Woo! It’s live hockey season again!
Although I wasn’t able to make it to the beginning of Bear camp at Ye Olde Arena, due to a previous engagement with some tall ships and a few hundred crazy Williams-Mystic alums, you could bet your favorite signed jersey I wasn’t going to miss the very first preseason game.
Of course, after getting stood up by two friends and told by the Grumpiest Security Guy Ever I could take my camera in, I had completely missed warmups. Oh well, there’s always opening night.
The roster tonight was sot of a Who’s Who of nobodies. Most amusingly labeled were Kyle Wilson and Patrick McNeill acting as co- captains purely for having the most seniority. Among other on-ice notables were Michael Neuvrith, Francois Bouchard, Sean Collins, Tommy Maxwell and Ben Boudreau.
Game-play wise, it looked like, well, a preseason game, which is to say it looked like a group of 8 year olds playing bunchball soccer. The puck would squirt down to the other end, six people would chase it, there’d be half a minute of poking at each other and jostling along the boards, it’d pop out, and four people would run off chasing it again. Sasha Pokulok stood there, and there was someone I originally took for Pinizzotto but might have been Michael Dubuc who really tore it up… I thought it was Pinizzotto because he had that same level of hustle-and-hit-and-hustle going on.
Bouchard and Dubuc managed three of the five goals in tandem, so obviously, there’s something good going on between those two.
In goal, we saw Neuvrith for the first time, and I have to say, he was a little underwhelming. He’s not as physically intimidating as Machesney, which was a little startling, and he seemed more timid. He had a few good glove saves, but nothing that was horribly amazing.
Invitee Bobby Goephert was in goal the second half, and he was just… not ready on any level for this when he started. By the end of the game he was starting to look a little more comfortable, but so often he just made poor choices on positioning, choosing to follow the opponent and ignore the potential for a cross-ice pass, playing the puck at really odd times and suchlike.
Both of them also let in some really ridiculously soft goals, where the Admirals just sort of lobbed it over Goephart’s shoulder or over Neuvrith’s blocker.
Interestingly, Neuvrith’s pads already seem to be Bear maroon and silver-I wonder if he was expecting to wind up in Hershey all along?
Also present in the building up in Scratch Corner for the bigger boys, Daren Machesney, eventually joined by Sami Lepisto and Jay Beagle, who was a last minute scratch for this game. Beagle was announced as #14, so it looks like he will be deferring #21 to Mink after all, and breaking hearts throughout jersey-wearing Central PA.
Of course, my brain still wants to process Fehr as #14, as that’s what he played on the Caps, and I could never remember he was #11 down here. Now he’s changed to #16, so I just stand no chance at all.
See y’all October 4!