Game Preview: Crunch at Bears, 7 p.m.
Syracuse Crunch (4-6-1-2) at Hershey Bears (6-7-0-2)
November 15, 2017, 7 p.m
REFEREES: Evgenii Romasko (39), Terry Koharski (10)
LINESMEN: Tom George (61), J.P. Waleski (14)
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
WATCH LIVE: AHLLive.com
CRUNCH AT BEARS: The Hershey Bears finish a three-game homestand tonight with their lone meeting of the season at Giant Center versus the Syracuse Crunch. The Bears won both games last season versus the Crunch at Giant Center, including the annual Teddy Bear Toss game on Dec. 4. Hershey enters tonight’s game having won three of the last four games, while Syracuse has lost three of its last four games. Tonight is a Hersheypark Pass Night, as all fans in attendance will receive a pass good for admission to Hersheypark through July 31, 2018.
LAST TIME OUT: Last Sunday, Hershey’s three-game win streak was snapped. Despite outshooting the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins 32-13, the Hershey Bears fell 5-1 to their I-81 rivals at Giant Center. Only 2:39 into the game, Jarred Tinordi scored for the Penguins and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton never looked back en route to extending its point streak to 10 games. Hershey’s Dustin Gazley scored the lone Bears goal of the game, notching his first goal of the season on the power play in the second period, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Thomas DiPauli responded 58 seconds later and Daniel Sprong scored shortly after for the visitors. On the other side, Syracuse is coming off its fourth win of the season last Saturday. The Crunch topped Charlotte 5-3 on home ice thanks to a two-goal game from Erik Condra. Defender Jamie McGain also posted four points, notching a goal and three assists. The Crunch outshot Charlotte 35-24.
LAST YEAR VS. CRUNCH: In 2016-17, Hershey dominated the season series with Syracuse, going 3-0-0-1. Hershey defender Christian Djoos, now with the Washington Capitals, led all players in the season series with seven points (one goal, six assists). Current Bear Chris Bourque has five points (two goals, three assists) versus Syracuse. Hershey was very undisciplined versus the Crunch last season, but the Bears penalty kill was an exceptional 31/33 (92.9%). Hershey also went 6-for-19 on the power play themselves (31.6%) in the four-game season series. Dating back to the 2015-16 season, Hershey has collected points in six straight games versus the Crunch.
GRAOVAC JOINS BEARS: On Tuesday, the Washington Capitals announced that forward Tyler Graovac was assigned to the Bears on a long-term conditioning loan. Graovac, 24, has skated in three games with the Capitals this season, but hasn't played since Oct. 17 due to an upper body injury. The 6-foot-5, 208-pound forward was acquired by the Capitals from the Minnesota Wild on Jun. 14 for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft. The forward has played in 202 career AHL games with the Iowa Wild, scoring 102 points (49 goals, 53 assists) and registering 90 penalty minutes. His best AHL season came in 2014-15, when he led the Iowa Wild in points (46) and goals (21), and finished second on the team in assists (25). The Brampton, Ontario native has played in 60 NHL games with Minnesota and Washington, scoring nine points (seven goals, two assists). He was originally a seventh round pick of the Wild in the 2011 NHL draft.
MVP BATTLE: Tonight’s contest features two of the AHL’s most elite offensive players. Both Hershey’s Chris Bourque and Syracuse’s Cory Conacher are former winners of the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s Most Valuable Player. Bourque won the award most recently, claiming it in 2015-16 after an 80 points season (30 goals, 50 assists) with the Chocolate and White. Conacher claimed the award in 2011-12 with Norfolk, also scoring 80 points (39 goals, 41 assists) in a season that saw the Admirals win the Calder Cup. Both players currently lead their respective teams in points. Conacher’s 11 points are the best on the Crunch, while Bourque leads the Bears, and the AHL, with 21 points.
YOUNG CRUNCH: The Crunch have 10 players on its roster ages 21 or younger. Eight players on the team were born in 1997. To compare, Hershey has three players born in 1997 (Connor Hobbs, Lucas Johansen, Jonas Siegenthaler).
BEARS-CRUNCH FAST FACTS: Since allowing six goals in his first game of the season, Hershey goaltender Pheonix Copley has won three straight starts for the Bears…The Crunch added goaltender Louis Domingue in a trade between Arizona and Tampa Bay that saw veteran goalie Michael Leighton go the other way…Domingue will eventualy wear #70 for the Crunch, but he is expected to wear #30 tonight…Crunch forward Carter Verhaeghe had five goals versus Hershey last year as member of Bridgeport.
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