Hershey Bears Win the Calder Cup! Elevenpeat!

Michal Neuvirth raises his arms to the sky as the Hershey Bears win their 11th Calder Cup.

Michal Neuvirth begins the celebration a few seconds before the final buzzer. (Sean Simmers, The Patriot-News)

The Bears’ 4-0 blowout of the Texas Stars is a fitting punctuation on the team’s 60-win season.

In this, the team’s eleventh Calder Cup championship-clinching game, the Bears’ did everything right. Michal Neuvirth was sterling in net; the team owned puck possession,  second chances, and shots on goal (36); and the scoring came from depth– namely the blueliners.  John Carlson‘s first-period sweeper was Captain America’s second GWG of the series, and his second championship goal of the year.  Karl Alzner rounded out the first period with his own tally through Brent Krahn‘s 7-hole.  Patrick McNeill had goals in both the second and third periods.  And let’s not forget that Chris Bourque, who led the AHL in playoff goals, rightfully claimed the MVP trophy.

When Captain Bryan Helmer hoisted the Cup and passed it to his teammates, he ended one of the most dominating seasons in AHL history.  The Bears ’09-’10 season contained 342 goals (no other team had 280) and a stunning 24-game winning streak at home.  In this series the team overcame a two-game deficit, won three games on the road, and tonight delivered a decisive knockout blow.  There is no shortage of acclaim for the Bears.

The bearded horde of Hershey has earned the right to shave, but even moreso the right to party.  May the law officers of Dauphin County look the other way until dawn, because the Chocolate and White have finally won.