Game Preview: Bears at Griffins, 7 p.m.
Hershey Bears (0-3-0-1) at Grand Rapids Griffins (2-2-0-1)
Saturday, October 21, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Van Andel Arena
REFEREES: Shaun Davis (31), Jarrod Ragusin (2)
LINESMEN: Jake Davis (23), Mitch Dunning (18)
Broadcast Information (Pre-game 6:30 PM)
RADIO: WQIC-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, WOYK-1350 AM, Hershey Bears App--Zack Fisch, the Voice of the Bears, on the call
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream
WATCH LIVE: AHLLive.com
BEARS AT GRIFFINS: The Hershey Bears continue the Midwest road trip this evening versus the defending Calder Cup Champions, the Grand Rapids Griffins. This is the first meeting between the two teams in over a decade. Hershey is still looking for its first win of the new campaign after falling 4-1 at Milwaukee last night. The Griffins were on the road as well yesterday, dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to Rockford.
GRAND RETURN: Tonight’s contest marks Hershey’s first contest with Grand Rapids since the 2005-06 season. The Bears and Griffins played a pair of games that season, with the first coming at Van Andel Arena on Dec. 22. The Griffins scored three times in the opening period en route to a 6-4 win over Hershey. Current Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 33 shots for the Griffins while Mike Green and Eric Fehr were among Hershey’s goal scorers. On Feb. 26, the Griffins visited Giant Center, earning a 4-3 win. Current Bears forward Chris Bourque had two assists for Hershey, while the Bears VP of Hockey Operations Bryan Helmer had an assist for the Griffins.
HALL OF FAME HELMER: Hershey Bears Vice President of Hockey Operations Bryan Helmer made the road trip, and for the AHL Hall of Famer, tonight’s game marks his return to Grand Rapids. The defender spent two seasons with the Griffins, patrolling the blue line from 2004-06. He registered 19 goals and 62 assists for 81 points with Grand Rapids in 160 regular season games. In his second season in Grand Rapids, he skated in 16 playoff games and registered a career high 138 penalty minutes. Helmer is the only former Griffin inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame and will conduct the ceremonial puck drop prior to the game.
CAREY ON: While his time in Hershey was short-lived, Grand Rapids’ roster features a recent Bear. Forward Matt Carey skated with Hershey in the preseason and played in a pair of exhibition games. He did not make the Bears and signed a professional tryout with Grand Rapids. The former St. Lawrence University star has a goal in four contests so far this season with the Griffins. He notched 21 goals last season with Hartford.
FAMILIAR FACE: Grand Rapids roster also features former Bear Matthew Ford. The winger signed with Washington ahead of the 2011-12 season and skated in 39 games with the Chocolate and White, scoring 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists). On Feb. 2, 2012, he was dealt to the Flyers organization and finished the season with Adirondack. The veteran had 35 points last season as he won a Calder Cup with Grand Rapids and currently serves as the team captain.
COACH NELSON: Grand Rapids head coach Todd Nelson was a member of the Chocolate and White during his playing career. The defender spent the 1995-96 season with the Bears. He tied for the lead among Bears defenders in points (50), was first in assists (40) and second in goals (10). Nelson played 70 games with Hershey, and also scored three points in five playoff contests that year. The former Washington Capital would go on to play in Grand Rapids the following year, and after a stint as the head coach for the Edmonton Oilers, rejoined the Griffins as the head coach in 2015.
BEARS-GRAND RAPIDS FAST FACTS: Hershey last visited the Van Andel Arena on Dec. 22, 2015 a span of 11 years, 9 months, and 29 days ago (4,321 days)…Grand Rapids forward Eric Tangradi is a Philadelphia, PA native….Hershey’s Wayne Simpson scored his first goal as a Bear last night, notching an unassisted marker in the first period.
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