Entering their game against the Syracuse Crunch Friday night, Hershey Bears players had no idea that some of them would be making one their final impressions before the Caps would call up a forward. They put on a good showing, defeating the Crunch 5-1.
Jakub Vrana opened up the scoring in the first with a breakaway goal after a nice pass from Chris Bourque. The tally would be Vrana’s eighth of the season. Bourque and Christian Thomas would each add two goals as the game went on.
Chris Bourque leads the Bears in points after Friday with four goals and twelve assists. Though Vrana owns the lead for goals with eight, veteran Christian Thomas has put up an impressive six for second on the team. Chandler Stephenson recorded three assists on the night as well, pushing his assist total to seven on the year. Vitek Vanecek stopped 23 of 24 shots for the win.
The Hershey Bears were able to snap their three-game skid Wednesday night in Utica, beating the Comets 4-2. Capitals prospect Nathan Walker scored two goals, including the game-winning tally. Recent ECHL call-up Domenic Monardo added two assists.
The Bears’ first goal was scored by Liam O’Brien on a fire drill in front of the net.Hershey would increase their lead later in the period on a Chris Bourque five-on-three power play goal with assists from Paul Carey and Jakub Vrana.
The assist marked Carey’s 12th point of the year in 13 games. Vrana’s assist would bring his season point total to ten. Walker now has four goals and four assists on the year. Bears Goalie Joe Cannata stopped a total of 19 shots against his former team.
Saturday Night, the Hershey Bears tallied their second win of the season in dominant fashion. The Bears put up a touchdown (and an extra point), destroying the Binghamton Senators 7-2. All the Caps top prospects’ contributed in the win.
Jakub Vrana and Christian Thomas scored two goals apiece while Madison Bowey, Riley Barber, and Chris Bourque recorded the Bears’ other three goals. Hershey goaltender Joe Cannata stopped 15 of the Wolf Pack’s 17 shots.
Photo credit: Sweetest Hockey On Earth’s Kyle Mace
Washington Capitals 2012 first-round pick Tom Wilson has played just two games for the Hershey Bears, but he’s already made a huge impact. After scoring 9 goals (including a hat trick) and 17 points in 12 playoff games with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, Wilson scored his first professional goal on Sunday for the Hershey Bears. And it happened because he got under the skin of 2011-12 AHL leading scorer Chris Bourque.
One look at the dismantling of the Chicago Blackhawks and it becomes apparent that the life blood of any hockey organization is its youth. If you can bring in young players that provide value at reasonable prices you have the ability to succeed in the long term. In the case of the Hershey Bears, it allows the Caps to fill their team with players who know how to win and execute Bruce Boudreau’s system.
The challenge then becomes not only which players to promote, but which players should be dangled in a trade and which you can simply cut bait with. The underlying question in all of this is simply: Does the front office feel a certain prospect can make it in the NHL?
Readers, we politely remind you of our policy regarding hockey rumors from Russia: Lie down until it goes away.
The news out of Russia today has been dissonant. The KHL club Atlant, based in the Moscow region, updated its roster with one noteworthy addition. According to atlant-mo.ru, Atlant has signed three-time Calder Cup Champion Hershey Bear Chris Bourque to a two-year deal.
From the press release:
American forward Chris Bourque agreed on our offer and signed a contract with our club today. Terms of this agreement are intended for two years.
Later, in an interview with Tim Leone of The Patriot-News, the playoffs MVP said he hasn’t signed a contract yet: “It’s not official. . . I’m talking to them. But nothing official, that’s for sure.”
Has Atlant jumped the gun? Is Chris entertaining other offers? Or is he just waiting for the right time to let us down easy. If the news is true, we’ll be very bummed that Chris is leaving Hershey. On the other hand, that KHL contract probably comes with a car, a condo, and a handle of excellent vodka.
What do you make of the news?
Last night was the Hershey Bears Calder Cup party at Giant Center. RMNB could not attend, but our spies are everywhere. From the aperture of Kyle Mace comes a parade of Bears images. Let’s take a second to appreciate Alexandre Giroux‘s aviator sunglasses, maniacal beard, and spraying bottles akimbo. The man is one bass solo away from joining Motorhead.
Here is Kyle’s video:
Glorious stills after the jump!
Tonight, we had the pleasure of having our own Hershey Correspondent Kyle M. down on the ice as the Hershey Bears celebrated their 11th Championship in Franchise History. And boy did he get some great photos.
Below the jump, check out Bryan Helmer hoisting the Calder Cup, the Bourque family celebrating Chris’s MVP Award, Doug Yingst getting a champagne shower from Michal Neuvirth and Francois Bouchard losing his dang mind. The overriding theme of these photos is “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”
After losing the first two games of the Calder Cup Finals at home, the Hershey Bears are now one win away from raising the Calder Cup for the eleventh time in club history, and in back-to-back years. Holy Schnikes!!
But despite Hershey’s 3 game sweep of Texas at Cedar Park Center, the Stars can still draw confidence off Games 1 and 2 where they frustrated the AHL’s highest scoring team. Which Bears team will show up Monday for Game 6? The one that tried to play fancy, stick around the perimeter and let it’s emotions get the best of them, or the one that played simple, went hard to the net and kept its cool?
Today, Hershey held a 45-60 minute practice at Giant Center and Bears first line center Keith Aucoin hoped it was the latter:
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!
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