Entering the month of April, the Hershey Bears are aware the Calder Cup Playoffs will only be in their near future if they can string wins together away from Giant Center. To kick off the month, the Bears began their five game road-trip, the longest of the 2013-14 season.
Wednesday marked the first night of the lengthy road trip with a joust against the Portland Pirates. Already eliminated from possible playoff contention, the Pirates hoped to play the role of spoiler against the Chocolate and White.
Caleb Herbert made his professional hockey debut and tallied a goal and assist in a grand 3-2 victory. The win leaped the Bears into the eighth seed of the Eastern Conference standings, one point ahead of Norfolk.
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.
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.
Entering Sunday, the Hershey Bears have only scored seven goals in the first period, a problem which could relate to how few shots they get on net during the opening twenty minutes. Through eleven games, they’ve fired only 92 shots on net during the first period, which averages out to a little over eight, a dreadful amount. Looking to turn things around Sunday against the Portland Pirates, the Bears came out flat again, firing 5 shots on goal in the first period. The Bears would end up losing 3-1.
So, this is it. We’re down to the final weekend of the regular season. First up: the Portland Pirates and the familiar faces of Ashton Rome and the Mayor of Chocolatetown, Dean Arsene. Here we go: Kyle Greentree started off the scoring with a shorthanded tally halfway through the first period. But the Pirates tied it up by the end of twenty minutes by scoring on a heavily screened Daren Machesney.
On a night of 10,000 Bears, the real Hershey Bears put together their own big night of goals, beating the Portland Pirates 7-1 at Giant Center. The annual teddy bear toss set a new record for bears given to kids at Hershey Medical Center.
Portland got the first goal of the game only two minutes into it from a shot by Ryan Duncan. Then Graham Mink got the teddy bears flying with only three minutes left in the third.
Tonight’s game against the Portland Pirates was a specialty jersey night: the Bears sported Capitals Winter Classic jerseys, but with a twist. Instead of the Capitals logo across the front, it had the Hershey logo. As usual, the jerseys were auctioned off after the game.
The Bears got the first lead of the night (as they so often do) with a goal from Andrew Joudrey. The Bears maintained the lead until Steve Pinizzotto was whistled for cross-checking and a ten minute misconduct. Down a man, Braden Holtby (just sent down from Washington this morning) almost had the puck but had it knocked out of his control and into the net.
The Bears quickly responded and scored a power play goal of their own. Patrick McNeill joined the play and scored back door on David Leggio, showing off that offensive side.
The second period saw a lot of penalties doled out to both sides. The Bears had a 5-on-3 but were not able to convert on it. However, when a Pirate was penalized for hooking Joudrey on a breakaway, they took this chance. Back in front of the loyal home crowd, Andrew Gordon did not let down and scored on the power play. He was right in front of the goal and ready to chip it home to score his first goal since returning from injury.
The Pirates scored to make a one goal difference when two Pirates sped past the Hershey defense. Two-on-none, they beat Holtby to make it 3-2 Hershey.
Things were looking good until Joudrey high-sticked a Pirate and Portland had the man advantage with a little more than six minutes left in regulation. It only took 26 seconds before T.J. Brennan one-timed it past Holtby. I hate to admit it, but it was a beautiful shot. Unfortunately, that meant it was a tie game once again.
The teams pushed on to overtime but it was Portland who came out on top. Despite leading by two goals earlier in the game, the Bears lose 4-3 (OT). Overall, the offense was spotty and could have been better but they were playing a talented Portland team. One point is better than none.
The Bears traveled up North yesterday to play a rare regular season game against the Portland Pirates. Mathieu Perreault gave Hershey the early lead with an absolutely beautiful goal. He skated the puck from one end of the ice to other and blew right through the Portland defense. It was one of those goals that you could watch a replay of over and over again.
His goal stood as the only one through two periods of play.
It was a fairly quiet game except for whenever Sheldon Souray and Tim Conboy were on the ice at the same time. Conboy had a controversial hit on Maxime Lacroix that Souray took offense to and they dropped the gloves. Souray had the takedown. Thankfully, Lacroix was okay.
During the next period, the teams started shoving at the whistle and Conboy and Souray decided to have a rematch. If Conboy was looking for redemption, he didn’t get it because Souray delivered a vicious knockout punch.
The Bears started the third period on the man advantage but the Pirates shut them down. Right after the successful kill, the Pirates tied the game up when Mark Voakes fought through the play and Nolan Schaefer had to face him alone. He tried him best to stone him but was unsuccessful.
The Pirates scored again during a late period power play. Schaefer tried to grab the shot in his glove but he ended up just tipping it and it bounced over him and into the net. Just when it started looking grim, the Bears had a 4-on-3 power play at the very end of the period. It took a couple attempts but Patrick McNeill tied it up with a nice shot down low. Spurred on by this goal, the teams went to overtime. When that didn’t solve anything, we moved on to the shootout.
It was ironic that the game came down to goaltending since the goalies from both teams were playing great games. Unfortunately, David Leggio came out on top today, stopped all four of the Bears shootout attempts. The Pirates scored twice on Schaefer and the Bears lost 3-2.
Guess we’ll have to wait another day for Mark French’s 100th career win…