Friday they lost to Syracuse in Syracuse. Wasn't there, didn't watch, didn't listen. Here are a couple links if you want more on that game:
Sweetest Hockey on Earth
Saturdays game was back at Giant Center and I was unlucky enough to attend. Just so we start this out right let me give you the facts:
- Hershey lost 6-5 in the shootout to Albany,
- Hershey took a 2-0 lead in the first 12 minutes,
- Hershey came back from 1 goal deficits 3 times,
- Hershey went 3 for 5 on the power play,
- Hershey killed off 3 of 4 penalty kills,
- Hershey finished with 33 shots...same as Albany.
By the end of the game the crowd was "cheering" every time Braden made a save and yelling as soon as he touched the puck or, in some cases, even started to leave the crease.
For those of you not in attendance let me recap the 3 plays:
- Braden makes an ill-advised pass from the end line across his crease to a defenseman on the opposite side...no goal resulted,
- Braden makes an ill-advised attempted clear up the middle and hits a Devil player in the chest...no goal resulted,
- Braden plays the puck behind the Bears net and gets trapped by two Devils forwards before turning it over...and the Devils scored.
The last play was just unlucky. Should he have cleared the puck faster? Yes, I will agree with that. But it wasn't like his defensemen were giving him anywhere to go with it. They were standing damn near right beside him the entire time. It was a bad play, but it did not decide the game.
From that point on it seemed the crowd was against Mr. Holtby. The three goals that followed that sure didn't help.
But let's explore those for a second:
- Albany player skates down the wing throws a pass to the front and it is deflected in by a Devil's forward (Gelinas according to the score sheet),
- Albany player skates down the wing (sound familiar yet) throws a pass to the front and it is deflected in by a Devil's forward (Bernier according to the score sheet),
- Albany player gets the puck beyond the end line and passes to a WIDE OPEN Tim Sestito standing at the tip of the goal crease.
And the last goal...unbelievable. It wasn't even a penalty kill...nope this was 5 on 5 (read: everyone should be covered) hockey and the 2 defenseman on the ice at the time (McNeill and Wellar according to the score sheet) were honestly just standing on either side of Sestito. Both could have touched him if they reached over there and yet neither did.
To blame Holtby for any of those goals is ludicrous. Two of them were impossible to stop tip ins that probably shouldn't have happened, but in truth they were both nice plays by Albany. The last one...that was just plain poor defense.
So while I know it is easy to blame a goalie when a team gives up 5 goals it was surely not all Braden's fault in this one.
I have much more I want to say about the goaltending situation (among other things) in Hershey this season but I will save it for another day when I have more time. Obviously the situation is lacking right now, but I have a theory that I want to look into before I offer an opinion.
In addition to that...there is a Wednesday game this week. Preview coming soon.