Bears Still Golden Without Giroux

Despite the loss of its star player, the Acadia Golden Bears have won four of their last five games. The team has also completed a trade with Calgary.
by Marcel Cormier | January 22, 2014, 5:17 PM ET

There was an audible gasp heard from Saint John when Todd Bertuzzi clobbered Claude Giroux with a solid open ice hit when Acadia and Toronto met two weeks ago. The Bears fanbase lamented at the sight of their franchise player leaving the ice with his hand in clear discomfort.

Giroux dodged a bullet by not needing surgery on the index finger on his right hand and instead missed 5 games, so far, instead of 5 weeks.

In his absence, the Bears have picked up their play and were able to rattle of 4 consecutive victories against some tough competition. Wins over Toronto, Winnipeg, Fredericton and Nova Scotia have given a boost of confidence to a line up that to this point of the season, had underwhelmed.

"It's funny how a little adversity can bring a team together," said head coach Dave Hakstol this morning, "Everyone stepped up and delivered more and now the secret is going to be keeping it going once Claude returns to the line up."

Giroux is still a few days away but is expected to be back in action against either Hamburg or Quebec.

GM Guy Flaming filled the void created by Giroux's injury by calling on the farm. Beau Bennett, the team's 1st round pick in 2010, made his debut playing on the left side on the top line and has 3 points in 4 games.

The injection of youthful enthusiasm seemed to resonate throughout the roster and especially to veteran goaltender Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun has started the last 7 games and has won 5 of them.

"The team has been playing well and after not getting to play much early on, it's nice to be able to contribute," said Vokoun.  

Acadia's power play is still struggling but the penalty kill has shown improvement.

Trade Made

Acadia has completed a trade with the Calgary Mustangs that sees the Bears add college stand out Danny Kristo in exchange for a trio of assets. Off season aquisition Colby Armstrong, minor league rookie Louis Domingue and prospect Sam Kurker are headed to Calgary in the 3 for 1 deal.

"Kristo is a player I have sought to acquire for a very long time," admitted GM Guy Flaming, "Matt will tell you that I've called him kicking tires on Danny every year since 2008. I've always been high on him and nothing has changed that opinion over the last 5 years. We think he'll push for a SICHL job in the next two years."

For now Kristo will report to the farm team Val d'Or Villains. The deal clears a couple of contracts for the Bears who wanted to get further beneath the 100-asset cap limit.

"We wanted Colby to play a penalty killing role for us but our PK was one of the worst in the league so he became expendable," explained Flaming. "We are deep in net and I thought Louis had been passed by Martin Jones, Dustin Tokarski and Jacob Markstrom on the depth chart so we were dealing from a position of strength."

"As for Kurker, I was pretty disappointed with his leaving Boston University recently," Flaming added, "Going to the USHL after a year and a half in college is not the developmental path we had in mind for him. We wish him, and Colby and Louis, well in Calgary." 

Bear Tracks

  • Rookie Matt Frattin was reassigned to Val d'Or to make room for Bennett. The former North Dakota standout managed 4 points in 15 games to begin the year.
  • The CHL trade deadline saw Acadia prospect Adam Tambellini's WHL rights traded from Portland to Calgary. The 2013 3rd round pick then left North Dakota and is now playing for the Hitmen where he has 8 points in 6 games. 
  • Tambellini is the second Bears prospect to jump from the NCAA to the WHL this year. 2013, 7th round pick Peter Quenneville left Quinnipiac earlier this year and now has 32 points in 28 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
  • The 68-player list of Hobey Baker Nominees has been announced and 9 Acadia prospects have made the preliminary cut. 10 finalists will be named in March along with Hobey Hat Trick. The Hobey Baker winner will be announced during the Frozen Four in April.
  • The 9 Bears who are, as of now, in the running for the Hobey Baker are: Chase Balisy (Western Michigan), Riley Barber (Miami), Andrew Copp (Michigan), Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College), Kellen Jones (Quinnipiac), Devin Shore (Maine), Shayne Gostisbehere (Union), Dillon Simpson (North Dadkota) and goaltender Sam Brittain (Denver).    
  • Acadia is reportedly considering trying big Dustin Byfuglien as a forward. Thus far the behemoth blueliner has managed just 3 points in 17 games. Byfuglien has played right wing in the past and is being viewed as a viable option to play in front of the net on the power play. 

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