Friday night went pretty much according to plan. Despite getting only 2 goals the Bears managed to keep the Crunch at 1 goal and got the road victory.
Saturday night was a different story entirely. If you didn't know the Bears opponent you would have sworn that it was a rivalry game right from the start. After the first save and whistle the two teams came together and the animosity began.
Considering the Bears and Sharks are both in the top 3 in penalty minutes I guess it shouldn't be too surprising, but I wasn't expecting that kind of emotional, physical game. Especially considering that the last game I was at, last Saturday night, the Bears barely even showed up.
Things got out of hand pretty early on. After a questionable hit on Andrew Carroll, league penalty minute leader, Joel Rechlicz, decided to take matters into his own hands. What proceeded was a melee of sorts that saw referee Chris Brown drastically underestimate what was about to happen. While only one fight (if you can call it that) actually happened I thought for sure that the proper call would have been multiple roughing calls on a few other guys for both the Bears and the Sharks. Had Brown called it that way the intensity might have diminished right then.
Instead he called only a fighting major on Wrecker and a Shark, with an additional 2 on Joel for trying to take the guys head off with his stick.
So the animosity and intensity stuck around a little while longer.
With about 13 minutes gone in the first period Boyd Kane was apparently tired of Bears players getting knocked down with cheap shots and he laid a pretty vicious hit on a Sharks forward. In response he got a game misconduct, a 5 minute major, a minute minor, and a 5 minute fighting penalty.
The 5 minute fighting penalty was thanks to Sharks forward Jimmy Bonneau who decided, correctly in my opinion, that Kane's hit was dirty and he needed to be taught a lesson. While the fight was barely recognizable I do agree with the referee's decision.
The unfortunate part about it...in my opinion anyways...is that if the referee had just called the game a little tighter prior to this incident the whole thing might not have occurred. But once Boyd got tossed the game settled down a bit.
I haven't seen Worcester play prior to last night so any judgement I pass is based on the stats I see and what happened last night.
But in my opinion the Sharks are an extremely physical team that borders on the edge of dirty. Many of the hits they placed on Bears were questionably timed or poorly executed. Luckily for them the referee seemed to let both teams play.
Now, saying that I should add, the Bears more than handled themselves last night and I have seen more egregious acts by opposing teams (and the Bears) during the course of this season. I just think that the Sharks acts were a little more widespread and continuous than most teams.
And I do believe Jacob Micflikier is making himself a Hershey favorite. At one point the diminutive winger form-tackled/body slammed a Shark after the whistle. Pretty sure everyone (including Minker and a linesman) enjoyed that one.
Last night definitely showed me one thing...the Sharks will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs, no matter what their seed is. Their goalie Tyson Sexsmith has been good all year and was pretty damn good last night as well and their physical play will make for a long series come spring time.
Right now they are the 7-seed. I would be fine if they fell to 9th.