The Hershey Bears are about to participate in their fourth Calder Cup final in the last five seasons. Winning the trophy would be the 11th time in Bears history that the Chocolate and White ended the season as AHL champions.
This year’s path to the finals has not been an easy one. In winning 12 games through three series thus far, the Bears captured seven of those 12 wins in overtime, an AHL playoff record for overtime wins in a playoff season.
One of the interesting things about the Bears and their seven playoff wins is that the seven overtime game-winning goals have come from the sticks of seven different players. Not only that, but the identity of the seven players suggests that the experience gained in a playoff setting can’t be underestimated as a factor dealing with the high-pressure situations that overtimes bring.
The seven players have combined for 385 career playoff games in the AHL and have a combined scoring line of 59-133-192, plus-53 in those games. For the record, here they are with their AHL playoff records…
And in case you have not noticed, goalie Michal Neuvirth is 7-2 in overtime playoff games over the last two post-seasons.
Nothing beats experience at this time of year. As disappointing as the end of this season was for the Capitals, one hopes that the 28 games of playoff experience earned over the past three seasons will be the platform from which the big club can launch a more successful Stanley Cup run next season.