Greetings from the Rhode Island capital! Your Hershey Bears arrived just prior to midnight after departing Hartford with a lighter-weight bus. The Wolf Pack took the two points that the Bears wanted to bring along, in a 5-1 decision. Riley Barber scored the lone Bears’ goal, and – despite the onslaught of offense from the hosts – Dan Ellis played a tremendous game and was not the reason for the score.
I spoke with Ryan Bourque this morning, a chat you can catch in the pre-game show tonight from Providence. He came up with some really good words about putting games in the rear-view mirror, win or lose – which is certainly something that the Bears will have to do tonight. If I were a gambling man, I would say that the team will be sticking to the game plan tonight. One mistake led to another last night, mistakes that could have been avoided had the team stuck to the scouting instructions given to them by the coaches via video and pre-game meeting. I expect a tighter game, and I would wager on a one-goal outcome.
A few bullet points on tonight:
- Providence is without their two top guns, who remain on recall to Boston: rookie goal-scoring sensation Frank Vatrano (33-16-49) and playmaker Seth Griffith (22-45-67). With T.J. Brennan on recall to the Toronto Maple Leafs as well, Chris Bourque can really put some distance between him and the close trailers at the top of the AHL scoring race.
- I always say that it defines your team more when you defeat a club that HAS their top guns in the lineup. But let’s face it – a break is a break!
- Max Talbot will play for the P-Bruins, facing the Bears for the first time. He has 19 points (8-11-19) in 21 AHL games, four power play goals and two game-winners – already.
- Zac Rinaldo will not dress, as he continues to rehabilitate an injury. Or he might still be suspended. Or both.
- It will be Justin Peters vs. Zane McIntyre in the goaltending matchup, the same tandem that played in the teams’ last meeting on February 21 at GIANT Center.
Head coach Troy Mann said that the Bears “did a lot of good things” in that 6-3 setback, despite the outcome. He wants an all-around effort tonight, most especially in the third period.
And he wants it again tomorrow. There are some big points up for grabs in this building in the two-game set, and the Bears only want to see one move amongst the top three teams in the Atlantic: the Chocolate and White to go back on top.
Click here for tonight’s game notes. Pre-game is on the air at 6:25.