This was probably the nastiest game of the year so far for the Bears. The first and second periods featured 3 separate fighting majors and borderline scuffle between Conner Carrick and Nic Kerdiles. Norfolk defenseman Nathan McIver was ejected from the game less than a minute into the 2nd period for his second fight of the game.
Where Nate Schmidt was the hero last night for the Bears, Emerson Etem was tonight for the Admirals with 2 goals and an assist. In the end, too many penalties cost the number one penalty kill in the league as both of Etem's goals were on the power play.
Despite the fights and being genially outplayed by the Admirals in this game, the Bears can take away the following lessons as they begin to prepare for the second half of the season: strategy and timeliness.
With Kris Newbury scoring around the 12 minute mark of the third to get within a goal, Hershey had an opportunity to get back into the game. And the Bears did start to press the Admirals. Then, with about a minute and 15 seconds left in the game, the Bears would find themselves on a 5-on-3 power play. Justin Peters pulled; 6-on-3.
They used their timeout and with the face-off in the Norfolk end, the timing was set for the Bears to tie the game. Unfortunately, the Admirals killed the brief 6-on-3 and hit the empty netter with 30 seconds left in the game.
For the most part, the setup on the power play was completely ineffective. I've seen it too many times when a team is on a two man advantage and everyone just stands around passing the puck and hoping to get the perfect shot. To do that, not only is quick passing needed but player movement as well. The Bears did neither of those.
In the future, when an opportunity like this arises for the Bears to tie the game with a man advantage, they need to have a better strategy. Being presented an opportunity and knowing how to execute is what separates a team that tries to win with one that knows how to.