All great things must come to an end. It’s an old, cliche saying, but it is also 100 percent true and fitting of the occasion. In a 3-1 loss to the Norfolk Admirals, the Bears’ eight season playoff streak has come to a crashing end. The Providence Bruins and Norfolk Admirals will grab the seventh and eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference.
The last time the Chocolate and White missed the postseason, it was the final year of the Colorado Avalanche affiliation.
As the Hershey Bears left South Central Pennsylvania Tuesday morning for Hampton Roads Virginia, they knew they were heading down south for arguably the two biggest games of their season against the Norfolk Admirals. The Admirals were tied in points with Hershey coming into Wednesday night’s game, but Hershey had the first tiebreaker, giving them the control of their destiny, but after the game, Norfolk now controls the final spot in the Eastern Conference as they topped Hershey, 5-3.
Despite a recent slide the last few weeks, the Hershey Bears entered Sunday’s matinee against the Norfolk Admirals with a golden opportunity to reclaim a playoff spot. A win over the Admirals would put the Bears at eighth in the Eastern Conference with about a month to play.
Norfolk was held to 12 shots the entire night Saturday in Wilkes-Barre en route to a shutout loss. The Chocolate and White had 12 shots under their belt within the first period against Adirondack before cruising to a 4-1 win.
In Hershey’s 2014 St. Patrick’s Day spectacle, the Admirals squeezed past the Bears by a 3-2 final. It was a heartbreaking, regulation defeat for the Chocolate and White, which puts them four points behind eighth seed Norfolk.
During Paul Fixter’s coaching tenure with the Hershey Bears about a decade ago, he implemented a motto, “Earned, never given.” The phrase captured the minds of his players in effort to spread the message that all positive results on the ice have to be earned, and are rarely handed over on a silver platter.
But unfortunately on Saturday night, a border-line joke of a 3-1 Norfolk Admirals win over the Hershey Bears was more on the given side.
Your highlight of the night was in the second period during a tied 1-1 hockey game. Nate Schmidt appeared to be slew footed in the Hershey offensive end and went down to the ice in a heap of pain. The Admirals’ countered down ice on a 2-on-1 rush, setting the stage for a game-winning goal by Chris Wagner at 14:18 of the period.
It was a fun game to watch on television, listen in on radio, or even follow on twitter. But most of all, it was an excellent way to end a six-game skid.
The Hershey Bears traveled to Virginia Beach and throttled the Norfolk Admirals by a 3-2 count. It was their first game played of the season at the Norfolk Scope, and it had a homecoming feel for Bears’ Head Coach Mike Haviland. Haviland was an Admirals’ assistant coach last season and the head bench boss for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 campaigns.
Dane Byers scored a third period insurance marker, which later proved to be the game-winner in a 3-2 decision. With out of town help by the Utica Comets, the Bears now stand within one point of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and three points within the division lead.
After back to back losses to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the task grew larger on Sunday with a duel against the 6-2-0-3 Norfolk Admirals. The lead affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks were led in the season’s opening month by goaltender John Gibson.
The Ducks’ prospective goalie entered play with a 4-1-2 record and an astonishing 1.44 goals against average, as well as a save percentage of 95.5 percent. Former Hershey center and 2006 Calder Cup champion Dave Steckel was listed on the Admirals’ roster wearing number 39. The Bears’ offense tallied three quick first period goals but surrendered a game tying marker with 1:02 left, leading to an Admirals’ shootout win.
After a highlight reel goal by Michael Latta in the dying minutes of the second period on Saturday, Hershey looked to be well on their way to their first win of the season at Giant Center. However a third period power surge by the visiting Hartford Wolf Pack held the Bears win-less for another night at home.
Sunday, Head Coach Mike Haviland looked for the 60 minute effort his club has been lacking the last four weeks. Against the opposing Norfolk Admirals, speed and intensity was a style of hockey Hershey played with for 60 minutes, leading to a 4-2 win over the Admirals.
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.
If the 2012-13 AHL hockey season concluded today, four of the five East Division teams would have qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs. The one divisional team currently on the outside looking into the playoff picture is the Norfolk Admirals. The Admirals entered Saturday winners in seven of their last ten games, and looked to continue their hot streak against the Hershey Bears.
Philipp Grubauer played his first game with the Chocolate and White since returning from his first NHL stint in Washington D.C. From the opposite end of the ice, he watched Ryan Stoa tie the hockey game on a highlight reel goal with 2:33 left in regulation. Ryan Potulny then scored in the final minute to cap an astonishing 3-2 regulation win over the Norfolk Admirals.