I haven't been around as much as I have wanted to be this season but I haven't missed any games and have been paying very close attention to the team even though I haven't been posting here as much. One reason for the lack of posting is that I am writing at 2 other sites for the Bears/Caps now too. Come check out my Examiner.com page on the Hershey Bears. Both sites generally have original content from me a few times each week.
Now on to this weekends games.
Tonight the Bears return to the ice in Wilkes Barre against the Penguins. Unfortunately it looks like the Bears will be going into this game without top center Keith Aucoin and leading scorer Alexandre Giroux as both players are currently up in the NHL with the Capitals. Both guys played last night and congratulations to Giroux on getting a goal and to Aucoin for assisting on that goal.
Here is an interesting stat for you this year...after their 6 games the Bears have allowed the fewest goals in the league with only 8 allowed. In no game has the opposition scored more than 2 goals. Considering that last years team allowed the 8th most goals in the league and the highest among playoff teams this start is all the more impressive. In the first 6 games of 08-09 the Bears gave up 20 goals. That's some serious improvement.
It also speaks to this teams struggles offensively that they have actually lost two of those games and needed overtime to win another one. In the entire 08-09 season the Bears lost exactly 2 games when they held the opponent to 2 goals or less. So they have already managed to lose as many of those games as all of last season. It basically comes down to the offense...they just aren't scoring as much. It isn't a problem right now but it could develop into one.
Tonight is the 2nd of 12 meetings between the I-81 rivals this year. We covered previously how different the Baby Pens look this season and it is showing in their stats too. They are 4th in the division with a 3-2 record but have only scored 15 goals in their 5 games.
So 2 teams that dominated offensively last season are having trouble scoring early this season. One reason for this might be the scattered scheduling. When you have a week off between games it is hard to really get and stay in a rhythm. But it doesn't get too much better for the Bears going forward. They only have 3 mid-week games in 2009.
Which means they better figure out a way to stay on top of their game throughout the week. Hopefully we will see the secondary scoring pick up the slack tonight in Wilkes Barre.
record ~ 4-2-0-0 8 points
standings ~ 2nd in East Division
most recent game ~ 3-2 OT Win @ Binghamton, 10/17
last 5 games ~ 3-2-0-0
road record ~ 3-1-0-0
goals for ~ 19
goals against ~8
power play ~ 20.0% (12th)
penalty kill ~ 90.9% (5th)
record ~ 3-2-0-0 6 points
standings ~ 4th in East Division
most recent game ~ 4-3 SO Win vs Syracuse, 10/17
last 5 games ~ 3-2-0-0
home record ~ 2-2-0-0
goals for ~ 15
goals against ~ 13
power play ~ 24.0% (5th)
penalty kill ~ 87.0% (8th)
last time teams met - Hershey won 3-0 at the Pens two weeks ago (10/9).
Players to watch:
RW Andrew Gordon (10)- With Giroux up in Washington the Bears second leading scorer needs to step it up and get a goal or two.
D John Carlson (4) - If neither guy returns from Washington before tonight then Carlson will be the second leading point producer for the Bears tonight. He has a goal and 4 assists this season and has been solid in his own end.
C Jay Beagle (21) - He was centering the top line at practice this past week when Coiner got the call so all guesses are he will center the top line although without Giroux who is the left wing on that line anyhow?
RW Chris Conner (23) - Pens newcomer is leading the team with 6 points (2g, 4a) through 5 games.
C Dustin Jeffrey (21) - Not scoring goals yet this season but assists are just as good and he has 5 of them.
LW Ryan Bayda (37) - Another of the newcomers is leading the team with 3 goals in only 4 games this season.
LET'S GO BEARS!!!