Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bears Take 2 of 3 Last Weekend

The Bears started the weekend off pretty well...picking up a 5-3 regulation victory in Hartford against the Connecticut Whale. 

Then things went downhill for a bit.  They hosted the Baby Pens, who didn't have to travel the night before, to Giant Center and they subsequently defeated the Bears 4-2. 

The 4-2 score makes it seem closer than it probably was.  (I was unable to attend so I am going off of the score sheet and what I heard from a couple people).  The Bears controlled the play for the first period and then took a 1-0 lead about midway through the 2nd period.

And that's when the Bears momentum ended and the Pens started.  Over the next 12-13 minutes of game action, end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd, the Baby Pens scored 3 goals.  They added an empty netter with about 2 minutes to play to make it 4-1.  The Bears scored with 40 seconds to go to make it seem like a close game at the end.

So, Wilkes-Barre continues there dominance of Hershey in Central PA.  More on that in a minute.

But Sunday saw the Bears rebound to pick up a 6-3 win over the Norfolk Admirals.  Hershey scored 3 goals on the power play (6 chances) and picked up an empty net goal late to preserve the win. 

Again, the final score doesn't tell the whole story.  Hershey scored 4 in the first period and then Norfolk started playing better hockey.  At the end of the 2nd it was 4-3 Bears and most people in attendance (myself included) would tell you that the outcome was still in doubt.  It was again looking like a strong 1st period would be spoiled by weak 2nd and 3rd periods.

However, Tomas Kundratek (more on him soon) picked up his 4th of the season about 5 minutes into the 3rd and from then on there was little (less anyways) question as to who would win this one. 

Norfolk managed only 6 shots in the 3rd period in what was perhaps Hershey's best late game performance this season.

After the weekend the Bears sit 2 points behind the Baby Pens with one game in hand on the flightless water-fowl.  And 2 games coming up against them in a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately one of those games is in Hershey (12/28 if you were curious).  The Bears have not beaten the Baby Penguins on Giant Center ice since March 27, 2010.  That is the end of the 2009-2010 season when the Bears lost a total of 6 home games all season.

Wilkes-Barre and Hershey have faced off 8 times in Hershey since that game.  The Bears are 0-6-2-0 in those games and have been outscored 34-17. 

The Pens have failed to score less than 4 goals only twice in the last 8 at Giant Center.  One was this year, the first meeting at GC back in October, and the other was a game last spring that went to overtime.

The Bears have failed to score more than 2 goals a whopping 6 times.  They scored 4 earlier this season in an overtime loss and managed 3 in one game last spring.

That is fairly impressive domination. 

Another note about this weekends games...

I mentioned before that Tomas Kundratek scored his 4th of the season on Sunday.  With the Whale he played in only 7 games and recorded a measly 2 assists to start the season.  Since joining Hershey he has played in 11 games and has 4 goals and 2 assists.  Not too bad for a 3rd pairing defenseman.

Francois Bouchard, who was traded to Connecticut for Kundratek, has 2 goals and 2 assists in 14 games with his new team. 

I think most in Hershey felt good about the trade considering Bouch's lack of production last season, but how many really expected Kundratek to actually be outscoring him a month later?

Bears get yet another 3 in 3 this upcoming weekend with games against Norfolk (Friday and Sunday) and Bridgeport.  More coming later this week.

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