Saturday night the Hershey Bears leap frogged the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the standings with a high-scoring 5-4 victory. While Giant Center has been an intimidating building for Bears’ opposition of late, Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township does not have a much kinder reputation.
Sunday the Chocolate and White concluded a home-and-home stretch against their I-81 rivals, and escaped victoriously for the first time this season in the W-B. Ryan Potulny scored a third period game-winning goal en route to a 3-1 win over the Penguins, finishing off a perfect six point weekend sweep for Hershey.
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.
Joel Rechlicz is arguably the most popular Hershey Bear in recent memory. He might not be the top scoring player, but Recker contributes to the team by motivating the Chocolate and White on the ice and in the locker room. Rechlicz is also one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, signing autographs for each and every fan after games, interacting with all like he’s known them for years. This explains why fans go insane when he drops the mittens and has a go against one of Hershey’s opponents.
The historic Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall hosted the first meeting of the 2013-14 season between the Albany Devils and Hershey Bears. Brandon Segal continued to dismantle opponents on the scoring sheet, Michael Latta channeled his inner Joel Rechlicz and Riley Gill earned his first AHL win during a 4-1 Bears win.
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.
Within the last five seasons, the Hershey Bears have beaten the Worcester Sharks only once in five attempts on Giant Center ice. Both teams met Saturday in Chocolate Town for the first time this season. On Joel Rechlicz bobble-fist night, Rechlicz did not engage in an altercation, but rather took a crucial first period charging minor leading to Worcester’s second goal of the game. The Bears later fell by a 3-2 count/
The first time Joel Rechlicz saw his “bobble fist” that will be handed out to Bears fans Saturday night, he was as giddy as a 10-year-old getting the Lego version of the Millenium Falcon on Christmas Morning. Luckily, there was a camera rolling during the ceremonial presentation to Joel of the bobble fist modeled after his likeness. We’ve looked at the giveway up close, but below the jump check out video and a gif of Recker’s reaction of him getting to see the final product himself.
The Hershey Bears have had many bobble head nights though the years, but Saturday night will be a first in the Chocolate and White’s history. The Bears will hold Joel Rechlicz “bobble fist” night this Saturday, December 21st. The head does not move on this giveaway, but the object that has made Joel famous on the ice, will.
There was a different sense of urgency when the Bears began their game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday night. After losing at home Wednesday to St. John’s, the Hershey players and coaches realized that their team was in trouble. Too many home losses brought a tough Friday practice and team meeting. The result was a 3-2 overtime win against the Penguins, the first of the year against their arch rivals.
With the Hershey Bears current struggles, the Chocolate and White need a spark right now, and Joel Rechlicz might have provided that to the team. Less then two minutes into the Bears’ game against Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins enforcer, Pierre Leblond, decided to take on Recker in a bout. As Bears fans know, these two have met before a few times. Below the jump, check out photos and video of the fight.