Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bears score 7 more to beat Pens

Well an offensive letdown was not in store for the Hershey Bears last night. After scoring 10 goals against Albany Friday night Hershey returned home and scored 7 more in a 7-2 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

That is an impressive 2 game stretch. Offensively it was the best since the 88-89 season when Hershey scored 11 and 8 in consecutive games.

But what makes the last 2 games even more amazing is to consider this stat (which Leone and Walton mentioned during last nights game)....Hershey's 17 goals in the past 2 games is equal to 18% of what the Adirondack Phantoms have scored ALL SEASON!!

Think about that for moment...the Phantoms have played 40 games...the Bear totaled in 2 games what it takes the Phantoms almost 8 games to accomplish. Not too bad.

Last night it seemed like a continuation of the Albany game although the Baby Pens were more ready to play than the Rats. They hustled more, hit harder, and generally scrapped more than what Albany could muster.

Still it wasn't enough to remain in the game. Hershey was actually out shot in the first period 12-10 but they left the period with a 4-1 lead and they never looked back. Then they carried over the intensity into the 2nd and 3rd periods as they added 3 more goals against Pens goalie Brad Thiessen.

Patrick Wellar and Jesse Boulerice fought in the first period and it appeared the two teams were headed for lengthy stays in the penalty box as the chippyness really picked up. But the 2nd period was really void of any trouble and everything seemed to be settling in with Hershey up 5-1 after 2 periods.

And then the 3rd period started and the chippyness returned. It really all started at about the 8 minute mark when Zach Sill and Mathieu Perreault got together and Francois Bouchard came to Perry's defense and took on Sill for a minute. 15 penalties were called in the final period including fighting majors handed out to Jay Beagle and Sill at the very end of the game. Beag's doesn't drop the gloves too often but when he does he surprises everyone and takes care of his opponent.

The power play and offense again carried the team. 3 power play goals and 5 different goal scorers for the night. Alexander Giroux added 2 more to his weekend (18,19) as did Kyle Wilson (14,15) while Keith Aucoin (21), Steve Pinizzotto (7), and Patrick McNeill (4) added their own tallies.

For the weekend Giroux has 5 goals and 3 assists in 2 games. Those are generally considered pretty good numbers. He and Aucoin are working on 10 game point streaks while Wilson has now scored in 4 straight games.

Braden Holtby got the start and made 20 saves to pick up his 12th win of the season. Only faced 22 shots but many of the saves he made were very impressive and difficult.

Last 15 games....14-1. 11 straight home wins...ties a new club record. This is a pretty impressive run over the past month. Enjoy it.

My 3 Stars of the Game:
  1. Alexander Giroux - 2 goals and an assist gives him the #1 spot for the 2nd straight game
  2. Patty McNeill - a goal and 3 assists for the blue liner
  3. Kyle Wilson - 2 goals last night gives him 5 in 4 straight games

Grading the Performance:

  • Offense | A+ | For the second straight night the Bears offense took it to an opposing defense and goaltender. Wilkes Barre came to play last night and yet the Bears controlled the game from the word go and there was seemingly nothing the Pens could do. The offense produced 31 shots, almost all of them very good and challenging, while scoring 7 times.
  • Defense | B+ | A better performance last night compared to the 3rd period of Friday nights game. 2 goals on 22 shots is okay although Wilkes Barre still had their chances. The Pens are built to be a bit more physical than Hershey and it showed but all that matter at the end is the scoreboard.
  • Goaltending | B+ | Holtby picks up his 12th win of the season after making 20 saves including many that could have drastically changed this game. Big saves at big moments is what being a goalie is all about.
  • Power Play | A | 3 of 9 were the final numbers. I would surely rather see more than 3 goals in 9 chances especially after seeing a 3 for 5 performance Friday night but 3 power play goals would make me happy in any game.
  • Penalty Kill | B+ | They allowed a goal and you know a unit is dominant when allowing 1 power play goal on 6 chances can be considered an off night.
  • Overall | A | Back to back great games with a slight letdown in Friday's third period sandwiched in the middle. Hershey is running away with the division and is it really just a joke when people are asking if Hershey could beat an East division All-Star team right now? The Bears are playing as well as anyone in any league right now and as long as their confidence doesn't get too high I think we could see records and streaks fall a couple more times this season.

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