Press Release Details

TONIGHT'S GAME PREVIEW: CHECKERS at BEARS


03/02/2014 -
TONIGHT’S GAME NOTES

CHARLOTTE CHECKERS at HERSHEY BEARS
Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 4:00 PM
GIANT Center

REFEREE: David Banfield (77)
LINSEMEN: Tom George (61) & Scott Pomento (25)
 
BEARS vs. CHECKERS:  Welcome to GIANT Center for tonight’s American Hockey League matchup between your Hershey Bears and the visiting Charlotte Checkers.  The two teams meet for the final time out of four this season.  Charlotte is the top AHL developmental affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.
 
ALL-TIME:  The Bears hold a record of 10-5-0 (W – L/OTL – T/SOL) against the Checkers.  The teams did not meet in 2012-2013.
 
LAST NIGHT:  The pattern of the road team winning continued last night, as Charlotte – rested since a Wednesday night loss at Norfolk – took care of the Bears by a 4-1 score.  3:00 into the game, Charlotte would tally on the game’s first shot on goal.  Jared Staal poked the puck out of the Charlotte zone, sending Victor Rask and Zach Boychuk on a two-on-one break.  Rask sent a saucer pass to Boychuk, who chipped the puck over Philipp Grubauer for his team-leading 24th goal of the season.  Goaltender Justin Peters did the rest to protect the Checkers’ lead, stopping all 16 first-period shots sent by the Bears.  The Checkers also killed off 1:56 worth of a Hershey two-man advantage to take the lead into the intermission.  Ryan Stoa would tie the game at 6:15 of the second, on a broken scoring play between Jeff Taffe and Dustin Gazley.  The linemates broke across the blue line two-on-one, but neither player could control the puck as they backed toward the Charlotte net.  Taffe then backhanded the puck around the boards, and Stoa – fresh off the bench – stepped into a slapper that sailed over Peters’ glove.  But Charlotte took just 2:26 to re-claim the lead, when Brody Sutter snapped a shot past Grubauer’s stick.  Brett Sutter then gave the Checkers an insurance goal at the 13:22 mark, one-timing a feed from Chris Terry for his eighth of the season.  With 1:58 left in the middle period, Rask would strike on a snap shot for his second point of the game.  David Leggio came on in relief of Grubauer at that point, and turned aside one Charlotte shot in the final minute of the period.  He went on to stop all 12 third-period shots by Charlotte, but the Bears could not get another puck past Peters, who finished as the game’s first star.  Charlotte also killed off all six Hershey power plays, while the Bears were 3-for-3 on their penalty kill.
 
2013-14 SEASON SERIES (2-1-0-0):
Wed. November 13, 2013 @Charlotte Time Warner Cable Arena W  5-3
Thu. November 14, 2013 @Charlotte Time Warner Cable Arena W  8-1
Sat. March 1, 2014 CHARLOTTE GIANT Center L  1-4
Sun. March 2, 2014 CHARLOTTE GIANT Center  
 
AFFILIATE NEWS:  Charlotte’s NHL affiliate, the Carolina Hurricanes, lost a 3-1 decision to the Los Angeles Kings yesterday at Staples Center in California.  Andrej Sekera netted the only goal of the game for the Canes, while Anton Khudobin made 28 saves in the loss.
 
The Washington Capitals ran their win streak to four, and have now won five of their last six games, following a 4-2 decision over the Boston Bruins yesterday afternoon at TD Garden.  Alex Ovechkin posted his league-leading 42nd and 43rd goals of the season – both on the power play, his 16th and 17th of those, and the 799th and 800th points of his career – to pace the Caps.  Joel Ward and Eric Fehr also scored, while Braden Holtby made 36 saves in the win.
 
The Bears’ ECHL affiliate Reading Royals won again last night as well, posting a 4-1 win on the road against the Wheeling Nailers.  Josh Brittain’s 10th goal of the season for Reading ended up as the game-winner, while Riley Gill made 27 saves in the victory.
 
EAST DIVISION STANDINGS (as of March 2):
POS TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS WIN% GF GA
1. Binghamton 56 33 19 1 3 70 .625 205 171
2. Norfolk 56 31 17 1 7 70 .625 149 139
3. W-B/Scranton 57 30 20 3 4 67 .588 160 150
4. HERSHEY 56 29 20 3 4 65 .580 170 161
5. Syracuse 54 22 23 4 5 53 .491 143 160
 
BEARS vs. CHECKERS – TEAM LEADERS:
  HERSHEY Charlotte
Games Played Peter LeBlanc, Jeff Taffe (56) A. Palushaj, V. Rask, J. Shugg (54)
Goals Jeff Taffe (16) Zach Boychuk (24)
Assists Brandon Segal (24) Chris Terry (29)
Points Brandon Segal (38) Chris Terry (47)
PIMs Dane Byers (171) Matthew Corrente (104)
Plus/Minus Tyson Strachan (+15) Greg Nemisz, Brody Sutter (+8)
Power-Play Goals Jeff Taffe (9) Zach Boychuk (13)
Shorthanded Goals Nicolas Deschamps, John Mitchell (2) Nicolas Blanchard, Brett Sutter (1)
Game-Winning Goals Four Tied (4) Aaron Palushaj (5)
Wins David Leggio (15) John Muse (17)
Goals-Against Average Philipp Grubauer (2.71) Justin Peters (1.97)
Save Percentage David Leggio (.912) Justin Peters (.935)
BEARS vs. CHECKERS - SPECIAL TEAMS:
  HERSHEY Charlotte
Power Play 45-for-282 (16.0%) – 22nd in AHL 52-for-241 (21.6%) – 5th in AHL
Penalty Kill 213-for-254 (83.9%) – 9th in AHL 184-for-230 (80.0%) – 22nd in AHL
 
BEARS vs. CHECKERS – PLAYERS AMONG THE AHL:
Hershey C Ryan Stoa 2nd, shootout goals (7).
  D Julien Brouillette 1st defensemen & 2nd overall, shooting percentage (9/37=24.3%); T2nd defensemen, PP goals (7).
  G David Leggio T4th, shootout wins (4).
Charlotte LW Chris Terry 14th, points (18-29-47).
  LW Zach Boychuk T15th, points (24-22-45); 2nd, PP goals (13); T4th, goals (24).
  RW Aaron Palushaj T18th, points (18-26-44).
  D Mark Flood 2nd defensemen, goals (12); T2nd defensemen, PP goals (7).
*All Stats Exclude Players on NHL Recall.
 
BEARS RECENT TRANSACTIONS:
2/28/14 DEL RW Casey Wellman Recalled from loan by Washington (NHL)
2/28/14 ADD D Julien Brouillette Returned on loan from Washington (NHL)
2/26/14 DEL D Julien Brouillette Recalled from loan by Washington (NHL)
2/26/14 DEL LW Nicolas Deschamps Recalled from loan by Washington (NHL)
2/25/14 ADD D Jack Hillen Conditioning loan from Washington (NHL)
 
CHECKERS RECENT TRANSACTIONS:
None.
 
BEARS-CHECKERS BULLETS:          - Casey Wellman, currently on recall to Washington, scored four goals in the two games, including the Bears’ only hat trick of the season on November 14.
- Checkers LW and team-leading scorer Zack Boychuk has two goals in his last two games against Hershey.
- Both Sutter brothers, Brett and Brody, tallied goals last night for Charlotte.
 
MILESTONE FOR WELLAR:  Bears defenseman Patrick Wellar played the 600th game of his professional career last night.  The game was Wellar’s 291st in the AHL, to go along with 309 ECHL tilts since breaking into the pro ranks in 2004-05 after his WHL junior career.
 
STELLAR STOA:  C Ryan Stoa, although not scoring in regulation on Friday night, is responsible for just about all of the Bears’ offense in the club’s last two games.  He netted the Bears’ only shootout goal against Dov Grumet-Morris in Friday night’s loss at Hartford, his seventh shootout goal of the season (second in the AHL).  Stoa also scored the Bear’s only goal in last night’s loss to Charlotte.  He now has 11 goals on the season, which ranks fifth on the Bears.  His 32 points (11-21-32) rank third, while his 21 assists rank tied for second.  Stoa’s 12 power play assists also rank second on the team.
 
LEGG WORK:  G David Leggio shook off a tough Tuesday to post 34 saves in regulation and overtime – many of which came on a two-man disadvantage in the third period – to help his team earn a crucial standings point on Friday night at Hartford.  Leggio saw a personal four-game shootout win streak snapped, but still remains tied for fourth in the AHL in shootout wins (four).  Coming on in relief of Philipp Grubauer last night, Leggio turned aside all 13 shots he faced.  He has allowed just one goal on 48 shots over four periods of work plus an overtime.
 
TAFFE CLOSING IN:  C Jeff Taffe’s assist on Stoa’s goal last night was his 21st of the season, which ties with Stoa for second on the Bears.  Taffe is one point shy of the Bears’ scoring lead, held by RW Brandon Segal.  Taffe shows (16-21-37), and is one of two players (C Peter LeBlanc) to appear in all 56 games this season.
 
PK CLIMBING:  The Bears kept the league’s fifth-ranked power play silent on three tries last night, and as a result have moved into sixth place in the AHL in home penalty killing success (122-for-141, 86.5%).  The Bears are also in the top ten in overall penalty killing, ranking ninth (213-for-254, 83.9%).
 
UPCOMING MILESTONES:  - C Dustin Gazley is nine games shy of 200 in his professional career.
                                                - RW Joel Rechlicz is one game shy of 100 with the Bears.
                                                - C Jeff Taffe is eight games shy of 850 in his professional career.
                                                - C Ryan Potulny is four games shy of 400 in his AHL career.
                                                - C Ryan Stoa is four games shy of 100 with the Bears.
                                                - D David Kolomatis is two games shy of 300 in his AHL career.
 
 
BEARS BULLETS:
·          Hershey is 3-2-0-0 against the Western Conference this season, outscoring their opponents a collective 19-13.  Tonight is the Bears’ final game against the Western Conference.
·          Hershey is 20-1-0-1 when scoring four or more goals.
·          The Bears are 11-2-0-0 at GIANT Center in calendar year 2014, and 16-8-1-1 (34 points collected) overall.
·          Hershey’s 19 home wins rank second in the Eastern Conference and third overall in the AHL.
·          The Bears are pacing the American Hockey League yet again in attendance, and are on pace to lead the league for the seventh consecutive season.  Hershey’s average of 9,450 fans is more than 1,500 higher than the second-place Grand Rapids Griffins.


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