Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bears visit Norfolk tonight

The Hershey Bears take their franchise record 12 game winning streak down to southeastern Virginia tonight to take on the Norfolk Admirals.

This will be the 6th meeting of the two teams this season with Hershey winning all 5 to this point. But this will be only the second game to be played in Norfolk as 4 of the 5 were in Hershey.

Norfolk is coming in on a bit of a slide. Earlier this season they were actually in 2nd place in the East division but now they reside in the cellar, tied for last in the division with Syracuse. They have only won 1 of their last 8 games which included 2 losses to Hershey.

Hershey meanwhile is obviously coming in playing well having won 12 straight. Much of that can be attributed to the play of goaltender Braden Holtby. Holtby has won 9 straight himself and has a goals against average of 1.56 and a save percentage of .948 during that stretch. While he doesn't have a shutout in those games he does have a number of 1 goal games. If you were to extend those numbers out over the course of a season you would undoubtedly have an MVP trophy.

Outside of Holtby though the Bears are still playing very well. The defense has helped him alot while the offense has scored 52 goals during the winning streak which equates to a little over 4 goals per game.

And it isn't like the scoring is limited to just one line. 16 different players including 4 defensemen have scored during the 12 games. If that isn't balance I don't know what is.

Tonight's game starts a 4 in 5 weekend featuring games against the East division. Games with Albany, Wilkes-Barre, and Syracuse loom this weekend. Hershey already leads the division by 14, with a few wins this weekend that number will surely jump.

Hershey Bears
record ~ 29-8-0-2 60 points
standings ~ 1st in East Division
most recent game ~ 3-2 Win @ Manitoba, 1/9
last 5 games ~ 5-0-0-0
road record ~ 14-5-0-0
goals for ~ 149
goals against ~84
power play ~ 18.3% (7th)
penalty kill ~ 91.5% (1st)

Norfolk Admirals
record ~ 16-21-2-0 34 points
standings ~ 6th in East Division
most recent game ~ 2-1 Loss vs Syracuse, 1/9
last 5 games ~ 1-4-0-0
home record ~ 7-10-0-0
goals for ~ 98
goals against ~ 111
power play ~ 12.8% (26th)
penalty kill ~ 86.8% (6th)

last time teams met - Hershey won 5-3 in Norfolk on December 29th. This is the 6th meeting this season and Hershey is 5-0 to date winning by a combined 25-12.

Players to watch:


LW Chris Bourque (17)- He has been involved in 3 games so far against Norfolk and has done well scoring 4 goals and adding 3 assists in those 3 games.
C Keith Aucoin (11) - Hershey's leading scorer with 19 goals and 45 points has 4 goals and 6 assists against Norfolk this season.
LW Alexandre Giroux (12) - In 4 games against Norfolk this season he has 2 goals and 5 assists including 3 assists opening night in Hershey.


LW Juraj Simek (14) - Third on the team in goals (10) and points (20) he has 3 goals and an assist in his last 4 games.
C Blair Jones (9) - He has played in 26 of Norfolk's games to date and has played 14 games with Tampa Bay in the NHL. He is a team best +8 but hasn't played for Norfolk since 12/12.
C Ryan Craig (23) - Second on the team (behind Brandon Bochenski who is on recall to Tampa Bay) in goals with 12 although 6 of those goals came in October.


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