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Weekly Release #14: Bears Start 2018 Strong

Weekly Release #14: Bears Start 2018 Strong


The New Year has provided a fresh start for the Hershey Bears. Last week, the club earned a pair of wins on home ice over the Charlotte Checkers to move above .500, and improve their record to 17-16-1-3 on the season. The Bears have collected points in five of the past six games, and continue Atlantic Division play this week, hosting Springfield Wednesday, and playing a home-and-home versus Lehigh Valley on Saturday and Sunday.

In the club’s first game of 2018, the Bears rolled to an impressive 5-1 victory over Charlotte last Saturday. After the team took a week away from the rink, Hershey came back renewed, and scored five unanswered goals in the second and third periods to earn the win. Wayne Simpson had a goal and an assist, and forward Dustin Gazley struck for two helpers as Hershey beat Charlotte at the Giant Center for the first time since Mar. 25, 2012. 

In the rematch Sunday, the Bears wore STAR WARS themed jerseys, and the force was with the home team, as the Chocolate and White earned a 3-0 whitewashing of the Checkers. Vitek Vanecek stopped 29 shots, and Riley Barber, Tyler Graovac, and Travis Boyd scored for the Bears, who improved to 10-7-1-2 at the Giant Center this season. 

-Wednesday, Jan. 10 vs. Springfield, 7 p.m.
Hersheypark Pass Night
-Saturday, Jan. 13 @ Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.
-Sunday, Jan. 14 vs. Lehigh Valley, 5 p.m.
PSECU Knit Cap Night —First 4,000 Fans

Tuesday, Jan. 9, 10:30 AM, Practice 
Wednesday, Jan. 10, 10:00 AM,  Morning Skate
Thursday, Jan. 11, 11:30 AM, Practice
Friday, Jan. 12, 10:30 AM, Practice
Saturday, Jan. 13, 10:00 AM,  Morning Skate
Schedule subject to change. All practice at Giant Center this week. Practices are open to the public. Fans must enter through the Main Entrance of Giant Center


: The Bears got two strong performances from their goaltenders last weekend. On Saturday, netminder Pheonix Copley won his second consecutive start, earning first star honors with 32 saves in a 5-1 victory over Charlotte. On Sunday, Vitek Vanecek posted his second shutout of the season, stopping all 29 Charlotte shots in a 3-0 victory. Vanecek earned first star honors, and improved his goals against average to 2.18, which ranks fifth in the AHL.   
Forward Riley Barber scored in both Saturday and Sunday’s victories over Charlotte. Both of Barber’s goals were game-winning tallies, and the forward enters this week tied with Chris Bourque for the team lead in goals with 11. Barber has five game-winning goals, a mark that is tied for the most in the AHL. Barber’s goal Sunday was his 50th career AHL tally, and it came in his 150th career AHL game.  

STARTING STREAKS: The Bears are currently on a four-game point streak (3-0-0-1) and have collected points in five of the past six games. Forwards Riley Barber (three goals, two assists) and Tyler Graovac (two goals, two assists) are also on four-game point streaks, which ties Chris Bourque and Liam O’Brien for the longest streak of any Bear this season. 

UPCOMING MILESTONES: Several members of the Bears are approaching milestones. Forward Dustin Gazley enters this week with 99 points (44 goals, 55 assists) during his tenure with Hershey, while center Travis Boyd sits at 99 assists in his AHL career going into Wednesday’s game. Additionally, defender Colby Williams is three games from 100 in his Hershey and AHL career. 

FAMILIAR FACES: Hershey’s next five games are against just two opponents. The Bears play Springfield on two consecutive Wednesday’s, while the club faces Lehigh Valley three times in the next two weeks, including at Hersheypark Stadium for the 2018 Capital BlueCross Outdoor Classic on Jan. 20.  

BEARS BULLETS: Forward Chris Bourque was named to the AHL All-Star Classic last Thursday…The Bears penalty kill has been perfect in four straight games, going 15-for-15…Hershey is the only team in the AHL that has not allowed a shorthanded goal against this year…The Bears re-assigned forward Hampus Gustafsson to South Carolina on Monday.

Don’t miss the 2018 Capital BlueCross Outdoor Classic! Join us for the marquee event of the 80th Anniversary season as we battle the Lehigh Valley Phantoms outdoors at Hersheypark Stadium on Jan. 20. Ticket packages include access to Pepsi Fan Fest, the Alumni Game on Jan. 19 and a 2018 Hersheypark pass! Ticket packages start at just $59. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.  

Hershey Bears in a victory embrace

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