The award ceremony at the end of each regular season is normally a kick off to the playoffs for the Hershey Bears, but this season it’s a bit different. This year the Bears are out of the 2014 playoff race for time in eight seasons. Despite the disappointing end to the season, the Chocolate and White thanked the Giant Center crowd with a win Saturday night.
While “X” marked the spot in Wilkes-Barre Township with the Penguins celebrating a playoff berth, the Hershey Bears aimed to inch closer in a battle against the Springfield Falcons.
65 minutes was not enough for either side, leading to Hershey’s 12th skills competition of the 2013-14 campaign. Ryan Stoa became the AHL leader in shootout goals, but the Bears dropped a 4-3 decision in five rounds.
I don’t believe there is anything more daunting than having to play a hockey game of great importance, in the same arena that housed the end to Hershey’s season a year ago. But that was the adversity the Hershey Bears had to overcome Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
On the same rink where Hershey faced a first round elimination from the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs in May, it was a night of redemption. The Bears beat the eighth seeded Bruins by a 2-0 final thanks to a 28 save clean sheet by David Leggio.
Hershey entered the match five points behind Providence with two games in hand. With a two point night in the bag, the playoff possibilities are thankfully far from dead.
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.
It’s has been high riding for the Hershey Bears this season against the Northeast Division, entering Saturday with an a 7-3-2-1 record in 2013-14. But Cal Heeter and the Adirondack Phantoms have haunted the Bears this season with three wins in the previous four meetings.
With the Phantoms in the Eastern Conference dungeon, their playoff chances are fading away by the second. But for the Chocolate and White, all 16 games remaining entering Saturday have the significance of playoff games. Two points removed from the eighth seeded Albany Devils, Hershey sought a needed home-ice victory.
Four different Hershey goal scorers propelled them to a 4-1 victory over the Phantoms. It was the team’s 20th win on Giant Center ice this season.
With a snow storm approaching the central PA area Sunday night, it couldn’t have been a better time for Hershey’s first 4pm start time to a Sunday Giant Center tilt.
The Hershey Bears closed out their season series with the Charlotte Checkers Sunday in front of 9,942 fans at Giant Center.
On a night where the first 3,000 fans received a baseball cap promotion sponsored by Capital BlueCross, Charlotte’s Zach Boychuk notched a hat-trick in a 6-3 win over Hershey.
Everything seemed to be going so well. The Hershey Bears had won 12 straight at home and 5 straight overall. They were vaulting toward first place. And now in a five game span, the Bears have hit their worst slump of the season. The latest loss was a 4-1 defeat Saturday night at the hands of a team that’s also been struggling, the Charlotte Checkers.
It was an odd Friday night around the American Hockey League to kickoff a three game weekend, and one that was slightly beneficial to the Hershey Bears Hockey Club despite a 2-1 shootout defeat to the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Peter LeBlanc scored Hershey’s lone goal with 1:04 remaining in an end-to-end second period. David Leggio was superb and earned third star honors from stopping 34 of 35 shots through 65 minutes.
The Giant Center goal horn was held silent on Saturday night when the Syracuse Crunch blanked the Bears by a 5-0 count. It ended a 12 game Giant Center win streak for the Chocolate and White, but eyes quickly turned towards an opportunity for revenge the next night.
Sunday was the second annual AHL Showcase held at Verizon Center in our nation’s capital. Last year Ryan Potulny was the hero en route to a 2-1 win over the Norfolk Admirals.
This year the Bears-Crunch battled in Washington D.C. only days before resumption of National Hockey League play. The Tampa Bay Lightning lead affiliate potted five more goals on Philipp Grubauer for the second consecutive night and topped Hershey, 5-2.
HERSHEY, PA – Philipp Grubauer warms up prior to a Bears game earlier this season. He stopped four of five Albany shootout attempts in a 3-2 Hershey win on the Boardwalk (Kyle Mace / Sweetest Hockey on Earth)
Every year, thousands of American football fans lose a pocket full of money after making foolish bets on the Super Bowl. Then of course you have that one jerk, who watches three games a season, makes and outrageous bet and picks Seattle to win by a 35 point spread and pockets several figures of cash that night. Only in America.
It’s a question mark whether there are AHL fans who bet on regular season matches, but if that were the case, the Hershey Bears have proven to be a safe bet thus far in 2014. Following a 3-2 shootout win Friday night against the Albany Devils, the Bears improved to a fantastic 14-4-1-0 record in the new year.