Sunday, January 24, 2010

And you thought the Caps were hot...

On December 11th, the Albany River Rats shut out the Hershey Bears, 3-0.

The Bears seem to have taken the matter rather personally. Since suffering that insult, the Bears have won 17 of 18 games to hit the 70 point mark (in 45 games, five games quicker than did the Caps) and open up a nine-point lead on the rest of the league. During this 17-1-0 run, the Bears…

-- Outscored opponents 91-40 (5.06 – 2.22).
-- Are averaging 7.4 goals a game in their last five games.
-- Are 24-for-84 on the power play (28.6%).
-- Are 75-for-85 on the penalty kill (88.2%).
-- Have points from 21 different players.
-- Have goals from 18 different players.
-- Have three players with at least ten goals: Keith Aucoin (16), Alexandre Giroux (10), and Chris Bourque (10).
-- Have 12 players with at least ten points.
-- Have five games in which they scored at least seven goals.
-- Allowed more than three goals only three times.
-- Have nine wins of at least three goals, five by at least five goals.
-- Outscored opponents 32-7 in the first period (only trailed at the first intermission once).
-- Have 11 periods out of 54 in which they scored at least three goals.
-- Had the first star of the game 16 times in 18 games.
-- Had eight different players be named the game’s first star.

In this run the goalies have done their part…

-- Braden Holtby is 13-1-0, 1.99, .930 (named first star of the game three times and won eight game stars overall)
-- Jason Bacashihua is 3-0-0, 3.67, .870
-- Semyon Varlamov is 1-0-0, 1.00, .966

General Manager Doug Yingst has built quite a team up in Hershey, and Head Coach Mark French, along with assistant Troy Mann and the rest of the Bears’ staff have added to the Bears' reputation as being the flagship franchise of the American Hockey League.

No team has repeated as Calder Cup champion since the Springfield Indians did the trick in the 1989/90 and 1990/91 seasons. The Bears are serving notice to the rest of the AHL that they are not letting down after having won last year’s title.


Mikey said...

Hey Peerless,

Great blog post! I live in Raleigh, NC, so I obviously haven't seen any Hershey games, but my gut feeling -- maybe you can correct me if I'm wrong -- is that the Bears are playing at the speed of NHL teams, and the rest of the AHL can't keep up. What do you think? Keep up the great work on the blog, one of my favorites!

The Peerless said...

I haven't seen the Bears live yet, but they seem to be in one of those zones like the Caps are in at the moment. They play hard, they play for 60 minutes, the guys who have to do the heavy lifting are doing it, and they're getting great goaltending.

Hooks Orpik said...

My outsider perspective (granted I don't watch many AHL games) but the Bears have a ton of "AAAA" talent...Guys that excel at the AHL level but not quite at the NHL, starting with Giroux and Aucoin who are just amazing producers..Chris Bourque's probably in this category too.

With guys like Alzner, Carlson, Oskala, Bouchard, Perrault, Gordon, Neuvirth, Holtby they have more than their fair share of excellent prospects too.

Their pure offensive skill is unmatched at the AHL level and they're getting the best goaltending around. Plus the fact the core of their team has been around a long team, they "know how to win" with all their past success and it all boils into the perfect storm.

tfirey said...

I watch the Bears regularly over, and I think that if they were to play a seven-game series against either the Oilers or the Leafs, they would take two games at least. MIKE, you're only about four hours from Charleston, where the Rays are closing in on 70 pts and doing to the ECHL what the Caps and Bears are doing to the NHL and AHL. Weekend road trip!