Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bears Shutout Pens, Prepare To Do It Again

Last night had to feel good for the Bears.  The Baby Pens have pretty much dominated the Bears for the past year plus.  The Pens entered last nights game with a 10-3-0-1 record against the Bears since the start of the 2010-11 season. 

The 3 losses were all up in Wilkes-Barre.  Any success the Bears have had against the Pens has come on the road.  Even the shootout win came in Wilkes-Barre back in November.

And by success I mean barely.  All 4 Hershey wins have been 1 goal victories. 

Until last night.

The Bears traveled up I-81 last night to end Christmas for the Pens and their fans with a 6-0 torching of Brad Thiessen and the Baby Pens. 

I wouldn't call it a dominating performance as the score sheet indicates it wasn't.  The Pens actually out shot the Bears 28-23 and appear to have dominated the 2nd period, with a 9-3 advantage in shots.  But I didn't see or listen to the game so I can't verify these assumptions.

In the end the Bears scored 3 in the first and 3 in the third to hand the Penguins their worst loss in a long time.  Looking back through the past few seasons I only see a couple losses by even 5 goals for the Pens.  Both came against Hershey in 2009-10.  Otherwise the majority of their losses are by 1 or 2 goals.

Last night had to feel good for the Bears.  Over the past year plus they have managed to beat just about every team and have been one of the better teams in the AHL.  The Baby Pens have had their number though.

The Penguins have been struggling for a while now and while Brad Thiessen started the season off wonderfully he has definitely cooled down.  In his last 10 games he is 2-6-2 with a 3.62 goals against average and a .844 save percentage.

Those numbers are bad.  Last night his coach had this to say:
“I thought our goaltending was OK,” Hynes said. “I think we’ve gotta have better goaltending if we’re going to beat a team like Hershey.” 

Tonight the Pens come to Hershey where they have not lost since March 27 of 2010.  Bryan Helmer was still wearing the 'C' in Hershey then.  Jason Bacashihua was in net for the Bears.  Alexandre Giroux scored the game winner. 

It's been a while.

The Penguins seem ripe for picking though.  Beyond the 6-0 beating they took last night they have lost 3 straight (all at home) and have only won 7 games since November 11, a span of 18 games. 

The Bears on the other hand are heading in the opposite direction...up.  In the month of December the Bears are 9-2.   They have also taken over sole possession of first place in the division and lead the Admirals and Pens (tied at 37 points) by 4.  And they have taken over first place in the Eastern Conference, which is more important than the division crown this year.

Tonight is going to be an exciting game in Hershey.  The Pens are going to be looking for redemption.  The Bears are going to be looking to finally knock off the Pens on home ice.  And the building is going to be rocking. 

The Giant Center is sold out and will likely be the loudest it has been this season.  I am excited.


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