From Where I Sat: Bears at Amerks, 2/17/2013


This afternoon marked the second of two meetings between the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) and the Rochester Americans. The Amerks took the first game of the season series between the two oldest teams in the AHL by a score of 8-7. Unfortunately this game did not go so well for the Amerks, as the final score was 4-1 Bears. This afternoon’s game was also the annual Teddy Bear Toss game. After the jump you’ll find The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good:

– I got to toss Luke Adam over the boards. (Pictured below.)

Luke Adam, in bear form.

– As mentioned above, they managed to break the shutout. Which was, as mentioned by some on Twitter, their first goal in 106:06.

-They put 36 shots on Phillip Grubauer, which was a slightly better effort than Friday’s loss to the Aeros. At least 10 of those shots weren’t really on net, as he grabbed pretty much everything that came near him even if it was going wide.

-Nathan Lieuwen wasn’t terrible in his first AHL start, but he wasn’t exactly spectacular either.

The Bad:

-The offense? I’m not really sure what to say about that, as they had quite a few chances early on in the game but were unable to capitalize on them. You could say this was also an issue in Friday’s loss to the Aeros, but they didn’t have anywhere near as many chances in that game.

-Perhaps if Lieuwen stops the Bears first (shorthanded) goal of the night, the game turns out differently. This was really the only goal I felt like he had no excuses for surrendering.

-The power play. Coming into Friday’s game they had the third best power play in the league. As of writing this recap, they have the fifth best power play in the league. Dropping two spots isn’t terrible, but their power play looked completely ineffective for the past two games. Despite the fact that their only two goals this weekend were on the power play.

The Ugly:

-I’ll put the team defense here, as they surrendered 7 goals this weekend. Sure, the offense needs to be there to back them up, but when that isn’t happening someone has to be at fault.

-I’ll put the offense here as well. It’s a subject I’d like to explore in another post, but the team doesn’t seem to provide adequate scoring when either Knapp or Lieuwen are in net.

-While they did put 36 shots on net, they were mostly outplayed throughout the game. I’m including this under this heading because today was the third game in as many nights for the Bears. They certainly did not act like the were tired in even the slightest. It should be noted that they were also coming off of two straight losses to divisional opponents of the Amerks. While the 3-2 shootout loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs didn’t hurt the Amerks*, the 2-1 loss to the Marlies did.

Three Stars: (Some of these are stretches)

1. Patrick Rissmiller: He had the Amerks’ only goal of the game.

2. Maxime Legault: 3 SOG and an even rating, plus he had a few hits.

3. Nick Crawford: 2 SOG and an even rating.

It’s a rough way to follow up a mostly solid road trip of 4-1-0-0. The only loss on the road trip was against Abbotsford that featured Connor Knapp in net. Another game where the offense was unable to support Knapp, as they lost 3-2. While the loss to the Bears today didn’t hurt them as much as the loss to the Aeros did, they need to be taking advantage of the “freebie” points for playing against Eastern Conference opponents when they have a chance.

The Amerks will have to put this weekend’s miserable performance behind them quickly, as they will be meeting the Hamilton Bulldogs on Monday in Hamilton. The Amerks still hold games in hand over all but two teams in the Western Conference (Toronto Marlies and Chicago Wolves), so it’s up to them to capitalize on those games as best as possible.

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