Game Preview: Bears at Phantoms, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, October 7, 2017, 7:05 p.m.
REFEREES: Stephen Thomson (15), David Banfield (77)
LINESMEN: Matt McNulty (26), Luke Murray (92)
Broadcast Information (Pre-game 6:35 PM)
RADIO: WQIC-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, WOYK 1350-AM, Hershey Bears App
Zack Fisch, the Voice of the Bears, and Media Relations Intern Matt Trust on the call
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream
WATCH LIVE: AHLLive.com
BEARS AT PHANTOMS: The Hershey Bears open the 2017-18 season this evening on the road versus the rival Lehigh Valley Phantoms. This year marks the 80th Anniversary Season for the Bears, who are the longest continually operating member club in the American Hockey League. Hershey is guided by fourth year head coach Troy Mann, who has led the Bears to a playoff series victory for three straight seasons. Tonight is the first of 12 meetings between the two in-state rivals.
2016-17 TEAM LEADERS (*Indiciates Returning Player for 2017-18 Season)
Goals: Christian Thomas, Paul Carey (24)
Assists: Travis Boyd* (47)
Points: Travis Boyd* (63)
PIMs: Tyler Lewington* (142)
Plus/Minus: Stanislav Galiev (+21)
Power-Play Goals: Christian Thomas (12)
Shorthanded Goals: Zach Sanford (2)
Game-Winning Goals: Paul Carey (6)
Wins: Vitek Vanecek* (18)
Goals-Against Average: Pheonix Copley* (2.15)
Save Percentage: Pheonix Copley* (.931)
Goals: Greg Carey* (28)
Assists: Andy Miele (44)
Points: T.J. Brennan* (60)
PIMs: Samuel Morin (129)
Plus/Minus: Scott Laughton (+17)
Power-Play Goals: Greg Carey* (17)
Shorthanded Goals: Scott Laughton (4)
Game-Winning Goals: Jordan Weal/Colin McDonald (5)
Wins: Alex Lyon* (27)
Goals-Against Average: Alex Lyon* (2.74)
Save Percentage: Alex Lyon* (.912%)
2016-17 SPECIAL TEAMS
Power Play: 66-for-319 (20.7%) – 5th in AHL, 4 SHGA
Penalty Kill: 265-for-322 (82.3%) – 14th in AHL, 4 SHGF
Power Play: 73-for-353 (20.7%) –6th in AHL, 13 SHGA
Penalty Kill: 242-for-288 (84.0%) – 5th in AHL, 7 SHGF
PLAYOFF REMATCH: Tonight’s contest is a rematch of the opening round playoff series between these two rivals earlier this year. Hershey claimed a 3-2 victory in the decisive Game 5 of the series to advance to the Atlantic Division Finals. Defender Colby Williams had the game-winning goal on April 30 at the PPL Center in Allentown. The road team won all five games in the series, marking only the second time in AHL history that has happened in a best-of-five series.
2016-17 SEASON SERIES: The Bears went 5-5-1-1 versus the Phantoms last season during the 12 regular season meetings. Hershey forward Travis Boyd led the way with 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 12 games, while Lehigh Valley’s Greg Carey had 13 points, including five goals. Lehigh Valley’s power play played a large part in their success versus Hershey, as they scored 15 power play goals in the season series, going 25.4% with the extra skater.
WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS: Hershey’s roster features 17 returning players including captain Garrett Mitchell, and alternate captains Zach Sill and Chris Bourque, the AHL’s active leading scorer with 639 career points. Hershey’s team MVP Travis Boyd, who led the club with 63 points, is also back, as well as top goaltenders Vitek Vanecek, and Pheonix Copley, who went 11-5-0 for the Bears after being re-acquired from the St. Louis Blues in February. However, Hershey is without their top four goal scorers last season as Paul Carey (24, New York Rangers), Christian Thomas (24, W-B/Scranton), Stanislav Galiev (21, KHL) and Jakub Vrana (19, Washington) have all moved on.
DEBUT TIME: If they are in the lineup for Troy Mann’s squad, the following players will make their professional hockey debuts this evening: F-Mason Mitchell, D-Lucas Johansen, D-Connor Hobbs, and D-Kris Bindulis. Looking to make their AHL debuts this evening are: F-Mathias Bau, G-Adam Carlson. Johansen might be the most notable name of the group. The defender was a 1st round selection, 28th overall, by the Washington Capitals in the 2016 NHL Draft. He had 41 points (six goals, 35 assists) with Kelowna (WHL) last year, and also helped the Rockets, along with teammate Madison Bowey and Lehigh Valley’s Tyrell Goulbourne, to a WHL title in 2014-15. His brother, Ryan, is a forward for the NHL’s Nashville Predators.
BEARS-PHANTOMS FAST FACTS: Hershey is 4-4-1-1 over the last 10 season openers, with three straight, and eight of the last 10 opening games, coming away from Giant Center…Including the final meeting of the regular season in 2016-17 and the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, the Bears have won four straight games at the PPL Center…Lehigh Valley’s roster features forward Matt Read who has spent the last six seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers and is a two-time, 20+ goal scorer at the NHL level. His last AHL game was Apr. 10, 2011 with Adirondack at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton...Due to minor injuries to Vitek Vanecek (lower body) and Pheonix Copley (lower body) Hershey may start Parker Milner in goal tonight. Milner went 3-2-0 with Hershey last season with a 2.84 goals against average. He is 0-2-0 versus Lehigh Valley in his career with both starts coming as a member of Bridgeport…Lehigh Valley is also dealing with goaltending injuries. Netminder Anthony Stolarz is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus…Hershey finished with the best shooting percentage in the AHL last season at 12.6%, scoring 252 goals on 2006 shots. The Bears were 30th in the AHL in shots for last season...These two teams will play 12 times, with one meeting coming outdoors. The rivals will skate in the 2018 Capital BlueCross Outdoor Classic on Jan. 20 at Hersheypark Stadium.
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