Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bears can win series tonight!

What a game on Thursday night! 0-0 through 2 periods, 3-2 Bears victory in overtime. I really though Bernier was going to steal his first game of the series but Francois Bouchard, and before that Chris Bourque, managed to keep that from happening.

Down 1 with a minute to go Hershey pulled Neuvirth and thanks to some very good passing and puck control Chris Bourque scored the tying goal with 50 seconds to go.

Hershey was extremely close to heading back home down 3 games to 2. But instead they are up 3 to 2 and Manchester will have to do what no combination of AHL teams have done in 2 games in Hershey!

At the beginning of the series I thought that Jonathon Bernier was probably the reason that Manchester was doing as well as they were. But the more I see of them I would say that isn't entirely accurate. In the last 2 games I can't remember a single time where Hershey had an odd man rush.

When Hershey brings the puck through the neutral zone there are always 2 Monarchs in their own zone. And once Hershey gets possession in the zone the Monarchs have all 5 players deep and in passing lanes. Which allows them to block shot after shot from anywhere outside the faceoff circles.

I think that while Bernier is definitely very good his numbers this postseason have more to do with the playing style than his exceptional play.

In fact it reminds me of another team in this years hockey playoffs that has done the unthinkable...the Montreal Canadiens. They have been playing excellent defensive hockey and it has them in the Eastern Conference Championship.

Don't get me wrong...both Bernier and Halak are playing great hockey. But when your defense is always in position and you block lot of shots a goalie doesn't have to be 'perfect'.

After game 1 the Monarchs mentioned that the large, loud crowd kind of rattled them a bit. Well I can guarantee that tonight's crowd will be larger and louder than that one was. And having played the last 3 games in their building with a grand total of 7,761 fans they will surely need to readjust to a building with 10,500+ fans!!

Fortunately for the Monarchs it is looking questionable if Andrew Gordon will be able to return this series. It was looking like he might make it back for tonight's game but in the paper yesterday it mentioned that he is doubtful for the game and the series.

Hopefully he can return if Hershey makes the finals.

Another sign that he won't be there is the return of Cody Eakin. They had sent the junior eligible winger home for the summer earlier this week but changed their mind recently and called him back.

The kid can flat out score goals. In 4 games for Hershey this season he scored 2 goals and in his junior season he scored 47 goals in 70 games!! And he added another 44 assists in those games.

While Jay Beagle was definitely an upgrade over Boyd Kane on the top line a kid like Cody Eakin could make some noise there or maybe on the third line. More than likely he was brought back for depth purposes only but I would like to see him get a shot.

Personally though...I would rather just see Andrew Gordon on the right side of Giroux and Aucoin.


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