Tuesday, May 11, 2010

News and Notes on Manchester Matchup

Hershey players who lead the league in playoff scoring in particular categories:

Goals:Alexandre Giroux-10; Points:Alexandre Giroux- 17; Assists: Keith Aucoin-12; PP Assists: Chris Bourque-7; Shots: Chris Bourque-52

Streaking Bears: Giroux has at least a goal in three straight games (4). Aucoin has at least a point in all 9 of Hershey’s games, and Bourque has collected at least one assist in five straight games (8).

Manchester has averaged only 8.30 penalty minutes per game in the playoffs, the least amount of minutes per game in the league. Hershey meanwhile has averaged 17.44 minutes per game, the fifth highest total.

Both teams are undefeated when outshooting their opponents in the playoffs: Hershey is 7-0 and Manchester is 3-0. During the regular season, Hershey was 39-12-0-2 and Manchester was 13-10-1-2 under the same circumstances.

Hershey is third in the league on the power play in the playoffs (13-for-52, 25%) and Manchester is 12th on the PP (7-for-43, 16.3%). The Bears have scored at least one power play goal in seven of their nine playoff encounters, including three occasions when they have netted three extra man strikes in the same game. Andrew Gordon, who led the AHL in power play goals in the regular season with 19, is second in the post-season with five, one behind Chicago’s Anthony Stewart.

The Monarchs, who allowed 200 goals against in the regular season (2.5 per game), have allowed only 15 goals against in 10 games playoff action (1.5 per game), including six contests where they have limited their opponents to a goal or less (2 shutouts).

The Bears, who scored a league leading 342 goals in the regular season (4.3 per game), also lead the league in post-season goals with 40 (4.4 per game).Hershey allowed 198 goals against in the regular season (2.5 per game), have yielding 27 goals against in their 9 playoff outing (3.0 per game).

The Monarchs played five games in their series against Worcester that were decided by a goal, going 4-1 in those five contests, and have been involved in seven games in the playoffs that have been decided by a goal (5-2, including 3-0 in overtime).

The Bears played three games in their series against Albany that were decided by a goal, winning all three games in overtime. Overall, the Bears have been involved in five playoff games that have been decided by a goal, winning all five, including four in overtime.

Manchester netminder, Jonathan Bernier, who led the league in shutouts (9), saves (1,707), and save percentage (.936) in the regular season, has kept up his stellar play in the playoffs, leading the league in wins (8), shutouts (2), saves (296), goals against average (1.48), and save percentage (.952).

Michal Neuvirth, last year’s playoff MVP, who led the Bears to the title with a stellar post-season where he posted a sparkling numbers in the goals against (1.92) and save percentage categories (.932), has struggled to keep up that pace in those categories in the current playoffs. In the current playoffs, Neuvirth has posted a 2.42 goals against average and a .890 save percentage, yet despite those somewhat bloated numbers, the native of the Czech republic still sports an unblemished record (6-0) entering the matchup against Manchester.

The Monarchs leading regular season goal scorer was Corey Elkins, the rookie out of Ohio State. Elkins was a college teammate of Sean Collins and Johann Kroll with the Buckeyes.

Bud Holloway, the native of Wapella, Sask., the same hometown as former Bear, Brett Clark, was Manchester’s leading regular season point producer with 47 points (19g, 28a), including five game winners. Holloway has continued that trend into the post-season, leading the Monarchs with 11 points in 10 games (6+5), all six of his tallies have been game winning goals.

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