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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After signing as a free agent with the Washington Capitals, Hampus Gustafsson joined the Hershey Bears on an amateur tryout deal. While most ATO signees rarely see one game, Gustafsson was called upon after center Zach Sill went down with an injury.

In only this third game with the Bears, Gustafsson set up Riley Barber for a perfect pass to Hubert Labrie to give Hershey a 1-0 lead Wednesday night. That assist marked the first point as a professional in Gustafsson’s career – a special feeling for the 23-year-old. “It was nice but nice to get the win too,” Gustafsson said after the game. “We needed that for the push into the playoffs.”

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Tom Gilbert is joined by teammates after scoring the eventual game winning goal for Hershey on Wednesday night against Binghamton (Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey)

The Hershey Bears hosted the Binghamton Senators Wednesday night before a sold-out Giant Center, and behind goals from Hubert Labrie, Tom Gilbert, and Riley Barber, Hershey took a 3-1 victory tonight. Pheonix Copley backstopped the Bears to the win.

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Three hours after the Bears got off the ice at Giant Center in their first practice after winter storm Stella dropped just over a foot of snow on Chocolate Town, the hopped back on with a very special group of kids. The American Special Hockey Association’s York Polar Bears and Hershey Heros teams joined some of the Hershey players for a skate Wednesday afternoon.

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