Bears Swept Out of Calder Cup Finals

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Posted June 11, 2016

(via the Bears)

The Hershey Bears knew what they needed to do for a chance to extend the series. Sadly, knowing was the easy half of the battle. The Lake Erie Monsters finished off a sweep in the Calder Cup Finals with a 1-0 overtime goal by Oliver Bjorkstrand to give Lake Erie and its sold out crowd the first Calder Cup in franchise history.

Justin Peters and Anton Forsberg seemed inhuman at times, making saves that they would normally never make. Peters made 32 of 33 saves, only missing on the game winner; Forsberg shutout the Bears with 23 saves.

Through the first period, the 8-6 Lake Erie advantage in shots on goal did not give the best read into the way those 20 minutes went. The Monsters took care to lay three players across the center of the ice while the other two went forward to apply forecheck pressure. The Bears could not break through for many offensive chances, and iced the puck a few too many times for head coach Troy Mann‘s liking.

In the first six minutes of the second, the Monsters put up six shots on goal while allowing zero to hit Forsberg. The best chance for Hershey came when a Nathan Walker shot bounced off Forsberg and came to Riley Barber on the opposite side. Jamie Sifers‘s sliding body was the only reason Barber didn’t bury it.

Despite better chances for both sides, Peters and Forsberg held firm on the line to keep zeroes on the scoreline. For the second consecutive game of the Finals, the Bears and Monsters needed overtime to settle the score.

In the extra frame, the Bears forced the issue, but could not score on Forsberg. With just 14 seconds left, Travis Boyd sent a pass out of the reach of Chandler Stephenson, which Jaime Sifers beat out for icing at 11.1 left to play.

Lukas Sedlak won the faceoff back to Zach Werenski, who then floated a shot on net. It was blocked, but Werenski recollected the puck and sent it back toward the net. Sedlak turned and fired, but Peters made the save. He could not find the puck, and that’s when Bjorkstrand buried his 10th of the playoffs.

From two inches off the goal line, Bjorkstrand’s shot came off Peters’ outstretched glove and redirected into the net. Though the puck crossed the line at 2.8, 1.9 is how the scoreboard read when the Monsters emptied the bench to celebrate their title victory.

Bjorkstrand ended the playoffs with an AHL record three OT winners and tied the AHL record with six game-winners, propelling him to win Calder Cup Playoffs MVP.

This marks the end of the road for Hershey’s run at a 12th Calder Cup, and the last year for team president and general manager Doug Yingst. The Lake Erie Monsters celebrate their first Calder Cup in franchise history and Cleveland’s first hockey title since 1963-64.