OHL.com: Casey Cizikas had a goal/assist/-1 rating in Mississauga St. Michael's Majors 4-2 loss Wednesday to Barrie Colts, who was selected as second star of game.
Barrie Colts leads best of seven 3-1.
Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's recap of game five win by Hershey Bears 4-1 Wednesday with blog entries. Patroit-News: Tim Leone's coverage/blog entries of Bears series clinching win. Lebanon Daily News on Bears game five win at Giant Center, Wednesday where Bridgeport was credited with only seven shots on goal.
My thanks to everyone who followed the games on twitter or read the live game updates from NYIFC. I had a good time and listened to all five games.
Congratulations to the Hershey Bears.
Eight skaters who played for New York participated in game five for Bridgeport with several others signed by Garth Snow in the organization. This series was something I was interested in following and enjoyed opening this blog back up to full daily entries during the games.
Readers will see a 4-1 series win for the Bears (which both respective beat writers projected) however that would not be accurate at all to how things played out on the ice.
Hershey played one sixty minute game in game five and were long overdue holding Bridgeport to seven shots.
As dominating as the Bears were in spurts during games 1-4, they were even or outplayed arguably ten out of twelve periods before Wednesday.
To pull an upset against a team with Hershey's fantastic record and outstanding talent (which many were calling the best in league history) you have to get some calls/breaks and you have to make your own breaks. You must score some tough goals in front of other goalie and the powerplay must produce.
End of cliches. Bridgeport had Hershey down and out in game one, but lost not only a third period lead in that game, but another in game two which would have put a ton of pressure on the defending champs.
Powerplay goals/down-low with man advantage or at even strength, did not happen nearly enough in this series for the Sound Tigers which was a huge factor. Braden Holtby in game four was beat by Andrew MacDonald, Robin Figren full wind-up shots from outside but for the most part Bridgeport could not get goals in front of their net and not past Michal Neuvirth.
What decided series?
Without a doubt, game one and two, third period/overtime.
Leads in third period you have to close out, even if you cue images of Scott Gordon walking away from Rob Carlin. They did not get the break on the obvious high stick call in game one and they could not hold the lead again in game two where Nate Lawson got hurt and Scott Munroe had to come in cold.
Game three, second period Bears outstanding talent just forced Bridgeport into countless turnovers and six goals in one period in a contest Bridgeport was taking play at Bears over the first twenty four minutes. To Sound Tigers credit they played a solid third period that day, outscoring the Bears 2-1 with the game decided and came out dominating game four over the first two periods, winning 4-1.
Problem even that day was most/all of Bridgeport's goal came from the outside/angles or off goals from Braden Holtby, who did not play very well for the Bears in either of his starts.
The hard work was there in this series for Bridgeport and the upset was in the making. They could not get to Bears net often enough to beat their top goaltender in Michal Neuwirth, the penalty killing was shutting down the Bears. Munroe-Lawson played well and Koskinen closed out game three and played well in game four.
Game five was finally the night the Bears were due to play a complete game, they absolutely dominated on every level.
It will go down as a 4-1 series win for Hershey, however they dodged a major bullet in the opening round, despite their exceptional talent.
For Bridgeport they qualified for the playoffs, had to work very hard to earn a spot the final weekend and will return for their tenth season. A lot of new players at the end with recently signed Rhett Rakhshani, Michael Davies and Mikko Koskinen appeared in their lineup during this series.
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