The Texas Stars overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to beat the Hamilton Bulldogs on the road in seven games. Before that they beat Chicago on the road in a game 7. They haven't led a series since May 7th when they beat Chicago in game 5 of the second round, but they find themselves leading the might Hershey Bears 1-0. For a team that is constantly playing from behind (they've been scored on first in 11 straight games) it must feel like a nice place to be.
Coach Gulutzan isn't hearing any of that, though. "We've got to bring a little better game," Gulutzan said. "I don't think that was our best game. I'm sure that's what they are saying, too. I think both teams, because of some rust, you're going to see a much higher-tempo game (tonight) ."[Statesman]
Our friend Stephen at Hundred Degree Hockey previews game 2:
After Game 1's win for the Stars, there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth from central Pennsylvania. Calls that the Bears underestimated the Stars or that they were trying to be too fancy with their play have abounded. Bears Coach French agreed, "We're trying to be too cute, make that one more pass instead of one less pass and one more shot." And surely the Bears could have used a few more shots, especially in the first period when Texas set the tone early with a 12-2 shot advantage.
Click over to Hundred Degree Hockey for his entire game preview and all things Texas Stars.
The key to game 1 for me was Texas' rare shot advantage, particularly in the early going. They need to keep these games to very low scoring affairs, and they were willing to give up the body to do it on Thursday. Blocked shots early kept every Hershey thrust toward Climie a "one and done" opportunity, if that. Most shots weren't even making it to the net. The Stars have to play with that kind of desperation for an entire series if they're to win it.
Some people are calling this game a "must win" for the Bears, but they're naive if they think Hershey can't rattle off 4 straight at any time. It's the Stars that must treat every game as a must-win, and Jamie Benn will have to find a way to get on the board if they're to go the distance.
The Bears had won (I think I saw this on Twitter somewhere...) 37 of 38 home games or something ridiculous like that. To steal another one tonight would be incredible.
Check out the Statesman for coverage.
Hershey Bears Blog (unofficial)