Last night though Sabs got a bit of redemption. 25 shots faced, 25 saves. His second shutout of the season. It hasn't exactly been the year Sabs thought it would be. He struggled early this season losing 7 of his first 11 games and not winning a home game until the middle of December.
But things have turned around recently. He is 6-2 in his last 8 starts with a 2.57 goals against average and a .904 save percentage. Those numbers are on the uptick after starting the season 4-7 with a 3.87 goals against average and a .865 save percentage. Definitely an improvement.
And the Bears are playing better over that time as well. Hershey still sits in 4th place in the East division but they are only 3 points behind second place Charlotte, with 4 games in hand on the Checkers, and 1 point behind Norfolk, with 1 game in hand there.
So they are in pretty good shape to be honest. If Wilkes-Barre continues at even close to their current pace then the race for the division will be over. But we aren't even at the official halfway point of the season yet so anything is possible.
Hershey has registered at least one standings point in 7 of their last 8 games since that 3 game losing streak in mid-December.
Last night they picked up 2 with a 3-0 shutout over Adirondack. Brian Willsie (13th), Zach Miscovic (6th), and Steve Pinizzotto (9th) all scored last night and Dany picked up his 10th win of the season over the host Phantoms.
Tonight Hershey welcomes the Lake Erie Monsters to Hershey for the first of 2 meetings between the teams this season.
Lake Erie is in the midst of a 7 game road streak that ends after this weekend. They are 2-3-0-0 on the road trip so far. Last night they played in Rochester and there is probably a good chance that the Hershey and Lake Erie players were traveling down I-81 at the same time. Hell, they might have been racing to Hershey.
The Monsters are having an okay season this year. They currently sit in 6th in the very competitive North Division. They are 2nd from last in the division but only 10 points out of first place as of now.
To put that in perspective, the 6th place team in the East division is Albany and they are 13 points behind 4th place Hershey and 27 points out of first.
A few more notes on the game tonight:
record ~ 23-13-1-1 48 points
standings ~ 4th in East Division
most recent game ~ 3-0 Win @ Adirondack, 1/14
last 5 games ~ 3-1-1-0
home record ~ 11-8-0-0
goals for ~ 129
goals against ~ 92
power play ~ 20.9% (5th)
penalty kill ~ 84.2% (12th)
Lake Erie Monsters
record ~ 17-19-3-4 41 points
standings ~ 6th in North Division
most recent game ~ 3-1 Win @ Rochester, 1/14
last 5 games ~ 2-3-0-0
road record ~ 7-14-1-2
goals for ~ 109
goals against ~ 122
power play ~ 14.7% (26th)
penalty kill ~ 83.7% (14th)
last time teams met - First meeting this season. Hershey won both meetings in 2009-10. Hershey visits the Monsters on a Thursday in February.
Players to watch:
RW Steve Pinizzotto (13) - Has been on an offensive tear over the last 3 games. Goals in 3 straight and 2 assists as well. 5 points in 3 games is 25% of his points for the entire season.
LW Kyle Greentree (37) - Has a point in 5 straight games after picking up an assist last night. 2 goals and 4 assists in those 5 games.
D Lawrence Nycholat (28) - One of the most consistent players according to the scoresheet. The All-Star has 5 goals and 22 assists on the year including 2 goals and 5 assists in his last 7 games.
LW Greg Mauldin (20) - Not certain he is playing but he shows up on the active roster for the first time since November after a 20+ game recall to Colorado. Has 5 goals and 7 assists on the season in only 14 games.
C Ryan Stoa (29) - Leads the team in goals (14) and is second in points (26). Has 4 goals and 3 assists in his last 7 games.
C Julian Talbot (48) - The team leader in assists with 19 also has 6 goals on the season and sits 3rd on the team in points with 25. He has an assist in 3 straight games.
LET'S GO BEARS!!!