02/10/2009 - The BEARS conclude a three-game homestand Wednesday night, welcoming the Hamilton Bulldogs to town at 7:00 p.m. The visit by the Bulldogs marks the only time in 2008-09 that the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens will be in Chocolatetown.
The BEARS suffered a regulation loss Sunday for the first time since January 14th, falling to the Portland Pirates 3-2. The loss was just HERSHEY'S 13th in 52 games in 2008-09. Graham Mink and Quintin Laing each scored first period goals Sunday, but the Pirates would rally and win the game with a center point shot from Matt Kostka in the second. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth, assigned from Washington earlier in the day Sunday, suffered the setback. HERSHEY travels to Portland to face the Pirates at the Cumberland County Civic Center on March 21 in the back half of the two-game season series.
Goaltender Michal Neuvirth was recalled Monday by the Washington Capitals after starting Sunday's game against Portland. Neuvirth has served as a back-up three times for Washington entering play tonight, but has yet to make his first NHL appearance. The BEARS signed goaltender Kris Mayotte last week to a professional tryout contract. Mayotte has yet to make his BEARS debut after playing earlier this season for Johnstown (ECHL). Goaltender Simeon Varlamov, who has been sidelined due to injury since mid-January, is not expected to play this week. Daren Machesney started this past Friday and Saturday for HERSHEY in goal against Philadelphia and San Antonio.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers, currently fourth in the East Division race, host the San Antonio Rampage Wednesday night at the Arena at Harbor Yard. Face-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. Philadelphia is in Lowell to take on the Devils, while the third place Binghamton Senators are at home to play the Albany River Rats. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the second place club in the East, is home to play the Lake Erie Monsters at 7:05 p.m. The Norfolk Admirals are the division's only idle team on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs appear to be back after missing the 2008 Calder Cup playoffs. Hamilton, who defeated HERSHEY for the 2007 Calder Cup, stands in third place in the North Division standings behind Grand Rapids and Manitoba. The Bulldogs, who won the Cup two years ago after finishing the regular season in third place, is led in scoring by Yanick Lehoux, who has 15 goals and 45 points in 51 games played this season.
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 6:40 p.m. John Walton and Ed Coffey have the call of the action from GIANT Center. Tickets are still available for Wednesday's game with Hamilton and Saturday's home game with Norfolk by calling or visiting the GIANT Center box office at (717) 534-3911.