(Photos by Caps Outsider) It was all about the fans Saturday night...
Fur Flies in Hershey, Bears Walk Away with 7-1 Win
With 3:32 left to go in the first period, Graham Mink scored Hershey’s first goal of the night again the Portland Pirates (former AHL affiliate of the Capitals, current affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes), taking advantage of a 5-on-3 to tie the game in the seconds after its expiration. Predictably, the almost sold-out crowd went wild. Slightly less common, however, was the fact that stuffed animals then began to rain from the stands.
The Teddy Bear Toss is an annual tradition that’s found in minor league arenas around the continent, and it’s one that the fans in Hershey embrace with enthusiasm. 10, 190 bears landed on the ice following Mink’s goal, a number that is doubly impressive when one takes into account that there were quite a few empty seats for the 10,238 tickets sold.
This year, the event also seems to have served a second purpose, sparking the Bears to new levels of goal production for the season, with 4 goals scored in the second period alone. The Bears went on to cap off the win with a final 2 tallies in the third period to give them 6 goals in less than 20 minutes of game play. Final score for the game would be 7-1, with both Dany Sabourin and the Pirates’ Justin Pogge playing all sixty minutes.
In a demonstration of both class and common sense, the first line spent almost the entirety of the third period on the bench. Not only did this allow the lower lines a chance to take their shots, but it also allowed the top forwards to rest and avoid the potential for injury with a game scheduled for tomorrow at 3PM in Bridgeport. For those interested in such things, all three stars of the game were members of the Hershey line-up, with the recently returned Ryan Potulny taking the #1 distinction.
In South Carolina, the Stingrays also hosted a Teddy Bear Toss, with David de Kastrozza scoring the goal that led to over 3,000 bears hitting the green ice in Charleston. Despite his efforts, the Rays lost 2-1 to Kalamazoo.