AHL Preview: Hershey Bears vs. Rochester Americans

By Matthew Speck
Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

The Hershey Bears take on the Rochester Americans tonight at Giant Center in Hershey’s home opener. This is the first of two contests between these two AHL teams this year, with the second game in Rochester set for February 17th. Both teams enter tonight’s match-up with .500 records, with Rochester at 2-2 and the Hershey Bears at 1-1. The Bears represent the Washington Capitals and the Americans represent the Buffalo Sabres.

The Rochester Americans defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins last night in New York, winning 4-3. The Americans tallied three power play goals from T.J. Brennan, Phil Varone and Marcus Foligno. Rochester trailed 2-0 before outscoring Grand Rapids 4-1 to ensure their second home victory. Americans goalie, David Leggio turned away 30 shots in his fourth game of the year for Rochester.

The Hershey Bears escaped a late comeback attempt by the Binghamton Senators last night, hanging on for a 3-2 road victory, their first of the year. The Bears jumped out to a 3-0 lead with all goals coming from their blue line. Defense-men Julien Brouillette, Garrett Stafford and Cameron Schilling all lit the lamp for Hershey. Bears goalie, Dany Sabourin notched 42 saves in his first start of the season.

Both teams hold highly coveted NHL players, highlighted by forwards Cody Hodgson, Luke Adam and Marcus Foligno for Rochester. Hershey added Washington Capitals’ defense-man Dmitry Orlov and net minder Braden Holtby due to the NHL lockout.

With an injury to Braden Holtby, Dany Sabourin will be in net for his second straight start for Hershey. The Bears called up Capitals goalie prospect, Philipp Grubauer prior to last night’s game and he could earn his first AHL start this weekend, possibly on Sunday evening. Grubauer, 20, was drafted by Washington in the fourth round of the 2010 NHL entry draft and spent his first pro season with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) last year.

Rochester has started goalie David Leggio in every game, signaling a possibility for Connor Knapp’s first start of the year for the Americans. Leggio is 2-2 on the season thus far, posting a 3.22 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.

Hershey Bears scratches: Goalie Braden Holtby, defense-men Kevin Marshall, Steve Oleksy, Julien Brouillette and forwards Matt Beaudoin, Zach Hamill and Matt Pope.

You can follow Matthew on twitter @m_speck and email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.

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