The Bears have been dealing with roster turmoil this week. Andrew Gordon and Jay Beagle were recalled to Washington while Brian Fahey returned to Hershey. Kyle Greentree and Phil Oreskovic are both still out with injuries. In addition to that Patrick McNeill and Keith Aucoin are both slated to make their returns this weekend and are on trip to New York.
It will be McNeill's first game of the season after offseason surgery. He figures to be one of the top 4 d-men for the remainder of the season.
Aucoin will play for the first time since taking a shot off the knee back on November 7 in Charlotte. Amazingly enough he is still 6th on the team in points even though he has only played in 11 games while others have played in 25 or more.
No word on if/when any of the players currently on recall to Washington, including Mathieu Perreault, will be back in Hershey. The Caps are dealing with multiple injuries, some illness, and a 7 game losing streak. I would imagine that one or both of Gordon and Beagle will be back sometime this weekend but nothing is a guarantee.
But most of us already know about what is going on with Hershey...how about the Phantoms?
Well, to answer that easily...nothing.
The Phantoms are, by far, the worst team in the AHL as far as record goes. They have played 29 games this season and they have 4 wins. No, that is not a mistype. Seriously, they only have 4 wins. They also have 2 overtime losses which gives them 10 points on the season.
10 points! In 29 games. They are 4-23-2-0 on the season and have been outscored by 52 goals on the season. They have scored the fewest goals in the league, 62, and have given up the most, 114. If you have one or the other it is bad enough but if you are the worst in both categories then you are in trouble.
1 of those wins came last Friday night in Syracuse. Prior to that the Phantoms hadn't won in a month, losing 10 straight between victories.
To put it in perspective...the Phantoms are 15 points behind the next team! They would have to more than double their current point total just to equal the next worst team.
A little more on the game tonight....
record ~ 16-10-0-1 33 points
standings ~ 4th in East Division
most recent game ~ 5-3 Loss @ Charlotte, 12/5
last 5 games ~ 4-1-0-0
road record ~ 9-4-0-1
goals for ~ 97
goals against ~ 71
power play ~ 20.0% (6th)
penalty kill ~ 81.5% (20th)
record ~ 4-23-1-0 10 points
standings ~ Last in East Division
most recent game ~ 6-4 Loss vs Connecticut, 12/15
last 5 games ~ 1-4-0-0
home record ~ 2-9-1-0
goals for ~ 62
goals against ~ 114
power play ~ 16.4% (21st)
penalty kill ~ 80.1% (23rd)
last time teams met - This is the 4th meeting of the season between the teams. Hershey has won all 3 by a combined 13-3.
Players to watch:
C Keith Aucoin (11) - Assuming he plays he is going to be counted on to carry a large load that will include power play work and on the top line. He is still 6th on team with 18 points in only 11 games.
F Brian Willsie (18) - Playing all 3 forward spots at times this season he is second on the team in goals with 10 and points with 25.
RW Francois Bouchard (22) - Gets a shot on the top line tonight alongside Aucoin. He has only 4 goals and 4 assists this season and needs to start producing to help the shorthanded Bears.
D Erik Gustafsson (36) - The defenseman leads the team in assists, 20, and points, 24. He is the only Phantom with double digit assists this year.
LW Denis Hamel (17) - Joined the team at the beginning of November and has collected 8 goals and 7 assists in 18 games. Leads the team in goals. Has 2 goals and 6 assists in last 6 games.
D Danny Syvret (25) - The former Bear came over from Syracuse in a trade earlier this season. On the year he has 18 games played, 5 goals and 7 assists. All the goals and 3 of the assists have come during his 10 games with the Phantoms.
LET'S GO BEARS!!!