The Washington Capitals may not be in the playoffs but both their minor league affiliates are. The Hershey Bears of the AHL are in the Calder Cup playoffs while the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL are in the Kelly Cup playoffs. The Bears got off to a good start with a 5-2 win last night in Game 1 on the road over the Charlotte Checkers.
Mike Vecchione opened up the scoring at 14:11 for the Bears in the first period, redirecting a shot form Mike Sgarbossa while Gabriel Carlsson recorded a secondary assist.
Aliaksei Protas then scored his first career Calder Cup playoff goal at 16:43 as Hendrix Lapierre and Sam Anas had the assists. Lapierre then scored at 2:06 of the second period with a centering pass off the wall deflected off a Checkers skater and past their goalie. It was also Lapierre’s first of the postseason. Anas and Vincent Iorio assisted.
Connor McMichael made it 4-0 before the Checkers answered with two goals of their own before Sgarbossa ended it with an empty net power play goal. Ethen Frank and Iorio assisted there. McMichael’s goal came off a feed from Garrett Pilon.
Shots wre 25-24 in favor of Hershey. Hunter Shepared made 22 saves for the Bears. Hershey finished one for three on the power play and the Checkers finished one for four on the power play.
The series continues tonight with Game 2 tonight at 6 p.m. It’s best three out of five. After Game 2 at Bojangles Coliseum the series shifts to Giant Center for Game 3 on Wednesday May 3 at 7 p.m. You can buy tickets here.
The Bears finished the regular season 44-19-5-4 with 97 points. That was good for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Providence Bruins finished just ahead of them in first place by one point. Charlotte is just under the Bears as they finished with 86 points.