Kilpatrick Trophy: Hershey Bears win as AHL regular-season champions

On Friday, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms were trounced 4-1 by the Hershey Bears. Once the West Coast slate of games was finished early in the morning, The Hershey Bears – the longest continuously operating member club, not only tied the AHL record for the highest number of victories in a season of 72 games, but they also took home the Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL RS winners.

Hershey Bears Win as AHL Regular-Season Champions

Following the Coachella Valley Firebirds’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Bakersfield Condors, Hershey (51-12-0-5) secured the league’s highest point total of 107 points. Even if Coachella Valley (44-14-6-4) prevailed and the Bears dropped every game, the Firebirds (98 points) would no longer be able to catch up with only four games left on the schedule.

Hershey led the AHL in the RS for the eighth time in franchise history, and it is the club’s fourth trophy win overall since the AHL Board of Governors established it in 1997. The team seemed to be unstoppable during the whole season.

The two goaltenders of the Bears’ this season, Clay Stevenson, who earlier in the season established the team mark for the most shutouts in a single season (12), and Hunter Shepard, led by two-time Calder Cup winner Todd Nelson, have both put on outstanding performances. In terms of save % and goals vs average, the two goalies are among the best in the American Hockey League.

Along with having one of the strongest blue lines in the AHL with veterans Dylan McIlrath, Lucas Johansen, and Aaron Ness, Hershey also has three different offensive players who have scored twenty goals or more: Alex Limoges (23), Pierrick Dube (27), and Ethen Frank (29).

In the league, the Bears have scored the ninth-most goals (219) and given up the fewest goals (139). They lead the AHL in regulation victories with 39.

Hershey will get the Calder Cup playoffs’ first-round bye since they won their division.

About Hershey Bears

The Hershey Bears are a storied American professional ice hockey team based in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1938, they are the oldest continuously operating member club of the American Hockey League (AHL). The Bears have a rich history, marked by their record 11 Calder Cup championships, the most of any team in the AHL. This success has earned them a passionate fan base and a prominent place in minor-league hockey history.

The team plays its home games at the Giant Center, which opened in 2002 and replaced the historic Hersheypark Arena, their home since the team’s inception. The arena offers a state-of-the-art facility while maintaining the intimate atmosphere beloved by its fans. The Bears are also known for their strong community involvement, including various charity events and youth hockey programs, reinforcing their integral role in the local community. The team serves as the primary development club for the NHL’s Washington Capitals, highlighting its key role in nurturing hockey talent.

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