Grumpy Bears Prepare for Final Stretch

The Golden Bears are in a sour mood as they prepare for a stretch of 5 games in 5 days to begin final drive to the playoffs.
by Marcel Cormier | April 10, 2012, 11:59 AM ET

Mathematically speaking, first place in the division is still within their grasp and the team has been playing much better as of late but you wouldn't know it having attended the morning practice session of the Acadia Golden Bears. The team skated at Acadia Place this morning, the day before a meeting with the Brandon Wheat Kings, the first of 5 games in 5 days. And that had some speaking out.

"Quite frankly, it's more than a little bit ridiculous," said coach Dave Hakstol, "Every team has a stretch where they'll play three consecutive nights, we all accept that, but this is unbelievable. This would be brutal if it was October let alone at the end of the season when guys are already feeling the toll our schedule can inflict on them."

General Manager Guy Flaming shared the feeling of his coach.

"It's more than just 5 games in 5 nights... it's the travel itself," he fumed, "Someone explain to me how it makes any sense at all. It's crazy to expect a team to be able to perform up to it's potential when were not only criss crossing North America but Europe too. It's ludicrous."

The Bears next five games begin at home against Brandon. Then the team jets to Germany to face Hamburg before flying back to Whitehorse. It's a relatively quick jaunt down to Victoria to play the Norsemen but then the Bears turn right around and fly back to Whitehorse. It's a bit of a head scratcher but the Bears are trying to use it as something to rally around.

"I don't know, maybe the league has it in for us or something," said forward Mike Cammalleri, "We don't care. We'll go out and do out best each night and to hell with the rest of the league. They can do whatever they want to try and slow us down, we'll take it and keeping moving forward. Like Rocky."

It will prove to be interesting how coach Hakstol rotates his lines to try and keep everyone as fresh and energetic as possible for the duration of the trip. Expect to see goalies Tomas Vokoun and Braden Holtby rotate each game and there maybe be a call up or two if need be to give players a rest.

Bear Tracks

- Forward Reilly Smith finished the year with 30 goals in 39 games with the Miami RedHawks, second most goals in the NCAA this year. He signed a pro contract with Acadia at the conclusion of Miami's season and will play for their minor leaugue affiliate next year. He was acquired via trade with the Amsterdam Admirals earlier this season.

- Forward Johnny Gaudreau, a 6th round pick in 2011 by Acadia, helped Boston College win their 3rd national title in the past 5 years. With the Eagles clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Freshman scored with three minutes left to play to ice away the victory. He then appeared on The Pipeline Show two days later to discuss the victory. His 45 points in 44 games was the most among all NCAA freshmen this season. 

- Another 6th round pick in 2011, Chase Balisy finished atop the team scoring race for the Western Michigan Broncos. Balisy ended the year with 37 points playing for former NHL head coach Andy Murray.

- A pair of Acadia prospects were standouts for Quinnipiac this year. Kellen Jones, a 7th round pick in 2010, finished with 36 points in 36 games while Matthew Peca, a 6th round pick in 2011, ended up with 39 points in 39 games as a freshman.

- Swiss power forward Julien Sprunger ended the regular season as the Swiss National League's second highest scorer with 51 points in 49 games.

- Forward Jimmy Bubnick had a sensational bounce back season for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen. He ended the campaign with a team high 36 goals and 77 points. 

-  Brandon Wheat Kings forward Mark Stone followed up his unexpected 106-point season a year ago with 123 points and a trip to the WJC with Canada. The 7th round pick in 2010 has been an excellent late blooming surprise for the Bears. 

- Joe Morrow's 64 points in 62 games for Portland was 2nd most among blueliners in the WHL, he was a 1st round selection by Acadia last summer.

- Acadia's 5th round pick in 2010 was Brandon Anderson who amassed 49 points this year in Regina, 13th in the WHL a place he shared with Swift Current's Reece Scarlett, a 2011 5th round selection by the Bears.

- Goaltender Nathan Lieuwen finished 2nd in the WHL for Save Percentage (.914) and 5th in Goals Against Average (2.50).



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