Sabourin Finally Gets Some Help, Bears Win in Cleveland
Photo courtesy Lake Erie Monsters
Bears 3, Monsters 2 (SO)
Bears goaltender Dany Sabourin (7-7-2) has really stepped up his game sinceBraden Holtby left for Washington when the lockout ended. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have as many wins as would have liked to show for it. Coming into last night’s tilt along the shores of Lake Erie, Sabourin had been 0-0-2-1 in his last three starts, never giving up any more than 2 goals total in any game (not counting the shootout tallies) but he was winless in that stretch to an anemic Bears offense. That changed last night as the Bears mustered to give ‘The Great Sabu’ just enough to squeak out a 3-2 win in the shootout. Sabourin was once again excellent, stopping 35 of the 37 shots he saw in regulation and overtime, while snuffing out four of the five shootout attempts he saw to pick up his seventh win and move the Bears three games above .500 and into 7th place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Bears got first period goals from Mike Carman (4) and Barry Almeida (5 – PP) and then shootout goals from veterans Ryan Potulny and Jeff Taffe to seal the deal.
The game didn’t start out very well as the Monsters hemmed up the Bears in their own zone early on and forward Paul Carey (9) forced a turnover off the stick of Bears forward Jon DiSalvatore and ripped a wrist shot past Sabourin from left circle, a mere 42 seconds into the opening frame to stake the Monsters to an extremely early 1-0 lead. Despite clearly causing the turnover himself off of DiSalvatore, forwards Bill Thomas and Andrew Agozzino were credited with helpers on the play. The lead wouldn’t last a half of a period, as Mike Carman would get the Bears on the board at the 9:19 mark, knotting the game at 1. An attempted dump-in by Steve Oleksy, got hung up on the wall and took an odd hop to Bears forward Matt Pope, who chipped the puck across the blue line to Carman, who corralled it, streaked in and beat Monsters goaltender Calvin Pickard (13-10-2) from the left circle, low glove side. Oleksy and Pope were credited with helpers on Carman’s tally, which was his third point in the last three games. The Bears would take the lead at the 15:27 mark on the power play. With Monsters’ forward Brad Malone off for high sticking, rookie Barry Almedia scored his 5th of the year and second in three games to put the Bears ahead. After newcomer Casey Wellman ripped a one timer towards the net, the shot was blocked picked up by another newcomer Peter LeBlanc, who sent the puck across the top of the crease to Almeida who took two whacks at it before it slid into the gaping net.
The Monsters would knot the game at 2 early in the second as veteran defensemen Thomas Pock one timed a Gary Steffes faceoff win past a screened Sabourin for his 8th of the year at the 2:14 mark. And that would be the end of scoring for regulation and overtime as both teams got several scoring chances that were all turned away by Sabourin and Pickard, respectively. In the shootout, Ryan Potulny scored on a wrist shot past Pickard in the bottom of the second round. The Monsters’ Markus Lauridsen tied it ona nifty little deke move in the top of third. Jeff Taffe then won it for the Bears in the bottom of the fourth on a quick snap shot over Pickard’s glove. Sabourin was able to turn away Carey, Agozzino, Thomas and Malone, while Garrett Stafford and Ryan Stoa both failed to score for the Bears. Pickard was able to turn away 31 of the 33 shots he faced in regulation and overtime to help his team earn a point for the seventh time in their last eight games.
1. Jeff Taffe (HER) – scores shootout winner
2. Dany Sabourin (HER) – Stopped 35 of 37 and 4 of 5 in the shootout for 7th win
3. Ryan Potulny (HER) – first of two Bears goals in the shootout
Between The Blue Lines
• The Bears didn’t dress forwards Evan Barlow (lower body), Matt Clackson (healthy), Boyd Kane (healthy), & Mattias Sjogren (undisclosed), as well as defensemen Dmitry Orlov (upper body), Patrick McNeill (undisclosed), & Brett Flemming (healthy). The Monsters sat goaltender Sami Aittokallio (lower body), forwards Bryan Lerg (undisclosed), Joey Hishon, & Luke Walker, and defensemen Joel Chouinard, Barry Goers, Sean Sullivan, Daniel Maggio, and Stefan Elliot. Other than Lerg and Aittokallio being injured, everyone being scratched has been unconfirmed at this point.
• Six different Bears have ties to the Rock n’ Roll City: Forwards Mike Carman (107 gp from 2009-2012), & Ryan Stoa (177 gp from 2009-2012), and defensemen Julien Brouillette (50 gp in 2010-11) & Steve Oleksy (17 gp in 2010-11) all played for the Monsters in Cleveland, while forward Jon DiSalvatore (74 gp in 2003-04) and defenseman Garrett Stafford (221 gp from 2003-2006) both played in Cleveland under the Barons moniker. Not one member of the Monsters’ current roster has ever donned the Chocolate & White.
• 4,245 fans showed up to watch the action at Quicken Loans Arena.
• Captain Boyd Kane was a healthy scratch last night, after taking an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in overtime on Sunday in the team’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Chad Kolarik scored the game winner while Kane sat in the box.
• Forward Peter LeBlanc’s assist was his first point in Bears uniform.
• Tonight’s victory was the first for the Bears over the Monsters since knocking them off 3-2 in a shootout in Cleveland way back on February 24, 2010. Former Bears Greg Amadio (SH) and Chris Bourque (PP) scored goals in regulation, while Alexandre Giroux scored the only goal in the shootout. Former Bears and Monsters goalie Jason Bacashihua picked up the win in net for the Bears that night.
The Bears return to the Giant Center for a two game weekend home stand, starting this Saturday (2/6) against the Binghamton Senators @ 7 PM.