Monday, March 31, 2008

Effort Isn't There

After getting an early and lucky goal against Manchester last night the Bears thought they would take the rest of the night off. There was some sporadic effort and good play but nothing consistent until the last 5 minutes.

Apparently the team thought that one or two goals would win this game or that as long as they got to overtime they would be happy. But alas, it wasn't meant to be.

Josef Boumedienne scored about 90 seconds in on a shot that bounced off Manchester goalie Jonathan Quick and rolled in the net. Kyle Wilson scored a good goal off a great pass from Chris Bourque but in between those plays and a few others there was no cohesiveness. The power play was a joke. They even gave up a short handed goal. The Monarchs have the league's WORST penalty kill and the Bears couldn't even get set up in the offensive zone.

On a night when the two teams chasing the Bears lose in OT the Bears can't muster enough consistent play to get a point. Freddie Cassivi played good but he is not the answer any more in net. I know Daren Machesney hasn't been perfect as of late but Freddie can not move lateraly anymore. At least Cheese can do that.

Luckily for the Bears they still control their own destiny. There are 6 games left with 4 of them at home. The unlucky part for the Bears is that every team they play is either in the playoffs or right behind them.

To give the Bears a little bit of a break, they are playing with almost TWO full lines of guys that were in the ECHL a couple weeks ago. Some of those guys have been playing really well. Steve Pinizzoto had a great game last night. He had numerous chances and really hustled after every loose puck. Shawn Cullymore also had a good game.

I am not saying those guys aren't playing good but when you have as many injuries as the Bears have had it is tough to get any feel for the guys you are playing with. That seems to be one of the biggest problems, no one seems to be talking out there.

There is still time but this week these guys need to spend some quality time together. Up next is a trip to Binghamton on Friday before Bridgeport and Wilkes Barre come to Hershey on Saturday and Sunday.

Let's go Bears!! Get in and get healthy and make another run!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bourque carries Bears

Last night in Hershey Chris Bourque scored 4 goals to carry the Bears over the Hamilton Bulldogs 5-1. Bourque now has 24 goals on the season and is becoming a go to scorer again. The other Bears goal was scored by Grant McNeill, his first in the AHL.

More good news for the Bears last night was Wilkes-Barre beating Bridgeport. They were down 2-0 after one period but came back to win 4-2. That is huge for the Bears because now they have a five point lead over Bridgeport and a 4 point lead over Binghamton.

Next up for Hershey in Manchester tonight at home. Manchester last night lost to Norfolk 4-3 in Norfolk. The Monarchs were actually down 4-0 and there starting goaltender was pulled before they made a valiant comeback attempt that fell just short. Prior to last nights loss the Monarchs had one 4 in a row. They currently sit in 4th place in the Atlantic division just ahead of Springfield.

Some bad news for the Bears is on the injury front. Tyler Sloan missed his 2nd consecutive game last night with a neck injury. Jamie Hunt missed last night's game after getting hurt in Friday's game. He is expected to miss the weekend at least. And Andrew Joudrey missed last nights game and will probably miss about 10 days after also being injured in Fridays game.

It would be nice to get through a weekend without losing players to injury. Hopefully no one goes down tonight.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I never want to see Jeff Tambellini again!

Jeff Tambellini has been a Bears killer this season. He has been solid against the rest of the league but absolutely incredible against Hershey. In 47 games this season he has 30 goals and 29 assists. He averages a little over a point a game. Against Hershey he has 7 goals and 7 assists in 7 games. Ridiculous. 2 Points A Game!! Somebody stop him. Please.

Obviously by the start of the article you can probably guess that the Bears lost last night 4-2 despite getting a couple players back in the lineup. Jason Morgan came back after a 4 game suspension and immediately paid dividends as he opened the scoring 9 minutes win with a goal. Josef Boumedienne returned from injury to assist on both Hershey goals. But it wasn't enough. Once again the scoring wasn't there. The Bears took 31 shots on net but couldn't really get enough good opportunities to score.

I wasn't there and didn't see the game so I don't know for sure but it sounded like referee Jamie Koharski really had it in for Coach Wood's team last night. Maybe that is just a disgruntled fan trying to understand why this team has so much trouble scoring. But for a while there it seemed that Bridgeport was getting call after call. Like I said, I didn't see it so I don't know. I am usually pretty unbiased about that kind of stuff. If you commit the penalty you pay the price.

Tonight the Bears return home to face the Hamilton Bulldogs. No Carey Price for them anymore so maybe the Bears have a fighting chance. Sunday brings Manchester to town.

The Bears have 8 games left and 6 of them are at home. They are going to need to win most of them to make the playoffs. Luckily Binghamton also fell last night so they remain 2 points back but Bridgeport made up ground and is now only 3 points back and they have 10 games left this season.

It is time to get serious Hershey, scoring is needed from everyone. Pick up the game some or get the golf clubs out of the closet!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

3 In A Row!!

For the first time since late December the Bears have won 3 games in a row. It couldn't have come at a better time because Bridgeport and Binghamton are also winning their games. Hershey defeated the Norfolk Admirals 4-1 last night in Norfolk. It was the last meeting between the two teams this season. The Bears won the season series 8-1-1. Not much problem with the Ads this season.

Kyle Wilson scored his 24th and 25th goals of the season last night. Andrew Joudrey scored his 10th and Jonathan Paiement added his 4th. Andrew Gordon also had a solid night with 2 assists and number 2 star. Wilson was the number 1 star and Freddie Cassivi was the number 3 star after making 24 saves on 25 shots.

Two players made there Hershey debuts last night, Mathieu Beaudoin and Ryan Garlock. Not sure how much either player is going to play coming up but they are healthy bodies at least.

Scott Barney will probably miss at least the rest of the regular season after suffering a high ankle sprain this past weekend.

Ben Clymer is likely out for the season with groin issues.

Sami Lepisto was reassigned by Washington yesterday and he did play against Norfolk, picking up one assist.

Next up for the Bears is an important game with Bridgeport, in Bridgeport. That game is Friday before they come back home for games on Saturday and Sunday.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Two Wins in ONE Weekend!!

The Hershey Bears actually put together a complete hockey weekend the past couple days. They hadn't won back to back games since February until yesterday.

Saturday night the Bears beat the Phantoms 3-1 on goals from Andrew Joudrey, Andrew Gordon and Kyle Wilson. Three guys that I said recently needed to start scoring finally did again. Now they need to keep it going. A good start this weekend but now they must continue it into later this week and beyond. Some of these guys have been hurt and are just now getting healthy, hopefully they can stay healthy.

Sunday's game was a victory over Lowell, 5-3 in Hershey. The Bears got a hat trick from Alexandre Giroux and goals from Scott Barney and Chris Bourque. Bourque is another guy who needs to score more and hopefully just like the guys on Saturday night will do so now. Barney has been producing of late, as has Giroux.

Unfortunately the Bears couldn't get through the weekend without injuries as Barney left the game last night with an apparent ankle injury. According to team sources, it doesn't look to positive right now. More to come on that later this week.

Also, Dean Arsene has had some back issues and won't be back until at least April. That puts him out at least another week.

Two road games on Wednesday and Friday before home games Saturday and Sunday this week. Wednesday's game is in Norfolk and then Friday in Bridgeport.

The Bears currently sit alone in 4th place in the division with 78 points. Binghamton is right behind with 76 and Bridgeport a little further back with 73. The Bears have 10 games to go with 6 of them at home and 4 on the road.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Hershey may be in trouble. Last night in Albany the Bears took a 2-0 lead into the second period and a 2-1 lead into the third and yet lost 6-2.

They can't seem to score anymore. Scott Barney scored his 19th and 20th goals on the season in the first period. No one else could put one in the net the rest of the game. You can't win in the AHL when you're only scoring 2 goals a night. Some nights the goalies will win games for you but unfortunately the Bears goalies haven't been doing that as of late.

Chris Bourque, Andrew Joudrey, Kyle Wilson, Jason Morgan, Andrew Gordon and Jay Beagle have all but disappeared from the score sheet the past couple weeks. The only names I have read regularly are Barney, Alexandre Giroux (2 assists last night) and Louis Robitaille (plenty of fights). That isn't enough. The other guys better start producing or the Bears will miss the playoffs.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Injuries are taking a toll

The injury bug has hit the Hershey Bears hard in the past month. They have gone 3-8 in their last 11 games and are now in a fight for the last playoff spot in the division. Injuries to the Capitals have resulted in call ups for Chris Bourque and Sami Lepisto. Bourque is back now but Lepisto remains in Washington and has been playing well. Eric Fehr also remains in Washington and probably will until the end of the year. The Caps are fighting for the last playoff spot in the East and if they make the playoffs will probably keep at least Fehr up on the roster.

The Bears have their own set of injuries that are causing problems. Josef Boumedienne, Ben Clymer, Dean Arsene, Jonathon Paiment, Jamie Hunt and Chris McAlister have all missed significant time. According to Tim Leone of the Patriot News the Bears have been without at least 2 of his top six defensemen for all but 11 games since Bob Woods took over as coach. 3 of the top six have missed 12 games. The top six in theory are Arsene, Boumedienne, Lepisto, Tyler Sloan, Hunt, and either McAlister or Clymer. Now Danny Syvret would be in the top six but he has only been with the team for a short period.

The Bears get 8 of their last 13 games at home and need to win most of them. They also need to learn how to score again. The Bears have only scored more than 2 goals in 3 of their last 10 games. They are 2-8 in those 10 games. Alexandre Giroux is scoring his share but Bourque and Andrew Joudrey haven't scored at all lately and Kyle Wilson and Jason Morgan need to pick up their production as well.

The Bears have 74 points and are in 4th place in the East Division. They trail Philly by 11 points and Wilkes-Barre by 9 points. Albany is 6 points up on the Bears. Just behind Hershey is Binghamton with 73 points and Bridgeport with 71 points. The Bears have games left against each of the teams in the division including 3 against Philly and 2 against both Binghamton and Bridgeport. They also have games in hand against the other teams including 2 against Albany.

Upcoming games for the Bears include a game in Albany on Wednesday and back home for Philly this Saturday. I wouldn't say they are must win games but it is getting close to that point.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Oh Canada

The Bear's need to stay south of the border it would seem. At least when it comes to Hamilton. Last season in the Calder Cup finals the Bears did not win a game north of the border and after last night's game, the Bears hope to never go back.

The Bear's lost last night 3-2 at Copps Coliseum. Hamilton's defenseman Mathieu Biron deflated the Bear's in the Calder Cup finals with his physical presence. Last night he deflated the Bear's with a game winning goal. His goal came about halfway through the third period to give Hamilton the win.

Referee Kyle Rehman called 15 total penalties, 8 on Hershey and 7 on Hamilton. Hershey converted on 2 of the 7 power plays and Hamilton scored 1 goal on the power play, although another Hamilton goal was scored right after a power play ended.

Hershey got goals from Andrew Gordon, his 12th of the year and first in 10 games, and Alexandre Giroux, his 21st of the year and 2nd with the Bears. Sami Lepisto assisted on both goals and now has 6 assists in his last 3 games. Hamilton goals were scored by Manlow (10th) and Corso (6th).

The goalies both had good games. Hershey had 33 shots and Hamilton goalie Yann Denis stopped 31 of them. In goal for Hershey was Daren Machesney and he made 28 saves on 31 shots.

Hershey fell to 3rd in the division behind Albany but still 3 points ahead of Wilkes-Barre. Hershey has 3 games in hand on Albany yet this season.

One more game in Canada for the Bear's. Hopefully this one goes more like the first one they played there on Wednesday. Today's game is against the Toronto Marlies, who are leading the North Division with 81 points this season.