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.
HERSHEY, PA – Jon DiSalvatore celebrates his first goal during Hershey’s 4-2 win over Manchester, and clinching them a playoff spot in the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs (Kyle Mace – Sweetest Hockey on Earth)
It came all the way down to the wire, but it game 76 of the 2012-13 regular season, the Hershey Bears clinched a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs for the eighth consecutive season. During first intermission of the Bears-Monarchs game Sunday evening, news broke at Giant Center that the Providence Bruins defeated the Norfolk Admirals by a 4-3 count. The regulation loss eliminated Norfolk from playoff contention leaving just Hershey and Connecticut fighting for the eighth seed.
With the Connecticut Whale wrapping up their season the night before, they could only watch and hope for a Bears regulation loss. However with the final window of opportunity wide open for Hershey, they put forth an impressive 4-2 over the Manchester Monarchs to punch their ticket to the Calder Cup Playoffs.
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.
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.
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.
Boardwalk Hall before today’s game (Photo via @ScottStuccio)
Sunday afternoon the Hershey Bears traveled to Atlantic City to face the Albany Devils at the historic Boardwalk Hall. A night after his 40 save shutout spectacle, Philipp Grubauer received his second straight start in goal. Defensive turnovers and let downs in front of Grubauer led to a 6-4 loss on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
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 entered Saturday with only one win out of four attempts this season against the Binghamton Senators. Philipp Grubauer faced the Senators in his first career AHL game back on October 21, and fell 2-1 in overtime. Looking for his first career win against the Senators, Grubauer yielded three, but topped Bingo 4-3.
The Hershey Bears returned indoors for the first time since a January 18 duel against the Lake Erie Monsters. The Chocolate and White battled the St. John’s IceCaps for the fourth and final time this season. Hershey fell behind late in the second period, and fell to catch St. John’s in another 3-1 defeat.