Monday, March 23, 2009

The Neuvy and Giroux Show

First of all let me congratulate Alexander Giroux for reaching the 50 goal mark. He is only the 5th Bear to ever do it and the first since Tim Tookey in 86-87. The club record is 53 which looks attainable at this point in the season. I will have more on the goal scoring records for the AHL tomorrow.

Now to last nights game. Can you say goaltending show? They really should have sold tickets to young goalies to come and watch a clinic. It was incredible at both ends of the ice. Combined the teams took 88 shots and the goalies made 84 saves. Easily the best goaltending dual I have seen all season.

Michal Neuvirth played for the Bears and Jonathan Bernier was in net for the Monarchs. I would give the nod to Neuvirth for the better performance but only due to his defense allowing good shot after good shot throughout the entire game. But I don't want to take away from what either goalie did.

Scoring was obviously a challenge for both teams. The MAG line was back together last night and managed to produce both goals on the evening for the Bears. Graham Mink tied his career high with his 31st goal less than 1 minute into the first period. It then took Hershey almost 43 minutes to score their next goal when Giroux scored on the power play.

Even in the shootout it seemed like a goaltending show. Both goalies allowed 2 goals from the first 3 shooters and then they both stopped the next 5 in a row before Keith Aucoin put one through the five hole on Bernier. All that was needed for Hershey was a stop by Neuvy to win and he managed to come through for the team.

Both teams wanted this game. Manchester is fighting for their playoff lives and Hershey needed to win to remain one point back of Bridgeport in the East.

My Three Stars of the Game:

  1. Michal Neuvirth - 47 saves during the game and then 7 more in the shootout
  2. Jonathan Bernier - 37 saves during and 6 in the shootout
  3. Alexander Giroux - 50th of the season and the game tying goal

Grading the Performance:
  • Offense - B+ - This would be an A if they would have gotten more pressure in the first period. But honestly they couldn't get out of their own zone in the first. They only managed 7 shots in the first period and other than that early goal there was minimal pressure in the Monarchs end.
  • Defense - B - You can't allow 49 shots in a game and expect to win very often. The only positive was that there weren't many screens in front of Neuvy. Positioning seemed good all game and honestly they didn't play bad but you have to do more shot blocking and knocking guys off the puck before they get their shots off.
  • Goaltending - A - Made every save that he should make and a couple that maybe he shouldn't have. Many of the saves were on difficult shots too.
  • Power Play - A - Not much offense 5 on 5 but on the power play they were dominant. They got 3 chances and made the most of them by scoring 2 goals.
  • Penalty Kill - B - 1 goal allowed isn't terrible. Not sure if there was much more they could have done but they weren't perfect.
  • Overall - B+ - If it wasn't for Neuvy this game probably would have been a loss. I think the whole team played good but it wasn't enough on this night without the goalie. And those games happen. It is good to see that Neuvy can handle winning one for the team even when he doesn't get 4 goals to work with.


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