Press Release Details
75th SEASON OPENER PREVIEW: BEARS at CRUNCH
- TONIGHT’S GAME PREVIEW
HERSHEY BEARS at SYRACUSE CRUNCH
Saturday, October 13, 2012 – 7:30 PM
War Memorial at Oncenter
REFEREES: Keith Kaval (#40) & Ryan Hersey (#8)
LINESMEN: Tim Kotyra (#53) & Andy Petrus (#26)
RADIO: BEARS Radio Network WQIC-FM 100.1, WTKT-AM 1460, WRBT-FM 94.9 HD-2, iHeart Radio application
VIDEO: AHL Live
After months of anticipation, the milestone 75th
season opener for your HERSHEY BEARS has arrived. The team is in upstate New York to open the 2012-2013 campaign against the Syracuse Crunch for a 7:30 PM faceoff.
The BEARS finished last regular season with a record of 4-0-0-2 against the Crunch, but like the cliché says, you can throw those stats out the window. The BEARS will be facing a completely different Syracuse club, with the biggest difference being their new NHL affiliation. Following a short stint as the top developmental club of the Anaheim Ducks, the Crunch have now partnered with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning’s affiliation with the Norfolk Admirals began very slowly, but grew in a crescendo of success that ended with the Admirals claiming the 2012 Calder Cup championship when they defeated the Toronto Marlies in June. The strangest of scenarios then unfolded when Tampa Bay and Anaheim essentially swapped affiliates – bringing many members of last spring’s championship lineup north on I-81.
The Crunch are coming off of a 6-5 shootout loss last night against their New York Thruway rivals, the Rochester Americans. Syracuse found themselves down by a 4-1 score late in the second period, but tallied four times to take a 5-4 lead at the midway point of the third. Reigning Rookie of the Year Cory Conacher scored once and set up two others, while last year’s fellow rookie Tyler Johnson netted two goals for the Crunch – including the tying and go-ahead goals. But it was Mark Mancari who knotted the game for the host Amerks, and scored the heroic shootout winner in the fifth round – the only scorer to tally in the skills competition for either team.
For the BEARS, it is also a new era. Not only does the team celebrate their diamond anniversary this season, but they will do it with new personnel both on the bench and behind it. The BEARS bid farewell to Keith Aucoin, who led the AHL scoring race for most of the season prior to his recall to Washington. The team said so-long to Chris Bourque, Aucoin’s linemate last year who ended up winning the scoring title with a 93-point effort. Veterans Graham Mink and Kyle Greentree also will not return this season. To replace all of these players’ abilities is a huge undertaking, but the team will indeed be a competitive one once again thanks to the arrival of a new crop of talent. Rookie forward Stanislav Galiev, forwards Matt Beaudoin, Matt Clackson, Jon DiSalvatore, Zach Hamill, Jon Kalinski, Ryan Stoa, and Jeff Taffe, and defensemen Steve Oleksy and Garrett Stafford join a BEARS lineup that is expected to be a top contender once again.
The team also welcomes back goaltender Braden Holtby to work along with Dany Sabourin in tending the BEARS’ pipes; defenseman Dmitry Orlov, back after his first season of NHL action; and long-tenured defensemen Patrick McNeill and Patrick Wellar, who will work with Kevin Marshall, rookie Cameron Schilling, Julien Brouillette and Tomas Kundratek in manning the BEARS blueline.
Ryan Potulny, last season’s team leader in goals and power-play goals, is back to provide his leadership with team captain Boyd Kane. Forward Mattias Sjogren returns from his native Sweden this season, already showing his eagerness when he provided a goal and an assist in pre-season action. Forwards Barry Almeida, Mike Carman, Garrett Mitchell and Matt Pope round out the BEARS’ 2012-2013 roster.
One of the BEARS’ biggest tests this season may just be tonight, on day two of the AHL schedule. Holtby will draw the start against a majority of a team that, in their time spent in Hampton Roads last year, won 29 straight games en route to that Calder Cup championship.