Entering the month of April, the Hershey Bears are aware the Calder Cup Playoffs will only be in their near future if they can string wins together away from Giant Center. To kick off the month, the Bears began their five game road-trip, the longest of the 2013-14 season.
Wednesday marked the first night of the lengthy road trip with a joust against the Portland Pirates. Already eliminated from possible playoff contention, the Pirates hoped to play the role of spoiler against the Chocolate and White.
Caleb Herbert made his professional hockey debut and tallied a goal and assist in a grand 3-2 victory. The win leaped the Bears into the eighth seed of the Eastern Conference standings, one point ahead of Norfolk.
HERSHEY, PA – Justin Young of the Harrisburg Stampede runs out onto the field for pre-game introductions prior to the Stampede’s game Sunday night at Giant Center (Kyle Mace / Sweetest Hockey on Earth)
Sunday night was a historic night at Giant Center as indoor football joined the long list of sports played at the arena. The Harrisburg Stampede of the PIFL took on the Columbus Lions in front of an estimated crowd of 3,500 fans. “The environment here is great,” said Stampede quarterback EJ Nemeth. “What better place can you ask to play indoors than the Giant Center? The fans were great, I think we had lot of new faces out here. I know the Hershey Bears organization have great fans and hopefully we got them interested in some indoor football today.”
That’s right! In honor of the Harrisburg Stampede’s first game at Giant Center this afternoon, we have re-named ourselves Sweetest Football on Earth!! The Stampede will faceoff against the Columbus Lions at 3pm today in Hershey. Follow us on Twitter to keep up with the game as we will be live tweeting portions of the match.
The infamous Arabic proverb, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” suggests two parties have the ability to work together, and overcome a common enemy. In the world of sports, the term could easily be applied currently to the Hershey Bears and their push to qualify for the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Entering Saturday night, the Bears and their I-81 Rivals from Wilkes-Barre both opposed a common enemy. The Penguins battled the eighth seed Norfolk Admirals, who sit in the conference’s final playoff spot, three points ahead of Hershey.
While the Pens attempted to provide a helping hand to the Chocolate and White, the Bears’ personal attention was focused on the St. John’s IceCaps. Wilkes-Barre followed through with a 2-1 victory over Norfolk, as the Bears topped St. John’s, 2-1 in a 12 round marathon shootout.
It was a rare Friday night home game on Giant Center ice, and nothing short of the biggest win of the season. Trailing 1-0 entering the final stanza against the Albany Devils, the Hershey Bears responded with four unanswered goals and cruised to an astonishing 4-1 win.
With out of town help provided by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Bears are now within three points of the eighth and final playoff spot.
There are 11 games remaining in the regular season for the Hershey Bears, who are now five points out of the 8th and final playoff spot. That’s not an impossible obstacle to overcome, but the Bears current slump is making the road to the playoffs even harder. Hershey dropped two of three this weekend with back-to-back losses in Worcester on Saturday and in Manchester on Sunday afternoon.
I don’t believe there is anything more daunting than having to play a hockey game of great importance, in the same arena that housed the end to Hershey’s season a year ago. But that was the adversity the Hershey Bears had to overcome Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
On the same rink where Hershey faced a first round elimination from the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs in May, it was a night of redemption. The Bears beat the eighth seeded Bruins by a 2-0 final thanks to a 28 save clean sheet by David Leggio.
Hershey entered the match five points behind Providence with two games in hand. With a two point night in the bag, the playoff possibilities are thankfully far from dead.
Chocolate is sweet. Hockey is sweet. This website is sweet. Revenge is off the charts sweet. Tonight, an opportunity for revenge has presented itself to the Hershey Bears Hockey Club, and the opportunity is scheduled in Providence, Rhode Island against the Bruins.
Despite a recent slide the last few weeks, the Hershey Bears entered Sunday’s matinee against the Norfolk Admirals with a golden opportunity to reclaim a playoff spot. A win over the Admirals would put the Bears at eighth in the Eastern Conference with about a month to play.
Norfolk was held to 12 shots the entire night Saturday in Wilkes-Barre en route to a shutout loss. The Chocolate and White had 12 shots under their belt within the first period against Adirondack before cruising to a 4-1 win.
In Hershey’s 2014 St. Patrick’s Day spectacle, the Admirals squeezed past the Bears by a 3-2 final. It was a heartbreaking, regulation defeat for the Chocolate and White, which puts them four points behind eighth seed Norfolk.