Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bears welcome former East division foe tonight

Wow...what an Olympics tournament so far! I will be honest with you...I haven't watched a Bears game in a couple weeks as I have been 1) very busy and 2) watching as much Olympic hockey and events as possible.

The men's tournament is coming down to the game the NHL, NBC, and Canada wanted. But lets be honest....the US didn't want this game. Canada is out to make a statement tomorrow afternoon and Ryan Miller is going to have to be HUGE yet again if the USA has any chance to win this game.

Even beyond the hockey matches though the Olympics have gained my attention and I have tried to watch most of the events. Unfortunately (as any regular readers will now) that means that I haven't been posting on here as much. But the Olympics are about done and the AHL stretch run and playoffs are coming up.

I have been paying attention though and it would seem as though the Bears are struggling a bit offensively. Again I haven't watched any games so I can't speak to what they do that doesn't show up on the scoreboard but you can find out a lot by looking at guys stats.

Keith Aucoin hasn't scored a goal since January and he has only 5 assists in 10 February games. Not too good considering his dominance in the first 3.5 months. In January he recorded a point in EVERY game and ended the month with 12 goals and 23 assists. He needs to pick it up going forward and find a little balance between his 5 point month and his 35 point month.

Alexandre Giroux is not doing much either. He also scored in every January game finishing the month with 14 goals and 17 assists but has struggled mightily in February. He has 3 goals and 3 assists in 9 February games and has only recorded a point in 3 games.

Andrew Gordon wasn't near as spectacular in January as the previous two but he has also struggled a bit in February with only 4 goals and 2 assists in 10 games.

No offense to Andrew Joudrey but when he is your leading scorer in any given month you are struggling a bit to put the puck in the net. He is tied for the team lead in goals (5) in February with Francois Bouchard and tied for the team lead in points (9) with Mathieu Perreault.

Heck Boyd Kane hasn't recorded a point yet this month and Kyle Wilson hasn't scored a goal either.

Just the fact that Hershey has a winning record with all those players struggling is a testament to the teams depth and talent level. To date in February the Bears are 7-3 with 30 goals scored and 29 goals against.

I will say it again....the fact that Hershey is 7-3 so far in February is impressive by itself. But they need to work through their problems and get back to scoring goals.

They have time though and honestly this will help them going forward. This is the adversity that teams generally go through every season that up to this point Hershey hasn't faced.

Playing at home they are still the best team in the league with 20 straight wins but the road is becoming another problem spot for them as they have lost 3 of 4 on the road with the only win coming against a weak Lake Erie team in a shootout.

Tonight the Bears host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the first and only time this season. Last year Bridgeport was in the East division and gave Hershey some fits during the season...but now they are in the Atlantic division and fighting for their playoff lives right now.

Tomorrow the Bears head up 81 to Wilkes Barre to face off against another team fighting for a playoff spot in the Baby Pens.

How many of you are truly going to watch/listen to the Pens game??? I mean starts at 3pm...the same time as USA vs Canada for the gold medal! Any other year and I would be sitting in front of the computer watching Hershey vs Wilkes Barre but getting to see the USA against (hockey's Dream Team) Canada for the gold medal....I will watch the game that happens once every 4 years at best.

Hershey Bears
record ~ 44-12-0-2 90 points
standings ~ 1st in East Division
most recent game ~ 3-2 Loss @ Toronto, 2/25
last 5 games ~ 3-2-0-0
home record ~ 25-3-0-2
goals for ~ 246
goals against ~141
power play ~ 21.7% (1st)
penalty kill ~ 88.5% (1st)

Bridgeport Sound Tigers
record ~ 27-25-3-6 63 points
standings ~ 5th in Atlantic Division
most recent game ~ 3-2 Loss vs Abbotsford, 2/24
last 5 games ~ 3-2-0-0
road record ~ 11-13-3-3
goals for ~ 147
goals against ~ 164
power play ~ 14.7% (25th)
penalty kill ~ 82.9% (12th)

last time teams met - First meeting this season. Hershey will visit Bridgeport on Tuesday.

Players to watch:


LW Chris Bourque (17)- In only 31 games this season he has managed to get to 4th in scoring for the Bears with 17 goals and 27 assists. Been somewhat productive in February with 3 goals and 5 assists in 8 games.
RW Francois Bouchard (22) - Having a solid month with 5 goals and 2 assists gives him 16 goals and 25 assists on the season...good for 5th on the team and MIGHT put him in position for a top line spot next season.
C Andrew Joudrey (23) - Definitely showing what he can do this month scoring 5 goals and 4 assists which ties him for the month's lead in both goals and points. Has already tied his career high in goals (11) and is only 2 off his career high in points (27 last season).

Sound Tigers:

LW Greg Mauldin
(20) - He is the team leader in goals (20) and in points (44). Riding a hot streak as well with 4 goals and 10 assists in his last 10 games.
LW Jesse Joensuu (6) - Second on the team in points (37) and leading the team in assists (27) he has had a solid February with 8 assists in 7 games.
LW Trevor Smith (23) - Second on the team in goals (17) and third on the team in points (35) he has 3 goals and 4 assists in his last 10 games.