Friday, January 21, 2011

Hershey welcomes first of 3 New York teams this weekend

Tonight the Bears welcome the Albany Devils to Hershey for the first time this season.  They are the first of 3 New York teams to visit the mid-state this weekend as Rochester and Binghamton will be here Saturday and Sunday.

This is a rare 3 in 3 home weekend for the Bears.  In fact it is the only 3 in 3 weekend this season where all 3 games are in Hershey.

This also marks the beginning of a 4 game home stand as Hershey welcomes Springfield on Wednesday night.  Actually, only 2 of the next 9 games are on the road. 

So this makes a perfect time for the Bears to make a mini run at the 3 teams ahead of them in the standings.

But they will likely have to do it without Braden Holtby who remains in Washington and isn't expected back this weekend.  He played last night and won against the Islanders for the Caps.  He faced 25 shots and stopped all but 1 as the Caps won 2-1.

So that is the bad news heading into the weekend.  Although to address the comment left on the previous post I definitely think Dany Sabourin is playing better and will do fine for Hershey this weekend.

Now the good news headed into the weekend.  Andrew Gordon is back in Hershey, as is Brian Fahey but many of you might not even have known he was gone.  Gordo returns after missing 2 of last weekend's games due to a recall to Washington.  In those 2 games Hershey scored a combined 3 goals and lost both games. 

Gordon will definitely help on that front.

Albany comes in at an interesting time.  They sit in 6th place in the East division but are playing better of late and are flat out a better team on the road.  They have 17 wins on the season and 10 of those were on the road.  And of the 7 home wins, 3 of them have come in the last 2 weeks.

They lost on Wednesday night but had won 4 straight prior to that.  That win streak was on the heels of a 4 game losing streak in which they only scored 8 goals.  During the 4 game winning streak that followed they scored 13.

They also just wrapped up a stretch of 7 home games in their last 8.  So for a team that has played much better on the road (only giving up 2.9 goals per game on the road compared to 3.6 at home) they are surely looking forward to this mini 3 game road trip they start tonight before heading home for more home dates.

The Bears can't afford to take any team lightly this year as they are in a fight for their playoff lives whether or not they want to believe it.  Binghamton sits only 1 point back of the Bears for the 4th spot in the East division and Worcester sits at 47 points in 4th place in the Atlantic.

(I mention the Atlantic because with the East division having 8 teams this season the 5th place team could get into the playoff IF they finish with more points than the 4th place team in the Atlantic division)

Hershey starts the second half of the season with a nice home stand but also fighting for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Every game counts.

A few more notes on the game tonight:

Hershey Bearsrecord ~ 23-14-1-2 49 points
standings ~ 4th in East Division
most recent game ~ 2-1 Loss @ Binghamton, 1/16
last 5 games ~ 2-1-1-1
home record ~ 11-8-0-1
goals for ~ 132
goals against ~ 97
power play ~ 20.6% (6th)
penalty kill ~ 84.4% (11th)

Albany Devils
record ~ 17-21-0-3 37 points
standings ~ 6th in East Division
most recent game ~ 3-0 Loss vs Binghamton, 1/19
last 5 games ~ 4-1-0-0
road record ~ 10-7-0-1
goals for ~ 105
goals against ~ 136
power play ~ 12.4% (28th)
penalty kill ~ 78.9% (26th)

last time teams met - Hershey won 3-2 in Albany on December 8.  The Bears also won 3-2 in Albany on December 3.  This is the Devils first trip to Hershey this season. 

Players to watch:


RW Steve Pinizzotto (13) - He hasn't scored (or recorded a point) in the last 2 games but has 9 goals and 11 assists on the season.  In 2 games against the Devils he has 2 goals, 2 shots, and 20 penalty minutes.
RW Andrew Gordon (10) - Spent last weekend in D.C. with the Caps but is back in Hershey for the 3 in 3.  He has a team high 10 shots against the Devils this season but no points.
G Dany Sabourin (35) - With Braden Holtby in Washington Dany will get at least 2 games this weekend and very well might play in all 3.  He is 2-0 with a 2.00 gaa and a .915 save percentage against the Devils this year.

C Matt Anderson (29)
- Leads the team in points (27) and is second in goals (15).  Has 4 goals in his last 6 games.  Also scored a goal in the 2nd game against Hershey in December.
C Michael Swift (23) - Leads the team in goals (16) and is second in points (26). Has not gone more than 2 games without a goal since November.  Has 7 goals in his last 10 games and 13 in his last 21 games including 1 against Hershey. 
C Adam Henrique (17) - #9 prospect in organization according to Hockey's Future.  He is third on the team in goals (11) and points (24).  Has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 5 games. 
C Jacob Josefson (27) - #2 prospect in organization according to Hockey's Future.  He has only played 7 games with Albany this season but 6 of those are in 2011.  He has 1 goal and 5 assists on the season which puts him #1 on the team in points per game (.86).


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