Went up to see the Bears Sunday as they played the Norfolk Admirals in a battle for first place in the division today. The Bears, who were playing their third game in three days but came out playing amazing hockey. After killing off an early penalty themselves they left Norfolk get undisciplined and send a parade to the box and after 2 quick Power Play goals were up 2-0. Norfolk came back with a shot that Holtby couldn’t find through a screen and it was 2-1 but not far after the Bears drew another penalty and converted for the third straight time to make it 3-1 and the PP 3 for 3. The Bears would finally score 5 on 5 with less then 2 minutes left in the first to go into the locker-room up 4-1. In the second it was a total reversal with Hershey sending guys to the box and Norfolk making them pay and only because of several great save by Holtby did the Bears stay ahead 4-3 going into the third. Like the first two periods the same side of the ice had most of the action and the Bears would score less then 5 minutes in on a great off the crossbar shot by Tomas Kundratek. Chris Bourque would add an empty net goal with just under 3 minutes left to seal the deal.
Hershey’s PP seemed so different then the Caps PP, even when using the last game with 4 PPG for the Caps. The Bears move the puck so much and have Bourque in the middle on the point look for guys on either side of him at around the faceoff circle where they could either take a one timer, go back to Bourque, or send it across to the other guy on the far dot. Norfolk looked like the were just chasing and getting out of position and the Bears would just move it around until they got the lane they wanted then just put it in.
Also sitting in the first row it was amazing how fast the game was. I have been to practices and been close and watched my schools NCAA D-1 team from the glass but the game is amazingly fast. It was very weird because 8 of the 9 goals were on the far side of the ice and whoever was on the side I was sitting on had a very easy time getting it out of the zone. The Bears were making at least 1 and sometimes 2 passes to get out of the zone were Norfolk was looking to go for the long homerun style pass which in the second worked great and gave them great chances and also forced the Bears D to take penalties. The Bears adjusted very well to that in the third and were sagging back to not get beat behind them. With the current D down in Hershey there didn’t seem to be a lot of speed on the back end for the Bears.
Holtby played a solid game coming up huge a few times in the second but letting in a very weak goal on the 3rd goal against reminding me of some of the goals the Capitals goalies have been letting up this year. He also is still just as aggressive as we have seen in the past. After getting bumped starting a scrum on the next play he made a big glove save and on the follow through on the save punched the Admiral player in front.
Bourque and Aucoin looked dominate in the first with each getting 4 points in the period and Bourque ending with 5 by the end. The other forward I was real impressed with was Jacob Micflikier who was playing with those two. He also had 4 points and reminds me a lot of MP85 he is only 5’8” but can move the puck so well. I would be interested to see if he can be a scorer on the NHL at his size of if when called up he looks even more like MP85. Weller also had a huge, clean, hit in the third that knocked off the other players helmet off and did it without taking himself out of the play.
I will be back in Hershey next Sunday and will see if they look as good against Norfolk again. If there is anything specific you would like me to try and keep an eye out for let me know.
I also took a lot of pictures, if you want to see them the link is here. http://s365.photobucket.com/albums/oo98/icehammer97/Bears%20Game%201/?start=all