Albany led for most of the game after scoring the first goal 8 minutes into the first period. The Bears couldn't beat Albany goaltender Jason Peters on any of their 11 first period shots and many of their other shots as well.
But Alexandre Giroux (14th) scored about 4 minutes into the 2nd period to tie the game at 1. But the Rats came back and took another 1 goal lead with just over a minute to play in the period when Harrison Reed deflected a shot and it jumped up over Varlamov's shoulder into the net.
For much of the 3rd period it looked like Albany might send the Bears home with their first loss in 7 games but about halfway through the period Kyle Wilson scored his 8th of the year to tie it.
From that point on the Bears dominated play. They threw everything they had at Peters and the Albany defense but couldn't get the game winner.
Halfway through overtime Bouchard (7th) took a little drop pass from Josh Godfrey and beat Peters with a perfect shot to the upper corner to win the game.
Watching the team celebrate Bouchards goal was good. They all swarmed the rookie and Simeon Varlamov was probably the most excited. You could see him jumping up and down in his goalie equipment along with all his teammates. I guess winning translates easy in any language!
My Three Stars of the Game:
- Kyle Wilson - game tying goal and tied for team lead with 5 shots
- Francois Bouchard - perfect goal in OT to win the game for Hershey
- Alexandre Giroux - first goal kept Hershey in it. he also had 5 shots
Grading the Performance:
- Offense - C+ - They got the win but they were outplayed for much of this game. 28 shots is not what we are used to seeing from this team. Albany played very well at the defensive end and limited Hershey's attempts.
- Defense - A - Considering the guys who are back on the blue line this group is playing GREAT! A week ago Josh Godfrey, Sasha Pokulok, and Patrick Wellar were all playing the ECHL and last night they played very well in the A. Sasha especially looked very good out there.
- Goaltending - B - I missed the first goal so I can't tell you what it was like but the 2nd one there was nothing Varlie could have done with it. I nice shot and a beautiful redirect by the forward in front. My only complaint on Varlie is that sometimes he comes so far out to challenge that he leaves the net wide open for a second or two. He hasn't really been caught on it but it will happen sooner or later.
- Power Play - B+ - 1 for 4 with the man advantage isn't great but they had plenty of opportunities. They set up well and moved the puck with ease but couldn't find the back of the net.
- Penalty Kill - B - allowed 1 goal on 5 chances which wasn't terrible but it could have been better. But again, considering the players and what the roster looks like right now I would say a solid job.
- Overall - B - If the Bears play this way against a good offensive team they won't make it out with a win. Albany deserves some credit for the defensive play but Hershey is the better team and they didn't show it at all times last night.
LET'S GO BEARS!!! LET'S GET 8!!!