Sports

Bears Aim for Second Consecutive Playoff Sweep Against Hartford

The Hershey Bears are on a mission to defend their Calder Cup title, aiming for a repeat championship. Adding to their aspirations, they have set their sights on sweeping the Hartford Wolf Pack for the second consecutive season, an achievement that would undoubtedly be sweet. With a commanding lead of two games to none in the best-of-five Atlantic Division Finals, the Bears are poised for success. However, Hartford remains a formidable opponent, and the series is far from over.

Tonight’s Game 3 at the XL Center in Hartford promises to be a pivotal moment in the series, with Hershey looking to maintain their dominance. Thus far, the Bears have displayed their offensive prowess by outscoring the Wolf Pack 10-3 in the first two games played at Giant Center. Last season, they swept Hartford 3-0 in the Atlantic Division Finals, highlighting their continued success against their rivals.

In the current postseason, Hershey boasts an impressive 5-1 record, having dispatched the Lehigh Valley in four games in the previous series. A key factor in their success has been their stellar defensive play, anchored by goaltender Hunter Shepard, who has maintained a remarkable 1.68 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. Additionally, the Bears’ penalty-killing unit has been exceptional, denying Hartford on all nine power-play opportunities.

Notably, defensemen Lucas Johansen and Chase Priskie have emerged as pivotal contributors, both boasting a team-leading plus-minus rating of +7. Johansen, a first-round pick of the Washington Capitals, brings valuable experience from the Bears’ previous Calder Cup triumph. Reflecting on their journey, Johansen emphasizes the camaraderie and unity within the team, highlighting the joy of playing alongside teammates who share a common goal.

As the Bears continue their quest for championship glory, they remain focused and determined, knowing that each game brings them one step closer to their ultimate objective. With their unwavering dedication and collective spirit, Hershey aims to etch their name in Calder Cup history once again, solidifying their status as a formidable force in the AHL.

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