HERSHEY, Pa. – It might be hot outside, but there was ice down at Giant Center for the first time in a few months as a perfect break from the heat as 3ICE made its fourth tour stop in the Sweetest Place on Earth. The fast-paced league takes a page out of the NHL’s overtime rules but ups the ante to try and accomplish an even faster version of it by doing away with any rule that might slow down the action. The result is a tournament-style event that makes for a fun night at a hockey rink with Hershey the best stop-to-date.
3ICE, in its inaugural season, is comprised of six teams headed by legendary former NHL players and the players have their own unique paths to participating in the games. There’s plenty of familiarity to minor league fans, particularly hardcore fans of the Hershey Bears, and some unique faces who have gotten to the games in avenues that are unique to the league.
Hershey is a place where those who contributed to the organization over the years are recognized, and there were plenty of familiar faces to cheer for. Parker Milner, the stalworth third netminder for a number of years before stepping away from pro hockey received a warm welcome when he was announced. Joe Whitney skated for a large portion of the ill-fated 2017-18 season, and former Hershey skaters Jeff Taffe, Chris Connor, and brief stint players like Colton Saucerman all made appearances where they previously donned the Chocolate and White. Other players who didn’t get as big of a chance in the pro ranks get a chance to show their skills here, like Peter Lenes and Jeremy Brodeur. Even former Hershey foes like Bobby Farnham made an appearance in the event.
— Bears Hockey Nation (@HBHNationBlog) July 9, 2022
The rules are designed to keep action flowing – all penalties result in penalty shots, the puck is generally live if it’s on the ice, and there are no restrictions on player movement provided it’s in the interest of keeping the action flowing. That means goaltenders can skate the length of the ice if they want, penalty shots feature the other players chasing the shooting player to the net, and a mostly running clock keeps the pressure on in two halves for each game at eight minutes each.
It’s all geared towards the “best part of hockey” as the event’s headline indicates. The tournament sees three opening-round matchups, with the loser who scores the most goals taking the fourth and final spot in the semi-finals and getting a chance at new life in the second round. Even if a game gets lopsided, the scoring race adds intrigue to the games for a lucky loser to potentially have a redemption story, which was the case in this game in Hershey Saturday night. Team Murphy trailed Team LeClair by a 7-1 count late in regulation but scored three times in the last several minutes courtesy of a failed rush with the goaltender to become the lucky loser to ultimately get a rematch. Team Murphy would pull off the upset to get a date in the final matchup of the day with Team Mullen.
— Bears Hockey Nation (@HBHNationBlog) July 10, 2022
The last game featured the underdog Team Murphy taking on the reigning league champions Team Mullen. Joe Mullen‘s squad went to the final matchup for the fourth straight week and took the final game by a 5-1 final score. With plenty of goals and jaw-dropping saves, it continued the trend set in the first three weeks of providing hockey fans their fix in the long summer months and showed off the fun and creative side of the sport.
3ICE has four more stops to make before its final show, and more information including where to watch can be found on its website.
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