Bring on the Backup: Dany Sabourin Shines in Hershey’s 2-1 OT Victory

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Posted March 5, 2012

Dany Sabourin Saves the Day (Again). Tonight was his 11th W of the season. (All Photos Credit: M. Richter)

This morning, the twitter ‘verse was abuzz with the news of Braden Holtby‘s call-up.  Fresh off a 3-0 shut-out, Hershey’s starting netminder was tapped to back up Michal Neuvirth in tonight’s Capitals v. Flyers game at Verizon Center.  In turn, prize prospect Philipp Grubauer was called up from the South Carolina Stingrays (having just played back-to-back games on the road).

A Philipp Grubauer Call-Up requires a Philipp Grubauer Glamour Shot.

So the dominoes fall, and one of the benefits to being an affiliate team is the ability to “borrow” talented and rising players from the parent club.  An unexpected recall is the perpetual boogeyman in any AHL or ECHL team’s closet.

That’s why a good backup is important, especially when it comes to netminders, and it’s a role that Dany Sabourin has filled admirably for the team this year.  He earned his eleventh win of the season tonight, stopping 23 shots in regulation and forcing overtime.  He even managed to conveniently snap one of the straps on his glove in the third period, allowing his teammates an extra moment of rest while the trainers scrambled to make on-the-spot repairs.  In holding the line, he gave Hershey their first OT triumph of the year, stealing a 2-1 victory from a visiting team with very little left to lose and several familiar faces.

Andrew Joudrey, Captain of the 2010-11 Hershey Bears. Now an A with the Springfield Falcons.

The Springfield Falcons had three former Bears in their line-up, all members of the 2008-9 and 2009-10 Calder Cup winning teams: Greg AmadioAlexandre GirouxAndrew Joudrey.  Like their NHL affiliate, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Falcons currently sit at the bottom of their division and 12th in the Eastern Conference.  Due to a tight playoff race in the East, they’re still in spitting distance of the post-season, but they’re getting close to desperation.  It can make a team very dangerous.

Springfield proved just how dangerous when they sniped their way onto the scoreboard 17:45 into the first period, with fan favorite Alex Giroux taking the credit.  It was a moment of mixed emotion for the crowd, who couldn’t decide between cheering and booing.

Hershey Alum Greg Amadio (SPR) and Andrew Carroll (HER) demonstrate the general tone of the game.

The conflicted loyalties continued into the second period, although they resolved quickly when Greg Amadio forced the issue by cross-checking Andrew Carroll and the two dropped the gloves in a brief tussle.  Amadio walked away from the encounter the clear winner, although he earned an extra two minutes in the box for his efforts.

Amadio’s run-in with Carroll led to one of six power plays that Hershey was awarded over the course of the game, including almost a minute of 5-on-3 in favor of the Chocolate & White.  Unfortunately, they gave up just as many as they got, providing the Hershey penalty kill five separate chances to demonstrate their skills.  Sabourin had some close calls in net, but in the end the puck stayed where it belonged – outside of the Hershey goal.

Despite a low shots-on-goal total, Sabourin received the occasional bit of help from the forwards.  Most notably Matt Pope, one of four players on the night’s roster who started the year with the Stingrays, who tied things up for the Bears early in the second period (with some help from Captain Boyd Kane and Sean Collins).  The other standout was a repeat offender: Ryan Potulny (#22), with the Game-Winning-Goal, on the Power Play, a fitting 22 seconds into overtime.

Celebratory dog pile following Ryan Potulny's game-winning OT goal (He's under there! Somewhere!).

This was the Bears last home game for almost two weeks.  Next weekend, the Bears will be on the road paying a visit to the St. John’s IceCaps up in Newfoundland, Canada.  They play both Friday & Saturday, and then return home to face the Adirondack Phantoms on Friday, March 16th.

While tonight may not have been the most disciplined play from the Bears this year, they did what needed to be done: they walked away from the weekend with 4 points.  With the Clear Day roster coming out tomorrow afternoon, that’s as much stability as anyone in that locker room has at the moment.

More images from the game can be found here on the Author’s Flickr.

For the sake of fairness, Dany Sabourin gets a glamour shot, too.