12/31/2008 - The HERSHEY BEARS conclude 2008 with a matinee performance Wednesday afternoon in Springfield against the Falcons. Face-off at Mass Mutual Center is at 1:00 p.m.
Following a 5-3 win over the Albany River Rats Sunday at GIANT Center, the BEARS enter play on New Year's Eve as the best team in the AHL in terms of points (47), wins (23) and winning percentage (.734). After a strong start to 2008-09, Springfield has fallen on hard times of late, having gone winless in six (0-5-1-0) and just one win in its last 10.
Despite HERSHEY'S success in 2008, the East Division race continues to be a tight one. With a 6-4 win over Philadelphia Tuesday, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have moved within three points of the BEARS for the top spot. Bridgeport sits just two points back. Wilkes-Barre has won five straight games to make a move toward the top of the division, and Binghamton sits just five points back of first place in fourth. HERSHEY however has games in hand on every other East Division rival heading into Wednesday's game in Springfield.
In the East Division Wednesday, Norfolk is in Portland to take on the Pirates at 5:30 p.m. while Albany is in Binghamton to face the Senators at 6:05 p.m. All other clubs in the division are off until 2009.
Wednesday's game can be heard via the BEARS Radio Network (100.1 FM, 1490 AM, Sportsjuice.com, AHLLive.com) beginning with the pregame show at 12:40 p.m. John Walton has the call of the action from Mass Mutual Center. The game is the first of a five-game road trip for the Chocolate and White, with the next home game coming up on Friday, January 9 against Houston at GIANT Center. Tickets are on sale now at the GIANT Center box office, or by calling (717) 534-3911.