Weekly Release #12: Bears Look to End 2017 Strong
In the final week of 2017, the Hershey Bears look to finish the calendar year with a win streak. The club sits at 14-15-0-3, good for seventh place in the Atlantic Division. This week sees the team play three clubs located directly ahead of them in the standings as the Bears make a trip to Bridgeport and Springfield to start the week, and host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to end the year on Saturday at the Giant Center.
Hershey is coming off a winning week last week in which the club claimed a pair of victories in three tries. Last Wednesday, Hershey earned a 5-4 win at Charlotte. The Bears scored the game’s first five goals, all in the first period, to bolt out to a large lead. The Checkers chipped away all game, eventually cutting the deficit to just one, but the Bears prevailed on the road to snap a three-game skid.
Thursday, Charlotte responded with noise, defeating Hershey 6-0 in the Bears’ most lopsided loss of the season. Aleksi Saarela had a hat-trick for the Checkers.
On Saturday, the Bears ended the week and rolled into the holiday with a 5-2 win on home ice over Binghamton. Travis Boyd scored twice, and Vitek Vanecek stopped 31 shots in the victory.
-Wednesday, Dec. 27 at Bridgeport, 7 p.m.
-Friday, Dec. 29 at Springfield, 7:05 p.m.
-Saturday, Dec. 30 vs W-B/SCRANTON, 7 p.m.
WEEKLY PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, Dec. 27, 11:30 AM, Morning Skate, Webster Bank Arena
Thursday, Dec. 28, 1:00 PM, Practice, MassMutual Center
Friday, Dec. 29, 11:30 AM, Morning Skate, MassMutual Center
Saturday, Dec. 30, 10:00 AM, Optional Morning Skate, Giant Center
BARBER JOINS CENTURY CLUB: Last Saturday, Hershey forward Riley Barber joined the century club with a two-point game in Hershey’s 5-2 win over Binghamton. The forward’s third period goal was the 100th point in his AHL career. All of the 23 year-olds points have come over the past three seasons with the Chocolate and White, as he has notched 47 goals and 53 assists with the Bears. Barber has 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) this season.
OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: Last Wednesday, Hershey scored five goals to open the game in the first period in a 5-4 win at Charlotte. The five goals were Hershey’s most in a period this season and came from five different players. Colby Williams, Anthony Peluso, Wayne Simpson, Travis Boyd, and Riley Barber all scored as Hershey struck for a shorthanded goal, two even-strength goals, a four-on-four goal, and a power play goal.
MULTI-POINT MEN: In Saturday‘s 5-2 win over Binghamton, Hershey got multi-point games from five different players. Travis Boyd scored twice, tallying his first multi-goal game of the year and eighth multi-point game of the campaign. Dustin Gazley returned from two straight healthy scratches with vengeance, joining Riley Barber with a goal and an assist. Both Chris Bourque and Aaron Ness each had two helpers, giving Ness two assists for the third time in his past four games with Hershey.
CZECH PLEASE: Netminder Vitek Vanecek has won three of his past four starts, including posting a pair of wins last week. After facing a career-high 39 shots at Charlotte on Wednesday, Vanecek kicked aside 31 shots and was named the second star in the 5-2 win over Binghamton on Saturday. The 21-year-old Czech native is 5-3-0 this season with a 2.37 goals against average and .906 save percentage.
BEARS BITES: The Bears will face former teammate Ryan Bourque Wednesday in Bridgeport. He had two goals in his first game versus his former club on Nov. 26 in Hershey…The Bears were just 1-3 at the Webster Bank Arena last year, but won their last meeting in Connecticut, 3-1 over the Sound Tigers on Mar. 19…Forward Nathan Walker was reclaimed off waivers by Washington last week and could be assigned to Hershey without clearing waivers once the NHL’s Holiday Roster Freeze ends on Dec. 28.
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