Graham Mink is baaaaackkk!!!
Minker started off what looks like it should be a good season with a hat trick and 2 assists in a 8-4 win over the Baby Pens in Wilkes Barre.
Keith Aucoin helped out with a goal and 4 assists to total 5 points in his first game as a Bear. Alexandre Giroux added a goal and 2 assists to give the line 5 goals and 8 assists for 13 points in their first game together in the regular season.
Special teams ruled the night for both teams as the Bears scored 5 of their 8 goals on the power play and 3 of Wilkes Barre's 4 goals came with a man advantage. The Bears finished 5 of 7 on the power play as the Baby Pens went 3 of 10.
The other goals for the Bears came from Chris Bourque, Mathieu Perrault, and Andrew Gordon.
All four lines played a lot tonight. In fact I would say that the fourth line had just as much ice time as the first line at even strength. Michael Dubuc played very well for his first pro game and Oskar Osala played exceptionally as well.
Josh Godfrey's shot is a serious weapon. His shot in the first period knocked Engelland's stick out of his hands and the puck got passed out front to a wide open Perrault for the Bears third goal. Godfrey got credit for an assist on the play and should get plenty more this season.
Daren Machesney played well in goal. The first goal was a deflection that went off someone in front and then off the post before ending on Ryan Stone's blade for him to put away. And the fourth goal came with the Bears down 2 men in the final second of the game. All in all he made 21 saves on 25 shots.
My 3 stars of the game:
- Graham Mink
- Keith Aucoin
- Chris Bourque
Grading the performance:
Even Strength - B+ - Not great but surely not bad. The Bears got 3 even strength goals on the night. The defense needs to calm down and relax in their own zone. They appeared to be rushing a little bit with the puck behind the net.
Power Play - A - Obviously this team can put away power play goals. Now they need to do it for the rest of the season. The combination of Giroux/Aucoin/Mink has the potential to set records.
Penalty Kill - B - Definitely room for improvement but I thought a solid showing considering this isn't a bad Wilkes Barre team. The first goal was a bunch of lucky bounces and the third was on a 5 on 3 advantage. Very aggressive up front on the PK, maybe a little too aggressive at times as there were open shots from the point.
Overall - B+ - Everyone played good tonight. Cheese held his own in net and the guys made plays out in front of him. The defense needs to keep skating and stop rushing. The entire team needs to play a full 60 minutes. It looked a bit like last season in the 2nd period as the Bears seemed to be standing around.
With as deep as this team is the third period should be dominated by the Bears all year. There is no reason why our top two lines should not be fresh in the final minutes of the game. No other team can compete with the depth of this team.