C&W Buzzsaw: Holtby Riding Hot Hand into Wilkes-Barre
Hershey Bears (10-11-1-0) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (13-7-0-0)
Mohegan Sun Arena @ Casey Plaza
Friday December 7, 2012
Season Series: ** Photo courtesy Paul Chaplin / PennLive
The Bears lead the season series 3-1-0-0…this is the fifth of 12 meetings this season between the two rivals and the second of six to take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena @ Casey Plaza.
The Baby Pens got their first win of the year against the Bears back on November 21, a 4-0 win at the Giant Center. Special teams were the key as the Pens got power play goals from Beau Bennett and Simon Despres and a shorthanded tally from Benn Ferriero. Jeff Zatkoff turned away all 15 shots he saw, none of which could be called high quality scoring chances, to secure the shutout.
These two teams will play again the day after Christmas at the Giant Center.
Entering Tonight’s Tilt:
The Bears are coming off a solid come-from-behind 2-1 win last night at the Verizon Cenrter in Washington D.C., over the Norfolk Admirals. The Admirals got a goal from forward Brandon McMillian a mere ten seconds into the contest, on a shot from the left circle that goaltender Braden Holtby would certainly like to have back. However, both Holtby and the team rebounded as Evan Barlow scored his first goal in a Bears’ jersey, late in the first on a nifty pass from Zach Hamill to knot the score at 1. The game remained that way until the 4:26 mark of the third when Ryan Potulny finally scored his first goal of the season for the Chocolate & White. Potulny blasted a one timer from the right circle past Ads’ net minder Frederik Andersen for what proved to be the game winner. Holtby would stop the next 26 shots he saw to secure his 8th victory of the season and backstop the Bears to their fourth win in their last five games. The Baby Pens come in smokin’ hot as well, winners of five in a row and eight of their last nine. In their last game, they defeated the St. John’s IceCaps by a score of 5-3 last Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. Riley Holzapfel, Simon Despres, Warren Peters, Benn Ferriero, and Dylan Reese all lit the lamp and Jeff Zatkoff turned in a 13 save performance to secure the win.
The Ups & Downs & Ins & Outs:
The Bears haven’t had any transactions for the better part of two weeks until earlier today when they recalled Patrick Wellar in lieu of the injury to Dmitry Orlov. The Penguins reassigned forwards Dominik Uher and Keven Veilleux to Wheeling last week and then recalled them the next day. The Citizens Voice is also reporting the Baby Pens have signed forward Bobby Farnham to a standard AHL contract for the rest of the season. Farnham has played in 11 games with the Baby Pens, chipping a pair of helpers, since joining the team on a PTO from Wheeling at the beginning of November. He has added much needed grit and energy to the team and has been looked upon as a favorable asset.
Players To Watch:
Bears forward Ryan Potulny scored his first goal of the campaign last night on a bomb one-timer form the right circle for what proved to be the game winner, in what could only be described as ‘Vintage Potulny’. If the Bears are going to turn around the season and make run at the rest of the East Division, Potulny’s offense is going to be a key for this to happen. For the Pens, they have always been about two things - strong defense and stellar goaltending, so its tough not to keep your eye on Jeff Zatkoff. As hot as the Pens are, they will go only as far as this young net minder will carry them.
Between The Pipes:
I see no reason why Braden Holtby wouldn’t start for the Bears coming off his solid performance last night. Also tough to see why the Penguins wouldn’t start Jeff Zatkoff, the newly named Goalie of the Month for November.
Injuries & Scratches:
Bears defenseman Garrett Stafford (upper body), and forwards Ryan Stoa (upper body), and Jon Kalinski (hand) have been ruled out through the weekend. Defenseman Dmitry Orlov left last night’s game with an upper body injury and there is no word on whether he will be able to go tonight ot not. Kevin Marshall was the lone healthy scratch on the blue line for the Bears last night in D.C.
The Bears will return home Saturday night for their only game of the weekend at Giant Center against the Hamilton Bulldogs @ 7 PM.
Jeff Taffe – 6g, 14a – 20 pts
Jon DiSalvatore – 6g, 9a – 15 pts
Garrett Stafford – 1g, 13a – 14 pts
Beau Bennett – 5g, 11a – 16 pts
Riley Holzapfel – 6g, 9a – 15 pts
Benn Ferriero – 2g, 12a – 14 pts
** Photo courtesy Paul Chaplin / PennLive