Bears Tame Monsters by Alex Pufhal
The Lowell Lock Monsters are still a very streaky team as in, in the last 3 Wednesday night games, the winning team has scored 3 goals. On this night however, it was the Lock Monsters who came up short, losing to the Hershey Bears 3-0 in front of 2,256 in Lowell.
Christian Matte had two goals for the Bears, Yuri Babenko had the other goal for the Bears. Marc Denis made 29 saves en route to the shutout and his first win of the season.
Marcel Cousineau took the loss despite making 30 saves. Cous' GAA "ballooned" to 2.28. The Bears were 1 for 3 on the power play and stopped all five of Lowell's man-advantage situations.
The Lock Monsters now travel to St. John's for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday before returning home to host Portland Sunday night.
LOWELL -- Imagine you are an aspiring lawyer handed a juicy case.
You prepare. You think you are ready. But with the senior partner of one of the most prestigious law firms in the country watching your every move in the courtroom, you freeze.
You stutter. You fumble through your notes. You lose the case.
That, in a nutshell, is what happened last night to the Lowell Lock Monsters, who laid an egg with Islander boss Mike Milbury watching from high above Tsongas Arena.
Lowell, which has as many wins as any team in the 19-team American Hockey League, dropped a 3-0 decision to Marc Denis (29 saves) and Hershey, which began the night with the fewest wins.
Not exactly good timing seeing that Milbury, the coach and general manager of the parent club was in town to see who can and can't help his NHL team down the road.
"They should have recognized that. I would have," Lowell head coach Frank Anzalone said. "They should have seen that. They should have taken advantage of it."
Instead, the Lock Monsters (7-4-1) were taken advantage of by Hershey, which won for only the second time (2-5-4).
Hershey, which broke a scoreless tie with three third-period goals, held a 33-29 shot advantage and the Bears, plain and simple, were the hungrier hockey club.
"We were just not ready to play. Whether it's Mike Milbury here or the good Lord himself," Anzalone said, "you've got to play hard. That's the only way to get recognized."
Marcel Cousineau (30 saves) was the only reason Lowell wasn't trailing entering the third period. But even the acrobatic Cousineau couldn't keep Lowell in the game.
Yuri Babenko scored a power-play goal at 2:04 of the third period and Christian Matte scored insurance goals at 5:03 and 14:16 to further silence an already silent gathering of 2,256.
"We showed no passion. No desire. Everybody was flat together," said Anzalone.
The Lock Monsters were sloppy in all facets of the game. They made more poor passes than a life-long bachelor and, worse in Anzalone's eyes, were outhustled.
A win would have enabled Lowell to tie Saint John for first place in the Atlantic Division. Instead, the Monsters generated few quality scoring chances and went 0-for-5 on the power play.
"Mike Milbury here or not, every game is an important game and every night is an important night," said Cousineau. "I don't think it matters who's here or who's watching. There are scouts watching every night. You're supposed to motivate yourself."
Denis, Bears tame MonstersHershey's unbeaten streak improves to five after a 3-0 victory.
Daily Record staff and wire
LOWELL, Mass. Goaltender Marc Denis played well enough to win his last three outings for the Hershey Bears, yet settled for three ties.
Wednesday night, Christian Matte made sure Denis got his first victory of the American Hockey League season.
Matte scored a pair of third-period goals and Denis stopped all 29 shots he faced as the Bears blanked the Lowell Lock Monsters 3-0 at the Paul E. Tsongas Arena.
The win, Hershey's first on the road this season, extended the Bears' unbeaten streak to five games. The Bears (2-5-0-4, 8 points) moved one point ahead of the idle Cincinnati Mighty Ducks for third place in the AHL's Mid-Atlantic Division standings.
Both of Hershey's wins this season have come via shutouts. David Aebischer stopped 29 shots in a 4-0 victory over the Fredericton last Saturday.
Denis has now stopped 147 of the last 153 shots he's faced, a .961 save percentage.
The expansion Lock Monsters (7-4-0-1, 15 points) came into the game with the league's second-best point total, but Wednesday's first meeting between the AHL's oldest and newest teams was scoreless through 40 minutes.
Lowell's Mike Peron took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty just 1:15 into the third period, and Hershey's power play made the Monsters pay.
Brian Willsie separated Lowell defenseman Zdeno Chara from the puck with a check behind the net. Yuri Babenko pounced on the loose disc and slid a shot past goalie Marcel Cousineau at 2:04 for a 1-0 Bears lead.
Less than three minutes later, Ville Nieminen stripped the puck from Ray Schultz at the Lowell defensive blueline, and he sprung Matte for a breakaway. The right wing went to the backhand, beating Cousineau at 5:03 for a 2-0 bulge.
Matte stashed home the rebound of a Brad Larsen shot at 14:16, giving Hershey a three-goal cushion.
* * *
Notes: The Bears are 2-0-3 in their last five games. ... Cousineau, the AHL's victory leader (7), had his six-game unbeaten streak snapped. ... Denis' last shutout came March 2 last season, a 6-0 whitewash of the Kentucky Thoroughblades. ... The Colorado Avalanche returned D Dan Smith to Hershey and he played Wednesday night against Lowell. .¤.¤. With Smith's return and the arrival of D Chris Armstrong, D Calvin Elfring was scratched. C Bruce Richardson and LW Nick Bootland were other healthy scratches. RW Dan Hinote missed his second straight game with a sprained left knee. ... RW Scott Parker served the fifth game of his seven-game AHL suspension. He's eligible to return Sunday night when the Bears host the Springfield Falcons. . ... Speaking of Parker, Hershey plans to distribute Scott Parker face masks to the first 2,500 fans in attendance at Hersheypark Arena on Nov. 22 when the Kentucky Thoroughblades return. Parker and Kentucky LW Garrett Burnett will meet for the first time since their involvement in an Oct. 24 bench-clearing brawl, started when Burnett sucker-punched Hershey RW Troy Crowder. ... Former Bears D Mike Gaul, now with the Lock Monsters, sat out his third straight game with a minor hip injury.
Hershey 0 - 0 - 3 3
Lowell 0 - 0 - 0 0
* First Period None. Penalties Chara, Low (roughing), 6:55; Crowder, Her (roughing), 10:01.
* Second Period None. Penalties Schultz, Low (elbowing), 8:52; Buchanan, Her, double minor (roughing), 12:55; Webb, Low (roughing), 12:55; White, Her (interference), 15:31.
* Third Period 1, Hershey, Babenko 1 (Willsie), 2:04 (pp). 2, Hershey, Matte 2 (Nieminen), 5:03. 3, Hershey, Matte 3 (Larsen, Shearer), 14:16. Penalties Peron, Low (unsportsmanlike conduct), 1:15; Aubin, Her (holding stick), 8:01; Finn, Her (high-sticking), 14:25.
* Shots on goal Hershey 14-11-8 33. Lowell 8-10-11 29.
* Power-play Opportunities Hershey 1 of 3; Lowell 0 of 5.
* Goalies Hershey, Denis 1-4-0-4 (29 shots-29 saves). Lowell, Cousineau 7-2-0-1 (33-30).
* A 2,256 (6,500).
* Referee Marc Joanette. Linesmen Hans Baker, Fred Campatelli.