Photo by Ralph Barrera, AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Yes, Washington Capitals hockey has been done for over a month now (I think). However, our AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, are still playing; Game 3 of the AHL Calder Cup Finals was just last night. A quick recap of the playoffs for the Bears up to Game 3……
The Hershey Bears roared into the playoffs, and took rounds 1 (4-1 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers), 2 (4-0 against the Albany River Rats), and 3 (4-2 against the Manchester Monarchs) to emerge as the Eastern Conference champions for the 4th time in the last 5 years. In their 3 visits to the Calder Cup Finals in the last 5 years (not including their current trip), the Bears won 2 Cups, increasing the franchise total to 10. This year, the Bears are facing the Texas Stars, who are affiliated with the Dallas Stars. The Stars took Games 1 & 2 by only 1 goal each; however, things were a bit different in Game 3….
The Bears started Game 3 very poorly, and seemed to be falling apart on the ice. By the first intermission, the Bears were down 3-1 to the Stars, and simply weren’t getting chances. They were also taking too many penalties; they just didn’t have momentum. However, that all changed midway through period 2, as the Bears’ offense exploded. The Bears scored 5 unanswered goals, 4 of which were in about 15 minutes of each other. The Stars were shocked, and the Bears continued their dominance until the final buzzer, setting an excellent tone for Games 4 & 5, both of which are in Texas.
Anyway, no team has EVER come back to win the Calder Cup after being down 2-0 in the series. However, this Bears team has already done things other teams have never accomplished…… to use the NHL’s 2010 playoffs motto: “History will be made.” You can be sure that hockey fans in the Washington DC area sure hope this is true. After all the disappointments the Capitals have had this season (playoffs, Olympics, World Championships, individual trophies….), perhaps our farm team to the north can bring in some award.
I sure hope so.