The Hershey Bears enter this weekend’s action still searching for their first victory of the 2007-08 campaign after suffering back-to-back losses on the road, joining the Lake Erie Monsters and Houston Aeros as the only three American Hockey League teams without a win.
In the prior two campaigns under the guidance of head coach Bruce Boudreau, the Bears had never failed to register at least one point in the standings in the first two games.
In the Bears only action last week, they suffered a 5-2 setback against the Binghamton Senators in Binghamton. Lighting the lamp for the Bears in Binghamton were Chris Bourque (3rd) and former Senator Grant Potulny (1st). Andrew Gordon and Kyle Wilson both picked up an assist, duplicating their output in the Bears season opener.
Hershey out-shot the Senators by a wide margin, 48-28, but thanks to outstanding goaltending from Ray Emery – who finds himself in Binghamton for a weekend conditioning assignment from the Ottawa Senators – the Bears came away from the “Carousel Capital of the World” empty handed.
Power play woes and defensive zone giveaways have been two areas of concern for the Bears in the early going. While being presented with nine power plays in the Binghamton game, the Bears were only able to connect once, despite a pair of lengthy 5-on-3 advantages.
Combined with their 1-for-4 performance on the power play in their season opener, Hershey’s power play unit has scored on only 2-of-13 chances (15.4%).
On the surface the defense has done a respectable job in the two losses, at least in the shots against category, limiting their opponents to 58 shots, but that stat does not tell the whole story. Bears goaltender Frederic Cassivi, has often been left to fend for himself, with the defense at times conspicuous by their absence.
An unhealthy percentage of the 58 shots faced by Cassivi have been point blank scoring chances, which explains why Cassivi has an inflated goals against average (5.05) and a deflated save percentage (.828).
Up next for the Bears are a pair of games this weekend. Friday night finds the Bears on the road against Eastern Division rival, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and former Bears Mark Wotton and Kip Brennan. Saturday night the Bears, the AHL’s senior member at 70 years young, open the home portion of their season hosting the Rochester Americans at Giant Center.
Bears statistical leaders:
Goals- Bourque (3)
Assists- Gordon, Wilson (2)
Points- Bourque (4)
PIMS- Louis Robitaille, Grant McNeil (7)
– John Sparenberg
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by John Sparenberg