Hershey is on pace for all sorts of records including AHL records for wins, points, and winning percentage. Not too bad for a team that won the Calder Cup last year.
But all that winning means absolutely nothing when it comes to the playoffs. The team that owns most of those records didn't make it past the 2nd round of the playoffs. So maybe a little adversity is a good thing.
I doubt much adversity will be found from teams within the division this season. Currently the Bears are 16 points ahead of 2nd place Albany while 4 of the 7 division teams are either at .500 or below.
That is distinctly different from recent years where the East division dominated in not only the regular season but the playoffs as well. That will likely not be the case this season as the East is likely to only get 3 teams in the playoffs as the Atlantic division is positioned right now to get 5 teams in. Which means Hershey could be playing a team like Portland or Bridgeport in the first round come April.
The Bears are again one of the most balanced and talented offensive teams in the league. The difference between this years team and last years team is that the 09-10 Bears are great defensively as well.
We all remember the struggles during the season last year when Hershey was at the top in goals scored and power play success but at the bottom in goals allowed and penalty killing. But this year is different...while the same. Hershey is #1 in goals scored with 173, tied for #1 in goals allowed with 97, 1st in penalty killing, and 3rd in power play success.
Think about that for a minute....the Bears have a goal differential of 76. 76!! Last years club ended the season with a +56 goal differential. Who knows what this years club will finish with.
You want more?
The Bears 173 goals right now is 28 higher than the next closest team (Lowell has 145). The Bears have allowed only 3 more goals than the Phantoms have scored this entire season!
Hershey has won 6 games MORE than ANY OTHER TEAM in the AHL this season. And they haven't lost at home in 12 games. Which is a new franchise record...surprising huh?
This team is phenomenal. If you have the chance to see them play...TAKE IT! The likelihood of this team being together next season is highly unlikely. (although I did say that last year too)
One more great stat for you....
On the subject of getting the chance to see this team...I can see that many of you are. Hershey is again leading the league in attendance with 8,978 fans PER GAME. That is a full 1,418 MORE than second place Manitoba.
Of the other 28 teams in the AHL only 11 have averaged more than HALF of Hershey's average. Meaning only 11 teams in the AHL average more than 4,500 fans per game.
You should be very proud of those numbers. This will be the 4th straight season that Hershey will lead the league in attendance.
Very impressive indeed.
Enjoy the second half of the season!