What a game last night! And not the Saints-49ers game either. Although that was quite a game as well.
After my guests left at the end of the Saints/Niners NFL game I switched over to the Bears game, which thanks to the new agreement with Blue Ridge Cable, I actually get!
It was 4-2 in the 2nd period...Senators. It stayed that way for the entire 2nd period and a little over 8 minutes into the 3rd. And then the Bears decided to quit toying with the Senators.
Hershey scored 3 goals in a 1:42 span midway through the 3rd period to take a 5-4 lead and added an insurance marker with about 2 minutes to go to pick up the 6-4 win.
Dany Sabourin got the start last night and allowed 4 goals on 11 shots including 3 goals in about a 1:30 span late in the 1st period. Braden Holtby started the 2nd period and made one of the more ridiculous saves you will see late in the third period. The puck trickled by him and in a last ditch effort he swung his stick around and cleared it out before it crossed the line. Seriously...sick. If video of it becomes available on YouTube I will try to add it to the site so you can see for yourselves.
In the end Holtby made only 9 saves in 2 periods of work as the Bears dominated the final 40 minutes of the game.
Coming into Thursday's second game in Charlotte the Bears had won exactly ZERO games when trailing after the 2nd period.
Now they have 2 wins. They trailed entering the 3rd period in both games and responded by scoring a combined 7 goals in the 3rd period of those contests.
For a team that entered Thursday's games being outscored 45-41 in the 3rd period on the season, that is rather impressive. If they can maintain this type of play throughout the second half of the season, they will be pretty tough to beat. Many of their loses this season were the result of them beating themselves instead of being beaten.
Eliminate that and the sky is the limit.
The Bears are now officially into the 2nd half of their season and have entered it on a roll. They have won 5 straight and have recorded points in 10 straight games (8 of them wins).
Of their last 5, none have been blowouts either (4 were 1 goal games - 2 in shootouts). They have worked for all of them.
One of the things we will all have to get used to is the sitting of veterans. With all 6 (7 if you count DJ King) true veterans healthy, one has to sit every game. For a while it was Danny Richmond, then someone in Hershey read SHoE's Richmond Effect and started playing him all the time. Then it was Graham Mink, but that got unfair.
So now they are all taking turns. On Wednesday night Chris Bourque missed the game, Thursday it was Mink again, and last night, against all odds, Keith Aucoin was the healthy scratch last night. I would expect all of the guys to get some games here or there the rest of the season as well, barring injury of course.
It isn't all bad either. This will give guys a chance to rest up and take care of minor injuries as well as keep their bodies fresh for the playoffs. I can assure you that this team is not interested in padding personal stats, setting new records, or dominating the regular season. The only thing they all care about is winning the Calder Cup this spring.
If they play like they have been...they have a legitimate shot.
PS - while the players don't care about setting records, we fans do. Check back in a couple days as I tell you about some of the records that have a chance to be rewritten this season...including one that is almost a guarantee.