On a night when the Chocolate and White punched their ticket to the 2013 Calder Cup playoffs, the players also accepted their awards for their accomplishments in a Bears uniform this season.
The battle of the Bears and the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs kicked off Friday with a tremendous 5-2 win over the Providence Bruins. Continuing from late regular season success, the power play unit tallied a trio of goals including two on both ends of a 5-on-3 advantage.
In the best of five series, Hershey quickly jumps to a 1-0 lead and has stolen home ice advantage from the AHL regular season champions.
The Hershey Bears sought their first win of the weekend in a three games in three nights finale against the Portland Pirates. A win for Portland would have punched their ticket to the 2013 AHL Postseason. A win for Hershey would of kept their playoff hopes and dreams alive for the moment.
The Pirates entered play as the most penalized team in the American Hockey League and lived up to their reputation with ten minors against Hershey. The Bears cashed in on a season high five power play goals to cruise to a 6-3 win in Portland. Joey Crabb earned first star honors with a hat trick, and Jeff Taffe earned five helpers en route to his team’s blowout.
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.
Eyeing his tenth “W” in his first American Hockey League season, Philipp Grubauer drew the start for the Hershey Bears against the Adirondack Phantoms. In front of another sell out crowd of 10,856 at Giant Center, Grubauer stopped 36 shots as the Bears cruised to a comfortable 5-2 win against the Phantoms.
Following a dreadful 0-for-6 weekend in the points column, the Hershey Bears sought a desperate bounce back win against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. After 60 minutes of end-to-end, scoreless hockey, Garrett Mitchell played the role of hero for Hershey with an overtime game-winning goal to seal two points.
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 and Norfolk Admirals squared up for the final time this regular season. Looking to end on a high note, the Bears dropped a 4-1 decision against the defending Calder Cup Champions at Norfolk Scope.
Coming off a perfect 3-in-3 weekend, the Bears were looking to add on to their streak tonight against Norfolk. Without Garrett Mitchell, the Bears struggled mightily against the Ads, dropping this one 5-1.
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.