Monday, February 26, 2007

Successful Weekend Pulls Bears Within 3 Points of Division Leader

Winless Weekend for Norfolk Tightens Race for the East Division Crown

Sunday: Hershey Bears 5, Binghamton 2 Boxscore
Saturday: Philadelphia Phantoms 3, Hershey Bears 2 Boxscore
Friday: Hershey Bears 3, Philadelphia Phantoms 0 Boxscore

(Photo Courtesy of Michael Fernandez/The Patriot-News)

A week after dropping both games at home to the Albany River Rats and the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Bears entered this weekend’s slate of games 7 points behind the first place Norfolk Admirals in the East Division. After splitting a home-and-home series with the Phantoms, Hershey finished up the weekend in a winning fashion, defeating the Binghamton Senators 5-2.

Yesterday, the Bears found themselves in a tough battle with the last place Senators. With the game tied at 2 in the third period, Kyle Wilson was able to tally what ended up being the game winning goal taking a nice feed from Jakub Klepis and beating goaltender Kelly Guard from the right circle. Hershey ended up firing 45 shots on Guard during the night and goals by Mike Green, his first in the AHL this season, and Quinton Lang, his 12th, in the final five minutes of the game would make the final score look a lot more one-sided than the game actually was.

Maxime Daigneault continued his superior play since the team lost both Frederic Cassivi and Nolan Schaefer to NHL recalls, making 23 saves in route to improving his record to 15-4-0 on the season. He saw action in all three of the Bears games making 31 saves in a shutout win at Philadelphia on Friday night and then stopping all 10 shots he faced in relief of Jeff Pietrasiak Saturday night.

Jakub Klepis was also a key factor this weekend notching a goal and two assists to go along with some solid physical play that is making people, such as his coach Bruce Boudreau, take notice. His coach had this to say following Sunday’s game: (From

“In Washington, they compete, compete, compete and they talk to Jakub a lot about that,” Boudreau said. “He’s come down here and he’s hit probably in the 15 games he’s played more than he hit last year. That’s a really positive step in his development.”

With the NHL trading deadline set for tomorrow afternoon, and the Capitals letting it be known that they will be active, Hershey could once again find themselves the beneficiary of some quality additions for their playoff run. Last year a Washington trade with Nashville for veteran Brendan Witt brought them Kris Beech who was a key member of the Bears Calder Cup championship team. This year the team will be looking to deal forwards Danius Zubrus and Richard Zednik along with a veteran defenseman or two that could include Jamie Heward. Zubrus in particular should bring some attractive young prospects that could potentially see some time with Hershey during the remainder of the season. It also remains to be seen if the Capitals make any moves with some of their depth players such as Beech or Lawrence Nycholat who would need to pass through waivers in order to be reassigned to the team.

It will definitely be something that all fans in Hershey will need to watch as any moves Washington makes will directly effect the Bears and their clear day roster.

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