I didn't get to see any of the Friday game in Wilkes-Barre and I only saw a few minutes of the Saturday game in Hershey. But I was in Hershey for the Sunday game and I have to be honest...I thought Hershey played great.
Even though it appeared that they started slowly, giving up 2 goals in the first 10 minutes, I thought they were actually the better team from start to finish. They just didn't get the bounces early and the Phantoms did. They were out-hitting, out-hustling, and simply out-playing the Phantoms damn near all game.
In the end Hershey responded with 4 unanswered goals to beat the Phantoms for the 2nd straight night. I never really felt that the outcome was in doubt either. It just seemed like Hershey was the better team playing better hockey while getting a few unlucky bounces.
So the weekend ended up pretty good as Hershey scored 11, allowed 5 and went 2-1.
But it didn't start out as well as Washington recalled the Bears #2 and #3 centers, Perreault and Beagle, before the game Friday night.
It isn't easy to replace 2 very good centers on any notice let alone short notice. Having no time to work with other combinations is not easy but Hershey still managed 32 shots against Wilkes-Barre. Not sure the quality of those shots but getting 32 isn't bad.
Saturday and Sunday were different games though. Hershey, who had some trouble with Adirondack last year, came out and played as physical as they have all season. Guys like Grant McNeill, Steve Pinizzotto, and Boyd Kane were on top of their game all weekend.
Those games also featured 4 fights and 31 penalties over the two evenings. Sheldon Souray, Trevor Bruess, Ashton Rome, and GMac all threw down against the Phantoms. I saw GMac's bout, very impressive, and I have heard that Souray looked pretty good on Saturday night too.
But playing physical doesn't get the job done by itself...you still have to score goals. Rome and Andrew Gordon did that okay as both scored 3 times over the 3 games. They accounted for over half of the Bears 11 goals during their 3 in 3. Other goal scorers were Willsie, Joudrey, Greentree, Pinner, and Kane.
Braden Holtby, who just got recalled to Washington, won both games against the Phantoms while Dany Sabourin, who was on recall Sunday but returned today, picked up the loss against the Pens.
Hopefully Holtby will be back before Hershey plays again on Friday but if not Todd Ford might see some time in net this weekend as the Bears have another 3 in 3 this upcoming weekend.
In the end what started out as a poor weekend with callups and a loss turned into an solid 2-1, 4 point showing. Sure, losing to the Baby Pens for the second time this year was disappointing but if you go 2-1 during every 3 in 3 you will end up in pretty good position come April.