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Capitals fan’s guide to the Hershey Bears’ Calder Cup Playoff run

Capitals fan’s guide to Hershey Bears’ Calder Cup run originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Coming off a regular season that saw them finish with their highest win total in eight years, the Hershey Bears have carried their momentum into the postseason to reach the Calder Cup Finals for the 24th time in franchise history.

The Bears cruised through their first two series of the playoffs, taking down the Charlotte Checkers 3-1 in the second round before sweeping the Hartford Wolf Pack out of the Atlantic Division Finals. They then knocked off the Rochester Americans 4-2, advancing to the Finals without having faced an elimination game.

Hershey was a dominant force in the AHL’s Atlantic Division this season, posting a 44-19-5-4 record (97 points) to earn the division’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. The third-seeded Checkers won two of three over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last week for the right to play the Bears, who went 3-3-1-1 against Charlotte in 2022-23.

Nine players who suited up for the Capitals this season will be active for the Bears in the Finals including versatile forward Aliaksei Protas, who tallied 15 points in 58 games for Washington. Recent first-round picks Connor McMichael (2019, 25th overall) and Hendrix Lapierre (2020, 22nd) were among the team’s standouts in the regular season.

With the Bears' quest to extend their AHL record for most Calder Cup titles up to 12 underway, here’s everything Capitals fans need to know:

Hershey’s Capitals Draft Picks

C Hendrix Lapierre (1st round, 2020) – 60 GP, 15 G, 15 A in regular season

C Connor McMichael (1st round, 2019) – 57 GP, 16 G, 23 A

D Lucas Johansen (1st round, 2016) – 40 GP, 1 G, 6 A

D Vincent Iorio (2nd round, 2021) – 63 GP, 2 G, 20 A

LW Ludwig Persson (3rd round, 2022) – Played in Sweden

LW Alexander Suzdalev (3rd round, 2022) – Played in WHL

C Aliaksei Protas (3rd round, 2019) – 9 GP, 2 G, 3 A

C Riley Sutter (3rd round, 2018) – 69 GP, 5 G, 7 A

RW Garrett Pilon (3rd round, 2016) – 53 GP, 11 G, 18 A

RW Bogdan Trineyev (4th round, 2020) – 2 GP, 0 G, 0 A

LW Beck Malenstyn (5th round, 2016) – 40 GP, 6 G, 4 A

LW Shane Gersich (5th round, 2014) – 53 GP, 9 G, 14 A

D Dru Krebs (6th round, 2021) – Played in WHL

G Garin Bjorklund (6th round, 2020) – Played in ECHL

Bold indicates player appeared in WSH this season

Hershey’s DMV Products

RW Sam Anas (Birthplace: Potomac, MD) – 41 GP, 13 G, 8 A

LW Joe Snively (Herndon, VA) – 32 GP, 9 G, 18 A

Bold indicates player appeared in WSH this season

Hershey’s Regular Season Stat Leaders

Points: Mike Sgarbossa (58), Mike Vecchione (55), Ethen Frank (49)

Goals: Ethen Frank (30), Mike Vecchione (23), Mike Sgarbossa (21)

Assists: Mike Sgarbossa (37), Mike Vecchione (32), Mason Morelli (29)

Power Play Goals: Ethen Frank (9), Mike Vecchione (7), Hendrix Lapierre (5)

Penalty Minutes: Dylan McIlrath (102), Kale Kessy (107), Mason Morelli (72)

Plus/Minus: Gabriel Carlsson (+22), Mike Sgarbossa (+19), Mason Morelli (+19)

Goalie Wins: Zach Fucale (21), Hunter Shepard (20)

Goals Against Average: Hunter Shepard (2.18), Zach Fucale (2.54)

Save Percentage: Hunter Shepard (.916), Zach Fucale (.902)

Shutouts: Zach Fucale (2), Hunter Shepard (1)

Atlantic Division Standings

  1. y - Providence Bruins, 44-18-8-2 (98 points)

  2. x - Hershey Bears, 44-19-5-4 (97 points)

  3. x - Charlotte Checkers, 39-25-5-3 (86 points)

  4. x - Springfield Thunderbirds, 38-26-3-5 (84 points)

  5. x - Hartford Wolf Pack, 36-26-4-7 (81 points)

  6. x – Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 37-29-3-3 (80 points)

  7. Bridgeport Islanders, 34-30-7-1 (76 points)

  8. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 26-32-8-6 (66 points)

Calder Cup Finals Schedule

Schedule not yet announced.

Eastern Conference Finals Schedule

Game 1: L vs. Rochester, 5-1

Game 2: W vs. Rochester, 2-0

Game 3: W @ Rochester, 4-2

Game 4: W @ Rochester, 4-2

Game 5: L vs. Rochester, 4-1

Game 7: W @ Rochester, 1-0

Atlantic Division Finals Schedule

Game 1: W vs. Hartford, 3-2 (OT)

Game 2: W vs. Hartford, 4-2

Game 3: W @ Hartford, 3-1

Bears win series 3-0

Division Semifinal Round Schedule

Game 1: W @ Charlotte, 5-2

Game 2: W @ Charlotte, 5-1

Game 3: L vs. Charlotte, 2-1

*Game 4: W vs. Charlotte, 6-2

Bears win series 3-1

Bears’ Path to the Calder Cup

First round: Bye

Atlantic Division Semifinals: Best-of-five vs. No. 3 Charlotte Checkers

Atlantic Division Finals: Best-of-five vs. No. 5 Hartford

Eastern Conference Finals: Best-of-seven vs. No. 3 Rochester Americans

Calder Cup Finals: Best-of-seven vs. Western Conference winner

How to Watch Calder Cup Playoff Games

NBC Sports Washington has teamed up with FOX43 to broadcast live Hershey's best-of-seven series against Rochester.

Fans hoping to watch the Calder Cup Playoffs can purchase the Playoffs All-Access package with AHLTV for $29.99. Single Day access plans are available for $8.99.

All Hershey Bears games are also broadcast on the Bears Radio Network, available via the Hershey Bears app or iHeartRadio.

How to Buy Tickets

Tickets for the Calder Cup Finals are on sale via Ticketmaster.