For the first time this season the Bears played a full 60 minutes of hockey and destroyed their opponent. Syracuse was never in this game as they finished with 1 goal on 29 shots against Daren Machesney.
Hershey came out firing from the start and finished with 7 goals on 41 shots against a rookie goaltender starting his first career AHL game in Sebastian Dahm. He never stood a chance in this one. Hershey finished 2 for 7 on the power play and controlled the play from the drop of the puck.
The teams were in a fighting mood last night as their were 3 different fights and 3 10 minute misconduct penalties during the game. Grant McNeill took on Syracuse tough guy Jon Mirasty and held his own mostly because of his size advantage. Grant held Mirasty at arm's length so he couldn't get any shots. Maybe a draw but Mirasty probably won....but not convincingly. Darren Reid then fought twice. In the first one against Adam Pineault he was beaten easily. In the second one against Nick Holden he actually picked up the W in my opinion.
I am looking forward to the next meeting in February and so is the Crunch announcer. I listened to his end of game call and he was pretty upset that the Bears weren't just laying down and letting the Crunch score. He said that when the Bears come up to Syracuse that someone is going to get laid out and that there will only be chocolate syrup left. He was complaining because the Bears were still finishing their checks and, god forbid, playing hockey at the end of the third.
But this game was very well played by the Bears. 6 different Bears scored, Andrew Gordon (4), Graham Mink (5), Alexandre Giroux (4,5), Keith Aucoin (3), Francois Bouchard (2), and Sami Lepisto (1), while 10 different Bears had points. Specifically the MAG line dominated with 9 combined points among the 3 players as each had 3 points this game.
A complete game from the Bears showed what they are capable of.
My Three Stars of the Game:
- Daren Machesney
- Keith Aucoin
- Alexandre Giroux
Grading the Performance:
Even Strength - B+ - The only problem with their performance tonight was how many shots they allowed. You can't allow 29 shots each game and expect to win so easily. Cheese came up HUGE in net for this team numerous times with many excellent saves. The team stood up for themselves against the Crunch and it showed throughout the game. They controlled the play and didn't really allow the Crunch to have any sustained attack.
Power Play - A - They only finished 2 for 7 but they scored a goal right after a power play in the second period. They had multiple chances on each and every power play to score. The Bears had the puck in the offensive zone for almost all of their power play time it seemed. Andrew Gordon played very well in Bourque's role on the point.
Penalty Kill - B+ - They allowed a goal which is really the only bad spot from this group. They killed off 8 of the 9 power plays that Syracuse accumulated during the game. This was by far their best performance of the season. Once in a while they would allow a good shot on goal but not very often.
Overall - A - The best game to date this season....EASILY. Hershey dominated and can do this more often if they show up to play each night. With over 8000 fans in attendance they seemed to feed off the crowd and played great hockey. I am looking forward to seeing where the MAG line goes this year as they dominated again with 4 goals and 5 assists. Awesome performance from the Bears.
Chris Bourque was sent back down to Hershey late last night and could play tonight against the Pens.
LET'S GO BEARS!!!!