Monday, April 15, 2013

Another 1-2 Weekend

Last weekend the Bears earned 2 points out of a possible 6, but still controlled their own playoff 'destiny'.

This weekend the Bears earned 2 points out of a possible 6 and now need help (from at least 2 teams) just to make it as the 8th seed in the playoffs.

Friday night in Providence, the Bears fell behind 2-0 early in the 2nd period before coming back and tying it up 8 minutes into the 3rd period before giving up the game winning goal just 4 minutes later and falling 3-2.

Saturday night in Manchester, the Bears fell behind 3-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game before making it a game with 2 goals in the first 7 minutes of the game.  The Monarchs scored the next goal and Hershey scored their 3rd and final goal with 5 minutes to go in the 2nd.  Manchester won 4-3.

So last Friday the Bears won in Syracuse.  Then Hershey, at a time when they are fighting for their playoff lives, lost 4 straight.  During that stretch the Bears went a whopping 1 for 17 on the power play. 

1 goal on 17 opportunities when they had more guys on the ice then the other team.

Wonder why they lost.

Well, maybe Sunday was the turnaround game. 

In Portland yesterday the Bears were awarded 10 power plays...they scored on 5 of them.  And what do you know, they won...6-3.

Hershey put an end to their skid and picked up a much needed win.

And things outside of their control were positive yesterday as well.  Norfolk and Connecticut lost to keep them at 79 points on the season.  They currently possess the 7th and 8th seeds in the playoffs.

The Manchester Monarchs are tied with the Bears for 9/10 but hold the tiebreaker as of now.

So, how can the Bears make the playoffs...

1.  Win all their games.  That would give the Bears 83 points, which MIGHT be good enough.

After that there are hundreds of possibilities.  Technically the Bears could still finish as high as 6th as Portland (like Hershey has already done) is trying to play their way out of the playoffs with a 4 game losing streak.

The Bears need to win.  If they do that they will jump Manchester as the two teams meet in the season finale in Hershey on Sunday.  They also need either Norfolk or Connecticut to lose.  Honestly, it is simpler if Norfolk loses.  If Hershey wins out and Norfolk loses just 1 game the Bears would win the tiebreaker and earn the playoff spot.  If Hershey ends up tied with Manchester, Connecticut, or Portland, they lose the tiebreaker.

So, as I said before...the Bears need to win all of their games and get help. 

Friday sees a visit to Adirondack to face the Eastern Conference cellar dwellers.  BUT, they are playing better than Hershey in their last 10 with a 5-3-1-1 record (compared to Hershey's 4-6-0-0) so it will not be an easy win.

Saturday sees the Bears visit the Binghamton Senators.  The Senators will still be in a battle for the East Division crown so this will also be a battle.  The Sens are 4-4-0-2 in their last 10 so they aren't exactly lighting the league on fire right now.

Sunday sees the final regular season game (and home game) for the Bears as the Manchester Monarchs arrive in town.  This game is either going to mean everything...or nothing.  The Monarchs just beat the Bears on Saturday and are on a 4 game winning streak and are 6-4-0-0 in their last 10. 

Those games will be tough enough.

And then the Bears would need help.  The good news there is that the teams tied or ahead of the Bears also have tough slates.

Portland has 4 games left beginning tomorrow night in Bridgeport.  IF they win that game they can't fall behind Hershey.  We can look at the rest of their games once that one is complete.

Norfolk has 3 games left, all on the road.  Friday in Syracuse, Saturday in Albany, and Sunday in Providence.  If they go 3-0 they get a playoff spot. 

Connecticut only has 2 games left...both on the road.  Friday in Albany and Saturday in Portland.  They will more than likely be sweating on Sunday.

Manchester has 3 games left, all on the road and very tough.  Friday in Binghamton, Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, and Sunday in Hershey. 

The Bears have made it interesting.  I, for some reason, still believe that all they need is a chance.  I am an eternal optimist and will always believe it is possible until it's officially over.  So if they make it as an 8 seed I truly believe they have a good shot to win the Cup. 

Friday night is huge.  A Bears loss probably means that tee times can be booked and exit interviews can be completed.  A win and who's out of their hands.


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