In pandemic-shortened season, Bears finish as AHL's regular season champions
Hershey Bears Celebrate Successful 2021 Season
In a season like none other, no team in the American Hockey League was better than the Hershey Bears. Already the oldest and most decorated franchise in the AHL, Hershey added to its legacy with a season to remember, finishing as the top team in the AHL with an impressive 23-7-2-0 record and a .758 points percentage. While there were no playoffs in the truncated AHL season and the Calder Cup was not awarded, Hershey took home plenty of hardware, winning the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL's regular season champion, and also claiming the F. G. "Teddy" Oke Trophy as the champions of the North Division.
The Bears were led by exceptional goaltending as Zach Fucale and Pheonix Copley teamed up to help Hershey allow the fewest goals per game in the regular season. The Bears allowed an average of 2.33 goals per game in 2020-21, winning the AHL's Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award. It marked the first time the Bears have won the award since 1997 and only the fourth time in team history. Fucale led the AHL with a 1.80 goals-against average and ranked second with a .932 save percentage.
20-year-old rookie Connor McMichael had one of the most impressive rookie seasons in Chocolatetown in recent memory. The 2019 first-round selection of the Washington Capitals led the Bears in scoring with 27 points (14g, 13a). He became the first rookie to lead the Bears in scoring since Craig Fisher during the 1990-91 season. McMichael was clutch, leading the entire AHL in game-winning goals with eight.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
37-year-old Matt Moulson enjoyed a strong second season with Hershey, finishing second on the team in goals (12) and points (24). The veteran of 650 NHL games was named Hershey's 44th captain in team history prior to the season, with the news unveiled in surprise fashion by his kids. Moulson scored his 700th pro point with the Bears this season and played in his 400th AHL game.
GUIDED BY CARBERY AND TOP-NOTCH STAFF
Third-year head coach Spencer Carbery is a favorite to earn AHL Coach of the Year honors after guiding Hershey to the AHL regular season crown. Carbery recorded his 300th pro win and his 100th AHL win during the 2020-21 season. Working side-by-side with Carbery were assistant coaches Scott Allen and Patrick Wellar, goaltending coach Alex Westlund, video coach Emily Engel-Natzke, and strength and conditioning coach Mike Wagner. The team's medical staff, including head athletic trainer Brian Riedel, assistant athletic trainer Shawn Fliszar, manager of wellness and team affairs Dan "Beaker" Stuck, and the club's team doctors kept the team safe and on the ice during the global pandemic.
BEST FANS IN THE AHL
The AHL's season was uncertain at best, and when Hershey first took the ice on Feb. 6, it was a special occasion to welcome 403 fans into the GIANT Center. As the season progressed, more fans were permitted with nearly 1,500 fans cheering on the Chocolate and White at home games. While it was a far cry from the 10,500 fans that normally pack GIANT Center, the top fan base in the AHL supported the team in person, via social media, and by watching games on FOX43 and tuning in on the Highmark Bears Radio Network.
The AHL's 2021-22 season is set to start on October 15. Visit HersheyBears.com throughout the summer for information on the upcoming campaign.