Cat Attack, Round Two: Hershey Drops Game #3 of the Weekend

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Posted January 23, 2012

The alternate title for Sunday's game was "All Fall Down," as evidenced by Garrett Mitchell's run-in with Monarchs goalie Jeff Zatkoff.(All Photos Credit: M. Richter)

Newsflash!  The Hershey Bears are mortal!  They also appear to be allergic to cats (or sparkles. On second thought, we’re going to go with sparkles).  Their three losses in regulation this weekend (Friday at the B!Sens 3-4, Saturday vs the Sparkle Cats 4-5, and Sunday vs the Sparkle Cats 2-4) is the longest run without a point for the club so far this season.  Even when they were traumatizing their fanbase back in 2011, they still managed to force the extra point more often than not.  So if you’re looking for a pick-me-up after the Capitals losing to Pittsburgh in OT, the Bears aren’t going to provide it.

That’s not to say that good things were non-existent in Hershey tonight, but they were thinner on the ground than local fans are used to seeing.  They were also personal rather than team-based (Keith Aucoin, Julien Brouillette and D.J. King all had good nights, though the team earned a collective -11 in the +/- category), much to Braden Holtby‘s dismay in net.  Down in South Carolina, things were a bit more uplifting, with the Stingrays continuing their winning ways and adding tally number 9 to their current streak.

In keeping with the theme of “Life Happens, We Learn and Move On,” this article is not going to focus on the massive number of turnovers that both teams allowed.  Or Hershey’s dismal power-play conversion numbers (1/7, as compared to their season average of 1/3).  It will not focus on the outstanding work of Manchester’s 2012 All-Star goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (though to be fair, he does deserve a mention).  Instead, we’re going to talk about how awesome Keith Aucoin’s 16 game point-streak is, and exactly why tonight was a good night for D. J. King.

Aucoin (center) gets buried under a hug from Jacob Micflikier and Ryan Potulny after scoring the Bears' second goal of the night.

So, Keith Aucoin’s point streak.  It’s the longest running in the AHL this season (16 games and counting), and Sunday was the second game in a row where he tallied a goal amongst his earnings for the night.  The streak is one of the many reasons he’ll be attending the All Star Game this year in Atlantic City.  The fact that he’s 6 points ahead of Chris Bourque (and 20 points ahead of third place T. J. Hensick) in overall scoring doesn’t hurt, either.  After 41 games, ‘Coiner has 11 goals and 57 assists for a combined total of 68 points.

Oh, and in case that whole losing streak thing at the top of the page has you depressed, keep in mind that #4 in the league is Jacob Micflikier.  Also a Bear.

Julien Brouillette, one of those currently benefiting from the fact that Hershey has only 6 D-men on the roster.

Julien Brouillette, the player whose name sports media people curse every time he does something interesting because there’s just no quick way to tweet it, put the Bears on the board with a beautiful goal in the first period.  It was his second of the weekend, with the first coming in Friday’s game against Binghamton.

D.J. hit the ice with the expectation of playing for the first time since December 17, 2011.

D.J. King had a few reasons to be happy with Sunday’s game.  First and foremost, he had the chance to hit the ice and log some minutes – something he hasn’t done since mid-December.  Following his lower body injury on November 25, D.J. had played in only one game for the Bears prior to Sunday’s match-up against his brother’s team.  While he didn’t have the pleasure of putting his younger brother in his proper place, he did have the opportunity both to see his family (who flew down for the weekend) and to watch Dwight score the first goal of the night.

Nick Tabisz, guest of the Caps for Development and Training Camp last fall, currently with the Stingrays.

Nick Tabisz, whom you may recall from the Capitals’ 2012 Development Camp and Rookie Camp, earns himself an honorable mention on tonight’s list of Positive Things (along with the entire Stingrays roster).

Down in Charleston, he scored both the game-winner and the insurance tally in the Stingrays’ 3-0 shutout victory over the visiting Florida Everblades.  Daren Machesney was in net, and earned his first shutout of the season.  This was their third win in as many days, and pushes their current successful run to 9 games.  The Stingrays will test their luck again on Friday, continuing their homestand with a game against the Trenton Titans.