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HERSHEY, PA – Dane Byers celebrates his game winning goal against Portland during Hershey’s 2-1 victory over the Pirates (Tim Stough / Sweetest Hockey on Earth)

In 2009, the Hershey Bears dropped the Manitoba Moose in six games to win the Calder Cup. Shortly after the cup clinching game, “Count ‘Em Ten” T-shirts were released to the general public to celebrate the franchise’s tenth Calder Cup Championship.

Saturday night, fans gained the right to break out the former catch phrase in honor of not the Bears’ tenth Cup, but their tenth consecutive victory on Giant Center ice. Dane Byers scored a third period game-winning-goal, and the Chocolate and White celebrated a 2-1 over the Portland Pirates.

It was a quiet opening period for both the Bears and Pirates from start to finish. Hershey escaped with a 10-8 edge in shots but failed to crack the score sheet despite two power plays. Portland entered with a penalty kill success rate at 83.1% which is ranked 12th best in the American Hockey League.

The loudest cheer of the period came when Joel Rechlicz tallied a shot on goal in the later minutes. Whether it is sad that a shot on goal could generate so much excitement, or great that a lone player can be highly beloved by a fan-base is for you to decide.

Hershey got on the score board in the middle period, and it was the fourth line guys getting the job done. In a play beginning with a dump in by Rechlicz, Peter LeBlanc deflected a Cameron Schilling blast from the point into the net.

Time of LeBlanc’s goal was 5:22, but the Pirates answered only 52 seconds later. The infamous expression, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” sometime also applies in NHL-AHL affiliations.

Our brother blog, Russian Machine Never Breaks has touched earlier in the season on the Capitals’ vulnerable play following a goal scored. It is a problem that has also surfaced in Hershey from time-to-time, but luckily not to the severity as Washington.

Brandon Yip was credited for his fifth goal of the season for Portland after tucking a big rebound past Philipp Grubauer to knot the game at 1-1.

But into the third period, who better is there to come up clutch than your very own captain? Dane Byers snapped a quick shot into the net after a crisp feed from the half-boards from Chay Genoway.

Grubauer was magnificent the rest of the way leading to third star honors in a 2-1 Hershey victory.

I advise you now to look for your “Count ‘Em Ten” shirts, embrace them and even wear one to bed, because the Bears are back in action the next night looking for 11 consecutive home ice wins. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come to town for a 5pm tilt in Hershey.

More photos from the game. (All photos by Tim Stough)
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Cameron Schilling smiles after Peter LeBlanc’s deflection goal of Schilling’s shot

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Ryan Potulny dumps the puck into the zone

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Nathan Walker takes a shot in the second period

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Nic Deschamps is hit by Mathieu Brodeur

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Uh, nice hair, Nic…

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Dustin Gazley stops as he crashes the net in the second period

  • VeggieTart

    Let’s make it 11 today, guys!