What separates the American Hockey League uniquely from the NHL is the gruesome three games in three night stretches. As the regular season has progressed, we have learned a team’s spot in the standings can dramatically change in just a brief 72 hour period.
The Hershey Bears went a horrible 0 for 3 on the weekend with losses to Norfolk and Binghamton following a perfect six point weekend. The Bears now find themselves in a dog fight for a playoff position with several teams banging on Giant Center’s backdoor.
The majority of the damage occurred last night when Hershey blew a late 2-1 lead and fell to Binghamton 3-2 in regulation. It proved to be a terrible time for a third period slide, as both the Connecticut Whale and Albany Devils earned victories. The Manchester Monarchs also gained a point on Hershey in a shootout loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
With Connecticut and Albany two point Sundays, the Bears now find themselves one point away from possibly falling out of the Eastern Conference Top Eight. A Penguins comeback win on Sunday night also provided a three point spread between the I-81 Rivals.
East Division Recap:
The Syracuse Crunch kicked off the second week of March with a three games in four nights stretch beginning Wednesday, and ending Saturday with back to back tilts in St. John’s. After a 6-3 defeat in the hands of the Toronto Marlies Wednesday, the Crunch tacked on two more wins to their excellent away record with wins over the IceCaps. 22 of Syracuse’s 35 total wins have been on opposition ice.
One standings point behind Syracuse lies the Binghamton Senators who are striding for their second Calder Cup Championship in three summers. The B-Sens kept pace with the Crunch by scoring a perfect weekend sweep with regulation wins over Connecticut, Rochester and Hershey. The Senators improved to 78 points in the Conference and currently hold the last home ice seeding.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ blogger Jason Iacona of “Chirps From Center Ice” often refers to the Pens as the “Cardiac Penguins” due to their excellent comeback ability. After dropping a 2-0 decision against the Providence Bruins to kick off their weekend, the Penguins rebounded with overtime and shootout wins against the Portland Pirates and Manchester Monarchs. The Cardiac Penguins came to the rescue Sunday with a two goal, third period comeback against Manchester, leading to the shootout victory.
Lastly the Norfolk Admirals enjoyed a short and sweet two game weekend with Friday and Saturday wins over the Hershey Bears. The Admirals out scored the Chocolate and White a combined 9-2 through 120 minutes of hockey.
Games Remaining: 16
Bridgeport Sound Tigers- March 16
Adirondack Phantoms- March 17, April 19
Connecticut Whale- March 22
Manchester Monarchs- March 23, April 13, April 21
Worcester Sharks- March 24
Albany Devils- March 29
Providence Bruins- March 30, April 12
Syracuse Crunch- April 5, April 6
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins- April 7
Portland Pirates- April 14
Binghamton Senators- April 20