HERSHEY -- There were six good reasons why the Hershey Bears should have seen their win streak come to an end Sunday.
After all, the Washington Capitals recalled Alexandre Giroux, the league's leading goal-scorer. Giroux joined Keith Aucoin, the AHL's overall point leader, and four of Hershey's top defensemen in Carolina on Sunday.
There were 30 good reasons why it didn't.
Daren Machesney stopped all 30 shots he faced, Chris Bourque banked a shot off the leg of goalie Mike McKenna for the only goal the Bears needed. But, Steve Pinizzotto and Graham Mink also added goals, and the Bears skated to a 3-0 victory over the Norfolk Admirals at Giant Center.
The win was the 11th straight for the Bears, breaking the franchise record for consecutive regular-season victories set by the 2001-02 team. That team's streak came during a late-season drive for the playoffs after it had set the franchise record for consecutive losses. The only streak longer in franchise history is the 12-game run through the playoffs to the 1988 Calder Cup championship.
"It's cool," Machesney said about backstopping the team to the record. "I don't think we realize what we're doing right now. That's a good thing. I think we just take care of business, a win's a win, and we go on to the next one."
The shutout was Machesney's third of the season, but all that really mattered was the victory.
"You just want to get the win," he said, "and shutouts are a bonus."
Machesney's biggest saves came in the second period while the game was still scoreless.
"I told Gordo (Andrew Gordon) I was gonna go forward with it (the puck)," Bourque said. "And I told him to go back door just in case. It (the puck) was just sitting there behind (Norfolk's Zenon) Konopka's skates. I knew the goalie wasn't going to be ready, so I figured 'Why not just throw it on net, and if it doesn't go in, there's a rebound.'"
As far as Hershey coach Bob Woods was concerned, setting a record with a recall-depleted team spoke volumes about not only the players who helped get the streak started before getting called up to Washington, but about the players who have stepped in to replace them.
"It's awesome," Woods said. "You look at what this team has overcome in the last two, three weeks, it makes it even more special. Again, credit to these guys. They just refuse to lose, no matter who we have in the lineup, no matter who we're playing against. We find a way. It was just a good, gutsy effort tonight. I thought they tried to come in here and intimidate us. We weren't going to have any of that. The guys paid the price to put themselves in the history book by themselves."
Pinizzotto, one of the players called up from South Carolina of the ECHL to help fill the lineup, echoed those sentiments.
"It just shows how deep this team actually is," he said. "You can call guys up at any time (from the ECHL), and they're gonna perform. Everybody's here to compete, from the bottom up. (The recalls by Washington) you don't even think about. It's a good opportunity for the younger guys to step up and show what they have to offer."