HERSHEY, Pa. — The Hershey Bears wrapped up their series with the Charlotte Checkers on May 4. One week later, they will open up another best of five against the Hartford Wolf Pack.
In between, the team is staying in shape but remaining fresh for another gritty Calder Cup playoff series.
"We kind of went off the same template as before the first series," said Bears head coach Todd Nelson. "It's a shorter duration but the thing is we gave the guys a day off and then came back for three days of work. We don't like touching the ice seven days in a row so we had to throw a day off in there, but the plan worked last time; hopefully it translates to a good start on Thursday night."
Hershey has the home ice advantage in this series so they host Hartford in Game One on Thursday and then also for Game Two on Saturday Night at Giant Center.
They expect another tough, physical series with the Wolf Pack, but that's always expected once you reach the postseason.
"Whatever player it is, they have to do a little more come playoff time because the intensity ramps up a bit," explained Bears center Riley Sutter. "Each round gets more intense, so I think everybody has to do their job a little bit better than they did in the regular season."
The Bears' parent club, the Capitals, decided this week was a good time to lock up current Bears center Mike Sgarbossa for two more years.
The 30-year old is in his fifth season with Hershey. He was the team's leading scorer this past regular season with 58 points. Sgarbossa agreed to a two-year, two-way contract worth $1.3 million.
"It's kind of become a family for us," said Sgarbossa. "We're just so familiar with a lot of the people in both organizations, Hershey and Washington. It's very comfortable for us and we're very happy."