Last night was no different as Hershey jumped out to a 3-1 lead after 1 period and extended that to 6-1 after 2 periods. Kyle Greentree scored 2 while Brian Willsie, Dmitri Kugryshev, Nikita Kashirsky, Sean Collins, and Zach Miscovic picked up the other goals for the Bears.
Dany Sabourin got his 2nd straight victory at Giant Center on a night when he was not challenged too much. The Bears defense managed to block a ton of shots and passes all night long. Every time you felt that the Sens had something going Hershey came up with a defensive play to take possession back.
Only a couple times did Dany really have to make some saves and on those chances he was up to the challenge.
Even the fights (there were 4) were won by Hershey. Joel Rechlicz fought 3 times, earning himself a game misconduct, and at the very least came out with a 2-0-1 record. I would award him the first one over Lessard, a draw against Bass in the 2nd, and another win over Spencer in the third.
All three fights were worth the price of admission I thought. The last one with Spencer was probably the best as both players landed multiple punches in the minutes long fight. You could see it from both guys, by the end of that bout they were both ready for the showers and a long nap.
Considering the Bears were without 5 of their top 10 scorers (Lawrence Nycholat missed the game with an injury as well) you could make the argument that the Bears played their best game of the season. All 4 lines contributed offensively and minus one power play goal allowed the Bears dominated the game.
Speaking of that power play goal...do you think its a coincidence that Hershey's first power play goal allowed in a few games came while captain Andrew Joudrey was in the penalty box? I don't think so. I am sure he was kicking himself for taking the penalty but not having him out there was definitely a factor.
But if all you give up is 1 power play goal every few games and you can score 6 in one game you are going to win a lot of games.
One more point (rant) about last nights game. Francois Bouchard. I think Bouch is possibly the most frustrating player to watch. You can see the talent he has each and every game but he can't seem to put it all together with any consistency. I have never met him and don't know the first thing about him so maybe I am way off base but it seems like he just isn't as focused as some of the other players. He has as much natural talent as ANY PLAYER ON THE TEAM but he doesn't seem to apply himself at all times.
I think Bouch could be a scoring champ in this league and a regular contributor on an NHL team. Maybe I am wrong but that's how I feel. He just has to WANT it more than he seems to.
His 2 assists last night were his first points in 7 games. And the pass to set up Greentree's second goal (Hershey's 3rd) was as good a pass as you will ever see at a hockey game. The talent is there it's just a matter of getting the most out of it on a night to night basis.
Next up is a road trip to Pittsburgh to face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tomorrow. And no I didn't get the location wrong. Tomorrow nights game is part of the Winter Classic 'event' at Console Energy Center in Pittsburgh. More on that tomorrow.
GOOD GAME BEARS!!!!
My Three Stars of the Game:
- Kyle Greentree - 2 goals when Hershey needed him most
- Francois Bouchard - amazing pass on Greentree's 2nd goal
- Dany Sabourin - was there when the defense needed him
Grading the Performance:
- Offense - A - How can it be anything less. 6 goals and plenty of other opportunities on the night. Mike Brodeur was not ready for that kind of action.
- Defense - A - Great job on positioning and keeping the sticks in the passing and shooting lanes. And some offensive help as well with goals by Collins and Miscovic.
- Goaltending - B+ - He was there when needed but a couple of those were lucky bounces. He seems to overplay the action to one side or the other constantly. I can think of 3 separate instances last night when he got lucky with his saves.
- Power Play - B - Had some trouble getting set up it seemed. That is too be expected though when you have an entire power play unit out of the lineup.
- Penalty Kill - B+ - Very good with the exception of one time which was discussed earlier. With Jay Beagle, Steve Pinizzotto, Boyd Kane, and Joudrey the Bears have arguably the best penalty killing forwards possible. All 4 are exceptional and the defense is rock solid too. This unit will continue to get better as players return and remain healthy.
- Overall - A - Great effort. A full 60 minutes despite being up 5 goals entering the 3rd period. I was personally very impressed with the hustle and effort that the Bears were playing with in the closing minutes. Maxime Lacroix was skating full speed with under 5 minutes to go to try and negate an icing. That kind of effort when you are up 5 goals and the game is essentially over is what will help this team as the season moves forward.