The Hershey Bears “MPG” line comprised of Graham Mink, Kyle Greentree, and Ryan Potulny have a lot of AHL miles on them, with the trio possessing a combined 1,178 games of AHL experience among them. On Saturday night at Giant Center, the well-traveled trio was offensively efficient like a well-oiled hybrid, with each member of the group collecting a goal in the Bears’ 3-0 win.
The Bears got off to a decisive early 10-0 shot advantage, but had nothing to show for it until Kyle Greentree’s slapshot from high in the slot gave them a 1-0 lead at 12:44.
“Minker (Mink) did a good job of getting it to Potsy (Potulny), and Potsy cradled the line and drew three guys to him and then made a nice play back to me. Then I saw Minker in front of the net, and I just wanted to make sure I got it on net,” said Greentree.
The goal was the fifth of the season for Greentree, who has had a rough season which began with an injury earlier in the campaign that sidelined him for a long period, but he has found the back of the net in two of the last three outings.
“Coming off an injury like that, it took me a little bit to get everything back,” Greentree said. “I feel good now, and it’s not like I wasn’t getting chances. I was just in a bit of a rut. I knew it was going to come, and it’s nice to see my hard work finally paying off.”
Potulny, who captured the Calder Cup last season in Binghamton with the Senators gave the Bears a 2-0 lead at 14:50 by grinding out his 21st goal of the season, going hard to the net and then pushing in a rebound of a Mink shot by B-Sens netminder, Mike McKenna.
In the second period, the Bears lost some of their momentum from the first period by taking a couple of penalties, but Mink salvaged the frame by netting his 16th goal of the season with 44.4 seconds left in the stanza.
“It was a great play by Cody (Eakin) to step up in the neutral zone after the guy misplayed it,” said Mink. “Then we went in on 2-on-1, and Cody pulled the goalie and the defender over to him and slid it to me. I tried to put it five-hole. He got a piece of it, but it trickled in. He (goalie) wasn’t too happy about it, but it trickled in.”
Mink’s marker was his first at Giant Center since December 28th against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins when he struck on the power play 10:44 into the first period in an eventual 6-5 shootout loss.
“I try to score every night. I was just glad to score and get enough for us to win,” Mink said.
Going into the third period, the only question that remained was whether Bears’ backstopper Braden Holtby and his mates could keep the Senators off the board, and that question was answered in the affirmative when he stopped all six salvos the visitors sent his way and earned his 20th win and third shutout of the season.
The Bears scratched D.J. King and Zach Miskovic (both healthy) in addition to injured forwards Jacob Micflikier and Christian Hanson. Micflikier was the team’s leading scorer this season against the B-Sens coming into tonight’s game, registering eight points (2g, 6a) in five outings.
Potulny’s goal was the Bears’ first tally struck when the club held a lead in eight outings. Prior to Potulny’s putaway the last time that the Bears lit the lamp with the lead was when he tickled the twine late in the third period of the Bears 5-1 win over the baby Pens on February 12th.
John Walton, the Bears former radio announcer who left for the same position with the Washington Capitals this season, attended the game.