Game Preview: Thunderbirds at Bears, 7 p.m.
Springfield Thunderbirds (28-29-5-1) at Hershey Bears (26-29-4-5)
Saturday, March 17, 2018, 7 p.m.
REFEREES: David Banfield (77), Terry Koharski (10)
LINESMEN: Bob Goodman (90), Jud Ritter (34)
Broadcast Information (Pre-game 6:30 p.m.)
RADIO: WQIC-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, Listen in Giant Center at 88.9 FM, Zack Fisch, the Voice of the Bears, and Mitch Lamoureux on the call
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream, Caps Radio 24/7
WATCH LIVE: AHLLive.com
THUNDERBIRDS AT BEARS: The Hershey Bears look to continue their winning ways this evening as they host the Springfield Thunderbirds. Tonight is the final game in the season series between the two teams. The Bears trail Springfield in the Atlantic Division standings by just a single point. Hershey will wear special St. Patrick’s Day uniforms tonight that will be auctioned off after the game.
LAST TIME OUT: The Bears earned a 3-2 victory last night at the Giant Center over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Bears bounced back after being shutout two consecutive games by earning their first win over the Sound Tigers this season. After Casey Bailey made it 1-0 in the second period, Hampus Gustafsson scored for the Bears to even the contest. Just a minute later, Josh Ho-Sang regained the lead for Bridgeport, and the Sound Tigers carried a 2-1 lead into the third period of play. However, the Bears battled back, as Liam O’Brien cashed in early in the third period, deflecting a Madison Bowey shot into the net for his 15th goal of the season to even the score. Anthony Peluso added the winning marker with 4:42 to play to give Hershey the victory. The Sound Tigers outshot Hershey, 28-26. Hershey went 0-for-3 on the power play while Bridgeport was 1-for-5.The Thunderbirds were in action on home ice last night, suffering a 3-2 loss in overtime to Syracuse. Curtis Valk and Francois Beauchemin scored for the Thunderbirds, but Olivier Archambault scored the game-winning goal for the Crunch at 2:06 of overtime.
LAST TIME VS. T-BIRDS: Tonight marks exactly two months since the Bears and Thunderbirds last played. That night, Hershey suffered a 5-4 shootout setback at the MassMutual Center. The Bears jumped out with early goals from Wayne Simpson and Anthony Peluso, but the Thunderbirds rattled off four unanswered tallies and chased Vitek Vanecek from the game in the second period. Down two goals in the third period, Dustin Gazley and Tyler Graovac scored to force extra time. The Bears outshot Springfield, 37-29.
LUCK OF THE IRISH: Tonight marks the second straight year the Bears have played on St. Patrick’s Day. The Chocolate and White earned a 4-3 overtime victory vs. Hartford on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017. Christian Djoos capped off a four-point night with the game-winning goal at Giant Center. The Bears have won five straight games on St. Patrick’s Day, dating back to 2007. In 2013, Hershey defeated Adirondack at Giant Center, 5-2, thanks to two goals from Jeff Taffe. In 2012, Boyd Kane scored the shootout winner at Giant Center as Hershey topped Albany, 3-2. In 2010, Kyle Wilson and Andrew Joudrey had two goals each as Hershey won in Binghamton, 5-3. Back in 2007, Hershey defeated Philadelphia, 5-2, in Chocolate Town. The Bears last loss on St. Patrick’s Day came in 2006 in a 3-2 shootout loss at Binghamton.
COMEBACK KIDS: Last night Hershey earned a comeback victory in the 3-2 decision. The Bears trailed 2-1 entering the third period, but struck twice in the game’s final stanza to earn the win. The contest marked just the third time this season the Bears have earned a victory when trailing after 40 minutes. The Chocolate and White are 3-25-3-2 this season when trailing after the second period.
GUS GETS GOING: Hershey forward Hampus Gustafsson scored the first goal of his AHL career last night, striking in the second period for the Chocolate and White. He also added an assist to post his first career AHL multi-point game. Gustafsson, 24, has skated in 17 games with the Bears this season, tallying a goal and three assists. The rookie forward joined the Bears last March on an amateur tryout agreement, posting two assists in 10 games, and also appearing in four playoff contests. With South Carolina (ECHL) this season, Gustafsson had 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 29 games. The native of Ljungby, Sweden signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Washington Capitals on Mar. 7, 2017.
PELUSO PREVAILS: Anthony Peluso’s goal last night was the first game winning marker for the forward in six years. The last time he scored a game-winning goal in the AHL was with the Peoria Rivermen, when he scored the deciding marker in a 5-4 victory at Rockford on Nov. 12, 2012. Peluso is just one goal off from tying his AHL career high of five goals, a mark he posted in both 2010-11 and 2012-13.
BEARS-THUNDERBIRDS FAST FACTS: A Simpson and Springfield go hand-in-hand. Hershey’s Wayne Simpson leads all players in the season series with five points (three goals, two assists) in five contests this season….Anthony Greco has three goals versus the Bears this year…Springfield defender Maxime Fortunus played his 1000th professional game earlier this week…Springfield has just one power play goal (1-for-16) in the season series versus Hershey.
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