On Saturday, October 20, 2012, the Hershey Bears played in their first home game of the season. The Bears hosted the Rochester Americans at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This game was an important one to central Pennsylvania hockey fans. While the NHL lockout is still going strong, local fans would be able to see their beloved Hershey Bears play at home once again. Unfortunately, though it was a high scoring and fun game, the outcome was a disappointing one for the home crowd. The Americans took the victory by a score of 8-7.
By the end of the first period, the Bears had held a significant lead. The team was up by a score of 3-1. In the second period, the Americans had a big comeback. By the end of the period, the Americans and Bears were tied at 5-5. In the third period, the Americans were helped by three power play goals over a timespan of two minutes. Though the Bears got two goals in the third, it just wasn't enough. The game ended with the Americans taking the victory by a score of 8-7.
With the season just beginning, currently the Bears are near the bottom of the East Division of the Eastern Conference. Only the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are below the Bears. The Penguins have no wins in four games and the Bears have one win in four games. Currently the Syracuse Crunch and the Norfolk Admirals are at the top with perfect seasons and the Binghamton Senators are in the middle with one loss. The team still has a whole season ahead and has plenty of time to get things together and rise to the top of the East Division.
Until the NHL lockout ends, the team will have the assistance of two players, Braden Holtby and Dmitry Orlov, and one coach, Adam Oates, who would all be with the Washington Capitals otherwise. Unfortunately, the Bears are not the only team with this advantage. Each AHL team likely has at least a few players that would otherwise be with the NHL. It is likely that the NHL players knocked some of the AHL players down to the ECHL. Though the players will eventually be recalled once the lockout ends, all that is so far known is that the NHL season is cancelled through November 1, 2012. There is always the chance that the season will be cancelled entirely but both sides seem to realize this would be a terrible thing for hockey.
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- Hershey Bears