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.”