Game Preview: Griffins at Bears, 5 p.m.
Grand Rapids Griffins (31-22-1-6) at Hershey Bears (25-28-4-5)
Sunday, March 11, 2018, 5 p.m.
REFEREES: Pierre Lambert (47), Evgenii Romasko (39)
LINESMEN: James Tobias (61), Bob Goodman (90)
Broadcast Information (Pre-game 4:30 p.m.)
RADIO: WQIC-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, WOYK 1350-AM, Listen in Giant Center at 88.9 FM, Zack Fisch, the Voice of the Bears, and Freddy Cassivi on the call
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream, Caps Radio 24/7
WATCH LIVE: AHLLive.com
LAST TIME OUT: The Bears suffered a 3-0 defeat last night in Binghamton. The Devils got 18 saves from goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood to blank the Bears. Vitek Vanecek stopped 30 shots in the losing effort for Hershey. The Devils got the game-winning goal at 3:54 of the first period as former Bear Tim Kennedy cashed in on a rebound to make it 1-0 Binghamton. The Devils were held off the scoreboard by Vanecek until 17:44 of the third period when Bracken Kearns tapped in a power play goal past the Hershey netminder to make it 2-0. Kevin Rooney added an empty net goal at 18:16 to secure the win. The Devils were 1-for-3 on the power play while the Bears were 0-for-3. The Griffins were in action last night in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as they fell to the Penguins, 2-1. Ben Street had the lone goal for the Griffins, and Kevin Czuczman had the game-winning marker for the Penguins. Grand Rapids went 0-for-5 on the power play, while holding the Penguins to 0-for-4.
LAST TIME VS. GRAND RAPIDS: These two teams met earlier this year on Oct. 21 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. The Chocolate and White prevailed, 4-2, to earn their first victory of the 2017-18 season. After falling down 1-0 in the opening period, Chandler Stephenson responded with a shorthanded goal in the second period to tie the game, 1-1. Despite being outshot 20-7 through the first 40 minutes, the Bears poured in on in the third period, outshooting Grand Rapids 16-6, and scoring three times to earn the win. Garrett Mitchell pulled the Bears ahead, and Stephenson struck twice to complete his first AHL hat-trick. Adam Carlson earned his first AHL win in goal for the Bears, stopping 24 shots.
OVER A DECADE LATER: It has been over 12 years since the Grand Rapids Griffins last visited the Giant Center. You’d have to go back to Feb. 26, 2006 for the last time the Griffins visited Chocolate Town, a game in which they defeated Hershey, 4-3. It was a penalty filled contest that saw Hershey go 3-for-10 on the power play, and Grand Rapids go 1-for-9. Hershey forward Chris Bourque skated in that game, registering two assists. Bryan Helmer, Hershey’s Vice President of Hockey Operations, was a member of the Griffins in that game, posting an assist. Freddy Cassivi, who will work tonight’s game on the Bears Radio Network, took the loss in goal with 21 saves, while Joey MacDonald earned the win for Grand Rapids with 37 saves.
BEARS BLANKED: Last night’s 3-0 loss in Binghamton marked the fifth time this season that Hershey has been shutout. The Bears are getting dangerously close to equaling a club record for the most shutout losses in a single season. The current record has stood for 56 years as the 1961-62 Bears lost via shutout six times.
ON THE OTHER SIDE: Grand Rapids roster features former Bear Matthew Ford. The winger signed with Washington ahead of the 2011-12 season and skated in 39 games with the Chocolate and White, scoring 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists). On Feb. 2, 2012, he was dealt to the Flyers organization and finished the season with Adirondack. The veteran had 35 points last season as he won a Calder Cup with Grand Rapids and currently serves as the team captain. Grand Rapids head coach Todd Nelson was a member of the Chocolate and White during his playing career. The defender spent the 1995-96 season with the Bears. He tied for the lead among Bears defenders in points (50), was first in assists (40) and second in goals (10).
BANGED UP BEARS: Hershey’s road trip this weekend was costly on the injury front. On Friday in Syracuse, forwards Jeremy Langlois (lower-body) and Riley Barber (upper-body) were injured. Langlois is considered day-to-day, and Barber week-to-week. Yesterday, forward Mason Mitchell sustained an upper-body injury in Binghamton. The three players join Connor Hobbs (upper-body) and Mathias Bau (lower-body) as players on the mend.
BEARS-GRIFFINS FAST FACTS: In his last eight games, Pheonix Copley is 5-2-0-1 with a fantastic 1.60 goals against average, a .942 save percentage, and two shutouts. Last year, as a member of the Chicago Wolves, Copley went 1-2-0 versus Grand Rapids….Hershey’s Vice President of Hockey Operations, Bryan Helmer, played for the Griffins for two seasons from 2004-06, posting his best professional season in 2005-06 when he registered 56 points (12 goals, 44 assists) and 138 penalty minutes….Dustin Gazley had a four-game point streak snapped last night. He had one goal and four assists in the stretch…Grand Rapids forward Eric Tangradi hails from Philadelphia…Griffins forward Dominic Turgeon is the son of former NHL’er Pierre Turgeon.
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