Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bears score 10 in Albany

Well I mentioned yesterday that maybe the Bears were caught looking ahead to last night's game this past Wednesday. I would say that is a fair estimation after the complete and utter domination that happened to the River Rats last night.

Albany was NEVER in that game and the Bears controlled play from the opening faceoff on their way to a 10-4 win. Considering the Bears went into the game last night having been outscored 6-1 in two previous games in that building a 10-4 win is awfully impressive. Even more impressive is that the Bears actually led the game 10-1 before allowing a few garbage time goals late in the 3rd period.

Surely not the way Hershey wanted to end the game but I would imagine most teams and most people would let up a bit when you are up 9 goals after 2.5 periods.

Jason Bacashihua got the start and made 19 saves to pick up his 8th win of the season. At the other end Justin Peters had what can only be described as a horrible night. The goalie who had stopped 75 of Hershey's 76 stops in the previous 2 games in Albany allowed 4 goals in the first period before getting pulled for backup Mike Murphy. But then Murphy got hurt so Peters had to come BACK in to the game.

Imagine that for a get pulled because 1. you can't stop anything and 2. your defense is non existent...BUT you end up having to go back in to the game a little later!! Ouch. And it didn't get easier for him. He ended up giving up 9 goals on 35 shots to earn the loss.

Alexander Giroux ended the night with 3 goals (15,16,17) and 2 assists while Kyle Wilson (13), Jay Beagle (7), Andrew Gordon (19), Keith Aucoin (20), Chris Bourque (10), Boyd Kane (15), and Mathieu Perreault (5) also scored for the Bears. Other than the goalies only Patty McNeill, Karl Alzner, and Patrick Wellar did NOT record a point in last nights game.

That is what you would call depth.

To be honest the Rats just didn't seem to be in the game at all. They were standing around while Hershey was flying to the puck. Whether that was a result of the shock of being down so much so quickly or just from being drained I don't know. They hadn't played in a week and we have seen the Bears come out flat after a long layoff like that so who knows. One thing I am sure of...the Rats come to Hershey on January 30th and I guarantee they will be fired up.

Tonight Hershey returns home and welcomes (sort of) the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to the Giant Center. Hopefully the Bears have something left for the flightless birds.

My 3 Stars of the Game:
  1. Alexander Giroux - 3 goals and 2 assists gives him the #1 spot in almost any game
  2. Francois Bouchard - 2 assists were excellent passes and perfectly placed
  3. Andrew Gordon - a goal and an assist and LOTS of hustle all night long

Grading the Performance:

  • Offense | A+ | You can't ask for a better performance than that. Whether it was due to their outstanding hustle or to the Rats lack of effort it doesn't matter. The Bears converted on their chances and made the Rats pay for mistakes. That is what a championship team does. The hustle to the puck was outstanding as the Rats rarely won the battle for loose pucks.
  • Defense | B | Not sure what exactly happened late in the game as I had already turned the game off but for the first 2/3 of the game the defense did what they needed to. They weren't excellent though as Bacashihua had to make some sprawling saves from time to time but it was obviously enough.
  • Goaltending | B | Again I am not sure what the 3 goals late were about but Cash played very well for the first parts of the game. Albany had a few chances and he snuffed them all out.
  • Power Play | A | 3 of 5 were the final numbers. That is a pretty good night by any teams standards. Would loved to have seen 5 for 5 but now I am just being greedy. Lots of great passing (Bouchard...excellent job on Perry's goal) from everyone and solid movement and positioning.
  • Penalty Kill | A | Killed off all 3 Albany chances and even added a short handed goal (Kane's goal). Albany wasn't too into the game but even still killing off 3 chances and scoring a shortie is a good performance.
  • Overall | A | Great performance against the only team in the East division that has given the Bears trouble this season. Some might call last night a Statement Game and I would agree BUT like I mentioned above the Rats were dealing with multiple injuries and call ups and were coming off a week long break. This team will look drastically different come playoff time when all the players get sent back from a horrible Carolina team. BUT either way it was a good game and a great effort.

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