If you’ve ever played a competitive sport at any high-level, you know the importance of momentum. It’s something that cannot be accurately measured by statistics, but its presence will never show up on any box-score. Watching game two of the Calder Cup Finals between the Hershey Bears and the Texas Stars tonight, it was obvious who had momentum in the final ten minutes of the game: The Hershey Bears. Despite the Chocolate and White never leading during regulation, Andrew Gordon’s electrifying put-back off a Patrick Wellar shot from the right point rallied the troops and tied the game 3-3 with 9:16 to go. And after Stars’ Defenseman Matt Stephenson went off for a four-minute double minor for high-sticking towards the tail end of a Bears Powerplay, it seemed like fate was on the Bears side.
It was not to be. The Bears could not score during the ensuing 31 seconds of their 5 on 3 advantage and fretted away the first 1:16 of their 5 on 4. Then, after a whistle, Boyd Kane lost his temper during a scrum and speared a Texas player. The back linesman saw it, notified the head official, and Kane was sent off for four minutes, negating the rest of the Bears Powerplay. Hello, 4-on-4 hockey. Goodbye, momentum.
Hershey and Texas then traded chances back and forth until Caps castoff Travis Morin lifted a slow, knuckling backhander with 46 seconds left. The puck arc’ed over Michal Neuvirth, who desperately tried to stab it with his glove hand. While the rest of the Bears looked on in disbelief, the puck settled in the back of the net. The Bears lose a heartbreaker 4-3.
The Bears will leave for Texas at noon on Sunday from Harrisburg International Airport. When they step on the ice for game three Monday night, they will be forced to deal with real adversity for the first time this year. Can the Bears step up and regain their offensive flair? Will Texas feel the pressure of wanting to win the Calder Cup in front of their home fans and lose control of the series? Comcast SportsNet will be showing the game live Monday Night at 8:30pm. We’ll see you then.
Video of all of Game 2’s Goals:
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