Andrew Gordon doesn’t have just one close friend on the Hershey Bears. The way he sees it, he has more than 20.
Gordon, a Porters Lake native, and longtime buddy Andrew Joudrey of Bedford, are key members of a close-knit Bears team that has advanced to the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Final against the Manitoba Moose.
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“Every day you go to the rink, you’re fighting to spend another week with your closest friends,” says Gordon. “That’s the attitude this team has. We have a great group of guys. We want to go as long as possible so we can all stay together.”
It’s been a magical run for the Bears, who open the Calder Cup Final on Saturday in Winnipeg. They swept the Philadelphia Phantoms in four, edged the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in seven, and dumped the Providence Bruins in five.
Gordon calls himself a “two-way scoring/checking winger” and has five goals and two assists in 16 games. Joudrey, penalty-killing forward, has a goal and three assists. Although the Washington Capitals draft picks are only second-year pros, they’re making the most of this playoff run — especially after talking with their senior-most teammate, Bryan Helmer.
The 37-year-old Helmer, a multi-time all-star, has only been to the Calder Cup Final twice in 16 seasons.
“I’m realizing in a career, you only have one or two chances to be part of something special like this,” says Gordon, a linemate of Sidney Crosby’s in 2001-02 with the Dartmouth Subways.
“If we can win this championship, I’ll remember it forever.”
The 23-year-old made his NHL debut with the Washington Capitals in December, a fine accomplishment for a late pick. He’s hoping to stay longer the next time up, and hoisting the Calder Cup would be a big step in that direction.
“This is the reason we all play the game,” says Gordon simply. “We want to win championships.”