Saturday, April 16, 2011

What to look for in Game 2

On Thursday night I overheard someone talking about the Wilkes-Barre series and if Norfolk had a chance to win the series.  I chimed in and offered my opinion...."Hell No."  It was that simple.

Well, that might not be the case.  Norfolk won game 1 on Friday night and followed that up with a win on Saturday night as well.  The Norfolk Admirals have gone into Mohegan Sun arena and beat the AHL's #1 seed in two consecutive nights.

It still takes 4 wins to win a series but even folks in Norfolk have to be surprised about the outcomes so far.

Just thought I would mention it.  Not looking ahead at all...especially not after game 1...but it is always good to follow some of the other series.

We here in Hershey have other things to worry about.  Namely the Charlotte Checkers and what our Bears are going to do to recapture the momentum and move towards a first round victory.

So what should we expect in game 2?

The first thing I would expect to see is Zach Miscovic in the lineup in place of Phil Oreskovic.  He practiced in his place this weekend and while Coach French won't confirm the move it would appear that Oreskovic is out and Miscovic is in.

I think it is the right move.  Maybe if Oreskovic and Wellar were separated it wouldn't look so bad but neither of them will be mistaken for agile and when they are paired together against a fast team like the Checkers they are simply sitting ducks.

More than likely that is the only roster change you will see on the Bears side.  Personally I would make some other lineup changes....
  • Move Greentree to top line.
  • Kozek to 2nd line.
  • Kane to 3rd line.
But I don't think any of that will happen for game 2.  And I think that is ok.  Hershey played well for 45 minutes and had they finished the game playing that way they likely would have won.  So making wholesale changes after a game that you out played the other team for a good portion of the game just wouldn't make sense.

The only other change I would strongly  consider moving (before the 3 I mentioned above) would be adding Nycholat to the lineup.  He can join the clear day list thanks to Sean Collins recall to Washington but who he would replace is a tough one.  I would probably suggest Souray.  I know his physical play and incredible shot would be tough to take out of the lineup but Hershey needs mobility and offense in this series.

Nycholat played in 32 games, scored 5 goals, added 23 assists (.88 points per game) and was a +15.

Souray played in 40 games, scored 4 goals, added 15 assists (.47 points per game) and was a +10.

Obviously that is a BIG change but I think it would be okay.  Both players bring unique talents to the team...I just think the Nycholat's are more of what is needed right now.

Moving on.

I mentioned the other day that this is the 5th time in the last 5 years that Hershey has lost game 1 in a series.  3 of those instances were in the Calder Cup finals, once in the Eastern Conference finals, and 1 other time in round 1. 

4 of those 5 were on home ice.

Of the 5 instances only 1 time did Hershey fail to win game 2.  That was in 2008 when Hershey lost in the first round to the Baby Pens. 

Basically...I would be surprised to see Hershey lose again.  But don't for a second think it can't happen.  The Bears have to commit to playing a full 60 minute game...maybe even more than 60 minutes. 

And that is something they have struggled to do all season. 

I definitely expect a complete effort. 

I think Braden Holtby is mad at himself and will be determined and focused to show that game 1 was a fluke and he is the man for the job. 

I think the defense will also up their level of play and stop allowing unmarked Checkers forwards to stand beside Braden and wait for the pucks to fall at their feet.

I think the forwards will crash the net even more.  If there is one thing we know about Justin Pogge, it is that he is capable of becoming flustered and frustrated.  Crash the net, get in his face, and make contact with him and he will become uncomfortable in the crease.

I think Hershey wins. 

And honestly...I think they do it convincingly.


1 comment:

Michael said...

God, let's hope we get this series headed in the right direction. Especially with the potential 2nd round matchup if the Norfolk surge continues.