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AHL Morning Skate: June 10, 2024 |

The Hershey Bears have been in this situation before. Probably more times than they wanted.

In the division semifinals this spring, Hershey was shut out in Game 3 before eliminating Lehigh Valley in Game 4. During last year's Calder Cup championship run, the Bears lost games at home to Charlotte in the semis and and Rochester in the Eastern Conference. The finalists have a chance to advance. And of course there was a Game 6 loss in the Coachella Valley before taking home the trophy in Game 7.

In fact, since 2015, the Bears have won 12 playoff series, but lost at least one potential game in nine of them.

“We knew it would be a challenge,” the captain Dylan McIlrath he told FOX 43 after Saturday's 5-1 loss to Cleveland in Game 5 cut their streak to three games to two.

After three games in front of more than 40,000 fans at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, the Bears were happy to return home, where they had not lost all season.

“We're excited to get in front of our fans,” added McIlrath. “They carry us. Sixth man out there. It will be really good. We know that [Giant Center] it will go and go.”

The Bears' path to the 25th Calder Cup Finals is as unclear as it was four days ago. The back-to-back losses — the first since Games 1 and 2 of last year's Finals series against Coachella Valley — put Hershey in a position seen only once in the franchise's 86-year history.

Prior to this series, the Bears had led the series 3-0 22 different times. They completed the sweep 14 times, and ended the series in Game 5 seven times.

The only opponent to push Hershey to a Game 6 was the 1989 Adirondack Red Wings, who won that sixth game at Hersheypark Arena before completing the 1989 comeback. Adam Graves' overtime goal back at the Glens Falls Civic Center in Game 7.

― with files from Patrick Williams

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