Friday started off poorly as Hershey fell behind 2-0 early in the 2nd before springing to life to pick up a 4-3 overtime win in Syracuse.
Saturday was one that we would all love to forget. A 6-2 handling on home ice at the hands of the Baby Pens.
Sunday was an exciting game to see as goals came fast and furious throughout the first as Hershey skated to a 7-3 win over Manchester.
It was an interesting weekend for Hershey goaltenders as well. Braden Holtby remained on recall to Washington which meant Todd Ford and Dany Sabourin would be in goal for Hershey.
Neither goalie looked great and both finished with a win, Sabourin's on Friday and Ford's on Sunday, with an ugly performance stuck in the middle. Sabourin got the start against the Pens but was pulled early in the 1st period after giving up 3 goals on 7 shots. Ford played a little better allowing 3 goals on 16 shots. Overall it was a poor performance across the board for the Bears Saturday night.
But they returned the favor on Sunday to the Monarchs. Manchester's starting goalie, Jeff Zartoff, managed to hang in for about 15 minutes but that was only because Hershey didn't get many shots on him up to that point. At one point Hershey had 3 goals on 3 shots. Zartoff ended up giving up 4 goals on 5 shots before being pulled in favor of youngster Martin Jones. Jones played much better as he allowed only 1 more goal on 14 shots.
It wasn't enough though as Hershey held Manchester to 3 goals and picked up 2 empty netters in the closing minutes.
The weekend ended up a success as the Bears went 2-1 for the second weekend in a row. If they could just find a way to beat those damn Penguins...(more on that coming in a couple days).
One thing I wanted to say though is this....it is still early. I saw a comment somewhere that this team is mediocre at best and another asking if the Pens were that good or is Hershey just bad.
Hershey has only played 10 games....only 70 to go!
They have dealt with injuries (Souray, McNeill, Rechlicz)....
They have had a fair share of callups (Perreault, Beagle, Holtby, Fahey)....
And they are still breaking in a relatively new lineup (Greentree, Willsie, Nycholat).
And please keep this in mind too...last season was incredible. It was a once in a lifetime kind of season. All the pieces fell into place as Hershey set record after record on their way to the Cup.
Add to that 3 Finals appearances in the previous 4 years (4 in 5 total) and I think we could all say that we are kind of spoiled. Most teams don't see the Calder Cup Finals at all and we have been watching hockey into mid June for a while.
This years Bears team is good. I said to start the year that I think offensively they could compete with last years team (assuming call ups don't kill the team) but defensively and in goal there are serious concerns. They can no longer rely on Alzner and Carlson on the blueline or Neuvirth in net. And considering the durability of a certain goalie in Washington I am not sure Holtby will be around too often either.
This team is skilled and can play with anyone. Yes they have lost to Wilkes Barre 3 times to start the season. And yes the Pens are undefeated after 8 games. And yes they have come out slow multiple times already.
But all of those things happened in the past 2 years as well....and guess what happened come Spring...
Hershey was celebrating with the Calder Cup in mid June.
There is lots of hockey to play yet in 2010-11.
LET'S GO BEARS!!!