“12 Rounds” may be an epic movie starring entertainer John Cena, but in a way the action film’s title describes the annual rivalry between the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Both teams battled in round 12 on Tuesday night to end the 2013-14 regular season portion of the I-81 rivalry. The back and forth game ended in a victory for the Baby Penguins, beating Hershey 6-5.
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.
As many know, we are in a current time stretch where football season has concluded, the countdown to Spring Training is in full throttle, and where fans continuously fall asleep on their sofa attempting to watch the NBA.
But at the American Hockey League level, the Hershey Bears enter a crucial eight week stretch of their schedule which takes them to April. It is a stretch which will truly decide whether playoff hockey will once again return to Hershey for a ninth consecutive season.
Sunday the Bears battled the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the weekend finale, looking for four out of six standings points in the weekend. Dustin Gazley scored 47 second into overtime to down the Penguins in a Giant Center classic.
If you were to compare the weekend schedules of the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, it’s easy to predict the Bears might have had an edge entering Sunday.
The Chocolate and White kicked off the weekend with a home-and-home series beginning in Syracuse on Friday. Back-to-back wins over the Crunch including a Saturday 3-2 win at Giant Center built towards the hype of Sunday’s contest against Wilkes-Barre.
The Hershey Bears entered Saturday against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins again looking to bounce back from back-to-back losses against Binghamton and Syracuse. Although inconsistency has been a concern this season, the Bears entered play possessing a 9-5-0-1 record in each game following a loss. On the flip side, however, Hershey’s record stands at a disappointing 3-7-1-2 when following a win.
Saturday the Bears’ ended a 3-in-3 game stretch with a thrilling 2-1 shootout victory over their I-81 Rivals. It was a game Hershey rightfully so deserved to win in regulation, but settled for a shootout win due to an outstanding performance by Pens’ goaltender Eric Hartzell.
Back-to-back wins. Those are words you’ve only seen once here this season and once again, it didn’t happen for the Bears on Friday. Coming off an impressive come from behind victory in Binghamton on Wednesday, the Bears failed to follow up with another victory and lost to Wilkes-Barre Scranton on Friday night 5-3.
There was a different sense of urgency when the Bears began their game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday night. After losing at home Wednesday to St. John’s, the Hershey players and coaches realized that their team was in trouble. Too many home losses brought a tough Friday practice and team meeting. The result was a 3-2 overtime win against the Penguins, the first of the year against their arch rivals.
With the Hershey Bears current struggles, the Chocolate and White need a spark right now, and Joel Rechlicz might have provided that to the team. Less then two minutes into the Bears’ game against Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins enforcer, Pierre Leblond, decided to take on Recker in a bout. As Bears fans know, these two have met before a few times. Below the jump, check out photos and video of the fight.
The Hershey Bears put an early close to their weekend last night with a 3-1 loss against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Mohegan Sun Arena. It marked the Bears’ fourth loss to the Pens this season in four attempts. Both teams meet once again on November 30 at Giant Center.
The marathon rivalry between the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins kicked off a fifteenth season on October 12 in Wilkes-Barre. Two games into the season series, the Pens found themselves with an early two victory edge over the Chocolate and White.
Saturday night for the first time this season, both clubs squared off on Giant Center ice with the Bears determined for their first win against W-B/S in 2013-14. In T.J. Syner’s season debut, he involved himself in a spirited first period altercation before falling to the Penguins, 4-2.