Bears claw way to shootout victory

The Hershey Bears battled their way to a shootout victory over the Binghamton Senators at the Giant Center on Sunday by a score of 5-4.

Kris Beech came up big for the Bears late in the game with a goal and assist in the third period, as well as a goal in the shootout. Beech now has 53 points (20g, 33a) on the year, and has goals in two of the three games he has played in for the Bears since being acquired by the Washington Capitals on March 9.

The Senators’ Denis Hamel scored his 46th goal of the season in the losing effort. Hamel is second in the league in goal-scoring behind Grand Rapids’ Donald MacLean who has 52. The American Hockey League has not had multiple 50-goal scorers since the 1993-94 season when Patrik Augusta of St. John’s and Mark Pederson of Adirondack had 53 and 52 goals respectively.

With the win the Bears (40-18-3-10, 93 pts.) clinched a spot in the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs, becoming the second team in the East Division to do so. The Bears are one point behind the division leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Senators (29-31-4-4, 66 pts.) are eight points behind the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East Division.

Not to be outdone by David LeNeveu‘s 53-save shutout of the Aeros on Saturday night, San Antonio goaltender Karl Goehring shut out the Aeros on 41 shots on Sunday. Yanick Lehoux provided the game’s only offense 25 seconds into the overtime period. Despite the loss, the Aeros clinched a spot in the Playoffs.

Zenon Konopka and Dustin Penner each had a pair of goals and an assist to help Portland to a 6-3 win over Providence. With the win Portland has now opened up a six-point lead over Hartford in the race for the Atlantic Division title.

Lowell snapped a six-game winless streak with a 4-2 win over the Monarchs at Tsongas Arena in Lowell on Sunday. Keith Aucoin, David Gove, Mark Pandolfo and Scott Kelman each scored a goal and an assist to help the Lock Monsters to the win. Greg Hogeboom scored both goals for the Monarchs.

After losing by the same score less than 24 hours earlier, the Falcons got back on the winning track with a 7-1 win over the River Rats. Marek Kvapil scored a pair of goals and a pair of assists, while Zdenek Blatny scored two goals and an assist to lead the way for the Falcons.

Brett Engelhardt scored two goals and an assist to lead the Marlies to a 4-1 win over Iowa. With the loss Iowa remains six points behind Omaha for the final playoff spot in the West Division.

Admirals goaltender Adam Munro made 25 saves on 26 shots to earn his 11th victory of the season. Pavel Vorobiev, Quintin Laing and Brandon Rogers scored the goals for the Admirals. Stephen Wood scored the lone goal for the Phantoms.