For the first time since 2010, the Hershey Bears will play in the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s the organization’s fifth conference final appearance since 2006, winning all the previous four appearances to advance to the Calder Cup Finals.
The opposition for the Chocolate and White will be the Toronto Marlies, who finished the regular season on top in the AHL. Toronto finished the season 54-16-5-1, good for 114 points and a .750 point percentage.
A factor contributing to both Hershey and Toronto’s regular season success is the high-voltage offense mixed with youth. The Bears saw contributions all season long from rookies Riley Barber, Travis Boyd, along with defensemen Tyler Lewington, Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos.
Boyd scoring the Game 7 series clinching goal against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins was an appropriate microcosm of the season.
The Toronto Marlies have been the beneficiary of a new, redevelopment attitude with the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise. Connor Carrick, Connor Brown and William Nylander have been the corner stone to the Leafs’ young prospects who saw time in the NHL this season. They are all with the Marlies bidding for a Calder Cup.
The Marlies are a team that will activate their defense and use them actively in the offensive zone. In addition to Carrick’s six goals and eight assists from the blue line in the Calder Cup Playoffs, he is accompanied by T.J. Brennan. Brennan tallied 25 goals during the regular season from the blue line, and has also scored five more goals in the playoffs.
We are in for a fun series full of youth, talent and future stars of the National Hockey League.
Game 1 is tonight at 7 PM at GIANT Center.
Submitted by Matt Trust