Via his Flip Camera, Kyle M. captured the scene at Giant Center as the Hershey Bears celebrated their back-to-back titles.
By 10 years ago
Last Tuesday, RMNB profiled Braden Holtby and introduced everyone to his oh-so-eccentric “Holtbyisms.” A few thousand hits later, our post now floats in the top ten Google hits for “Braden Holtby.” Alright!
Two Sundays ago, I went to the Hershey Bears/Adirondack Phantoms game where the Bears’ AHL Record Home winning streak ended at 24. There’ll be more on RMNB’s collective bad luck later. But one thing I learned that night is that Braden Holtby is a wildly popular man. Beyond Bruce Boudreau, there is no more popular guy in Hershey. Need examples? Well, while the Bears PA guy announced the starting line-up before the game, there was a smattering of applause for the starting 5. When the PA guy announced Holtby in goal, everyone in the arena rose to their feet and gave him a roaring standing ovation. I turned to my friends in complete shock and asked “Did that really just happen??”
Oh, it most certainly did. And really, there’s a lot to love about the guy (beyond his superb fashion sense and his excellent communication skills with the bewildering Alexander Semin). Holtby has put up incredible numbers in his first professional season in the Capitals’ minor league system. Braden started the year with the South Carolina Stingrays going 7-2-3 with a .911 Save Percentage. He then rode the pine as an injury replacement player in Washington for two games before getting his first shot to stick in Hershey. And stick he did. Since receiving that promotion, Holtby has gone 23-6-2 with 2 Shutouts for the AHL’s most winningest team. His sparkling 2.36 GAA and above average .917 Save Percentage are among AHL Leaders. And really, what has the Chocolate and White fans talking is the fact that Holtby has single-handedly won games this year by himself – even with the incredible roster around him. That has many in Hershey thinking he could eventually push his way into the discussion of who deserves to be the goalie of the future in Washington between Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth.
But if you’re looking for a statistical dissertation of who’s better among those three (SEMYON VARLAMOV), you’ve come to the wrong place my friends. Instead, RMNB has found another reason to fall in love with the twenty year old from Saskatoon: His eccentric “Holtbyisms.”
Don’t know what we’re talking about? We’ll let Bears regular Kathryn Hedrick explain:
The Hershey Bears concluded a brutal stretch of four games in five mornings/nights today, as they took on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 1:00 p.m. The game, originally scheduled for 3PM, was bumped up two hours early to accommodate the Gold Medal Game between the United States and Canada.
In his first start since returning from the Russian National Team in the Olympics (and eating McDonald’s everyday), Semyon Varlamov played splendidly against the Baby Pens stopping 30 shots and thwarting three consecutive opportunities in the shootout as the Bears prevailed 2-1. After falling behind 2-0 in the shootout, clutch goals by Keith Aucoin, Alex Giroux and the previous night’s hero (more on that later) Mathieu Perreault allowed Hershey to win the shootout 3-2. Kyle Wilson scored Hershey’s lone goal of the game during regulation, despite the Bears peppering Baby Pens goalie Brad Thiessen with 33 shots. The win was Hershey’s 46th on the season.
Saturday night with Bruce Boudreau in attendence for a pregame book signing, the Hershey Bears pushed their incredible AHL Record home winning streak to 21 with a resounding 9-2 victory over the New York Islanders farm team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Hershey jumped out to a 5-1 first period lead on the heels of a first period hat trick by everyone’s favorite miniature-sized-center Mathieu Perreault.
Perreault ended the night with an incredible four goals, including one on a penalty shot in the second period. Other crazy stats accumulated during the night? Prepare yourself:
This past weekend was awesome. Why? Because it was chock full of Hockey at every hour of the day. Sure there was “Super Sunday” with the Russians destroying the Czechs, USA humbling the Green Snubbers from the North, and the Swedes shutting out the Fins in Olympic action. But there also was a double dip of AHL Hockey with the Hershey Bears playing both on Saturday and Sunday. Well since we here at RMNB can’t be everywhere – though Fedor certainly tried as he watched illegal Russian Video Streams of the Bears Games during breaks in the Olympics – we asked our Hershey Correspondent Kyle M to summarize the events of this weekend via pictures, words & yes, his own video. Video which includes reaction from players and Coach Mark French after Hershey set the AHL Record for Consecutive Home Victories. Awesome. If you hate reading like me, here’s all you need to know: HERSHEY RULZ!
The period after Christmas and before the break is typically when teams struggle the most. It’s odd then that Washington Capitals have made January their most winning month. The last thing any team wants to do is peak too soon, especially before the end of the regular season. After winning seven thunderous games in a row, it’s about time the Caps come back down to Earth and mount another surge for the post-season. To ensure that, here are some injury updates:
Tonight’s game against the Anaheim Ducks (24-22-7) begins at 7 PM. Russian Machine has a correspondent on location to document. Will the goalie problems discussed above end the Caps winning streak? Will Braden Holtby submarine some dude at center ice? Will Matt Bradley (whose jersey, it seems, I must now buy) secure a hat trick? Tune in and find out.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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