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Game Preview: Bears at Thunderbirds, 7:05 p.m.

Game Preview: Bears at Thunderbirds, 7:05 p.m.

11/08/2017 -

Hershey Bears (4-6-0-2) at Springfield Thunderbirds (2-10-0-1)
November 8, 2017, 7:05 p.m
MassMutual Center

REFEREES: Kenny Anderson (66), Jeremy Tufts (78)
LINESMEN: Kyle Richetelle (47), Robert St. Lawrence (10)

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, on the call
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream, Caps Radio 24/7

BEARS AT THUNDERBIRDS: The Hershey Bears look to pick up a second consecutive win on the road when they visit the Springfield Thunderbirds tonight. Tonight is the first of six meetings this season between the Atlantic Division foes, and last season, Hershey went 6-0-0-0 versus the Thunderbirds. Both teams are looking to overcome slow starts. The Thunderbirds 2-10-1-0 record is good for just five points, the lowest total of any team in the AHL.

LAST TIME OUT: Last Sunday, Hershey scored a 3-2 shootout win on the road over the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Wayne Simpson was the hero, scoring a goal in regulation, and adding the shootout winning tally. In goal, Pheonix Copley stopped 25 shots in his second game of the season and denied all three Penguins attempts in the shootout. Travis Boyd also scored for Hershey in the win. The victory was Hershey’s first shootout victory since the 2015-16 season when Hershey also defeated Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 2-1 at Giant Center on Apr. 17, 2016. The Thunderbirds dropped a 4-2 contest at Hartford last Sunday. Anthony Greco tallied his team-leading fifth goal of the season in the loss.

SUCCESS VS. SPRINGFIELD: Hershey has enjoyed great success in Springfield over the years, and the 2016-17 season was no exception. The Bears were a perfect 6-0-0-0 versus the Thunderbirds last year, outscoring Springfield 24-11. Dating back to the days of the Springfield Falcons, Hershey has won six straight games in Springfield, and even in losing efforts, Hershey has always seemed to force overtime. The last time a Springfield club beat Hershey in regulation was on Dec. 22, 2012 when the Falcons shutout Hershey, 1-0. Curtis McElhinney, now with the Toronto Maple Leafs, stopped all 19 Hershey shots he faced at Giant Center. The last time a Springfield team beat Hershey in regulation at the MassMutual Center was on Mar. 8, 2008, a game current Hershey forward Chris Bourque played in. Robbie Schremp had the game-winning goal and now NHL All-Star Devin Dubnyk earned the win in goal in relief, stopping 22 shots in a 5-4 victory.

BIG SEASON FOR BOURQUE: Hershey alternate captain Chris Bourque just continues to add to his Hall of Fame resume. Last Friday, Bourque tied career single-game highs with five points and four assists in a 7-6 shootout loss at Rochester. On Sunday, he skated in his 800th professional game, tallying an assist at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The forward enters tonight’s game leading the AHL in assists (13) and ranks tied for first in points (17). Last season versus Springfield, Bourque was second on the Bears with five points (two goals, three assists) in the six-game season series.

AY CARAMBA! SIMPSON IN SPRINGFIELD: Hershey’s Wayne Simpson has made his impact in Springfield as a visitor before. Simpson enjoyed a spectacular season series last year versus Springfield as a member of the Providence Bruins. The Boxford, Massachusetts native returned to his home state and tallied eight points (two goals, six assists) in 12 games versus the Thunderbirds. The mark was second on the P-Bruins, and helped Providence to an 8-3-1-0 record versus the Thunderbirds.

FORMER FALCONS RETURN: Hershey forward Jeremy Langlois will hit a milestone in his former home tonight. Langlois will skate in his 200th AHL game this evening, and he will do it in Springfield where he played in five games during the 2013-14 season. Hershey defender Hubert Labrie is also a former Falcon, spending the 2014-15 season in Springfield. He scored nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 46 contests with Springfield. Hershey’s Vice President of Hockey Operations, Bryan Helmer, also played in Springfield, finishing his Hall of Fame career with the Falcons in 2012-13 when he appeared in 24 games.

BEARS-THUNDERBIRDS FAST FACTS: Hershey’s Chris Bourque and Wayne Simpson are both Massachusetts natives…The power play has been a large part of Bourque, and fellow Hershey forward Travis Boyd’s success this season. Both players are tied for second in the league with nine points on the power play…Bourque, who has four goals on the season including three on the power play, is tied for second in the AHL with 45 shots…Springfield’s roster features longtime AHL tough guy Bobby Farnham. The former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins has scrapped 11 times versus the Bears in his 274 game AHL career…The Thunderbirds 225 penalty minutes are the most in the Atlantic Division this season and the second most in the American Hockey League.

Hershey Bears in a victory embrace

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