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.