C&W Buzzsaw: Newfoundland for Two
Hershey Bears (11-12-1-0) vs. St. John’s IceCaps (11-12-0-1)
Mile One Centre
Tuesday & Wednesday December 11 & 12, 2012
Season Series: Injuries & Scratches:
IceCaps lead 1-0-0-0…this is the second and third meetings of the season between these two clubs and are the only two games to be played at Mile One Centre.
The IceCaps squeaked out a 2-1 win over the Bears @ the GC back on November 10th. The IceCaps got a power play goal from defenseman Derek Meech about 7 minutes into the 3rd period which stood as the game winner. Forward Eric O’Dell got the ‘Caps on the board early in the second but the Bears’ Barry Almeida got his second of the year late in the second frame to knot the game up. Goaltender Mark Dekanich stopped 18 of 19 to get the win while Dany Sabourin stopped 25 of 27 and was the hard luck losing goaltender of record.
The final meeting of the season between these two clubs will be Friday January 25th at the GC.
Entering Tonight’s Tilt:
The Bears are coming off what could be deemed as a terrible loss to the worst team in the Western Conference, the Hamilton Bulldogs. The Dogs beat the Bears 3-2 at the Giant Center on Saturday night, where the Bears actually had a chance to finish a three-in-three a perfect 3-0 and take all six points, but obviously failed to do so. There was a silver lining however, as Bears veteran sniper Ryan Potulny had both goals in the game, and scored his first three goals of the season in the past three games. With the offense sputtering, Potulny’s goal scoring is sorely needed and hopefully this gets him on the right track. The IceCaps are having the same problem the Bears are this season, getting outshot a ton and not scoring enough goals, but getting sound goaltending and defense, hence the almost identical records. The ‘Caps are coming off being swept by the Springfield Falcons in a two game set this past weekend at Mile One Centre, dropping Friday night’s contest 5-3, and falling 4-2 on Saturday night. The two losses extended their losing streak to three games, which is coming off the heels of a three game winning streak by the club.
The Ups & Downs & Ins & Outs:
With the Bears contemplating renaming the blue liners the ‘black n’ blue’ liners, the Bears recalled defenseman Patrick Wellar from ECHL Reading before last weekend’s games and recalled defenseman Brett Flemming before the team left for this road trip this past Monday. Flemming played 20 games last season for the Bears, scoring four points (2g, 2a) before being reassigned to South Carolina for the remainder of the season. Currently, he has one goal and eight helpers in 24 games for the Royals. The IceCaps, also struck hard by injuries, signed two forwards from the ECHL to PTOs before last weekend’s action, Shawn Wellar (South Carolina) & Kael Mouillierat (Idaho), while also recalling defenseman Cody Sol from Colorado, also of the ECHL.
Players To Watch:
For the Bears, we are going to make you watch an entire line. The line combo of Boyd Kane, Matt Beaudoin, and Mattias Sjogren has been arguably the best one over the past three games, including getting a couple of goals Friday night in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. They will need to keep up the sound play for the Bears success to continue. For the IceCaps, we choose recent call-up Kael Mouillierat. He has AHL experience playing in 44 games for Bridgeport last season, netting 23 points (8g, 15a) and scored a goal in his IceCaps debut Friday night. With all the injuries up front, he will be relied upon heavily to muster offensive chances in front of the Bears net.
Between The Pipes:
There is no confirmation from either team on whom their starting net minders will be this evening however, Branden Holtby has gotten the lion share of the starts this season so I see no reason why tonight would be any different. For the ‘Caps, goaltenders Eddie Pasquale and Mark Dekanich have alternated starts the last few games and its Pasquale’s "turn" this evening.
The Bears will still be without the services of defensemen Dmitry Orlov (upper body), Garrett Stafford (upper body), and Patrick McNeill (wrist), as well as forwards Ryan Stoa (upper body), and Jon Kalinski (hand). Orlov’s injury doesn’t seem to be too serious and he might be able to return this weekend. The Bears injury list is lengthy, but it has nothing on the IceCaps’ walking wounded. Forwards Hunter Tremblay (head), Patrice Cormier (knee), John Albert (upper body), Jason Jaffray (shoulder), Jason King (head), Eric O’Dell (ankle) & Alex Burmistrov (upper body), as well as defenseman Julian Melchiori (finger) and Travis Ramsey (hand) are all out
After this two game trip to St. John’s, the Bears will return home to start a four game home stand, starting this Saturday night (12/15) in their only game of the weekend against the Worcester Sharks @ 7 PM.
Jeff Taffe – 6g, 17a – 23 pts
Jon DiSalvatore – 7g, 10a – 17 pts
Tomas Kundratek – 7g, 8a – 15 pts
Derek Meech – 3g, 10a – 13 pts
Zach Redmond – 6g, 6a – 12 pts
Spencer Machacek – 4g, 8a – 12 pts
Injuries & Scratches:
** Photo courtesy JustSports Photography