The Hershey Bears have already clinched a playoff berth in the American Hockey League. The regular season ends on Sunday, April 15, 2012. Before that final day for regular season AHL action, the Bears will have three more games to play. All three games are away for the Bears, so it will no doubt be a hectic weekend for the Bears but one that fans should still pay close attention to.
On Friday, April 13, 2012, the Bears will travel to play the Portland Pirates. The next day, on Saturday, April 13, the team will travel to face the Manchester Monarchs. Finally, on Sunday, April 15, the Bears will have one final regular season game against the Worcester Sharks.
Though the Worcester Sharks have been eliminated from the playoffs, the other two teams have a lot to play for. Though the game against the Sharks may be a good chance for the Bears to end the season on a high note, the other two games will likely be much more difficult. The Pirates and the Monarchs still have something to fight for.
With just one more weekend left to play, there are still several teams vying for the last few playoff berths. In the Eastern Conference, there are still two slots available. Currently, the Syracuse Crunch and the Portland Pirates are in the best position to clinch the final berths. However, the Manchester Monarchs, Adirondack Phantoms and the Providence Bruins are still alive in the playoff race. The Western Conference still has four berths that are open and there are eight teams that could still make the playoffs. It all comes down to the last weekend of the regular season.
The Bears are currently ranked fifth in the Eastern Conference, but that could change depending on what the weekend holds for the team. If the Bears stay in fifth, the team would be playing the fourth ranked team in the Eastern Conference in the first round of the playoffs. Currently, that team is the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Hopefully, the Bears will have a great game on April 15 so that the team can have momentum going into the playoffs. The playoffs will likely feature a tough opponent so the Bears can use all the help they can get.