Game Preview: Penguins at Bears, 5 p.m.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (44-22-6-3) at Hershey Bears (30-36-4-5)
Sunday, April 15, 2018, 5 p.m.
REFEREES: Terry Koharski (10), Corey Syvret (42)
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 at 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
WATCH LIVE: AHLLive.com
ATLANTIC DIVISION STANDINGS
PENGUINS AT BEARS: The Hershey Bears conclude their 80th Anniversary Season this evening as they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The rival Penguins have dominated the season series, beating Hershey seven straight times. The Bears have not won in regulation vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. Tonight's game will feature the club's annual pre-game Player Awards ceremony.
LAST TIME OUT: Hershey is coming off a 2-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers last night to capture the club’s 30th win of the regular season. After a pre-game ceremony where the Bears and Sound Tigers jointly honored the lives of those affected in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, the Chocolate and White struck only 4:51 into the contest. Garrett Mitchell forced a turnover and Jonas Siegenthaler scored unassisted for his sixth goal of the season to open the scoring. Mathias Bau tallied the eventual game-winning marker at 15:08 of the middle stanza. Bears goaltender Vitek Vanecek stopped 17 of 18 shots for the victory in net. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were also in action the previous night at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. A scoreless drought all the way to the 18:10 mark of the third period was finally broken by the Pens’ Garrett Wilson on his 17th goal of the season. Chris Conner tied the game for Lehigh Valley with the extra attacker on the ice at 19:14. Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored in the top of the fourth round in the shootout to give the Phantoms a 2-1 edge. The shootout loss for Wilkes-Barre locked up the second seed in the Atlantic Division for the Calder Cup Playoffs.
LAST TIME VS. PENGUINS: Hershey’s last matchup with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was Tuesday, Apr. 3 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The Bears dropped their seventh consecutive meeting with the Penguins in a 5-3 defeat. Only 53 seconds into the game, Teddy Blueger opened the scoring on a nifty backhander past Bears goaltender Pheonix Copley. Connor Hobbs tied the game for the Chocolate and White at 13:41 on a center point drive, but only to be outdone by Garrett Wilson two minutes later on an offensive zone rush to give the Penguins their second lead. In the second period, Sam Lafferty scored his first professional goal, chasing Copley from the game. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stretched their lead to three goals in the third period courtesy of a Daniel Sprong power play goal which proved to be the eventual game-winner. Hershey pieced together a comeback effort with goals 2:58 apart by Anthony Peluso and Mathias Bau to pull the score to 4-3. Jean-Sebastien Dea hit the empty net in the final seconds to round out a 5-3 final score.
OH CAPTAIN FOR 400: Today marks the 400th game as a member of the Hershey Bears for team captain Garrett Mitchell. In his previous 399 games with the Bears, Mitchell has tallied 53 goals and 57 assists for 110 points. The former Regina Pats forward has also appeared in 52 additional Calder Cup Playoff games with the Bears, dating back to Hershey’s 2012 playoff run. Mitchell’s Bears debut came on Apr. 6, 2010 at the Syracuse Crunch in a 3-1 loss.
WRAPPING IT UP: The Hershey Bears enter tonight with a five game winning streak in regular season finales dating back to Apr. 21, 2013. Five years ago, the Chocolate and White beat the Manchester Monarchs, 4-2, to clinch the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Apr. 19, 2014 marked the last time before this season the Bears closed out the regular season without a playoff spot successfully clinched. In the final game ever for the Adirondack Phantoms, Hershey won 2-1 at Giant Center thanks to a goal from Joel Rechlicz. The following year on Apr. 18, the Bears topped the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 5-1. Apr. 17, 2016 not only concluded the 2015-16 season, but it marked the AHL debut for Bears goaltender Vitek Vanecek. Following a late season call-up from South Carolina (ECHL), Vanecek won his Bears debut, beating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 2-1 in a shootout. Most recently, last year on Apr. 15, 2017, Hershey finished the regular season with a 3-0 shutout win over the Providence Bruins.
BEARS-PENGUINS FAST FACTS: The Hershey Bears will finish the season in last place of their respective division for the first time since 1983-84…Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos has announced his retirement following the upcoming Calder Cup Playoff run. Kostopoulos has appeared in 722 AHL regular season games and 630 NHL regular season games in his 19-year professional career… The Bears have successfully killed 13 consecutive penalties… In his first season in North America, Mathias Bau is now tied with Riley Barber for the team lead in game-winning goals with five after scoring the game-winner versus Bridgeport last night.
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