On Thursday, the Washington Capitals announced that they have re-signed defenseman Christian Djoos to a two-year contract.

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As members of the Hershey Bears packed their equipment before heading home for the summer, five players prepared for free agency for the first time in their careers.

Travis Boyd, Nathan Walker, Liam O’Brien, Chandler Stephenson, and Christian Djoos are all set to become restricted free agents this summer. While typically restricted free agents are locks to be re-signed, due to the current standing of the Washington Capitals organization, no qualifying offer is promised this offseason.

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The Hershey Bears’ 2016-17 season concluded on Wednesday evening with a 4-2 loss to the Providence Bruins in Game 7 of the Atlantic Division Finals. The Bears went down 3-1, and nearly came back, but stout defense from the Bruins kept Hershey off the board when they needed it most.

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Chris Bourque celebrates his GWOTG against Providence Friday Thursday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in the Atlantic Divison Finals (Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey)

Pheonix Copley has been a big story for the Hershey Bears this season. He was brought in at the trade deadline to give the team a chance to win games, and if that wasn’t evident at any point this season, it was on Thursday night. The Bears won Game 3 in Providence behind 39 saves from Copley and two goals from Chris Bourque propelled the Bears to a 2-1 victory over the Bruins in the second overtime in as many games. Hershey leads the series two games to one.

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Stan Galiev celebrates with Travis Boyd and teammates after Boyd’s overtime winning goal against Providence Sunday night at Giant Center. (All photos: Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey)

Troy Mann said in his postgame interview following the Hershey Bears’ 3-1 loss in Game 1 that it wasn’t how much your power play scores, but when they score. That turned out to be the turning point of Game 2, as Christian Djoos scored in the late moments of a power play with 2:30 on the clock in the third period to tie the game at two apiece. Travis Boyd completed the comeback less than six minutes into overtime, and the Bears took the second game of their series with the Providence Bruins by a final score of 3-2.

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Chris Bourque celebrates his game winning goal with less than a minute left in the third period to beat Lehigh Valley in game two of the Atlantic Division semi-finals (Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey)

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.

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It took 75 games and some help from the Springfield Thunderbirds, but the Hershey Bears can finally say they are playoff bound after taking a 2-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night. Hershey faces Providence tomorrow with a chance to alter their first round opponent, which currently is the same Penguins team they faced tonight. A win would have them facing Lehigh Valley.

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Photo: @TheHersheyBears

With eleven minutes remaining in the third period, it looked like the end for the Hershey Bears. The team had surrendered an early 1-0 lead and trailed for the first time in the game to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and in the midst of a critical last five games for Hershey, the team needed a comeback.

The Bears needed a perfect goal to solve Phantoms goaltender Alex Lyon, and they got it with a goal five minutes later from Riley Barber. The game would go to overtime when Travis Boyd got around the defense and roofed a shot that went in and out in a flash to get the Bears a critical 3-2 win.

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Monday morning the AHL announced that Bears defenseman Christian Djoos had been named AHL Player of the Month for March 2017. With three goals and thirteen assists in thirteen games for the Bears in the month, Djoos earned his first league award as a member of the Bears.

The 22-year-old is having a career year in his second full season with Hershey, posting a stat line of 12-43-55, good for second amongst all defenseman.

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Image via HUTPlaza

Christian Djoos been has awarded a 90 overall “Young Guns-Team Of The Year” card in NHL 17’s fan-favorite game mode, Ultimate Team.

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