Friday, October 28, 2011

GameDay Preview: Bears @ Springfield Falcons

The Hershey Bears are in Springfield, Mass tonight for the first game of another 3 games in 3 nights that will see them travel about 800 miles this weekend.  Tonight will be the Bears only game in Springfield for 2011-12, unless of course the teams meet in the postseason.  After tonight the Bears travel to Glens Falls, NY to face the Phantoms before returning home to Hershey for a Sunday evening matchup with the Senators.

Former Bears Andrew Joudrey and Alexandre Giroux are both members of the Springfield Falcons.  Although, Giroux has spent the majority of the season with the Columbus Blue Jackets.  He was on the opening night roster with Springfield and played in 2 games before getting recalled to the NHL.  He hasn't been back since and he has played in 5 games with one goal so far for the Jackets.  Joudrey has played in all 9 games for the Falcons and has one assist on the season. 

The Falcons have been a bit Jekll and Hyde this season.  They started the season going 3-2 with 21 goals for and 19 goals against.  But over their last 4 games they are only 1-3 and have scored a combined 4 goals.  They have done better defensively though, allowing only 10 goals in those games.

Who knows which team shows up this weekend. 

Goaltending was obviously a concern after the first few games and it was addressed.  The Falcons started the season with rookies Allen York and Paul Dainton as their netminders.  That didn't work out so well.  Manny Legace and Danny Taylor have started the last 5 games and have allowed a total of 13 goals in those 5.  Taylor is the star right now.  He has 3 starts, is 2-1, and boasts a 2.00 gaa and a .941 save percentage. 

Unfortunately for the Falcons the improved goaltending and defensive play hasn't translated to wins.  And that is possibly because of recalls to the NHL.  Giroux only played in 2 games before getting recalled, Cody Bass, the former Binghamton Senator, played in the first 5 games (when the team scored 21 goals) before getting recalled to Columbus, and defenseman John Moore played in the first 4 games before being recalled for a couple stints.

None of those players are back in Springfield as of right now. 

Hershey comes into the game having not played for 4+ days.  Not since they put up 7 on the Syracuse Crunch last Sunday evening at Giant Center.

But despite the time off, they still have injury concerns heading into the weekend. 

Due to an injury to Mike Green, defenseman Sean Collins was recalled by the Capitals and won't be available for the weekend as he traveled with the club on a road trip across Western Canada that runs into the weekend.  In response to that the Bears recalled Paul Baier from South Carolina.

Otherwise Graham Mink and Danny Richmond are all listed as day to day while Ryan Potulny and Kyle Greentree are listed as week to week at best.  None of those players are expected to travel with the team for the games this weekend.

The one thing you don't see here though is any goaltending injuries to discuss (quick...knock on wood).  Both goalies in Washington are healthy, which means both Dany Sabourin and Braden Holtby will be dressed in Chocolate and White this weekend.  Braden is expected to start tonight in Springfield with Sabourin getting the go tomorrow night.  As of now the Sunday starter is to be determined, but I would imagine Braden will get the start.

So far this season the Bears are 4-0-0-0 on the road while their opponent tonight is only 1-3-0-0 at home.  Just sayin'.

Hershey Bears

record ~ 5-1-1-0 | 11 points
standings ~ 1st in East Division
most recent game ~ 3-1 Loss vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 10/22
last 5 games ~ 3-1-1-0
road record ~ 4-0-0-0
goals for ~ 30
goals against ~ 19
power play ~ 34.2% (2nd)
penalty kill ~ 89.7% (5th)

Springfield Falcons
record ~ 4-5-0-0 | 8 points
standings ~ 3rd in Northeast Division
most recent game ~ 2-1 Win @ Manchester, 10/26
last 5 games ~ 2-3-0-0
home record ~ 1-3-0-0
goals for ~ 25
goals against ~ 29
power play ~15.2% (20th)
penalty kill ~ 80.4% (17th)

last time teams met - This is the first of 2 meetings between the teams this season.  The Falcons will visit Giant Center on March 4, 2012.

Players to watch:


LW Chris Bourque (17) - he continues to lead the team in goals (5) and points (13) and is tied for the team lead in assists now too (8).  He has recorded a point in every game so far this season.
RW Matthew Ford (23) - he wasn't at practice Thursday but is expected to meet the team in Springfield today.  He is expected to take Mink's top line spot so he may benefit from playing with Bourque and Aucoin and expand on his 3 goals and 2 assists.
F Jacob Micflikier (18) - he started out slow (kind of) as he didn't register a point in the first 2 games.  Since then (5 games) he has 3 goals and 5 assists.


LW Nick Drazenovic (10) - leads the team in assists (8) and points (10).  He also has 2 goals this season.  9 of his 10 points came in the first 5 games of the season.
C Martin St. Pierre (39) - leads the team in goals (4) and is second in points (7).  He has scored in each of the last 2 games.
LW Dane Byers (34) - tied for second on the team in goals with 3.


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