With the Capitals having already clinched their playoff berth, the club’s two affiliates, the Hershey Bears (AHL) and South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL) are looking to make it another sweep into the playoffs for the organization.
Hershey has been embroiled in a heated battle in the Atlantic Division all season. With five teams vying for just four spots, a really good hockey club is going to be left out. After an abysmal January, the Bears have been fighting that uphill battle brilliantly, especially after the return of Pheonix Copley in a trade and the return from injury of players such as Madison Bowey, Riley Barber, and Nathan Walker.
There has also been an influx of players of late: Hampus Gustafsson, Mattias Backman, and Jonas Siegenthaler. For a team that was very thin numbers-wise through the first part of the year, Hershey’s Troy Mann now has more than enough talent for the playoff push.
Hershey heads into the weekend with a magic number of 14, but according to Matt Trust, that number could be 4 by the end of the weekend. Hershey opens the weekend tonight in Hartford against the Wolf Pack, who have already been eliminated but won’t be an easy out in what many consider a trap game.
Hershey’s perfect world scenario – magic # gets as low as 4 by the end of Sunday. That’s if they sweep the week & BRI loses Fri/Sat in reg.
— Matt Trust (@Matt_Trust) March 31, 2017
Then the Bears return to Giant Center for two big games against 5th place Bridgeport Saturday on Fan Appreciation Night, and against 2nd place Lehigh Valley Sunday. They also travel to Lehigh Valley for a Wednesday night contest. Hershey’s regular season ends on April 15.
Meanwhile, in South Carolina, things are a bit murkier. Heading into their final five games of the regular season, the Stingrays are currently in fourth place in the South, just one point behind third-place Orlando and two points ahead of fifth-place Cincinnati. Three of their remaining games are against those two teams. The other two are against the eliminated Atlanta Gladiators. South Carolina’s final regular season game is April 8.
*South Carolina photos in collage courtesy of the South Carolina Stingrays
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) March 22, 2017