The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears have met six previous times in the Calder Cup Playoffs, with each team taking three of those series.
As the player with more games in a WBS sweater than anybody else, you’d think Tom Kostopoulos would be keenly aware of the postseason history between the clubs.
But five of those six meetings were played during Kostopoulos’ time away from northeast PA – with only the first series between the Pens and Bears back in 2001 coming with the team’s current captain suiting up.
Still, with 12 games between the teams this regular season alone, Kostopoulos and the Penguins are more than familiar with their opponents in the Atlantic Division Final.
“Every game we played them throughout the year was intense,” said Kostopoulos. “It seems a lot of them went right down to the end. So I imagine it will be a fun-filled series, a lot of intense games.”
Five of the games between the clubs this season were decided by a single goal, and each team posted identical 6-5-1 records in the 2015-16 series. Each team posted one shutout, and the the Bears just clipped the Pens in the goals column, 41-37.
When a series is that closely contested, the difference between winning and losing can be minute.
“Every little thing matters,” said head coach Clark Donatelli. “You’ve got to manage the puck, your wall play has to be good, line changes have to be good and you have to be disciplined.”