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Game Preview: Bears at Phantoms, 7:05 p.m.

Game Preview: Bears at Phantoms, 7:05 p.m.

02/09/2018 -

Hershey Bears (18-23-3-4) at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (28-14-3-3)
Friday, February 9, 2018, 7:05 p.m
PPL Center

REFEREES: Pierre Lambert (47), Corey Syvret (43)
LINESMEN: Tom DellaFranco (71), Bob Goodman (90)

Broadcast Information (Pre-game 6:35 PM)
RADIO: WQIC-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, Zack Fisch, the Voice of the Bears on the call
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream


BEARS AT PHANTOMS: The Hershey Bears start another three in three this evening on the road versus the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The PPL Center has not been kind to Hershey this season as the Bears are 0-4-0-0 in Allentown in 2017-18. Hershey is just 1-7-1-1 over the past 10 games while the Phantoms, who are nipping at the heels of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the division lead, are 7-2-1-0 in their last 10 contests.

LAST TIME OUT: Hershey hits the ice tonight for the first time since a 5-2 loss to Charlotte last Sunday afternoon at the Giant Center. The Bears were blitzed in the opening period by the Checkers as Charlotte bolted out to a 5-0 lead through the first 20 minutes of action. Charlotte’s Aleksi Saarela scored twice, while Andrew Miller had a goal and an assist. The Bears made the game interesting with two goals in 30 seconds late in the second period as Riley Barber and Tyler Graovac scored for the Chocolate and White. Both teams went 1-for-3 on the power play and Hershey outshot Charlotte 31-29. The Phantoms earned a 4-3 victory over the Checkers in their latest game on Wednesday night. Colin McDonald had the game-winning goal and also added an assist in the victory at the PPL Center. Netminder Alex Lyon stopped 21 shots in goal for the Phantoms.

POND HOCKEY: The last meeting between these two teams was certainly one that both teams won’t forget. The two squads met at the 2018 Capital BlueCross Outdoor Classic at Hersheypark Stadium on Jan. 20 with Lehigh Valley earning a 5-2 win in front of 13,091 fans. The Bears fell behind early, surrendering two goals in the first 8:29. Colin McDonald opened the scoring for the Phantoms at 2:59, and Alex Krushelnyski made it 2-0 just a few minutes later. Hershey finally elated the crowd in the second period when Nathan Walker tallied his first goal of the season at 16:54. However, Hershey surrendered the eventual game-winning goal at 19:53 of the second period on an unassisted tally from former Bear Chris Conner. The Bears made it close with a late Travis Boyd tally in the third period, but the Phantoms hit a pair of empty nets to earn the win. The Bears outshot Lehigh Valley 43-31

FROM CHOCOLATE & WHITE TO STARS & STRIPES: Tonight marks the first game of the season that Hershey will be without forward Chris Bourque. The AHL’s active leading career point scorer has arrived in South Korea to represent Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Bourque took part in the Opening Ceremonies which will air tonight from PyeongChang. The forward departs Hershey tied for the league lead with 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists). With Bourque factoring in on 45 of Hershey’s 122 goals this season, it means the Bears are without their alternate captain who has had a hand in 36.8% of the club’s scoring this season. Bourque’s loss will be felt tonight against the Phantoms, a team he has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) against this season.

BARBER-SHOP QUARTET?: Hershey forward Riley Barber is red-hot. The sniper will look to score in a fourth straight game tonight in Lehigh Valley. Barber notched goals in all three of Hershey’s games last weekend, tallying the Bears lone goal in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday, striking for two power play markers in the shootout win over the Checkers on Saturday, and scoring in the 5-2 loss to Charlotte Sunday. This marks the first time in Barber’s 161 game AHL career that the Pittsburgh native has scored in three straight games. Saturday’s performance was Barber’s first multi-goal game since Feb. 12, 2017 when he scored twice at Bridgeport. The product of the Miami Redhawks leads the Bears in goals (16), power play tallies (8), and game-winning goals (5).

SERIES STANDOUTS: Hershey’s Travis Boyd always comes to play versus the Phantoms, and the third-year forward has eight points (one goal, seven assists) versus Lehigh Valley this season. He has 39 points in 35 career regular season games versus the Phantoms. A third of Hershey forward Mathias Bau’s nine goals this season have come versus the Phantoms. The Bears hope to get the big 6-foot-7 forward going tonight as he has not scored in 14 games. Two of John Albert’s three goals have also come this year versus Lehigh Valley. For the Phantoms, Phil Varone (three goals, seven assists), Greg Carey (five goals, four assists), and Nic Aube-Kubel (four goals, four assists) have had the most success versus the Bears this season.

BEARS-PHANTOMS FAST FACTS: Lehigh Valley goaltender Alex Lyon is 5-1-0 versus Hershey this season with a 2.63 goals against average…T.J. Brennan’s 30 points for the Phantoms is fourth in the AHL among defenders… Lehigh Valley’s power play is 29th in the AHL at 12.2% on home ice….With just one win over the past 10 games, Hershey has had the toughest stretch of any AHL team of late.…The Bears hope to get Liam O’Brien and Jeremy Langlois back this weekend. O’Brien has missed three games with an upper-body injury while Langlois has been out with an upper-body injury since Dec. 13….Hershey’s 62 goals allowed in the third period this season is tied with Hartford for the most goals allowed by a team in a period this season.

Hershey Bears in a victory embrace

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