Monday, October 24, 2011

Bears Handle Crunch

At one point in the 2nd period I looked up at the scoreboard and saw Hershey, Shots - 14.

The score was 5-0 Bears at that point.  It was that kind of night.

The game finished up 7-0 Hershey as the Bears picked up their first shutout of the season and their first until late January of last season. 

It started out close as the Bears were up only 2-0 at the end of the first and the Crunch had actually outshot the Bears 11-7 at that point.  The 2nd goal came with less than 4 seconds remaining in the period and it seemed to be a critical point for the Crunch last night. 

Seven different Bears scored goals last night.  Dmitry Orlov, Julien Brouillette, and Mattias Sjogren all picked up their first goals of the season (it was Sjogren's first North American goal) while Jacob Micflikier, Keith Aucoin, and Christian Hanson picked up their 3rd goals of the season and Chris Bourque scored his team leading 5th.

Bourque, Micflikier, and Brouillette also added 2 assists, as did Cody Eakin.  And while Andrew Carroll only recorded an assist it was his attempting to fight an entire line of Crunch players that endeared him to the crowd last night.  Midway through the 2nd there was a minor scuffle behind the Bears net after a whistle and I am pretty sure that Carroll managed to punch all 5 Crunch players.  It was impressive.

As for the rest of the game, once that first period ended there seemed to be little the Bears could do wrong and little the Crunch could do right.  Penalties, turnovers, and questionable goaltending doomed Syracuse over the final 40 minutes. 

The Bears had 6 power play opportunities (all in the final 40 minutes) and they converted 4 of those.  In turn they gave the Crunch 7 power plays and kept them from scoring on all of them (obviously).

It was good to see this type of performance from the Bears after the game Saturday night.  I know that the Crunch aren't the Baby Pens, at least in terms of rivalry, but they are a good team.  Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon, and Nick Bonino came into the game with 13 goals in only 5 games this season.  Hershey held them to zero. 

Dany Sabourin was a big reason why.  He got the start in goal after being reassigned by the Capitals earlier in the day.  He faced 36 shots and stopped them all.  While I wouldn't say it was a particularly hard night for Dany, many of the saves he made were important and impressive. 

Overall the Bears, as a team, played very well.  Considering they came into the game winless at home this season it was good to finally see a (mostly) complete effort from the team. 

But don't let last night fool you.  Just like the Caps 7-1 win over Detroit on Saturday night is an indication on how good the Red Wings are, last night does not mean the Crunch are an easy opponent.  They will be good this year and I expect the remaining 5 games between the clubs to be very good games between two very talented teams.

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