July 14, 2024

Bears return to Hershey with chance to lift Calder Cup for 13th time HERSHEY, Pa. (WHP) — The Hershey Bears have taken a 3-2 lead in the Calder Cup Finals, and have a chance to win a 13th championship on Monday in Pennsylvania. The Bears beat the Coachella Valley Firebirds on Saturday night 3-2, thanks to two goals from Jimmy Huntington.

The Bears had to rally in the third period, getting goals from Haman Aktell and Huntington. Huntington scored the game winner with less than 4 minutes in the game.

Goalie Hunter Shephard stopped 24 of 26 shots, and earned his 27th career playoff win for the Bears. That ties him for third most Calder Cup Playoff wins in franchise history with Nick Damore.

Bears coach Todd Nelson also made some history. He earned his 69th AHL playoff victory, giving him sole possession of third place in playoff wins all-time among AHL coaches.

The Bears will play Game 6 of the Calder Cup Finals against Coachella Valley Monday at the Giant Center. The puck will drop at 7 p.m.

READ MORE: Hershey Bears reflect on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s five days with the team: ‘We were definitely hoping for one game’

HERSHEY, PA — The Hershey Bears have experienced many exciting moments this season, but having 2018 Stanley Cup champion Evgeny Kuznetsov on their roster — even just for five days — ranked high on their list.

Kuznetsov ended up with the Capitals’ minor-league affiliate as he returned from a 25-day stay in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance program. When the Capitals placed him on waivers, none of the other 31 NHL teams picked him up. Kuznetsov officially joined Hershey the night of Monday, March 4 while Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan worked out a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes in the background, briefly making him the highest-paid player in AHL history ($8 million).

Kuznetsov had every reason to pout or be a poor sport after being sent to the minors. Instead, Bears players were amazed by his humbleness, optimism, and positive energy. And oh yeah, his skill and skating ability.

“It was a great experience,” Ethen Frank said. “He was probably one of the most energetic people and happy guys I’ve ever met. You could just tell he was happy just to have another chance and to be able to continue to play the game no matter where he’s at. He just had a great attitude and he made it a lot more fun because he’s cracking jokes and his laugh is pretty contagious. It was nice to have him for the little bit we did.”

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