Some think Mathieu Perreault is a no-brainer to start the year at #2 center whose points-per-game (PPG) would increase in the NHL as much as it did in the AHL – despite there being significant proof to the contrary. Others think he could score 45 points, which I think is high based on what we have seen from him so far in his career.
In fact, if we look at Matty P’s AHL stats they translate to 4G/9A/13P in 21 NHL games. His actual 2009-10 stats in Washington were: 4/5/9 in 21GP. Weird, huh?
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!
For Game 2 of the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals, the Hershey Bears were in front of a sold-out and enthusiastic Saturday Night crowd of 10,726 and they did not disappoint. Chris Bourque tallied the game’s first goal with a slapshot from the right faceoff dot. The Monarchs’ Gabe Gauthier would then score back to back goals to make it 2-1. It would stay that way until the 3rd period when Hershey’s Steve Pinizzotto would score his second goal in two games and send it into overtime. That’s when the miniature-sized Chris Bourque would take in a pass from Keith Aucoin on a 2 on 1 and score short-side at 10:28 of the first OT giving Hershey their 5th playoff OT win of the year. Bourque’s (6g 12a) clutch second goal of the night also tied him for first place in the AHL Playoff Scoring Race with teammate Alexandre Giroux (10g 8a). Both have 18 points a piece and are now 1 point ahead of the Texas Stars’ Jamie Benn (who none of us have ever heard of).
Hershey now has a record of 10-1 in the playoffs and have won all 5 games that have gone into OT. The Bears will now travel to Manchester, New Hampshire and try to take a 3-0 series lead Monday.
Take a look at the rest of Kyle’s incredible photos from the game after the jump.
The Hershey Bears concluded a brutal stretch of four games in five mornings/nights today, as they took on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 1:00 p.m. The game, originally scheduled for 3PM, was bumped up two hours early to accommodate the Gold Medal Game between the United States and Canada.
In his first start since returning from the Russian National Team in the Olympics (and eating McDonald’s everyday), Semyon Varlamov played splendidly against the Baby Pens stopping 30 shots and thwarting three consecutive opportunities in the shootout as the Bears prevailed 2-1. After falling behind 2-0 in the shootout, clutch goals by Keith Aucoin, Alex Giroux and the previous night’s hero (more on that later) Mathieu Perreault allowed Hershey to win the shootout 3-2. Kyle Wilson scored Hershey’s lone goal of the game during regulation, despite the Bears peppering Baby Pens goalie Brad Thiessen with 33 shots. The win was Hershey’s 46th on the season.
Saturday night with Bruce Boudreau in attendence for a pregame book signing, the Hershey Bears pushed their incredible AHL Record home winning streak to 21 with a resounding 9-2 victory over the New York Islanders farm team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Hershey jumped out to a 5-1 first period lead on the heels of a first period hat trick by everyone’s favorite miniature-sized-center Mathieu Perreault.
Perreault ended the night with an incredible four goals, including one on a penalty shot in the second period. Other crazy stats accumulated during the night? Prepare yourself:
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