The Washington Capitals AHL affiliate the Hershey Bears have been on fire and for good reason. After winning the Calder Cup in a thrilling seven game finals, they have picked up where they left off from that magical spring. In fact they have the best record in the AHL with a 17-4-0-0 record and 34 points, their best start in franchise history.
Last night the Bears won their eighth game in a row with a 4-2 win on the road over the Charlotte Checkers. Those two teams meet again tonight at 6 p.m. With Hershey being just over two hours up the road from the DMV area, it’s a good road trip if you want to see some future Capitals and the best prospects in action.
Veteran Mike Sgarbossa leads the Bears with 21 points and 17 assists along with four goals. Pierrick Dube leads Hershey with 10 goals on the season along with four assists for 14 points. Among the goalies, Clay Stevenson is 7-3-0-0 with a 1.70 goals against average and a 93.1 save percentage. The MVP of the Calder Cup playoffs Hunter Shepard is 9-1-0-1/0 with a 2.66 goals against average and an 89.8 save percentage.
The Bears also feature Herndon, VA native Joe Snively who’s scored six goals and added 11 assists for 17 points. The one prospect star everyone is watching though is 2022 first round pick Ivan Miroshnichenko. He’s doing solid with six goals and seven assists for 13 points thus far.
Usually when teams win a championship no matter the sport, there’s always that fear of a hangover after tasting the thrill of the biggest victory. But for Bears head coach Todd Nelson, who spoke with Monumental Sports Network’s Tarik El-Bashir, he’s relieved that hasn’t been the case at all.
"“I was worried about it, that we’d have a hangover,” Nelson explained to El-Bashir. “But what’s interesting is for the guys that won last year, it’s like there’s this hunger and thirst to win another one.”"
Some of those key Calder Cup players are on the Caps current roster right now but for the ones who remained in Chocolate Town, the hunger and thirst remains as those players want another Cup and want the new guys such as Miroshnichenko to experience the taste of winning themselves.
With the Bears currently at the top of the AHL standings and on a hot streak of their own, they could once again be tough to beat this upcoming spring.