We are five days into the new year, but we still have sometime to look back on 2013. Today, I took 26 of my favorite shots from the year and looked back on them. Above, probably my favorite photo from the year; Tom Wilson celebrating his first professional goal. The image captures Wilson’s excitement of getting the goal at a professional level for the first time, plus the excitement of the Bears faithful as Wilson scored the goal ahead goal in Game 4 of the first round series between Hershey and the Providence Bruins.
Professional hockey games consist of a 60 minute regulation length. Some duels can be loss from the get-go, while other matches are decided by late game heroics. The Hershey Bears in dire need of a victory faced the Manchester Monarchs in New Hampshire. The New England states continue to deny the Bears of fortune in a 4-3 loss to the Monarchs.
The game was decided early with a crucial, first period scoring assembly which included three Manchester goals in a 1:49 span.
Saturday night the Hershey Bears re-matched the Syracuse Crunch at Giant Center in the final meeting of the campaign between the two sides. Opening night only rolls around once every hockey season when newer faces make their very first impression to the Hershey faithful. However in the first home game ensuing a busy trade deadline, this game had the feel of a second home opener with all the new faces.
Nate Schmidt, Michael Latta, and Dane Byers all made their Giant Center debut. Also returning to the lineup was the fan favorite enforcer, Joel Rechlicz. Rechlicz last played for Hershey last season totaling 267 penalty minutes and was not resigned during the off season. A player swap last week involving Matt Clackson and the Portland Pirates brings Rechlicz back to Hershey for his third season.
In the Bears’ second home opener of the season, it was a similar result to their first on October 20. Joey Crabb scored Hershey’s lone tally and fell to the Syracuse Crunch by a 2-1 count.
The Albany Devils have possessed Philipp Grubauer’s number all season long, and the frustrating trend continued Friday night. On February 24, the Devils hosted the Hershey Bears in the former home of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in Atlantic City. The Devils buzzed Grubauer and yielded six goals en route to a 6-4 defeat on the boardwalk.
Over a month later, Times Union Center in Albany hosted the final Bears-Devils match up of the 2012-13 campaign. Grubauer left the game after surrendering three goals on seven shots, leading to an Albany 5-3 win.
Desperate for a win to close out the weekend, the Hershey Bears battled the Worcester Sharks for a Sunday matinee at the DCU Center. Following two crushing losses in Connecticut and Manchester, Garrett Mitchell received first star honors in a 4-1 victory over the Sharks.
The Hershey Bears closed out the second weekend of March with their final divisional match up this month. Looking to bounce back after a disappointing two game stretch in Norfolk, the Bears coughed up a late 2-1 lead and fell 3-2 on regulation after failing to kill off back-to-back penalties in the final four minutes.
The Hershey Bears looked to conclude a perfect weekend sweep against East Division teams on Sunday with a tilt against the Syracuse Crunch. It was the fourth meeting of the season between the Bears and Crunch with Hershey looking for their first victory against Tampa Bay Lightning’s top affiliate.
World Wrestling Entertainment legend Ric Flair often infamously said, “To be the man, you have to beat the man.” Sunday evening the Bears beat the man of the Eastern Conference with a stunning 5-3 win over the top seeded Crunch.
The Hershey Bears kicked off the month of March with a trip north on I-81 to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Bears entered play win-less in their last three consecutive matches against the W-B/S Penguins. Philipp Grubauer, fresh off his National Hockey League debut, looked on from the bench as Dany Sabourin backstopped Hershey to a nail-biting 3-2 win at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Friday night the Hershey Bears looked for a win against their divisional foes from Binghamton, New York. Three third period goals by the Bears sent the game to overtime tied at 4-4, but Dany Sabourin again could not contain a the B-Sens in the skills competition and dropped a 5-4 shootout decision.
The Hershey Bears played their final game in Canada on Saturday afternoon in a lunchtime matinee with the Toronto Marlies. Looking to bounce back from a heart-breaking shootout setback in Hamilton, the Bears struggled offensively with only three third period shots, and fell 2-1 at Ricoh Coliseum.