Saturday night was a different kind of test.
Playing without arguably their 3 best penalty killers (Jay Beagle, Andrew Joudrey, and Boyd Kane) the Bears gave the Moose 12 power plays. Of which they converted 3 of them. I know from watching part of the game on AHLlive.com that some Hershey fans weren't pleased with the job referee Andy Thiessen did last night.
They questioned many of the calls including the call on Sean Collins for tripping at 4:19 of overtime. In my personal opinion the calls weren't that bad. I missed the first period so not including those 5 I would say that of the other 7, 6 were warranted. The only one I truly question was the call on Francois Bouchard midway through the 2nd.
The calls on Collins (slashing and tripping) were dead on. The penalty on Holtby was necessary. As an official you have to make those calls. If those plays had happened TO the Bears we all would have been screaming for calls to be made.
Hershey just didn't seem all there last night. On the Collins call that led to the winning goal I would say that Sean was left out to dry. I am not certain who was on the ice with him but they were not in position and Desbians got behind the defense and was skating in alone. Collins made an attempt to get the puck and almost did so but took down the Moose player instead. A call had to be made.
BUT if the rest of his linemates were paying attention and where they were supposed to be the situation would not have presented itself.
All in all it wasn't a bad game...we have seen much worse this season. But it wasn't what we have to come to expect recently.
Manitoba had to have this game. They had lost 6 straight to Hershey coming in and needed to keep pace with Hamilton in the North. They wanted this one more than the Bears and it showed.
Holtby made some huge saves but the offense never really found their rhythm. The Moose outshot Hershey 34-24 in the game and had more shots in every single period. Dmitri Kugryshev led the Bears with 4 shots. No offense to #15 but if he is leading the Bears in shots than the offense is not playing up to par in that game.
Much of the credit goes to Manitoba. They came out hungry and stopped the Bears offensively and held on for the win.
Overall it was a good weekend for Hershey. 3 points in 2 road games is a solid outcome. That other point would have been nice but there is still plenty of hockey to come. Hershey still sits in 4th place in the East division, 14 points out of first. But with Norfolk and Charlotte tied for 2nd with 47 points the Bears trail them by only 1.
As I mentioned before...there is still plenty of hockey to play. 43 games to be exact.
Hershey now has 5 full days with no games. Many players are surely fighting injuries (Joudrey didn't make the trip due to an injury) and this will give them the chance to heal up and be ready for back to back 3 in 3 weekends.
Next up...the surging (kind of) Adirondack Phantoms. More on them later this week.
LET'S GO BEARS!!!!