C&W Buzzsaw: Bears Look to Avoid Trap Game
Lake Erie Monsters (20-16-2-1) vs. Hershey Bears (20-17-1-1)
Friday January 18, 2013
Series tied 0-0-0-0
The last time these two clubs met was way back on February 23rd of last season. The Monsters defeated the Bears 4-3 at Quicken Loans Arena and swept the two game season set. The Monsters got tallies from Patrick Rissmiller, Patrick Bordeleau, Zach Cohen, and Peter MacArthur and got 27 saves from former Monsters netminder Cedrick Desjardins to secure the victory. The Bears got goals from players who are all current Bears, Boyd Kane, Ryan Potulny and Tomas Kundratek while Dany Sabourin took the loss between the pipes.
These two teams will square off for the second and final time on Tuesday February 5th, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Entering Tonight’s Tilt:
The Chocolate & White are hot, winning three straight including two of them in a shootout. The Bears defeated the Worcester Sharks at the DCU Center on Wednesday night 3-2. The Bears got goals from Boyd Kane and TJ Syner in regulation, while Garrett Mitchell and Ryan Potulny scored in the shootout to secure the win. Rookie goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped 26 of 28 in regulation and overtime, as well as four of five in the shootout to garner his second career victory and move the Bears into a tie for 5th place in the Eastern Conference. The Monsters are coming off a three game Texas road swing, winning two of the three including their last outing, a 3-2 victory in Houston on Saturday night against the Aeros. The Monsters got goals from defenseman Karl Stollery and forward Paul Carey and forward Dean Strong scored the game winner late in third on the power play to break a two all deadlock. Goaltender Sami Aittokallio stopped 26 shots to pick up his tenth win of the season.
The Ups & Downs & Ins & Outs:
The Bears received defenseman Cameron Schilling back from Caps camp on Wednesday morning and he met the team in Worcester and did play in the team’s victory over the Sharks. Defenseman Tom Poti, who was sent down on a conditioning stint was recalled by the parent Capitals yesterday after two games played with the Chocolate & White. The Bears signed goaltender Drew MacIntyre to a PTO from the Reading Royals to back up Grubauer on Wednesday with veteran goaltender Dany Sabourin injured and he was subsequently released from the PTO yesterday. The Monsters lost forwards David van der Gulik, Patrick Bordeleau, Mark Olver, & Mike Sgarbossa, as well as defensemen Tyson Barrie and Stefan Elliot to recall when their parent club the Colorado Avalanche opened camp back on the 13th. Sgarbossa and Elliot have since returned. The Monsters released forward Hunter Bishop from a PTO, signed defenseman Brent Henley to a PTO, and reassigned forward Ben Wilson to the Denver Cutthroats of the CHL, all on Wednesday.
Players To Watch:
For the Bears, forward Jon DiSalvatore (11g, 16a) has had a pretty solid season at both ends of the ice. With leading scorer Taffe possibly out again, he will be looked upon to carry the offensive load and hopefully get closer to the 20 goal plateau, one he has reached in all nine of his AHL seasons. The Monsters are led by two rookie Mike Sgarbossa and Andrew Agozzino, both of whom were named to the AHL All-Star team yesterday. Bears blue liners will need to slow down their speed if the Bears want to claim the two points tonight.
Between The Pipes:
According to Tim Leone of The Patriot News, Head Coach Mark French is undecided about which goalie will start tonight’s game or Sunday’s Winter Classic. If I had to make an educated guess, I would think Philipp Grubauer will go tonight, giving Dany Sabourin a few extra days to recover and then Sabourin gets the start outdoors on Sunday, based on his success against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.
Injuries & Scratches:
No official injury word on any of the Bears’ "walking wounded" but here is a quick rundown. Forwards Jeff Taffe (lower body), Evan Barlow (lower body), Ryan Stoa (minor undisclosed), and Mattias Sjogren (minor undisclosed), as well as defenseman Dmitry Orlov (upper body) and goaltender Dany Sabourin (lower body) all missed Wednesday night’s tilit. Sabourin is expected back in the lineup tonight, no word on whether that will be in a starting or back-up role. Stoa and Sjogren’s injury are considered minor and both may play tonight. Taffe is still considered day-to-day and Barlow is considered week-to-week. I have found no information on any potential scratches or injuries for the Monsters.
It’s finally time…the Bears will take on the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the Outdoor Classic, this Sunday (1/20) @ 5 PM at HersheyPark Stadium.
Jeff Taffe – 8g, 27a – 35 pts
Jon DiSalvatore – 11g, 16a – 27 pts
Tomas Kundratek – 12g, 12a – 24 pts
Andrew Agozzino – 12g, 18a –30 pts
Mike Sgarbossa – 13g, 15a – 28 pts
Tyson Barrie – 6g, 21a – 27 pts
**Photo courtesy JustSports Photography