After an absolutely dreadful start which saw the Bears take a 3-1 deficit into the first intermission, even the most optimistic of Bears fans would have thought that the chances of Hershey coming back in this series were slim. But Head Coach Mark French showed confidence in his players and made the necessary adjustments. He allowed Michal Neuvirth to return in net for the second period, despite witnessing last year’s playoff MVP flub a clearing attempt on a first-period powerplay. Neuvy’s whiff led to Texas’s second goal of the night, an unassisted short-handed goal by Francis Wathier. French then subtlety tinkered with his forward combinations promoting Chris Bourque to the top line and dropping the 2008-09 AHL MVP, Alexandre Giroux, to the second. It paid immediate dividends.
Hershey went on to score five unanswered goals, punctuated by two third period tallies by Andrew Gordon which included the eventual game-winning goal. The Hershey Bears win 6-3. The high-octane offense has returned!
- Tonight marked Hershey’s 9th game in 39 days. Maybe the rust is starting to come off? (Special thanks to fan of the blog Emily Bennett for pointing this out to me via email.)
- I swear Bears’ third-line center, Kyle Wilson, must love NHL10 like I do. He scored both of his goals tonight, Hershey’s 1st and 2nd of the night, via one timers from odd areas in the offensive zone.
- Not to be outdone, Mathieu Perreault had a pair of tallies, and both Keith Aucoin and Chris Bourque had two assists.
- Andrew Gordon’s game-winning goal tonight was a perfect example of why he is such an invaluable player to this club. Gordo set himself in front of the net, and after multiple failed whacks at a loose puck, finally connected on his backhand to give Hershey it’s first lead of the game. John Walton said of the goal, “That is paying the price to win.” While Gregg Mace responded, “Andrew Gordon is one of the heart and soul guys on the Bears.” We agree. We totally agree.
- After giving up 3 tough goals on 11 shots in the first period, Neuvy responded in the clutch by stopping the Stars next 19 shots on goal. He finished with 27 saves on the night and deserves a lot of credit for Hershey’s comeback tonight.
- Patrick Wellar deserves props for his penalty killing tonight. At one point during the second period, I thought I was watching Rod Langway incarnate on the ice as he delivered hit after crunching hit. Wellar also received a Game Misconduct in the third period for his part in a brawl. Well done, Patrick!
- Once again, Steve Pinizzotto played a charged-up game which yielded multiple takeaways and great defense. And once again, Steve Pinizzotto took a completely unneeded penalty, this time a charging call in the third period.
- Caps Employee and reserve goaltender Brett Leonhardt noticed from the stands during a second period TV timeout that Stars Goalie Matt Climie was chirping at the Bears bench. Four goals later, he might have regretted that.
The Bears will now look to even the series at two Wednesday night at 8:30. Make sure to check back in the morning for another installment of Gordo’s Take, as Andrew Gordon will give his view on Game 3. See you then.