Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hershey wins in Springfield, 5-1...welcomes back Gordon

Welcome back Andrew Gordon!  Gordon played in his first game since February 5th last night...21 games he missed total.  

In that span Hershey scored more than 4 goals twice.  Once in the first game he was out (against Manitoba) and once against AHL bottom dwelling Bridgeport.  2 games.

In fact Hershey only scored more than 3 a total of 4 times over that span.  

Gordon's first game back....5 goals for the Bears.

Was it a coincidence...maybe.  Gordon didn't score at all.  Aucoin and Perreault didn't play.  So maybe it was just Hershey's night.

Or maybe just having Gordon in the lineup gives the team more confidence and makes the other team have to play differently.

Time will tell which it is but last night the Bears rolled to a 5-1 win over the Springfield Falcons in their first game of a 3 in 3.  

The goals were picked up by Brian Willsie (27 and 28 on the year), Andrew Kozek (8 and 9, 1st 2 as a Bear), and Kyle Greentree (26).

Gordon picked up one assist as he joined Willsie and Greentree on the top line while Willsie also picked up an assist on the Greentree goal.

Nolan Schaefer made 29 saves as Hershey picked up the win and held their ground in the East Division.

Tonight Hershey returns to Giant Center to take on one of the #2 team in the Atlantic Division...the Portland Pirates.

Last week Hershey visited the Pirates and left Maine with a 3-2 shootout loss.  The Bears will surely be looking for a different outcome tonight.  

Getting a more complete lineup on the ice should surely help.  Gordon wasn't the only player to return to the lineup last night.  Steve Pinizzotto also played for the first time since March 2.  

That was all for player returns last night but more could be on the way.

There is still an outside chance that Keith Aucoin plays this weekend.  I doubt it happens as it doesn't make sense to rush him since it was some sort of head/neck injury.  But they say it could happen.

Mathieu Perreault missed last nights game due to illness so he should (in theory) be back sometime this weekend.

And while there has been no official word (that I have seen anyway) I would think Braden Holtby might return sooner than later.  Semyon Varlamov was healthy enough to serve as the backup to Michal Neuvirth last night.  So if Varly is ready to come back the general thinking would be that Braden would make his return to the Bears.

But again...nothing is certain.  

Until that happens though this team is surely better with Gordon on the ice.  Whether or not he scores he has an influence.

We saw it last night.  It's good to have him back!


Hershey Bears
record ~ 42-22-1-5 90 points
standings ~ 2nd in East Division
most recent game ~ 5-1 Win @ Springfield, 3/18
last 5 games ~ 3-1-0-1
home record ~ 20-11-0-3
goals for ~ 224
goals against ~ 180
road power play ~ 21.7% (5th)
home penalty kill ~ 86.1% (6th)

Portland Pirates
record ~ 41-18-5-2 89 points
standings ~ 2nd in Atlantic Division
most recent game ~ 3-2 Win @ Binghamton, 3/18
last 5 games ~ 4-1-0-0
road record ~ 18-13-1-1
goals for ~238
goals against ~ 191
road power play ~13.6% (26th)
home penalty kill ~ 82.7% (17th)

last time teams met - 2nd and final meeting between the teams during the regular season.  Portland won 3-2 in a shootout on March 8 in Portland.

Players to watch:

RW Andrew Gordon (10) - returned to the lineup last night for the first time since Feb 5.  Had an assist in that game and still sits 3rd on the team in goals (22) and 4th in points (47) despite only playing in 41 games.
LW Andrew Kozek (21) - I wasn't convinced that he would help much offensively when Yingst made the move but so far I have been wrong.  He has 2 goals and 2 assists in 4 games with the Bears so far and you can see the energy he plays with.  Why do I ever doubt Yingst??
C Brian Willsie (18) - Leads the team in goals (28) and 2nd in points (62) and has played in just about every role on the team this season.  Easily the team MVP at this point.  He had 2 more goals and an assist last night.

C Mark Voakes (27) - Has 4 goals and 2 assists in his 6 games with Portland this season.  All those games have come in March including 1 goal against Hershey last week. 
C Luke Adam (39) - Didn't have to face the Pirates leading active scorer last week as he was on recall.  He has 25 goals on the season (7 behind team leader Mark Mancari who is on recall still).  He has 8 goals and 7 assists in his last 8 games.
D Marc-Andre Gragnani (17) - Leads the team in assists with 43, current leader in points with 54 (10 behind Mancari), and he has 11 goals this season.  2 goals and 12 assists in 8 March games so far.


No comments: