Don’t let the fact the Lehigh Valley Phantoms blew a 4-2 lead in the third period distract you from the fact the Hershey Bears now have a two game lead heading back home.
After you check out these GIFs, head on over to Corey Swartz’s recap to check out images that don’t move a breakdown of Saturday night’s win.
The Hershey Bears erased a 4-2 deficit in the third period, and Chris Bourque’s game winning goal with 33 seconds on the clock got Hershey a 5-4 victory in Lehigh Valley on Saturday night. Hershey takes a two-games-to-none series lead, with the chance to eliminate the Phantoms on Wednesday night at Giant Center.
It took 67 minutes and 38 seconds, but the Hershey Bears were able to break a scoreless tie in overtime to take a 1-0 win in Game One of their first-round series in Lehigh Valley Friday night. Nathan Walker scored on a rebound of a Tyler Lewington shot to get Hershey the win in the extra session.
For the first time since the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs, the Hershey Bears will face the Philidelphia Flyers affiliate in a postseason series. To get you ready for the game, I’ve given you a preview of this series, along with my prediction for this best of five in this first round match-up in the battle of Pennsylvania.
You couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the season. Winning five straight games, including an overtime winner against their eventual playoff opponent, set the Bears up for a first round match-up against Lehigh Valley.
That final stretch had the Bears in a great mood at practice on Tuesday. A drill that ended with defenseman Colby Williams scoring had some of his teammates mob him in celebration, while other teammates on another squad skated away in disgust. While all in good fun, the Bears are ready to celebrate together fifteen times on the path to a Calder Cup Championship.
Hershey head coach Troy Mann has repeatedly said he believes that 95 points will earn you a spot in the AHL playoffs. This year, Hershey got that 95, but the Bears win over Providence Saturday night pushed them past the Bruins in the standings with 97 points to head into the playoffs as the third seed in the Atlantic Division.
For a team that had a rocky road to playoffs after a tough January, the Bears fought back after many had written them off. “I think throughout every season you have your ups and downs,” said Chris Bourque. “January was definitely a month that we would like to forget about, but I think that made us stronger, made us want the playoffs more.”
Since the 2006-07 season, the Hershey Bears have been untouchable in the race for the AHL attendance record each season. The 2016-17 season was no different. With 353,759 fans visiting Giant Center over 38 games, an average of 9,309 fans a game gave Hershey their 11th attendance title in as many seasons.