Giant Center was rocking on Friday night. A crowd of 2,000+ came to GC to cheer on their beloved Bears and watch Game 5 on the big screen. By games end, it sounded more like 10,000. Thanks Alexandre Giroux.
Hershey will try and win the Calder Cup Monday in front of a crowd of nearly 11,000. Tickets for Game 6 sold out in a little under three hours.
Cumberland Valley High’s Class of 2010 Graduation Ceremony will have to wait. The Bears have some unfinished business to take care of.
Bears 2010 Playoff Stats
8-2 at home
8-2 scoring first goal
7-3 allowing first goal
11-2 when out shooting
3-3 when out shot
2-1 leading after 1
3-1 leading after 2
(6-0 leading after 3)
7-1 Trailing after 1
5-2 Trailing after 2
6-3 tied after 1
7-2 tied after 2
9-4 one goal games
2-0 two goal games
And oh yeah, if the Bears are forced to play a Game 7, Hershey is 4-0 on Wednesdays.
Keith Aucoin shoots while Aaron Gagnon surely does nothing meriting a penalty. (Chris Knight / The Patriot-News)
You gotta give the Bears this: they know drama. Despite the Hershey offense being well tuned and on-target all throughout game five, the visitors could not gain a lead over the Stars. By the end of regulation, the Bears had notched 37 shots, but all but one were summarily blocked by the excellent Stars netminder Matt Climie. It took nearly fifteen minutes of extra hockey for Alexander Giroux to finally defeat the Stars defense and create Hershey’s first game-lead of the series. The Bears beat the Stars 2-1 in overtime to put the series at 3-2, Hershey.
Don’t be mistaken by the low score; this was a 70+ minute exhibition of superb hockey. The refs all but abandoned the concept of adjudicating hockey. The two teams traded off in puck domination and net aggression. Players dove to block shots with astounding frequency, and no player seemed to forget this is the finals– even when exhausted. Michal Neuvirth, without a doubt, deserves tonight’s MVP nod for having rebuffed the Stars on perhaps a dozen excellent scoring chances. John Carlson and Kyle Wilson, too, deserve applause for their precise defensive and shot output respectively.
But it was Alexandre Giroux, all but silenced before this play, who stepped up in overtime to score the game-winner. Roo pounced on a loose puck and swatted it in with a tenacity and alacrity that Climie could not match. After blocking 41 shots, Climie was finally defeated the goalie by Alex’s force of will. As John Walton would say, “Good morning, good evening, good night!”
The Bears are probably airborne right now, headed home to Hershey for the final one or two games of the series. The Chocolate and White now have two chances to win the Calder Cup, and they seem more determined to do so than ever.
John Carlson’s third period goal lifted the Bears to a pivotal win over the Texas Stars. The series is now tied at 2-2 with only one game remaining in Texas. Andrew Gordon reflects on the meaning of last night’s win, a few differences between the NHL and the AHL, and the tribulations of team sports.
Tonight is a new night, and we can all breath a little easier. Going down 3-1 is pretty much the same as going down 3-0 in my opinion, so tonight was as much of a must win as Monday.
When we left Hershey, our focus was winning our way home. We wanted to take a minimum of two games in Texas to assure there would be at least one more game back in Hershey. After learning from our experience in the first two games, we felt we would me be a much different team if we could return home for game six. We have achieved that little goal through these two games in Austin, and with a third game still to play we may be able to return home on the verge of a Championship! That’s a drastic shift from the attitude last week.
Above: Hershey celebrates their Game 4 win. Top: John Carlson does it again. This time, he redirects the GWG Home on a Bears PP. (Photos by Chris Knight, The Patriot-News)
Tonight could have gone very differently. Despite rediscovering their offensive mojo, the Hershey Bears could not generate a lead over the Texas Stars. With the end of regulation looming, the Bear shook off the threat of a do-or-die game 5 with Captain America John Carlson’s razor-sharp deflection past Stars goalie Matt Climie. An empty netter from Alexandre Giroux sealed the deal, and now we’re facing a unique prospect: the Calder Cup will be awarded in Hershey. With the series finally tied, the only question remains who will claim it.
Andrew Gordon continues his RMNB residency by providing a glance at the Hershey Bears’ trip to Texas. In anticipation of tonight’s game (8:30 on Comcast SportsNet), Andrew shares some photos of himself posing with Mathieu Perreault in the locker room, the Bears boarding their jet, and Captain America John Carlson mugging for the camera on ice.
Andrew Gordon scored two of the Bears’ six goals in last night’s game with the Texas Stars, including the game winner. In today’s piece, Andrew discusses the win, getting over the bad breaks of the first period, and digging deep in the post season.
I don’t need to explain how badly we needed to win this game. Going down 3-0 with two more games in their building just wasn’t an option. We needed to make a statement about who we are, and we did just that. It didn’t look good early though. After letting up a goal on the first shot of the game (a ricochet off of Boyd Kane’s skate), and a shorthanded tap in after a miscue between Neuvy and our defenseman, I felt like nothing could go right. We were a team stuck in Murphy’s Law: Whatever could go wrong, seemed to.
After the first period, all the talk in the dressing room was about us. We knew we couldn’t take back the bad bounces that happened. We couldn’t play that period over again. But we knew if we used the last 40 minutes to play the way we know how, and stick to the game plan we could give ourselves a chance. From that point forward our attitude was completely different. We started shooting the puck, driving the net, limiting the odd man rushes against and only made high risk plays when it absolutely had to be done. By not giving them anything for free, we slowly started to take over. Every shift was like shooting a little more energy into our veins. We started to believe in ourselves and our abilities again. By the time the third period started, we had our swagger back. We were the Bears again, and when that buzzer sounded to end tonight’s game my thoughts shot back to the feeling I had so often this season. I got a taste of winning again, and as a team I can safely say we liked it.
Above: Chris Bourque skies in the air to keep the puck on his stick. Top: Bourque and Andrew Gordon celebrate the GWG. (Photos by Chris Knight, The Patriot-News)
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! Continue Reading
Despite Andrew Gordon’s ace tying goal in third period, the Hershey Bears fell to the Texas Stars in a 4-3 stunner last night. The Bears now trail in the series 2-0 and must play the next three games in Stars country. Andrew shares his thoughts about the loss and provides an ice-level perspective on frustration, the team’s identity, and the key to victory.
The words ringing through my head tonight are the same ones Chris Bourque joked about with a wry smile right before we stepped on the ice tonight for warm-up: “How about you write a happy blog for tomorrow?”
Sorry, Chris; that’s not happening. When I signed up to write these entries after each game, I thought it would be fun to let everybody in on the dressing room celebrations and talk about the players who were playing great. Instead, I feel like I’m venting my own frustrations. This isn’t the way I intended my blog to be, but this isn’t the way I intended the series to be either.
Andrew Gordon is wiped out along the boards by Aaron Gagnon. (Photos by Joe Hermitt, The Patriot-News)
If you’ve ever played a competitive sport at any high-level, you know the importance of momentum. It’s something that cannot be accurately measured by statistics, but its presence will never show up on any box-score. Watching game two of the Calder Cup Finals between the Hershey Bears and the Texas Stars tonight, it was obvious who had momentum in the final ten minutes of the game: The Hershey Bears. Despite the Chocolate and White never leading during regulation, Andrew Gordon’s electrifying put-back off a Patrick Wellar shot from the right point rallied the troops and tied the game 3-3 with 9:16 to go. And after Stars’ Defenseman Matt Stephenson went off for a four-minute double minor for high-sticking towards the tail end of a Bears Powerplay, it seemed like fate was on the Bears side.
It was not to be. The Bears could not score during the ensuing 31 seconds of their 5 on 3 advantage and fretted away the first 1:16 of their 5 on 4. Then, after a whistle, Boyd Kane lost his temper during a scrum and speared a Texas player. The back linesman saw it, notified the head official, and Kane was sent off for four minutes, negating the rest of the Bears Powerplay. Hello, 4-on-4 hockey. Goodbye, momentum.
Giant Center is prepped for a raucous SOLD OUT crowd for Game 2.
Friend of the blog Michael Jenkins, traveled up to Hershey Thursday Night to take in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals. There he met up with Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau, General Manager George McPhee, Assistant Coach Bob Woods & Karl Alzner’s laugh out loud lumberjack-beard.What’s left is this incredibly insightful feature detailing how important an ingredient Hershey is in the Capitals’ success. Please check out the video above and let Jenks know what you think of his work in the comments below.
And remember Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals between the Hershey Bears and the Texas Stars will start at 7pm tonight. Hershey will look to even the series in front of a sold out crowd at Giant Center. RMNB will be here with all your updates and photos from tonight’s game.