Friday, March 11, 2011

Bears head to Connecticut to face the Whale

After a day off Hershey begins a traveling weekend tonight in Connecticut.  The Bears have 3 games over the next 3 days in 3 different cities and 3 different states.  They will be busy.

Tonight that kicks off with a matchup against the Connecticut Whale.  Hershey faced the same team back in November (the Sunday before Thanksgiving) when they were still known as the Hartford Wolkpack. 

You know you are in the minor leagues when a team changes its name in the middle of the season.

The Whale has been playing extremely well of late.  They currently sit in 3rd place over in the Atlantic division with 72 points.  They are only 2 points ahead of 4th place Worcester after Hershey gave the Sharks 2 points on Wednesday night.

Connecticut has won 8 of their last 11 games going 8-2-0-1 over that stretch.  Scoring 32 goals in those 8 wins while giving up only 12 in those 8 wins.

So the bad news for Hershey is the Whale has been playing very well of late.

The good news for Hershey is that 7 of those 8 wins came on the road.  And Connecticut is a much better road team than a home team.

On the season the Whale is 13-13-2-2 at home and 19-11-0-4 on the road.

In fact in their last 11 home games they have won only 3 times. 

So Hershey again catches a break.  First it was the recalls on Tuesday...didn't capitalize.  Then it was the injuries on Wednesday...didn't capitalize.  Now it is getting a hot team on the road at home...

Will they capitalize?

Hershey Bears
record ~ 39-22-1-4 83 points
standings ~ 2nd in East Division
most recent game ~ 3-2 Loss @ Worcester, 3/9
last 5 games ~ 1-3-0-1 (lost 4 straight)
road record ~ 19-11-1-2
goals for ~ 212
goals against ~ 173
road power play ~ 16.5% (18th)
home penalty kill ~ 81.4% (19th)

Connecticut Whale
record ~ 32-24-2-6 72 points
standings ~ 3rd in Atlantic Division
most recent game ~ 5-2 Win @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 3/8
last 5 games ~ 4-1-0-0 (won 4 straight)
home record ~ 13-13-2-2
goals for ~177
goals against ~ 175
home power play ~20.2% (9th)
home penalty kill ~ 79.7% (24th)

last time teams met - 2nd and final meeting between the teams during the regular season.  Hershey beat the Wolfpack (as they were known then) 4-3 at Giant Center on November 21.
Players to watch:

Everyone - we all know this team is struggling to score.  Willsie and Greentree haven't produced much and 3 of the top 6 scorers remain sidelined.  Anyone can step up at any would be nice to actually see someone do that sooner than later.

C Kris Newbury (11) - Team leader in assists (36) and points (48).  He has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 3 games. 
C Chad Kolarik (42) - 2nd on the team in goals (20) and 3rd in points (39).  He has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 games.
LW Brodie Dupont (9) - Tied with Kolarik for 3rd in points with 39 this season.  Also has 13 goals this year.  He has 7 assists in his last 4 games including 4 assists against Worcester last weekend.
RW Dale Weise (23) - Leads the team with .94 points per game.  He has 13 goals and 16 assists in 37 games for the Whale this season.  He has 2 goals and 5 assists in his last 4 games.  That includes 3 assists Tuesday night against the Baby Pens.

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