46-27-3-4, 99 pts
#2 West Division
60-17-0-3, 123 pts
#1 East Division
Stars lead 2-0
June 7th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX
(Sorry for late publishing today. Blogger.com issues...)
In the history of the AHL, eight teams have had home ice advantage in the Calder Cup Finals and lost the first two games at home in a best of seven. Of those eight teams, none of them went on to win the Cup. This is just the situation that Hershey finds itself in against Texas this evening in Cedar Park.
Texas, having taken both games at Giant Center by a goal, hopes to close out the series and the season on home ice this week. The Stars are 6-2 on home ice this postseason, having won 2/3 in both of their series where they did not have home ice advantage. Texas has not had home ice advantage since the first round against Rockford, a series that they swept in 4 games. Since then, the Stars have not enjoyed a 2 game lead at any point, winning both intervening series by a mark of 4-3.
Texas has continued to play the same game that we've talked about here all year, solid defense and opportunistic offense. The problem for the Bears is that they have also continued to play the same game as they have all year. Hershey, a very prolific scoring team, has had issues with players being too cute or fancy, in the words of Bears Coach French, and also of defensemen being too eager to jump up on offensive plays when they shouldn't. The game that took the Bears to the Calder Cup Finals clearly cannot win it for them. Something will have to change for Hershey to win games.
Currently in the series, Jamie Benn only has 1 point, a secondary assist to the Stars first goal on Saturday night. In each series, Benn has had a breakout game: Game 3 against Rockford was a four point effort; Benn's five point night in Texas against Chicago for Game 5; and two two-goal games against Hamilton (1 and 4). While it is pretty clear that the Stars can score goals without Benn, he will undoubtedly have one of these breakout type games sometime in this series.
And then there's goalie Matt Climie. There hasn't been as much to talk about regarding Climie in this series. He's received a reasonable number of shots and let in one fewer than the other guy both nights. And that's what you need from your goaltender. He may be asked to steal a game, like his 51 save effort in Hamilton in Game 6, at some point during the series, but he hasn't needed to yet because of the blocked shot effort of the Stars. The Stars doubled up the Bears in blocked shots through the game at 26-13. That is what a committed defense is about.
The Stars have called for a white-out and at last notification there were fewer than 100 tickets left for tonight's game.
Stars injury/call up report:
Krahn (concussion, day-to-day)
Twitter (play-by-play): @jwaltonhockey
Blog (unofficial): Hershey Bears Hockey
Blog (unofficial): Stack the Pads