Bears return home, prepare for Calder Cup finals

HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – 48 hours is all the Hershey Bears will get between the Eastern Conference and Calder Cup Finals.

But at least they’re still playing hockey in June.

Hershey defeated Toronto in Game 5 Sunday night, hopped a quick flight back down to the midstate, and were back on the ice Tuesday for one last practice before puck drops on Game 1 of the championship round Wednesday night.

“The mood in the locker room is full of excitement, we just want to get this thing going.”

The Bears have not played their finals opponent, the Lake Erie Monsters, at all this season. Without hands on experience with the Western Conference Champions, they’ll rely on game footage to fuel their game plan.

“You have to watch a lot of video. Our coaches are working hard to break that down. We also talk to guys who have played them this year, and go from there.”

Scheduling has been an unusually high factor throughout the playoffs for the Bears. In 3 of the team’s 4 playoff series’, Hershey has had home ice, with the Giant Center crowd seeing the Bears beat Portland in Game 5, and Wilkes-Barre in Game 7. The Bears have also had home ice for the last three consecutive series for Games 1 and 2, despite not having home ice advantage against Toronto. Case in point: when they’ve needed home ice, they’ve gotten it, and it’s worked in their favor.

“I think it’s much like last series, you want to get a jump start. The difference maker now, is that Games 6 and 7 will be here in Hershey if we need them.”

Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals starts Wednesday night at 7 o’clock.

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