C&W Buzzsaw: Bears Looking for a Three-Win Weekend
Hamilton Bulldogs (7-10-1-1) vs. Hershey Bears (11-11-1-0)
Saturday December 8, 2012
Series tied @ 0-0-0-0…this is the first of two meetings between the two clubs this season.
This is the first meeting between the two clubs since a 4-2 Bulldogs victory at the Giant Center way back on February 11, 2009. The only players still on their respective teams from that game are Patrick Wellar for the Bears and defenseman Frederic St. Denis and goaltender Cedrick Desjardins for the Bulldogs.
These two teams will meet again on February 15 in Hamilton at Copps Coliseum.
Entering Tonight’s Tilt:
The Bears have been relatively hot over the past few weeks, winning five of their last six and climbing back to .500 for the first time since early November. The Bears got goals from five dirrent players including the overtime winner from Kevin Marshall, his first in a Bears uniform to knock off the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 5-4. Dany Sabourin got the win, making his first start since November 24th. The Bulldogs are going the opposite way in the AHL Standings, sitting in the basement of the Western Conference with 16 points. The Dogs lost last night in Syracuse 5-1 to the red hot Crunch. Forward Aaron Palushaj scored his team leading seventh of the year in the defeat.
The Ups & Downs & Ins & Outs:
The Bears recalled defenseman Patrick Wellar from Reading before yesterday’s road game in WB/S and the big d-man was a +1 with two shots on goal and a two PIMs in his return to the Bears. The lone transactions in the Bulldogs portfolio were reassigning forward Alain Berger and defenseman Joe Stejskal to the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers.
Players To Watch:
We are going to be Mr. Obvious here today and choose goaltender Braden Holtby as the Player to Watch for the Bears. With the NHL lockout continuing the Bears have to rely on Holtby heavy while he is here and he has responded playing very well. Gone are the days where the Bears outscore their opponents by a billion goals and blow opponents out. Now are the times of getting 2 or 3 goals a game and playing stellar defense and that all begins with Holtby. For the Bulldogs, keep your eye on rookie forward Brendan Gallagher, the leading scorer for the Bulldogs. A rough to start to the season for a very young team, Gallagher has been a bright spot and is a diamond prospect for the future of the parent Montreal Canadiens.
Between The Pipes:
The Bears will most likely go with Braden Holtby tonight after resting last night. This win could be huge for the morale of the team and the fan base and Holtby will need to be on his game to get the third win of a three-in-three. Cedrick Desjardins has played the last two games for the Dogs, although he had a rough game last night, I don’t see any reason why he would start as the Dogs try to make their way back into the Western Conference playoff picture.
Injuries & Scratches:
The Bears will still be without defenseman Garrett Stafford (upper body), and forwards Ryan Stoa (upper body), and Jon Kalinski (hand). Defenseman Dmitry Orlov (upper body) hasn’t been ruled out but didn’t play against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last night so his status is unknown. Also just reported, defenseman Patrick McNeill missed last nights game with a wrist injury (incorrectly reported by me as healthy in the recap) and is currently day-to-day and his status for tonight is also unknown. The only known injury for Hamilton is forward Blake Geoffrion who is still out indefinitely with a fractured skull.
The Bears will get on a plane and fly to St. John’s, Newfoundland for a pair of games this Tuesday and Wednesday nights, both games start @ 6:30 PM.
Jeff Taffe – 6g, 15a – 21 pts
Jon DiSalvatore – 7g, 10a – 17 pts
Zach Hamill – 7g, 7a – 14 pts
Brendan Gallagher – 6g, 5a – 11 pts
Aaron Palushaj – 7g, 3a – 10 pts
Gabriel Dumont – 3g, 6a – 9 pts
** Photo courtesy Glen Grey / LDN