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Hockey DB

Day After Game Report: Donít Panic They Say, Its Only The 1st 3 Game Losing Streak
March 30, 2024

Posted by: Bob Howard

March 30, 2024 - By Bob Howard

The Black Bears are in the midst of a 3 game losing streak.
Last night was not a good game, it was not a good outcome and if anyone tells you otherwise, they are trying to sell you something. The Black Bears lost 4-1 to the Port Huron Prowlers on Friday night and they were the fresher team that evening. Yeah, they traveled to Michigan on Thursday, got their early enough and hell they caught the game that probably trapped them into this loss.

You see the Prowlers played Thursday night against the Columbus River Dragons in Port Huron, but the results were not good for the home team. No, instead the River Dragons, the best team in the Continental went in and shut out the Prowlers, 4-0. So, when the Black Bears came in and played the Prowlers, they had already played a game before against one of the best teams in the league, so the Black Bears could have and should have dismantled the Prowlers.

That wasnít the case here and thatís concerning. You see they lost two straight to the Wolves last weekend. They looked out of sync some of time last weekend vs. the Wolves. The Black Bears are getting a lot of shots on goals but are they quality shots? I am all in favor for peppering shots on net-minders and the quality of net-minders is improving in this league. But because you have 40 shots on goal and the other team only has 24 shots, doesnít mean all or any are quality.

The Black Bears to their credit have controlled the puck more than their opponents but where the Black Bears are hurting right now is down the middle at center and when they enter the O-zone they are pushing more to the outside. Now is this a factor of Olivieri not on the team and they missing his control and passing ability? Or are teams scouting the Black Bears a little more and know to plug the center and push them to the boards.

When the Black Bears are well and moving the puck their way, they move north to south and pass east to west in a quick manner pushing the opponents out of sync and getting those quality shots right in front of the out of position net minder. We have seen a lot of that. Remember the two goals Connor Smith scored in the Friday game vs. the Wolves on Sock Out Cancer night? Those goals are what they were not getting in the last three games. And last night, they didnít have the same pep and energy as they normally do.

Let me talk about Tyson Kirkby for a moment. He got the Slashing penalty in the 3rd and then the dreaded Abuse of Officials. God, I hate that penalty and I donít know what Tyson said. I promise, I am not picking on Tyson here, but when he skated off the ice, I knew this game was done. Not because I donít faith in the team, I do. I still think when they play all the systems correctly, I think they can beat anyone. BUT they cannot afford Tyson Kirkby in the locker room with that amount of time left. It is essential that he be there. I do wish that the guys on this team would stop with the 10 Minute Misconducts and the unnecessary penalties. I am ok with the stick infractions and even a boarding or two in the first couple of periods. But it must, and I have talked about this before, needs to be cleaned up. And it starts with Coach and the captain.

I loved that Josh Fletcher dropped the gloves and fought Tucker Scantlebury and man I think it pumped up both teams. Unfortunately, it did pump up the Prowlers as well leading to the Jake Vaughan goal 10 seconds after the fight. This is where it unraveled, it was 3-0 and if a fight backfired then nothing was going to get this team going.

Bohn scored the only goal in a 4-1 loss.
Dakota Bohn, take a bow. Being down two men and scoring that goal was impressive. I have only seen it once live in person way back in the Binghamton Rangers days. It has happened in the NHL a bunch of times and you can find videos on Youtube, itís such an impressive feat. Hell, even Brett Hull has done it against the Detroit Red Wings. I remember when San Jose did it to my New York Rangers, so Dakota this doesnít happen often, but it can and what a highlight in a disappointing game.

To summarize the Black Bears last night and even in the two losses to the Wolves, they controlled the puck more than the teams they were playing, they didnít have a ton of grade a chances and they shot themselves in the foot with penalties. They lost 2 to the Wolves who are battling to get into the playoffs with the River Sharks and then a loss last night to a 3rdplace team who just got waxed by the league leading River Dragons the night before.

I donít think the Black Bears impressed anyone last night and tonight against Motor City they need to. Connor Smith left last nightís game with an undisclosed injury. Colan Fitzgerald played almost no minutes last night, 7 or 8 maybe, probably less. Being worried about an injury or a suspension is on his mind and Coach Sherwoodís mind for sure, but is that affecting this team?

UPDATE: I was corrected on the TOI for Fitzy, he was out there 19 minutes. So my apologies on that one to Brant Sherwood and the team. (If you don't see or hear from a D-Man, means he is usually doing his job).

If they lose tonight and itís a record 4 losses in a row, I would be concerned for this team. Tonight, they need to battle back, they need to find a way to win before next weekís two games against the Danbury Hat Tricks. And if you donít know, Danbury is a on a 6-game winning streak and are a much better team than say two months ago. To say the Black Bears need to battle some adversity and come out on top is an understatement. Donít panic they say? I agree for now. But I am looking at the next three games and waiting to see what happens.

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