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Game Preview: Charlotte at Hershey, 7 p.m.

Game Preview: Charlotte at Hershey, 7 p.m.

02/03/2018 -

Charlotte Checkers (24-19-0-2) at Hershey Bears (17-22-3-4) 
Saturday, February 3, 2018, 7:00 p.m
Giant Center

REFEREES: Keith Kaval (40), 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,--Zack Fisch, the Voice of the Bears with Mitch Lamoureux on the call
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 StreamCaps Radio 24/7


CHECKERS AT BEARS: The Hershey Bears return to the Giant Center this evening to host the Charlotte Checkers. Hershey is currently in the midst of a nine game losing streak (0-6-2-1), and the Bears have not won since they beat Charlotte in a pair of games in early January. The Checkers have lost three straight games overall (0-2-0-1), and have dropped five straight road contests (0-4-0-1). The two teams rematch tomorrow for the final game at the Giant Center in the season series this year. 

LAST TIME OUT: The Bears are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last night at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Hershey opened the game with a goal 6:22 into the contest as Riley Barber scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season to put the Chocolate and White ahead 1-0. However, the Penguins struck for four unanswered goals on Friday, with Andrey Pedan adding a pair of tallies. The defender tied the score on the power play in the first period, and added the eventual game-winning goal at 5:34 of the third period on a 3-on-1 rush. Kevin Czuczman and Jarrett Burton also struck in the third period for the Penguins. Hershey was 0-for-3 on the power play and tied the Penguins with 26 shots. The Checkers fell last night as well, dropping a 3-2 score to Lehigh Valley. In a back and forth game, the Checkers got goals from Valentin Zykov and Warren Foegele, but Cole Bardreau’s game-winning goal with three minutes left game the Phantoms the win. Charlotte outshot Lehigh Valley, 40-26.

LAST TIME VS. CHARLOTTE: Hershey and Charlotte played a pair of games at the Giant Center to open 2018, with the Bears earning a two-game sweep over Charlotte on Jan. 6-7. The Chocolate and White won the first game, 5-1, scoring five unanswered goals to earn the victory. After a Jake Chelios goal for Charlotte in the second period, Hershey struck twice before the period expired, getting goals from John Albert and Riley Barber. The Bears exploded for three goals in the third period as Colby Williams, Zach Sill, and Wayne Simpson struck. Netminder Pheonix Copley stopped 32 shots to earn the win in goal. The following night on Jan. 7, Hershey rolled to a 3-0 win, as Vitek Vanecek made 29 saves to earn his second shutout of the season. Riley Barber scored just 1:25 into the game, and Tyler Graovac and Travis Boyd also added goals for the Chocolate and White. Hershey held Charlotte to 0-for-6 on the power play.  

STANDOUT PERFORMERS: Hershey is 3-1-0-0 versus the Checkers this season, and forwards Riley Barber and Tyler Graovac have led the way. Both players have four points in the four games versus Charlotte, with Barber posting three goals and an assist, and Graovac flipping those totals at a goal and three assists. Despite the losing record, Charlotte has a pair of standouts versus the Bears in Nicolas Roy and Aleksi Saarela. Roy has six assists in four games versus Hershey, while Saarela has five points, including four goals. He struck for his first AHL hat-trick in a 6-0 win over the Bears on Dec. 21 at the Bojangles’ Coliseum.

KICKSTARTING THE SCORING: Hershey is in the midst of a tough stretch offensively. After last night’s 4-1 loss, the Bears have scored two or less goals in 25 of the 45 games this season, going 0-22-2-1 in those contests. However, Hershey has had scoring success versus the Checkers. The Bears have scored three or more goals versus the Checkers three times this season, winning each game. Hershey’s biggest offensive period of the season came early this season against the Charlotte as the Bears scored five goals in the first period on the road versus the Checkers on Dec. 20 in an eventual 5-4 win. 

200 FOR BOYD: Tonight marks the 200th American Hockey League game in the career of center Travis Boyd. The native of Hopkins, Minn. has become a staple on Hershey’s top line over the past three seasons, posting a total of 149 points (47 goals, 102 assists) in 199 AHL games. He currently ranks second on the club in points with 31 (nine goals, 22 assists), and has posted 11 multi-point games this season. Two of Boyd’s nine goals this season have come versus Charlotte. Boyd, a sixth round selection of the Capitals in 2011, made his NHL debut in December and appeared in two games with Washington.   

BEARS-CHECKERS FAST FACTS: Hershey goaltender Vitek Vanecek is 2-0-0-0 versus Charlotte with a 2.00 goals against average and a .941 save percentage this season…Charlotte is 19-0-0-0 when they lead through 40 minutes of action…The rosters for the two teams feature the sons of defenders legendary former NHL defenders Ray Bourque, Chris Chelios, Glen Wesley, and Ulf Samuelsson…The next game he dresses will be the 400th professional game in the career of Hershey forward Anthony Peluso…Hershey was without Liam O’Brien last night as he is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury…Hershey assistant coach Ryan Murphy and associate goaltender coach Alex Westund are both former members of the Checkers during their ECHL days while Troy Mann spent one season with Charlotte as an associate coach in 2008-09. 

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