Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bears and Devils rack up 173 penalty minutes; Robitaille watches from section 112

Referee Ian Croft apparently didn't feel like calling minor penalties last night.  He let just about everything go and instead waited until the players took matters into their own hands and then he dished out misconduct penalties like they were candy and it was Trick or Treat night.

32 penalties total, only 9 of them 2 minute minors, 5 game misconducts, 3 10 minute misconducts, 14 fighting majors, and a 5 minute major for charging the goalie. 

That's an impressive stat line.  It's like he had a game misconduct quota that he had to hit this weekend.  If he would have just called a few minor penalties at the right time most of this would have been avoided.

But when Keith Aucoin is dropping the gloves to defend himself you know that the referee has officially lost the game. 

Trevor Bruess and Sean Collins got game misconducts for the Bears.  Louis Robitaille, Harry Young, and Brad Mills picked up the ejections for the Devils.

Robitaille's kid was there and after he was ejected Louis joined him in section 112 and watched the remainder of the game from the stands.  I replayed the charging call on Louis when he ran Sabourin and it was definitely intentional.  I had thought last night that maybe...maybe he made incidental contact but it wasn't.  Louis ran the goalie and got tossed for it.

And then he spent the game in the stands with his kid on his birthday.  So it worked out for him.

That set the tone for the game though.  The teams just went at it from then on. 

Joel Rechlicz and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond went toe to toe twice with each getting a decision.  Leblond landed some pretty good shots in the first bout and Joel getting the upper hand the second time around. 

It was a crazy night at Giant Center.

Oh and the Bears won 8-3.  Almost forgot that minor detail.  Brian Willsie (14, 15), Steve Pinizzotto (10), Patrick Wellar (2), Brian Fahey (3), Francois Bouchard (5), Collins (2), and Greentree (16) picked up the goals for the Bears.

Sabourin played very well as he made 34 saves on 37 Albany shots to pick up his 3rd victory of the season over the Devils.  He had some tough saves to make and honestly I don't think Martin Brodeur would have stopped a couple of the goals.

Some other key points:
  • The second goal (Pinner's) on the power play was the direct result of players getting in front of the goalie.  For a good bit of that shift neither Pinner, Kane, Willsie, or Bouch would go to the front of the net.  They insisted on playing along the perimeter but once Pinner and Kane went to the front they scored.
  • Andrew Gordon's pass to Fahey on the 4th Bears goal was a thing of beauty.  From behind the net he looked up for one second and saw Fahey slowly creeping in and then made a perfect pass for one of the easiest goals Fahey has ever scored.  That is one example of why Gordo keeps getting recalled to Washington.  It isn't just the goal scoring from him.
  • The first goal allowed by Hershey was actually played pretty well by Zach Miscovic.  He was in good position but Alexander Vasyunov pulled some pretty sweet moves to beat him and then put the puck in the top corner when no one would have gotten it.  Just one of those times.
  • And maybe the best thing I saw last night.  On the 8th and final goal Kyle Greentree finally connected on a one-timer from Coiner on the power play.  Alexandre Giroux made his living scoring on those cross ice one timers from Aucoin but up until last night I hadn't seen Greentree do it.  If he can get that down and connect with regularity he could score 30 goals over the 2nd half of the season.

My Three Stars of the Game:
  1. Dany Sabourin - 34 saves after getting run by Louis definitely helped the cause
  2. Brian Willsie - right place right time on the first goal and then picked up a 2nd later
  3. Francois Bouchard - great effort last night.  Physical play in both ends and picking up a goal and an assist

Grading the Performance:
  • Offense | A | If you score 8 goals you have to be doing something right.  The defense was jumping in at the right time and the forwards were working hard for the entire 60 minutes despite the lead.  
  • Defense | B+ | Really there was only one lapse in judgement and I believe it came on the 3rd goal when the blueline got caught and the Devils took a 2 on none and scored.
  • Goaltending | A | Like I said...2 of the goals were probably unstoppable and he made tons of key saves to make sure that even without 8 goals the Bears would have won.
  • Power Play | B | Can't say they were dominant as they didn't seem to know what they were doing some of the time.  During the 5 minute major for Robitaille's play they couldn't get set up for the first 2.5 minutes.  They did score 2 power play goals though.
  • Penalty Kill | B | They killed off 6 of the 7 penalties but they have allowed a power play goal in all 3 games against the Devils this season.  And Albany is one of the worst power play teams in the league.
  • Overall | B+ | Hard to get a real rhythm when you have 173 penalty minutes but that was probably as complete a game as you can play in that situation.  Hopefully it didn't take too much out of them as Rochester comes to town tonight.


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