It happens all the time. Big rivalry game on the road and a return home for a game against a team that isn't having a great season and that you have personally beaten easily already. You are usually going to see teams struggle in those situations.
So it wasn't surprising. Disappointing...of course. You could just see in the effort that Hershey didn't have it. They weren't getting to loose pucks, they weren't taking the body as often, and they flat out weren't playing well at either end.
Dany Sabourin got the start and honestly didn't look terrible but he didn't look good either. A couple of the goals were surely the fault of the defense and I don't believe Coach French pulled Sabs because of his play. I honestly think he was just trying to spark the team and give them some energy.
It didn't work.
Hershey only started playing with intensity and desire late in the 3rd period. They managed to record 47 shots in the game, 21 of them in the 3rd period. I would argue that half of those shots could have been stopped by a high school kid playing goal but 47 shots is 47 shots.
Again, I was not surprised by the outcome. Not saying I was expecting it but the writing was on the wall. The players even acknowledged afterwards that they just didn't have the energy or the effort that they had the previous evening in Pittsburgh.
That win over Wilkes-Barre was big. It took a team effort and it was obviously an emotionally and physically draining contest.
But now the Bears have had a couple days to rest. Which is good because the high scoring Norfolk Admirals visit Giant Center tonight and they will be looking to avenge last Sunday's 3-1 loss in Hershey.
They haven't won since before that game having lost twice to Charlotte at home this past week and they lost last night against the Pens.
That's a tough week of games. You start off Sunday at the 2 time defending Calder Cup Champs, follow that up with 2 home games on Tuesday and Thursday against 3rd place Charlotte, then you head back to Pennsylvania for a New Year's night game in Wilkes Barre against the league leading Pens before finishing the stretch with an evening matchup back in Hershey where it all started.
The Admirals are going to be looking to make a statement tonight. This week they have lost 4 straight to teams they are competing with for the division.
They will not want that streak to reach 5.
Hershey better be ready tonight.
record ~ 20-13-0-1 39 points
standings ~ 4th in East Division
most recent game ~ 4-2 Loss vs Syracuse, 12/31
last 5 games ~ 4-1-0-0
home record ~ 10-8-0-0
goals for ~ 117
goals against ~ 85
power play ~ 20.6% (7th)
penalty kill ~ 83.2% (15th)
record ~ 18-8-6-2 44 points
standings ~ 2nd in East Division
most recent game ~ 4-3 Loss @ Wilkes-Barre, 1/1
last 5 games ~ 1-4-0-0
road record ~ 13-6-2-0
goals for ~ 130
goals against ~ 100
power play ~ 17.7% (14th)
penalty kill ~ 84.5% (9th)
last time teams met - This is the 2nd meeting of the season and the 2nd in the last 8 days. Hershey won 3-1 last Sunday at Giant Center.
Players to watch:
RW Andrew Gordon (10) - Hasn't scored in 2 games since returning from Washington but does have 2 assists. The scoring should return soon.
C Keith Aucoin (11) - Has a goal in 4 straight games and is averaging an amazing 1.59 points per game on the year. 5 goals and 3 assists in his last 4 games.
LW Kyle Greentree (37) - Has started to find his scoring touch again having registered 4 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 games.
C Mark-Antoine Pouliot (78) - Team leader in points with 28 he had a goal and 2 assists last night against the Pens.
C James Wright (16) - Second on the team in points with 26 he has 4 goals and 5 assists in his last 7 games.
LW Chris Durno (25) - One of 8 skaters with 20+ points (he has 23) he has 2 goals and 5 assists in his last 6 games.
LET'S GO BEARS!!!