A tough hard fought game that proves the Bears can win no matter how you want to play. Hershey beat Norfolk 3-2 on a late 3rd period goal from Andrew Joudrey that gave Hershey its 9th win in a row.
Hershey was outplayed for the first 45 minutes of the game tonight and was outshot in the first 2 periods 26-20 before finally solving goalie Mike McKenna in the third period.
Oskar Osala (16) got the scoring going in the first period with a goal 3 minutes into the game. Norfolk quickly answered with a goal of their own a minute later.
And then for almost 2.5 periods the Bears hung their hopes on their rookie goaltender, Simeon Varlamov. Varlie rose to the challenge and kept the Bears in the game with save after save as his defense let him down multiple times.
Varlie ended the game with 32 saves on 34 shots and neither goal was his fault. The first goal was (in my opinion) on Josh Godfrey who got caught out of position and Grant Potulny deflected a pass from right in front of the net up over Varlie. The second goal was stopped before Mathieu Curadeau basically ran over Varlie and the puck trickled over the line.
In the end though Varlie did everything he could and the Bears offense did just enough.
My Three Stars of the Game:
- Andrew Joudrey - game winning goal on a very nice deflection with 2 minutes to go
- Simeon Varlamov - without him in net the Bears aren't in this game at all
- Mike McKenna - played exception in his own net stopping 30 of 33
Grading the Performance:
- Offense - B - Many of those shots were not truly scoring chances as they came from all over the rink. The O had trouble getting set up in the zone the entire game and couldn't sustain offense most of the night. Norfolk played very well in their own end to pressure the Hershey forwards.
- Defense - C+ - Too many mistakes almost led to multiple goals. Patty McNeill had multiple lapses in judgement that led to some scoring chances for the Admirals. No one on the defensive end played exceptional and without Varlie the Bears would have been in trouble.
- Goaltending - A - In my opinion this was Varlie's best game. Tough save after tough save including multiple odd man rushes that he continuously came up big on.
- Power Play - B+ - Very good pressure and kept the puck in the zone most of the opportunities. Ended up going 1 for 4.
- Penalty Kill - A - Killed off all 4 opportunities including an extended 5 on 3 and didn't allow much to get through when they were shorthanded.
- Overall - B+ - The defense had their troubles but Varlie bailed them out most of the time. The offense did what they needed to do but didn't dominate. A tough well fought game that the Bears earned the W.
GOOD JOB HERSHEY!!! GO FOR 10 ON SATURDAY!!!