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Bears in Hiberbnation

by Marcel Cormier | December 4, 2017, 2:07 PM ET

The Goldeb Bears had reason to feel pretty good a month into the 2017-18 campaign when they boasted a 8-3 record but having lost three straight, Acadia is perilously close to the .500 mark and that isn't part of the plan. 

Internally, the Bears felt they had a favorable schedule to begin the year and for the most part the wins came as expected, yet if you ask, some will tell you that they aren't happy. 

"We've got six losses so far this year and half of them have come against first year teams - that's unacceptable," said head coach Dave Hakstol, "No disrespect intended to the Metros or the Rockies but no one is expecting much from those teams and I think it's fair to say that we played that way."

The Metropolitans have beaten twice in three meetings while Banff won the first ever meeting between the teams and in all of those games, the Bears were held to just two goals. Scoring has been consistent with the end result; if Acadia scores three times, they win but if not, they usually lose. Acadia has scored twice in four straight games, the last three of which have been losses.

Much was expected of Rasmus Ristolainen this year as he replaced Dustin Byfuglien as the team's number one defenceman and he's delivered. The Finn leads the team in scoring with 10 points through 14 games but as nice as that is, it also reveals a problem that the punch from the forward group has been lacking. Ryan O'Reilly, who has missed the last couple of games due to injury, is second in team scoring with 9 points including a team high 5 goals. Claude Giroux has been fairly consistent and rookie Colton Parayko has impressed early with his 7 points. 

That said, the contributions from James Neal, Chris Kreider, Jordan Eberle and newcomer Patrick Maroon have definitely been disappointing. 

"Aside from a few guys who have lived up to expectations, we need more. Collectively, we haven't been good enough at getting pucks to the net and producing enough offence," said Hakstol, "We've only scored four or more goals in two games this year and I feel like we're overdue for an offensive breakout."

Unfortunately for Acadia, the schedule gets tougher before it gets earlier. Next up for the Bears is a home-and-home with the Quebec Canons followed shirtly thereafter by tilts against top teams like Las Vegas, Whitehorse, Vancouver Island and the defending champion Philadelphia Fire Ants. 

Thankfully, injured forward Ryan O'Reilly will be back in the line up in time for the 2-game series with Quebec and Sean Courturier is a possibility as well. While two players shouldn't cripple a team, there is no question that having 2 of their top 3 centers on the sideline had an impact in recent losses.

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