Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Relax...Bears aren't out of woods yet

I just read Tim Leone's write up in the Patriot News from last nights game and he seems to think that Hershey will win the next 3 games and end this series in 6 games. It surely is possible but I would say that is a long way off.

Remember...this series can still end in Texas this week.

Yes the Bears won 6-3 after trailing 3-1 after one period. Yes they dominated the last 3o minutes of the game. Yes Hershey seems to have found their legs and scoring ability.

But there are still 2 games in Texas and Hershey is still down 2 games to 1. Texas still dominated the first 30 minutes last night. And Hershey still has players who insist on taking bad penalties.

Things aren't that much different as they were after game 2 in my opinion. I didn't think Hershey was that far from winning games 1 and 2. But last night had to affect both teams confidence levels.

Ask any hockey person and they will tell you that the worst lead in hockey is a 2 goal lead.

Why? Because the team in the lead relaxes just a bit and the team trailing throws caution to the wind and goes for broke.

That could have been part of things last night. Texas was up 3-1 after the first period and you know their confidence level was through the roof at that point. And Hershey was down 3-1 and on the verge of going down 3-0 in the series so you know they were putting it all on the line.

Was that the only reason Hershey won? Absolutely not. The Bears have more talent and offensive ability than any other team in the league, no one can argue that. The biggest problem Hershey faced in games 1 and 2, as well as the first period of game 3, was their own stubborness. They insisted on doing things their way instead of doing things the BEST way.

They seem to have figured that out.

I never stopped believing after game 2 so I still believe Hershey can (and will) win the series but I also think it is a mistake to think Hershey has definitely turned the corner. My main fear now is that their confidence grew so much in the last 2 periods that they will lighten up going into game 4 and give Texas hope.

Sure they made the necessary line changes...Bourque to the top line and Giroux down to the 2nd and Rome to the 3rd line...but Texas will be ready to go Wednesday night. Hershey has to stick with what is working....get the puck in deep and get it to the middle.

Leone did make one excellent point in his piece this morning...Texas has to get tired at some point. They are coming off of two 7 game series and are in a physical battle with Hershey. Are they at that point like Leone suggested? I am not convinced but they are surely approaching it. Once they hit that point Hershey should have full control of the series. Was that last night? We will see on Wednesday.

Hershey still needs to work hard and be more disciplined. No more bad penalties. Amadio was taking them last night as was Helmer and Pinner. It is time to stop. You can't win this series if you are sitting in the penalty box.

The line changes made after the first period last night MUST REMAIN. You can't put them back unless there is an injury. Bourque adds a level of energy to the top line that they didn't have before and Giroux adds a scoring element that didn't exist on the second line before.

Sure Gordon and Perreault capitalized last night and they weren't part of the changes. So you might think that it had nothing to do with the line changes. And if you think that, you haven't been paying attention.

Goals scored with original lines = 5 in 7 periods
Goals scored with new lines = 5 in 2 periods

The energy and styles of both lines changed when French switched Bourque and Giroux. By far the best (and probably toughest) decision he has made this season.

Game 4 is still a must win for the Bears though. They win that and they regain home ice advantage as the series turns into a best of 3 with 2 games in Hershey.

Tim Leone thinks Hershey could actually win both remaining games in Texas and I agree. But they better play like they did in the 3rd period of last nights game...no silly penalties and no frills hockey.


1 comment:

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