Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bears welcome Pens to Giant Center

Okay...usually I wait to do my recap posts until the next day as I can get different peoples takes (like Tim Leone and SHOE).  It gives me a chance to see any replays, listen to what the players might have said, and to generally calm down about the overall game (in this case the officiating).

Last night I failed to do that.

Just about everyone says it was a goal.  I am still not convinced based on the below replay but it does appear to go in.

Fine.  The referee gets off on that one.  In fact he gets an A+ for actually calling it a goal since no one on the ice seemed to think it was in and the red light didn't come on.

If that had benefited the Bears I would have given him credit so there...he made the right call.

But it still does NOT excuse the missed calls that happened everywhere else.  Leone reports that it was Chris Durno that took the cheap shot to Aucoin.

Norfolk returns next Sunday....Durno ought to watch his back.

The Bears have more pressing things to worry today about though.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins visit Giant Center tonight.  They were off last night so with Hershey's victory the Bears are only 6 points back for the division lead.

If Hershey wins tonight they would be 4 back.  But before you get too excited, realize that the Baby Pens will have 2 games in hand on the Bears after tonight's game.  Assuming they win those games then Hershey would still be the equivalent of 8 points back if they win tonight.

But that doesn't mean they shouldn't still win.  The division is not the only thing Hershey is fighting for.  They have been disrespected physically and on the scoreboard by other 3 contenders in the East.  (Sorry Binghamton but I am not convinced yet)

The Baby Pens come in having played only 1 game in the last 7 days.  A 2-1 loss vs Toronto on Friday.  Some would say that they are well rested and ready to go.  But I think the argument can, and should, be made that they are ripe for picking.

When a team gets used to playing every other day or every day on the weekend they develop a routine.  To take them out of the routine can mess with a teams balance.  That is evident by the Pens loss to the Marlies on Friday.  The Pens were 7-1 against the North Division entering that game.

Are the Pens ready to play?  We will have to wait until tonight to find out.

The bigger question for Hershey is...will Keith Aucoin play?  After taking a cheap shot to the head, courtesy of Norfolk captain Durno, Coiner left last night's game and did not return.

Tim Leone reported that Aucoin was still visibly shaken after the game so expectations are that he will not play tonight and his status for the upcoming road trip is definitely in question.

After the commotion last night the Bears should come out angry and ready to play.  They will surely get some retribution on Norfolk and Durno next week but in the meantime they can take out their frustrations on the division leading Pens.

A physical, high energy game is what Hershey needs.  Can they deliver?

Fun with stats:
  • WB/S is #1 in the AHL in winning percentage at .721
  • Hershey is #3 at .651
  • WB/S power play is only #21 on the road
  • Hershey's penalty kill is #5 at home
  • WB/S is #12 in road penalty killing
  • Hershey has the leagues #6 home power play
  • WB/S has a +27 first period goal differential
  • Hershey has a +19
  • WB/S has only a +9 goal differential in the 3rd period
  • Hershey is a +21 in the 3rd
  • WB/S is #1 in goals allowed per game....2.30
  • Hershey is #6 at 2.59
  • WB/S allows only 2.13 goals per game on the road
  • Hershey scores 3.72 at home
  • WB/S is 12-2-0-0 when leading after 1 on the road 
  • Hershey is 15-1-0-2 when leading after 1 at home
  • WB/S is 13-0-0-0 when leading after 2 on the road
  • Hershey is 15-0-0-2 when leading after 2 at home

Hershey Bears
record ~ 39-20-1-3 82 points
standings ~ 2nd in East Division
most recent game ~ 3-2 Win vs Norfolk, 3/5
last 5 games ~ 3-2-0-0
home record ~ 20-10-0-2
goals for ~ 207
goals against ~ 163
home power play ~ 21.7% (6th)
home penalty kill ~ 86.5% (5th)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
record ~ 44-17-0-0 88 points
standings ~ 1st in East Division
most recent game ~ 2-1 Loss @ Toronto, 3/4
last 5 games ~ 3-2-0-0
road record ~ 20-9-0-0
goals for ~199
goals against ~ 140
road power play ~15.3% (21st)
road penalty kill ~ 84.3% (12th)

last time teams met - This is the 7th meeting between the teams.  Wilkes-Barre has gone 5-1-0-0 against the Bears this season.  They play 3 more times this season.


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