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Game Preview: Penguins at Bears, 7 p.m.

Game Preview: Penguins at Bears, 7 p.m.

12/30/2017 -

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (17-10-2-1) at Hershey Bears (15-16-0-3) 
Saturday, December 30, 2017, 7:00 p.m
Giant Center

REFEREES: Peter Schlittenhardt (12), Mathieu Menniti (30)
LINESMEN: Colin Gates (3) Bill Lyons (27)

Broadcast Information (Pre-game 6:30 PM)
RADIO: WQIC-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, WOYK 1350-AM, Hershey Bears App, Listen at Giant Center on 88.9 FM--Zack Fisch, the Voice of the Bears, and Mitch Lamoureux on the call
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream


PENGUINS AT BEARS: The Hershey Bears play their final game of 2017 tonight versus their I-81 rival, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. A victory would push Hershey’s record back to .500 as they look to climb the Atlantic Division standings in the second half of the season. Both teams have failed to get on a roll of late as Hershey is 4-6-0-0 over the past 10 games while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 4-5-1-0. 

LAST TIME OUT: Last night, Hershey got back in the win column with a 4-2 victory on the road over the Springfield Thunderbirds. Chris Bourque was the game’s first star with three assists, while Travis Boyd (one goal, one assist) and Aaron Ness (two assists) each had multi-point games. Wayne Simpson and Mathias Bau also tallied for Hershey and Pheonix Copley earned his first win since Dec. 3 with 26 saves. Hershey was outshot 28-22, but held Springfield to 0-for-3 on the power play. The Penguins are also coming off a victory as they routed the Hartford Wolf Pack, 5-1, at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Daniel Sprong tallied a hat-trick, scoring twice in the second period and capping off the night with an empty net goal at 18:05. Teddy Blueger and Adam Johnson each had two assists in the win, and Anthony Peters stopped 27 shots to earn his first win with the Penguins.                                                            

LAST TIME VS. PENGUINS: Hershey’s last matchup with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was on Dec. 10 at the Giant Center. The Penguins scored a 4-1 victory, defeating Hershey for the third time this season. The Penguins stunned the Bears, scoring three times in the opening period to post an insurmountable lead. Former Bear Christian Thomas started the scoring at 7:15, and Daniel Sprong and Thomas DiPauli also struck in the opening period. Hershey’s lone goal came from Tyler Graovac at 19:42 of the opening frame. The Penguins outshot Hershey 27-19 and went 2-for-8 on the power play. Sean Maguire, who was traded to Arizona recently, earned the win in goal with 18 saves.

RE-WRITE THE RECORD BOOKS: With three assists last night, Chris Bourque now sits alone in fifth place in franchise history with 572 points. He passed the great Willie Marshall (570 points) with his performance. Gil Gilbert sits in fourth with 595 points as a member of the Chocolate and White.

RED-HOT BOYDER: After going 16 games without a goal, Hershey forward Travis Boyd has caught fire in the goal scoring department. The third-year Bear notched his seventh goal of the season last night, striking in the first period of the 4-2 win over Springfield. Boyd has scored four goals over the past five games, including notching his first multi-goal game of the campaign versus Binghamton one week ago on Dec. 23. Boyd has scored 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists), good for second on the team. He enters tonight’s game with 99 assists in his AHL career after also collecting a helper last night in Springfield.   

MIGHTY MATHIAS: Hershey’s Mathias Bau scored the game-winning goal in last night’s victory at the MassMutual Center. For Bau, it was his fourth game-winning tally of the season, a mark the leads Hershey, and is tied for second in the AHL. Only Manitoba’s Mason Appleton (5) has been more clutch this year. Bau snapped an eight-game goalless drought with his tally last night. He has scored on 30% of his shots this season, striking nine times on 30 shots. The native of Denmark is in his rookie season after signing an AHL contract with Hershey this past summer.

PUCK STOPPER PREDICAMENT: Hershey was without their top two goalies earlier this season, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has run into quite the conundrum between the pipes. The Penguins recently acquired AHL legend Michael Leighton to solidify their goaltending, but an injury after one game has him on the shelf. With Matt Murray injured in Pittsburgh, Casey DeSmith was recalled, leaving Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to sign Anthony Peters from Cincinnati of the ECHL, and Adam Morrison of Wheeling of the ECHL, to professional tryouts. Peters, the younger brother of former Bears goaltender Justin Peters, was with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earlier this month, taking the loss in the 4-3 overtime win for Hershey on Dec. 3. Peters earned the win versus Hartford last night with 27 saves. Morrison was Hershey’s third goaltender in the playoffs last year and attended Washington’s training camp before suffering a lower-body injury. He dressed as the backup for Vitek Vanecek in the playoffs, but never played a game for Hershey.

BEARS-PENGUINS FAST FACTS: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s top scorer Daniel Sprong was recalled by Pittsburgh today. He has four goals versus Hershey this season...Hershey forward Dustin Gazley is three points from 100 in his Hershey career…Last night was forward Riley Barber’s 150th professional game…Former Bear Christian Thomas is away from the Penguins as he is playing for Team Canada in the Spengler Cup…Wilkes-Barre/Scranton captain Tom Kostopoulos remains out with an unspecified injury. He has only played seven games this year and has not played since Oct. 27 versus Hershey…This is the first year since 2013 that Hershey has not had a game on New Year’s Eve.

Hershey Bears in a victory embrace

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