HERSHEY, Pa. – Zach Hamill scored one goal and set up another, while Braden Holtby did his job by stopping 40 shots on goal to help the HERSHEY BEARS earn a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Marlies on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
The BEARS were seeking a good start to the game but took a penalty just 11 seconds into the contest. The penalty kill worked hard however, and held the Marlies off of the board.
After a scrap between BEARS defenseman Steve Oleksy and Marlies captain Ryan Hamilton, the hosts were energized and grabbed the first goal of the game at 10:48. Patrick McNeill, playing in his first game since October 20, began a pretty passing play by setting up a soft drop pass at the Toronto blue line. Hamill picked it up, looked toward the goal and then sent a perfect pass to his left. Alex Berry grabbed the pass and whipped it past Marlies goaltender Mark Owuya for his first goal with the Chocolate and White.
Shortly afterward, the BEARS expanded their lead on their first power play opportunity of the night. Just eight seconds into the man advantage, Jeff Taffe's faceoff win came to Evan Barlow on the right wall. Barlowpushed the puck ahead to Taffe, who passed across the crease from the bottom of the right circle. His feed found a driving Hamill at 13:50 and a 2-0 BEARS lead.
The BEARS then opened the game up by striking just 45 seconds apart in the second frame. Cameron Schilling carried the puck down the right wing boards, and sent what was an intended pass toward the slot. But the puck banked off of a Marlies defender and in behind Owuya at 5:17.
Jon DiSalvatore then wrote himself into the AHL history book by becoming the 82nd player in history to record 500 career points. He stationed himself to the right of Owuya's crease, waited for a Dmitry Orlov pass and promptly fired it home at 6:02 for a 4-0 HERSHEY lead.
The Marlies broke up Holtby's shutout bid at 11:10 of the second, when Matt Frattin found a loose puck in traffic and slid it through the pads of Holtby.
Toronto then cut their deficit to two, when Mark Fraser's slap shot from the left wall beat Holtby over the glove at 12:05 of the third. Former BEARS star Keith Aucoin assisted on both Marlies tallies.
Holtby improves to 5-6-0 with the win. Owuya stopped 15 of 19 shots and fell to 1-2-0. The BEARS finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The BEARS head to Hampton Roads to take on the Norfolk Admirals on Wednesday, November 28 with faceoff set for 7:15 PM at Norfolk Scope.