Coming up on the quarter way point of the season, it can be argued that perhaps Philip Grubauer has been the Bears' best player so far. With Hershey's 1-0 win against the Worcester Sharks at Giant Center last night, Grubauer notched his second shutout of the season. Starting the last four games, he has faced 119 shots and made 111 saves. The one aberration being the 5-1 loss to Syracuse on November 14th.
Granted, Kris Newbury has 21 points and leads the AHL in scoring but Grubauer has been more instrumental in keeping Hershey in games. Like the game this past Wednesday against Lehigh Valley in in which the Bears found themselves down 2-0 in the first. Grubauer's 37 saves gave Hershey the opportunity to climb back into the game despite eventually losing in overtime.
The same can be said about Saturday night. The Bears came out with more speed in the first period than they have in prior games and executed breakouts more effectively despite a strong Worcester forecheck. There were even moments when Hershey's cycle game had the Sharks running around in their own end.
But leading 1-0 at the first intermission, Grubauer would give the team at chance to win as the Bears would be outshot 27-12 through the second and third periods. However, the save of the game would come in the first period as Grubauer made a diving split toe save with his right pad on Daniil Tarasov. With the puck in the corner, Tarasov snuck into the slot and found himself all alone to the right of Grubauer. His position was steady and push-off from the post was strong as the cross crease pass was close in.
Notwithstanding being outshot again by a wide margin, the Bears' overall play last night against Worcester showed that they may be turning a corner and digging themselves out of this rut of inconsistency.