Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bears beat Pens...face Checkers in 1st round

In order to win the Calder Cup you need 16 wins in the playoffs.  Hershey now knows that they will need to get 4 of those wins against the Charlotte Checkers.

Charlotte beat Worcester last night to clinch the #3 seed in the East Division. 

The series starts Thursday in Hershey.

But first the Bears and the rest of the AHL need to finish the regular season slate which concludes tomorrow night. 

Last night Hershey traveled to Wilkes-Barre to face the Baby Pens for the 9th time this season.  Going into the game Hershey had gone 1-5-1-1 against their rivals with the one win coming at a neutral site just before New Years. 

They finished the game with a 2-5-1-1 record against the Pens after a 2-1 victory that was of the physical nature. 

Braden Holtby made 24 saves and Andrew Kozek scored both Hershey goals as the Bears reached the 100 point plateau for the third straight season....which is a team record.

The two teams play again tonight in Hershey to close out the season series.  The Pens have already clinched the #1 seed in the AHL and really don't have much else to play for.  Their opponent for the 1st round is not yet decided as Binghamton and Norfolk are battling for the 4th spot in the East.

Unfortunately the game was not injury free for the Bears as Mathieu Perreault exited with an apparent leg injury.  The severity of the injury is not yet known.

Brian Willsie did not play due to an "upper body" injury according to the team.  My guess...mostly just a maintenance day.  Willsie has played 76 of Hershey's 78 games and he could surely use a couple days of rest before the playoffs.  More than likely he would have played had the game been important.

With 2 games left this weekend (Syracuse visits Sunday) the Bears are looking to continue their current winning streak and avoid any more injuries heading into the postseason.


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