Monday, March 19, 2012

Bears are looking at the 5th seed

Wow, it has been a while since I posted here.  Much of that has to do with my love of the NCAA men's basketball tournament and getting lost in that world for a couple of weeks.  But, like most of you, my brackets are mostly busted and the tourney has lost my focus.

The Bears weren't distracted by the tourney this past weekend as they swept the 3 in 3 and earned 6 important standings points.  That was big as the Bears had lost both to the St. Johns IceCaps the previous weekend.

Hershey has 12 games left and is still mathematically alive for the division crown.  But that is highly, highly unlikely.  The Norfolk Admirals have won 18 straight.  That is an AHL record.  That is impressive.

Norfolk has 93 points, the Bears, sitting in third, have 78.  So in theory the Bears could finish with 102 points if they were to win their 12 remaining games.  All the Admirals would have to do is lose all but 4 of theirs.  Like I said...unlikely.

Wilkes-Barre sits in 2nd in the division and 4th in the conference with 83 points.  The Bears do have a game in hand against the Pens and the teams do play one more time (April 6 in Wilkes-Barre).  If the Bears win that game and win the extra game they would only need to make up 1 more standings point to leap the Pens for 4th in the conference.

As we get closer to the playoffs I will discuss the Bears predicament and potential playoff matchups in more depth.  A little teaser...the Baby Pens are REALLY good away from home. 

But, there are still 12 games left so the playoff positioning post can wait for another day.

The Bears have a tough stretch of games this week and a good showing is obviously important.  St. John's comes to Giant Center Wednesday night for the first time in IceCaps history.  They currently sit in 2nd place in the conference...10 points behind Norfolk. 

As I mentioned before, the Bears visited St. John's back on March 9 and 10.  Those games didn't go too well.  Hershey got blown out on the 9th, 6-1.  On the 10th they managed to collect a  standings point but still dropped the game in a shootout, 3-2.

After the IceCaps comes the Charlotte Checkers for a 2 game visit this weekend.  The Checkers are hanging on to a Western Conference playoff spot at the moment.  They sit in 7th place in the conference, 1 game ahead of 8th and 9th place.  So they will be looking for points this weekend. 
Hershey made their trip to Charlotte back in January picking up 2 wins.  Both were one goal games with the first being decided in the shootout. 

This is a good chance for the Bears to pick up 6 points and to see where they are in relation to other playoff teams.  If the Bears want home ice in the first round, they need to win on home ice in the regular season.

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