Bears Best Firebirds to Win Calder Cup Once Again

The Hershey Bears capped off their season by doing what great teams do: winning when it matters most. The Bears have gone back to back winning their second Calder Cup in as many years. The franchise now owns 13 of them over their illustrious history. Both years they knocked off the Cochella Valley Firebirds to win it all. The road to the finals was not easy for Hershey. It started back in May, where they dispatched the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Hartford Wolf Pack with relative ease.

Then came the Conference Finals against the Cleveland Monsters. The Bears came out hot and went up 3-0 which included an OT game winner and a pair of convincing wins. The issue for the Bears was that the injuries started to pile up. Guys like Pierrick Dube, Lucas Johansen and Ethan Frank missed time during the conference finals. The Bears also had some struggles holding onto leads. They would score with a minute left and the Monsters would score with just seconds left to send it to overtime. The Monsters rattled off 3 straight wins and it seemed that all hope was lost. Game 7 would be the decider. A back and forth affair that saw it go to overtime tied at 2. In overtime Garrett Roe scored to send the Bears back to the Calder Cup finals.

The Calder Cup final was a rematch from the previous year as they faced off against the Cochella Valley Firebirds. The Birds took game 1 in Hershey but the Bears rebounded to take game 2. The Bears traveled West and took 2 out of 3 from a team that did not lose at home very often. The Bears, who struggled to put the Monsters away had the opportunity to end it in game 6. A back and forth affair which featured a hat-trick from Pierrick Dube and a lot of clutch saves from Hunter Sheppard. Then, in overtime, Matt Strome, brother of current Washington Capital Dylan Strome ended the series with just his second goal of the playoffs.

A tough and resilient group, they never faltered, even when things seemed difficult. Hendrix Lapierre, Jimmy Huntington, Joe Snively, Ethan Frank, Pierrick Dube, Ivan Miroshnichenko and Chase Priskie led the charge. The man who really deserves a lot of love is starting goalie Hunter Sheppard who made key saves to preserve the win. He played big in the elimination games to close games out. The Bears had a ton of great role players pitch in to help make it all happen. Hendrix Lapierre was rewarded with playoff MVP and I cannot wait to see him back in a red sweater this upcoming year. So many of these guys probably have a chance to make the roster come this fall.

So with this I say, congratulations to the Bears. Capital fans could not be more proud of you guys and all that you have accomplished. The future of the Caps is so bright and hopefully some of these guys will be there in a few years to lift the Stanley Cup. Until next season, good night Hershey. In the words of former Cowboy Running back Emmit Smith: Two in a row, how sweet it is.

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