Saturday night was the final night in the Hershey Bears season after being eliminated from playoff contention Friday night. With other Bears players banged up, Joel Rechlicz got back into the line up for his first game since March 23rd. And as Rechlicz skated with linemate Chris Brown for the final game of the season, the “Recker” did something he hasn’t done since December 18th, 2011: score.
It was a perfect cap to the end of a season. With a crowd of 10,964 in attendance and the Chocolate and White out of the playoffs, Hershey would go on to beat Adirondack by a score of 2-1 in the season finale of the 2013-14 season.
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.