Hometown Heroes Game Preview: Phantoms at Bears, 7 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (9-3-0-2) at Hershey Bears (5-6-0-2)
November 11, 2017, 7 p.m
REFEREES: Chris Waterstradt (88), Kenny Anderson (66)
LINESMEN: Coin Gates (3), Scott Pomento (25)
Broadcast Information (Pre-game 6:30 PM)
RADIO: WQIC-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, WOYK 1350-AM, Hershey Bears App, 88.9 FM in arena--Zack Fisch, the Voice of the Bears, and Mitch Lamoureux on the call,
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream, Caps Radio 24/7
WATCH LIVE: AHLLive.com
PHANTOMS AT BEARS: The Hershey Bears return to the Giant Center this evening to host the rival Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Tonight’s contest is the third meeting of the season between the heated Atlantic Division foes, with the Phantoms getting the best of Hershey in the first two contests of the season. The Bears enter tonight’s game having won two straight games on the road. Hershey will be wearing special red, white, and blue USA jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game as part of tonight’s Hometown Heroes Night.
RIVALRY RENEWED: Tonight marks the third matchup of the season between these two bitter Atlantic Division rivals. The Phantoms have bolted out of the gates to a strong start, thanks to a pair of victories over the Bears this season. In the first game of the 2017-18 campaign, the Phantoms beat the Bears, 7-2, on Oct. 7. Lehigh Valley’s Danick Martel had a hat-trick in that contest. The two teams met at the Giant Center just over a week later on Oct. 15 in a game that finished much closer. Trailing in the third period, Hershey defender Colby Williams tied the game on the power play in the closing minutes to force overtime. The contest progressed to a shootout where Lehigh Valley’s Chris Connor scored the winning goal to give the Phantoms a 3-2 victory. These two rivals will meet nine more times after tonight’s game, including outdoors at the 2018 Capital BlueCross Outdoor Classic on Jan. 20, 2018 at Hersheypark Stadium.
BATTLE OF THE BEST: Tonight’s contest features the top two scorers in the American Hockey League. Lehigh Valley’s Danick Martel is off to an unprecedented start to the year, notching a league-best 19 points and 14 goals through just 14 games. Martel, a native of Drummondville, Quebec, has goals in six straight games. He is on pace to smash his career-high of 22 goals, and is seeking his third straight 20-plus goal season. Martel has five points (four goals, one assist) in two games versus Hershey this season. Hershey forward Chris Bourque is second in the league with 18 points, registering five goals and 13 assists. Bourque finished second on Hershey with 60 points last season, and is well on pace to surpass that number this year. He didn’t score his 18th point until Dec. 3 last season in Hershey’s 21st game of the year. Bourque, the AHL’s active leading point scorer with 657 points, had three points (one goal, two assists) versus the Phantoms on Oct. 15.
LAST TIME OUT: Hershey enters tonight’s contest having won two straight games with both victories coming away from Giant Center. On Wednesday, the Bears rolled to a 3-1 win at Springfield. Wayne Simpson and Mathias Bau scored on the power play, and Chris Bourque added an empty net goal. Travis Boyd had two assists for his sixth multi-point game of the year and Pheonix Copley stopped 21 shots in net to earn the win. Lehigh Valley is also coming into tonight’s contest on a winning note after beating Bridgeport 4-2 on Wednesday morning. Despite being outshot 44-27, Lehigh Valley earned the victory thanks to two point nights from Danick Martel and Phil Varone. Alex Lyon earned the win in goal with 42 saves.
BAU DOWN TO MATHIAS: Hershey forward Mathias Bau scored his first AHL goal in Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over the Thunderbirds. The 6-foot-7 winger from Denmark knocked in a rebound on the power play in the second period for what would become the game-winning goal. Last season with Frederikshavn in Denmark, Bau posted 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists) in just 41 games to lead the White Hawks. He also skated for Denmark in the 2017 IIHF World Championships. Bau was signed to an AHL deal by the Bears on Jun. 21.
COUNT ON CONNER: Former Hershey forward Chris Conner enjoyed great success against his former team last season. The speedy forward tallied 10 points (six goals, four assists) in the 12-game season series versus the Bears. In the playoffs, Conner tied for the Lehigh Valley lead with four points in five games, including striking for the overtime winning goal in Game 3 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals at Giant Center. Conner has scored 50 or more points five different times in his AHL career. He has continued his success versus Hershey this season, scoring the shootout winner versus the Bears on Oct. 15 at Giant Center.
POWER PLAY SPECIALISTS: Hershey’s Travis Boyd and Chris Bourque have played a large part in Hershey’s power play being ranked 6th overall (20.5%) coming into tonight’s game. Boyd leads the AHL with 10 power play points, while Bourque is second with nine. Boyd also leads the league with eight power play assists. Last year, of Boyd’s team-best 63 points, 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) came on the power play.
BEARS-PHANTOMS FAST FACTS: Former Hershey goaltender Mark Dekanich was recalled by the Phantoms from Reading (ECHL) on Friday. Dekanich played in one game for Hershey in the 2015-16 season, losing 5-3 to Binghamton on Dec. 27, 2015 at Giant Center…Hershey forward Wayne Simpson has goals in two straight games…Lehigh Valley goalie Alex Lyon leads the league in saves with 268… The Phantoms Mike Vecchione has assists in five consecutive road games…Hershey’s Dustin Gazley is four points from 100 in his AHL
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