Monday, June 8, 2009

Bears 1 Win Away

Michal Neuvirth was again a savior for the Bears last night as the Moose threw everything they could at him and he stopped all but 1 of their shots. He faced 31 shots and made 30 saves as he actually improved his already impressive numbers this postseason.

Kyle Wilson and Keith Aucoin managed to score the 2 goals necessary to get a Bears victory which sets up an opportunity on Tuesday night that Hershey hasn't seen since 1980....a Calder Cup clinching win on home ice!

For the second night in a row Hershey outplayed Manitoba in just about every aspect of the game. They finished every check (causing 2 Moose players to seek medical attention after the game), got to every loose puck, killed off any and all penalties, and made terrific passes in the offensive and defensive zones.

The only thing that seemed to trouble Hershey was the Moose penalty kill. I made the comment earlier this weekend that the lack of pressure from the Moose PK unit was benefiting the Bears power play. And that was true until last night. Last night marked a change in strategy for the Moose PK unit as they looked more like the Providence PK then they did the team Hershey saw in games 1-3. If you were one of the hundreds of fans yelling 'SHOOT' while Hershey was on the power play then maybe this will help you....they weren't facing the same PK unit as they did in games 1-3.

Obviously if you had watched the games the past 2 nights though you would be pretty confident that Hershey doesn't need their power play to score to be successful to win. Playing at even strength Hershey controlled Manitoba for much of the game. But a power play goal or two would be fine with me Tuesday night.

But let's keep this in mind isn't over yet. Remember the Capitals were down 3-1 against the Rangers and won the series...and Hershey was down 3-2 after losing 3 straight to the Pens before they won 2 straight. With all the leadership and desire on this Bears team I would be really surprised if there was even a minor let down Tuesday night but Manitoba is playing for their season and they won't be put away easily.

An early goal or some huge saves from Neuvy and you will probably see some frustration take over for the Moose.

My Three Stars of the Game

  1. Michal Neuvirth - 30 saves on 31 shots was again HUGE for Hershey
  2. Cory Schneider - If Manitoba scores another goal he could have be the 1st star
  3. Steve Pinizzotto - Great hustle and disruption from the 4th line pest...great game Pinner

Grading the Performance

  • Offense - A - 2 goals is obviously not enough but 33 shots on goal is an improvement. Good passing and good pressure all game long led to many good chances. They had the Manitoba defense confused and flustered most of the game.
  • Defense - B+ - Tyler Sloan and Karl Alzner deserve a lot of credit for their discipline and positioning. Sloan hustled every time he needed to and Alzner always seems to make the right decision. The only problem from this unit was really the few times Hershey couldn't get the puck out of their own zone but that wasn't terrible either.
  • Goaltending - A+ - Excellent game again making big save after big save. Get a good look at him now because he MIGHT not be back next season...maybe a Cap.
  • Power Play - C - As I said above this unit was pressured heavily and it showed in their performance. The lone PP goal was a 5 on 3 and even that was lucky and sloppy. I don't think they were ready for the pressure Manitoba put on them.
  • Penalty Kill - A - 5 chances and 5 kills. Excellent job again from everyone involved no matter how many guys they were down.
  • Overall - B+ - Very good game and almost perfect but it was a little too close for comfort at the end. They dominated similarly to the Saturday night game but unfortunately it was a much closer game.


1 comment:

Dougeb said...

Very good synopsis. My wife and I attended both games in Hershey this weekend. We had a great time. Sadly, we won't make it to Tuesday's game -- too far to drive and I can't get off work.

We'll do the next best thing: listen to John Walton's call on the radio.