Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bears win 3-2 in OT

The Bears got back on track in Binghamton last night with a 3-2 victory in overtime over the Sens. In a game where the Bears took a team record 27 shots in a period (2nd) they struggled to beat Andy Chiodo one week after lighting him up for 6 goals in 2 periods. Chiodo continually went down early and flailed around on the ice to make stops. The Bears definitely did a better job getting pucks on net with a total of 44 shots but they still missed opportunities.

Scoring is beginning to become a question for the Bears. Prior to the signing of Alexandre Giroux there was a lot of question on where the goals would come from. Once he was signed it was just expected that he would provide the difference. But he is unlikely to hit 60 goals again during the regular season (although after 2 more goals last night he has 4 already). At this point it looks like losing Graham Mink and his 32 goals and Chris Bourque and his 21 goals is going to be difficult to replace.

Hershey didn't really bring in any proven scorers to replace those 53 goals. They just decided to continue to develop from within and give other players increased minutes. Guys like Andrew Gordon, Steve Pinizzotto, Kyle Wilson, and Oskar Osala need to pick up the slack.

Not having Keith Aucoin for the past couple of games surely hurts the offense and he is likely to return at some point this week BUT if the Caps can ever trade Nylander he might be called up to Washington on a permanent basis.

One thing for sure is that the defense is better then last years unit. With both Karl Alzner and John Carlson on the blueline along with improved players such as Patrick McNeill and Sean Collins this is going to be a tough team to score against this season. And most of the defensemen can contribute offensively as well.

Okay...the offense has struggled a bit the past 3 games but the game before that they scored 8 goals so it is obviously a little early to sound any alarms but it is something to keep an eye on. I think this team will benefit from more frequent line changes this season as opposed to how things went last year. In 08-09 Coach Woods kept the top 2 lines together all season barring injury which worked out. But with Mink gone there is no true #1 right wing and with Bourque gone there is no true #2 left wing. So rotating guys through the lines will work better then it would have last season.

Any way you look at it the Bears are 4-2 with all 4 wins coming in the East division. Not to shabby to start the season.

My Three Stars of the Game:
  1. Alexandre Giroux - 2 goals to lead the team and win the game
  2. Trevor Bruess - no points and only 2 shots but created chances consistently
  3. Andy Chiodo - made plenty of big saves among his 41

Grading the Performance:
  • Offense | B+ | Definitely did much better getting shots but still they missed plenty of opportunities. Chiodo wanted to go down early if there were bodies near him but plenty of Hershey shots came without traffic in front. Could have been better but not bad.
  • Defense | B | The stat line says 36 shots against but it didn't seem like that many. Carlson scored his first regular season goal and Alzner is an absolute stalwart on the blue line. Miscovic looked like the rookie he is at times last season. And Ammo sounded pretty good on the radio!
  • Goaltending | B | Neuvirth has looked a little lackadaisical in net the past 2 nights. Honestly I think Holtby looked MUCH more impressive in his starts than Neuvy. After missing a few weeks with an injury he is probably just working at getting into a rhythm.
  • Power Play | B | 1 for 4 for the night with Carlson picking up the goal. Lots of pressure, good shots, nice job positionally. BUT they should have scored more.
  • Penalty Kill | B | Killed off 3 of 4 which is okay. Seem to be chasing a little more than anyone would like to see them chase. Staying in their box is the key to any PK unit and Hershey needs to do this better.
  • Overall | B | Good game, not great. Too many shots against, too many wasted shots for. Better than Friday night though for sure.


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