Hershey Bears can sweep Lehigh Valley with Game 3 win
Head coach Troy Mann at least wanted the Hershey Bears to split their first two games of the Calder Cup Atlantic Division semifinals.
The Bears went on the road and picked up two wins over Lehigh Valley instead.
Hershey wasn’t perfect — it just squeaked by with a 5-4 comeback victory in Game 2 — but the Bears will still return to the Giant Center on Wednesday with a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five series. Now, with the opportunity to sweep the series with a win, it’s all about keeping the momentum.
“You got to control the emotion in the room,” Mann said, “and get back to reality in terms of understanding there is still a lot of hockey to be played. You have to go for the jugular in Game 3 if you can. You can’t give them any belief that they can come back in the series.”
The first two games of the series were both close, with the Bears taking Game 1 in overtime, 1-0. There’s a significant number of players remaining from the Hershey team that made a run to the Calder Cup final last season and Mann is confident they know what it takes.
“Game 1 in a best-of-five series is so critical,” Mann said. “We do believe that was our best game of the two. You have to always weather the storm on the round in that first period. Game 1 we came out strong. Game 2 had much more urgency on [Lehigh’s] part.”
Mann said the Bears had “a great week of preparation” last week getting ready for the series. Since the two teams played so many times during the regular season, there isn’t much to dissect that Hershey hasn’t already seen.
It made minor tweaks here and there, but the Bears won’t change their game plan heading into Game 3. Mostly, they are focused on preventing Lehigh from doing what it does best. One of its strongest attributes, Mann said, is the power play.
“They’re excellent in transition,” Mann said. “We did not do a very good job on discipline in Game 2. That’s something we need to correct in Game 3. In Game 2, we got away from it.”
Game 3 is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday.