01/09/2009 - After a successful five-game road trip, the BEARS return home Friday night for the club's first game at GIANT Center in 2009. HERSHEY hosts the Houston Aeros Friday for a regular season game, the first time the team from Texas has played a game at GIANT Center. Face-off is at 7:00 p.m.
The Chocolate and White completed four wins in five away from home on Wednesday, rallying to defeat the Norfolk Admirals 3-2 at Norfolk Scope. Andrew Joudrey scored his second game-winning goal of the season against Norfolk late in the third period, and Simeon Varlamov made it stand up for his 14th win of the season. The victory was HERSHEY'S 27th of the season on 37 games, the most victories in the AHL by any team so far this season.
Houston defeated the BEARS 6-1 at Toyota Center in Texas back on December 13, one of just nine regulation losses that HERSHEY has suffered all season. The Aeros are in fifth place in the eight-team West Division with a record of 17-15-1-7, but stand just two points out of second in the West race. The seven losses in the shootout this season lead the AHL. The appearance by the Aeros in HERSHEY marks the first time the team has visited central PA since May 3, 2002. The BEARS played Houston in the 2002 Western Conference Semi-Finals, losing four games to none.
Around the East Division Friday night, Philadelphia is in Grand Rapids to take on the Griffins at 7:00 p.m., with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also taking to the road to play Binghamton Friday at 7:05 p.m. Bridgeport visits Providence at 7:05 p.m., Albany is in Worcester to play the Sharks and Norfolk is at home hosting the Manchester Monarchs. The BEARS have a five-point lead on second place Bridgeport and a nine point advantage on the Penguins as play begins this weekend.
Friday'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 6:40 p.m. John Walton and Ed Coffey have the call of the action from GIANT Center. Tickets are still available for Friday's game with Houston and Saturday's home game with Albany by calling or visiting the GIANT Center box office at (717) 534-3911.