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Weekly Release #23: Banged-Up Bears Search For Offense

Weekly Release #23: Banged-Up Bears Search For Offense


The Hershey Bears went 1-2-0-0 last week, scoring just two goals over three games. The Chocolate and White are 14 points back of the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division and have a 25-29-4-5 record. The injured-riddled club plays three divisional games this weekend as they battle Bridgeport and Springfield at home and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on the road. 

Last Friday, the Bears earned a 2-1 win in their lone visit to Syracuse this season. Tyler Graovac had a goal and an assist in the victory while netminder Pheonix Copley stopped 29 shots between the pipes. Defender Aaron Ness scored the deciding goal at 13:22 of the third period, beating former Hershey goaltender Peter Budaj with a wrist shot from the left wing. 

On Saturday, Hershey failed to find the back of the net in a 3-0 loss at Binghamton. MacKenzie Blackwood stopped all 18 Hershey shots he faced, and former Bear Tim Kennedy had the game-winning goal.

On Sunday, the Bears were blanked by Tom McCollum and the defending Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins, 3-0. It was Grand Rapids’ first visit to Hershey since 2006. 

-Friday, Mar. 16 vs. Bridgeport, 7 p.m.
Scout Night

-Saturday, Mar. 17 vs. Springfield, 7 p.m.
Ames Janitorial Services Rally Towel Night (First 8,000 fans), St. Patrick's Day Jersey Auction, College Night delivered by Papa John's

-Sunday, Mar. 18 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 3:05 p.m.

Wednesday, Mar. 14: 10:30 a.m., Giant Center
Thursday, Mar. 15: 10:30 a.m., Giant Center
Friday, Mar. 16: 10:00 a.m., Morning Skate, Giant Center
Saturday, Mar. 17: 10:00 a.m., Optional Morning Skate, Giant Center
*Practice schedule subject to change. Follow @TheHersheyBears on Twitter for updates.

BEARS MOURN THE LOSS OF KELLER: The Bears were saddened to learn of the passing of Ralph Keller, a former defender, captain, Calder Cup champion, and Hall of Fame member. Keller played for the Bears from 1963-74 and ranks first in club history for points by a defenseman (408) and games played by a defenseman (737). He was a 2012 Hershey Bears Hall of Fame inductee, and was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2016. A moment of recognition was held in his honor prior to this past Sunday’s game. 

INJURIES MOUNTING: The Hershey Bears are a black and blue group currently. The following players have upper-body injuries: Forwards Riley Barber, Adam Chapie, and Mason Mitchell, as well as defender Connor Hobbs. Forwards Jeremy Langlois and Mathias Bau have lower-body injuries. Barber, Hobbs, and Mason Mitchell have already been definitively ruled out for this weekend. 

VANECEK HITS CENTURY MARK: Last Saturday marked the 100th professional game for netminder Vitek Vanecek. Despite the 3-0 loss, Vanecek was sensational with 30 saves. He has played 64 AHL games with Hershey, 32 ECHL contests with South Carolina, and two pro games in the Czech Republic. In his career with the Bears, Vanecek Is 28-18-9 with a 2.67 goals against average, a .903 save percentage, and seven shutouts. 

AARON’S CLUTCH: Aaron Ness scored the game-winning goal in Hershey’s 2-1 win last Friday in Syracuse. For the defender, it was his third game-winning goal of the season, a career-best for the Roseau, Minn. native. Three of Ness’ four goals this season have been game-winning tallies, and he has the winning marker in each of Hershey’s last two victories. Ness has 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) in 42 games this season. 

SHUTOUT STRUGGLES: The back-to-back shutout losses for the Chocolate and White this weekend moved the Bears to six defeats via shutout this season. That mark has tied a club record, set previously by the 1961-62 Bears, as the most shutout losses in a single season. 

BEARS BITES: Hershey’s Nathan Walker is three points from 100 in his AHL career…Friday’s contest is the first and only Friday home game this year.

Hershey Bears in a victory embrace

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