Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Complete 60 Minute Game

If Monday night's game against the Norfolk Admirals was an indication of what Hershey fans can expect from the Bears this season, then it's going to be an exciting year. Granted, I realize that it is only the second game of the season and there will be more difficult teams that the Bears will face but this was a very solid game throughout the lineup. The Bears played a full 60 minutes and didn't let up the couple of times the Admirals tried to shift the momentum to their side.

As Scott Stuccio noted in his post game PennLive post, the Bears once again came busting out of the gate in the first period and peppered opposing goalie Igor Bobkov with 15 shots. In addition, they continued their excellent play along the boards and close in around the goal. Both first period goals, by Stan Galiev and Chris Conner, were shot right in around the hash marks. However, Kris Newbury gets the goal of the game with the beautiful tip in about half way through the third period as he drove to the net. 

Pheonix Copley put in a very good performance for his AHL debut. While facing at least double digit shots every period, there weren't a whole lot of incredible scoring chances for the Admirals. However, Copley's biggest challenges were Norfolk's first two power plays (one in the first and one in the second). The Admirals had some really good chances on both power plays and Copley fought them off really well. Throughout the game he looked calm in the different types of situations that were thrown at him. Let's hope he gets a fair amount of starts this year in Hershey.

The defense played very stable and gave up few turnovers or chances to Norfolk. The defensive play of the night was made by Steve Olesky when he broke up a 3-1 about mid-way through the third period. The score was still 4-2 so there was still a chance the Admirals could sneak back in. Olesky blocked the pass with his body and calmly sticked the puck to the side boards. Perfectly played.

And let's not forget the stand up check by Mike Moore on Chris Wagner at the Bears' blue line, which resulted in a quite a melee. Speaking of which, Brad Winchester was quite a loose canon last night and got what he deserved with the 2 and 10 from that "so called" fight; which consisted of Wagner hanging onto Carrick while Winchester pummeled him. This, in addition to Winchester fighting Mitchell early in the first.

The biggest take away from these first two games of the season: LOTS of shots. 37 each game both Saturday and Monday. Troy Mann has put together a very up tempo system and this team is not afraid to shoot.

Next up is a trip up to New England for a Saturday tilt against Springfield and Sunday against Hartford.

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