Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fights, Shots & Goals

With two fights within the first 3 minutes, Saturday night's game against the Binghamton Senators looked like it was going to be one of "those" games. By the end of the 5-2 win, Hershey would out shoot Binghamton 32 to 20 and combine for a total of 28 individual penalties.

Before the 10 minute mark of the first, Hershey was up 2-0 and would eventually outshoot the Senators 13 to 3 in the period. The second period would shake down the same way with the Bears out shooting Binghamton 14 to 8 and notching two more goals to lead 4-1.

The Bears passing and cycle game along the boards and in the corners were on point. In Tim Leone's post game Penn Live article, coach Troy Mann is quoted as saying the team took advantage of the Senator's vulnerability to cycling in certain areas. I've noted throughout the season so far that this Bears teams plays its best offensive game when it gets the cycle game going. It's not going to beat teams with plays off the rush.

Another area that the Bears excelled in last night was the back check. There were at least half a dozen instances when Hershey back checkers caused the Senators, coming out of their own end, to turn the puck over before they got to the red line. Because of Binghamton's aggressive offense, this led to quite a few 2-on-1's of the Bears.

Receiving the CCM Player of the Week award before the start of the game and then going on to be the game's number one star, Chris Conner continues to pile on the points. It's good timing that Conner and Stan Galiev have started to come on strong offensively just as Kris Newbury and Casey Wellman have tapered off. Once the Newbury, Wellman and Byers line gets rolling again, the Bears will be able to use two solid offensive lines interchangeably against an opponent's top lines.

Tim Kennedy finally notched only his second goal of the season but recorded his team and league leading 23rd assist.

Liam O'Brien was once again in the thick of it last night. Less than 2 minutes after the Joel Broda and Shane Prince fight to start the game, some post whistle activities involving O'Brien, Tim Spencer, and Michal Cajkovsky and Binghamton players broke out. In this go round, Spencer jumped in protect O'Brien and ended up fighting Darren Kramer.

Late in the second period, another skirmish would break out in the corner of the Senator's zone and O'Brien would face-off against Brad Mills while Cajkovsky squared off against Max McCormick. Luckily for both O'Brien Cajkovsky, both only received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the first period or they would have kicked out of the game for their second fights.


James said...

I was at the game but I'm really only a casual Bears fan so I was wondering if there was some kind of history of bad blood between the teams to cause so many fights?

GM said...

As division rivals there is always a bit more physicality in the games since the games mean more, but no, I don't recall any specific "bad blood".

Many of the Bears weren't even in Hershey last year so nothing happened last year. Tim Spencer was a Senator, so I am sure he had some reasons for being ready to fight.

Otherwise I think it was just the flow of the game and the fact that the teams are 2nd and 3rd in the standings so every game, every goal matters more.