philipp Grubauer is a true AHL rookie with only a handful of games under his belt. But he is playing like a grizzled AHL vet backstopping the Bears with long time stalwart Braden Holtby’s Bear career most likely finished and veteran Dany Sabourin out with a lower body injury. Grubauer (2-0-1) turned away 26 of the 28 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, and four of the five in the shootout (his second one in five days) to lead the Bears to a 3-2 victory over the Worcester Sharks on enemy ice. The Bears got goals in regulation from Captain Boyd Kane (7) and TJ Syner (3) and goals in the skills competition from Garrett Mitchell and Ryan Potulny to squeak out the victory.
1. Daniil Tarasov (WOR) – scores first AHL goal very late in third to tie the game
2. Denny Urban (WOR) – 2 point night (1g, 1a)
3. TJ Syner (HER) – scores his 3rd to put the Bears ahead in the second
Between The Blue Lines
• 3,067 was the paid attendance at the DCU Center.
• The Bears scratched defensemen Dmitry Orlov (upper body), Kevin Marshall (healthy), and Julien Brouillette (healthy), and forwards Evan Barlow (lower body), Jeff Taffe (lower body), Ryan Stoa (undisclosed injury), and Mattias Sjogren (undisclosed injury), as well as goaltender Dany Sabourin (lower body). The Sharks chose not to dress defenseman Nick Petrecki (recalled to San Jose), Danny Groulx (injury), Taylor Doherty (Injury), Sena Acolatse (injury), and Sacha Guimond (healthy) as well as forwards James Sheppard (recalled to San Jose), Tim Kennedy (injury), and Brandon Mashinter (healthy). Mashinter warmed up but did not play because he was traded to the New York Rangers for forward Tommy Grant and a conditional draft pick. Grant will be assigned to Worcester and Mashinter to the Connecticut Whale.
• Kane’s goal was his 199th point in a Bears uniform. He is 11 points shy of getting to 500 points in the AHL.
• Bears defenseman Tom Poti played his first career game in his hometown of Worcester.
• Both Grubauer and Urban were voted to be in the starting line-up for the ECHL’s All-Star Game in Loveland, CO at the end of the month, but with both paying so well, look for them to be replaced. They were the only two Reading Royals representatives for the event.
The Bears return to the Giant Center for their final tune-up prior to the Outdoor Classic, this Friday (1/18), when the Lake Erie Monsters make their lone appearance in Chocolatetown @ 7 PM.