The Hershey Bears won their first game of the 2016-17 AHL season, defeating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5-2 at GIANT Center, Saturday night. Five different Bears scored including several top prospects. 2014 third-round pick Nathan Walker netted his first goal of the season after going one-on-one with a Sound Tiger defenseman and overpowering him to the net. Walker was shoved into goaltender Stephon Williams and the puck somehow went in. Meanwhile Madison Bowey also scored a spectacular empty-net goal in the game’s final minute from the Bears zone. The goal gave Bowey the team lead in points (1 goal, 2 assists). Paul Carey, Aaron Ness (PP), and Brad Malone also scored.
Before tonight’s blowout, the Bears (1-2-0) were outscored 8-4 during their opening two games of the season. They will play rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tomorrow night.
The Washington Capitals just announced that they have extended their affiliation with AHL Hershey through the 2019-20 season.
“We are excited to extend our long-running affiliation with the Hershey Bears for four more years,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said in a release. “The success of our organization over the last decade speaks volumes about the strength of our relationship with Hershey. Our affiliation makes sense both geographically and on the ice, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Bears to develop our prospects into quality NHL players.”
The Washington Capitals just announced eight new cuts to their training camp roster, which includes top prospect Jakub Vrana. Vrana dazzled in Hershey last season, putting up 34 points in 36 games. He also helped lead the Bears to the Calder Cup Finals, scoring eight goals in 21 playoff games.
The Caps’ top defense prospect Madison Bowey was also optioned to Hershey along with six others.
Long-time Hershey Bears Doug Yingst and Bryan Helmer will be inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame on January 30, 2017, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Yingst, during his 34-year career as an executive with the Hershey Bears, won four Calder Cup championships as the team’s general manager. Helmer, who played 12 games with the Washington Capitals, holds the AHL records for most games, assists, and points by a defenseman. Helmer was the captain of the Bears’ back-to-back championship teams in 2009 and 2010. He currently is the Bears’ new VP of hockey operations, replacing the retired Yingst.
Photo: Kyle Mace/Chocolate Hockey
Back in the 2009-2010, the Washington Capitals dominated the NHL’s regular season, capturing the franchise’s first-ever Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s best regular season team. While the Caps lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round that year, their top minor league affiliate, the Hershey Bears, had different fortunes in the playoffs, winning their their second consecutive American Hockey League championship. It was the storied team’s 11th Calder Cup.
Six years later, Braden Holtby, John Carlson, Karl Alzner, and Jay Beagle — all stars from that championship Bears team — guided Washington to another Presidents’ Trophy this season. But once again, the Caps made an early playoff exit. The Bears, however, are still playing hockey in June, competing in their first Calder Cup Finals since their championship in 2010. But after Friday night’s 5-3 loss to the Lake Erie Monsters, Hershey faces a 0-2 series hole, though both games in the series have been relatively tight affairs.
“It’s not over by any means,” said Aaron Ness, who had two points in eight games with the Caps this season. “We’re excited for the challenge, we’re excited for the next game, and we’re ready to go.”
Photo: Hershey Bears
The Hershey Bears just disposed of the Toronto Marlies in five games, earning their first trip to the Calder Cup Finals since 2010. The chocolate and white will play the Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters (who has hockey’s hottest new tradition) in the championship series beginning Wednesday.
The Bears jumped out to a 3-0 lead, scoring two goals in the first 2:13 of the second period. The Marlies chipped away and made it close, scoring once in the second period and then a second time midway through the third period. But the Bears would hold on, with NHL veteran Justin Peters making 21 saves.
Hello, Capitals fans. As you mourn, you may wish for a hockey fix to fill that hole in your heart. If the NHL’s playoffs can’t do justice for you because you begin to weep every time you hear Pierre McGuire’s voice (oh, that’s a normal symptom when he talks?), I have just the hockey fix for you.
The Hershey Bears.
Let me give you an introduction to the organization and this year’s team.
On Sunday evening, Capitals AHL Affiliate Hershey Bears defeated Penguins AHL Affiliate Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (aka the Baby Pens) in Game Seven overtime thanks to a beautiful goal by Travis Boyd. The series proved two things: 1) the Bears’ superiority, and 2) these teams don’t like each other. There were fights galore, including a gathering of the teams at center ice during warm-ups before Game Four that only a Hanson brother could love.
After the game, we got requests from Bears fans to make a WBS version of our ever-popular Deadguins shirt. Have we ever let you down before?
At the trade deadline, the Washington Capitals traded Brooks Laich and prospect Connor Carrick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Daniel Winnik. After spending some time with the big club during the regular season, Carrick and his American Hockey League Toronto Marlies will face the Hershey Bears in the Eastern Conference Finals.
On Monday, the Marlies defeated the Albany Devils in a dramatic Game Seven. Carrick put the Marlies up 3-2 late in the third period.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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