Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bears put 8 on the board against Moose

Well Hershey started out a little sluggish as they turned the puck over numerous times yet still managed to escape the 1st period with a 2-1 lead on goals by Andrew Joudrey (6th of season) and Keith Aucoin (23).

Manitoba couldn't take advantage of Hershey's sloppy play as they played somewhat sloppy in the first as well. Both teams were coming off extended breaks due to the all star game but only one team had to travel.

And in the end it seemed to take its toll. Hershey scored 2 more times in the second on goals from Chris Bourque (12) and Steve Pinizzotto (8) while Manitoba got 1 to make it 4-2 after 2 periods.

Manitoba started out the 3rd with a goal from Marco Rosa to close the gap to 1 at 4-3. Then Hershey erupted scoring 4 times against goaltender Cory Schneider to take a 8-3 lead and victory.

It was the most goals Manitoba has given up this season and from what I can find it has been a long time since they gave up that many goals. It hasn't happened in the last 5 seasons. Although there was some sign of this as the Moose have now given up 6 or more goals in 3 straight games after only allowing more than 5 once before this.

Could Daren Machesney get the start tonight in goal for the Moose? I don't see why he wouldn't, Schneider isn't playing well enough to get wins right now but neither is the defense. It would be good to see Cheese make a start back in Hershey.

Hershey's 4 goals in the 3rd were scored by Andrew Gordon (20), Oskar Osala (11), Kyle Wilson (17), and Jay Beagle (8). Alexander Giroux had 2 assists while Aucoin had a goal and an assist as both extended their point streaks to 12 games while Wilson extended his goal scoring streak to 5 games.

Braden Holtby made the start in goal and made some huge saves early in the game when the Bears were putting him in bad spots. He finished the game with 22 saves on 25 shots. Not a great night but it was definitely enough.

These teams meet again tonight. Hershey has now won 13 straight home games with hopes to make that 14 tonight. Manitoba has now lost 3 straight and 5 of their last 7 so they will be desperately looking for a win as they have 4 more road games after tonight before heading home.

Tonights game will serve as a test for both teams. Hershey just dominated this team, can they get up and be ready for another game or will over confidence take control? Manitoba has hit a rough slide, can their defense and goaltending step up against the AHL's premier offense?

Manitoba will bring everything they have tonight as they try to avoid a 4th straight loss overall and a 5th straight defeat to Hershey. The Bears have to be ready.

My Three Stars of the Game:
  1. Keith Aucoin - a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to 12 games
  2. Jay Beagle - a shorthanded goal and 2 assists
  3. Marco Rosa - only Moose player who seemed to show up as he scored twice

Grading the Performance:
  • Offense A It wasn't a complete performance as they didn't even have a shot until about 7 minutes into the game and only had 8 shots in the first period. But they made the most of their shots all game scoring on over 20% of their shots. As the game went on the got better and better and eventually they broke through.
  • Defense B Definitely not the best performance this unit has had. They struggled mightily in the first, relying on Holtby multiple times after defensive letdowns. Managed to get involved offensively while shutting down the Moose enough to get an impressive W.
  • Goaltending B Like the defense it wasn't the most impressive performance but in the end it was enough. He has put the bar so high that when he lets in a goal you are somewhat shocked and question why he didn't have it.
  • Power Play B+ 25% on the power play last night....another impressive performance. But considering how the Moose were playing this should have been about 50%.
  • Penalty Kill B+ Got caught kind of standing around on the first Moose power play and it cost them a goal. Picked up the play and killed off the remaining attempts.
  • Overall B+ When you score 8 goals and only allow 3 you are doing something right but the first period left a lot to be desired. Once they got their legs under them and started really playing they dominated what is fast becoming a lesser opponent.

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