Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bears defeat Sound Tigers 6-4

It definitely wasn't a game to write home about.  But at this stage of the season a win's a win.

After struggling to find their offense over the past few games the Hershey Bears erupted for 6 goals on 28 shots.  Steve Pinizzotto scored 2, Boyd Kane scored 2, Patrick McNeill had 1, and tough guy Joel Rechlicz scored his first career AHL goal.

But all was not perfect at Giant Center last night.  Braden Holtby made his first start since January 29th and looked real rusty.

If it wasn't for the offense there is a real possibility that Holtby would have been pulled in this one.  Bridgeport starting goalie Mikko Koskinen was pulled after allowing 4 goals on 11 shots but Holtby had allowed 3 goals on 6 shots at one point.

And none of the goals were what one would call unstoppable.

Holtby eventually settled down and finished the game with 15 saves to pick up his 13th win of the season.

It was an uneven night all around for the Bears...
  • Some of the top players seemed to lack urgency and effort.  Kyle Greentree, Brian Willsie, Keith Aucoin, and Jay Beagle all appeared somewhat disinterested during the game.  Not a whole lot of hustle by the bunch but they all had moments.
  • Careless turnovers led to goals often.  The first goal will most likely be blamed on Holtby as he tried to clear the puck but instead passed it right to a Sound Tiger who put it in the net.  But in reality Jay Beagle started the bad play with an ill-advised pass in the offensive zone which led to the rush at the other end.
  • Defensive lapses were often as well.  The penalty kill allowed the 4th Bridgeport goal and it shouldn't have happened.  The Sound Tiger player (Ullstrom) was basically standing by himself on the far post for what felt like an eternity.  The closest player too him was Beagle but he was a good 10 feet away until the pass was made which he gently put in the back of the net.  
Overall the Bears were fortunate to be playing the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  Against a better team this likely would have resulted in a loss for the Bears.

So far this weekend the Bears have outscored the opposition 8-7 and have picked up 2 of a possible 4 points.  That would be an okay weekend against the likes of Wilkes-Barre and Charlotte.

But this has been against 2 of the worst 7 teams in the AHL.

It is simply not good enough.  Today the Charlotte Checkers visit Giant Center and Hershey better be ready.  The Checkers are only 6 points back of 2nd place Hershey with Norfolk another 2 behind them.

The playoffs are still 2 months away and there is still lots of hockey to play.

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