Tonight the Bears will take on the Adirondack Phantoms in Philadelphia. In a baseball stadium. Seriously. The Bears are visiting a team in a city that they don't play in anymore and playing in a stadium for a sport that is currently hibernating.
Which is quite awesome actually.
This past Monday the NHL put on the annual Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philly. In the interest of giving more fans and players the opportunity to experience the spectacle (translation...make more money) they have hosted multiple other games at the venue since then.
A couple college games, the Flyers/Rangers alumni game, and a game with police officers were all held there throughout the week.
Tonight it is the AHL's turn and it honestly will be a cool event.
It's an important opening game to a 3 in 3 weekend. The teams will follow up the game tonight with a game at Giant Center tomorrow before the Bears host Rochester on Sunday.
The Phantoms have lost 4 of their last 6 games, but are currently sitting in 2nd in the Northeast Division. Unfortunately for them, that also translates to 9th in the conference and out of the playoffs.
The Phantoms beat the Bears back on October 29, 2011 in Glens Falls, New York...their actual home. Not much can be drawn from that game though since it was so long ago. That was at the beginning of the Bears low point this season when they couldn't win back to back games and couldn't beat anyone except for Binghamton.
The Bears come into this game having won 10 of their last 13 and haven't lost to team from outside of Norfolk or Wilkes-Barre since November. They outscored their opponents a combined 58-33 in the 13 games. (Thats an average of 4.5 goals for and 2.5 against in the month).
Keith Aucoin had 4 goals and 19 assists in December. Chris Bourque had 7 and 13. Jacob Micflikier had 4 and 12. Ryan Potulny had 7 and 12. Graham Mink had 5 and 6...in only 9 games. Matthew Ford had 6 and 10.
That's pretty impressive.
Did you realize, cause I hadn't, that the Bears have 5 players...FIVE...averaging more than 1 pt per game? Aucoin, Bourque, Micflikier, Potulny, and Mink. And Ford, Kyle Greentree, and Cody Eakin are averaging at least .79 per game.
Now if the defense and goaltending could just catch up to the offense. Get this....they are!
Braden Holtby had his best month of the season going 6-2 with a 2.36gaa and a .918 save %. Dany Sabourin went 4-0-1 with a .217gaa and a .928 in December. In October he had a .935 save % in 4 games so that was technically better in that category.
Overall the offense is dominating right now and the goaltending is getting there. The second half of the season could be really fun.