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Calder Cup Finals Game 3 Preview: Bears at Firebirds, 10 p.m.

June 18, 2024

The Hershey Bears take the ice this evening for Game 3 of the 2024 Calder Cup Finals against the Coachella Valley Firebirds. Hershey looks to take a 2-1 series lead after posting a 5-2 win in Game 2 last Sunday at GIANT Center.

Hershey Bears (11-5) at Coachella Valley Firebirds (11-3)
June 18, 2024 | 10 p.m. ET | Acrisure Arena | Series Tied, 1-1
Referees: Justin Kea (44), Morgan MacPhee (43) 
Linespersons: Brandon Grillo (79), Joseph Mahon (89)

Broadcast Information 
Voice of the Bears, Zack Fisch, former Bears captain Garrett Mitchell, and FOX43's Todd Sadowski and Ryan Ye on the call
TELEVISION: FOX43, Monumental Sports Network (Washington, D.C. market)
RADIO: WFVY-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, Capitals Radio
WATCH LIVE: AHLTV
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 StreamCaps Radio 24/7 
Radio pre-game coverage starts at 9:30 p.m. ET, Television coverage starts at 10 p.m.

WATCH PARTY:
Bear Nation can get together at The Bears Den at the Hershey Lodge for our Game 3 Watch Party presented by Labatt Blue, featuring a $5 Labatt Blue draft special!

LAST TIME OUT:
Hardy Haman Aktell scored twice, while Jimmy Huntington, Alex Limoges, and Mike Vecchione each collected a pair of points as the Hershey Bears leveled the Calder Cup Finals with a 5-2 win in Game 2 in front of a sold-out crowd last Sunday at GIANT Center. The best-of-seven series is now tied, 1-1. Hershey scored first as Ivan Miroshnichenko tallied at 5:51 of the first period, but Coachella Valley's Luke Henman tied the game just 2:42 in the middle stanza. Hershey regained the lead when a puck-handling mistake from Firebirds' goaltender Chris Driedger resulted in a Huntington goal at 13:01, and the forward set up his linemate Pierrick Dube for a goal at 16:42 to make it 3-1 Hershey. The Firebirds made it a one-goal game just 17 seconds into the third period, but Haman Aktell struck at 9:45, and tallied an empty-netter at 19:49 to give Hershey the win. Netminder Hunter Shepard earned first star honors stopping 32 shots.

RETURN TO THE DESERT: 
Tonight marks the first of three straight games at Acrisure Arena for Hershey as the 2024 Calder Cup Finals shifts to the desert. The Firebirds are unbeaten on home ice in the postseason, posting a 6-0 record and outscoring opponents 23-12. In the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs, Hershey was 1-3 at Acrisure Arena, being outscored 16-5. However, it was the Bears who came up with the win in decisive Game 7 on the Firebirds' ice, with Mike Vecchione scoring in sudden-death overtime with 3:41 left in the extra session to give Hershey its league-record 12th Calder Cup Championship.

HHA COMES TO PLAY: 
Hershey defenseman Hardy Haman Aktell finished the entire regular season with just two goals in 55 contests, but the native of Kage, Sweden has had a breakout performance in the postseason for Hershey. The blueliner is currently tied for the league-lead among defenders with Coachella Valley's Cale Fleury and Milwaukee's Marc Del Gaizo with four goals. He tallied in Game 1 of the series before collecting his first multi-goal game as a Bear in Game 2. The franchise record for goals scored by a defenseman in a playoff run is held by Mike Green, who registered seven markers in the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs.

ON THE HUNT:
Hershey forward Jimmy Huntington potted a goal and an assist in Hershey's Game 2 victory, giving him points in four consecutive contests for the Bears. He has compiled five points (1g, 4a) in that span, and has struck for 11 points (3g, 8a) in the postseason, tied for the fifth on the club. Hershey is 7-2 when the native of Quebec records a point this season and a perfect 3-0 when he finds the back of the net.

BEARS BITES:
Thanks to a strong effort from Hershey goaltender Hunter Shepard, Game 2 marked just the fourth time Coachella Valley has been limited to two or less goals this postseason. The Firebirds are just 1-3 when that occurs...Alex Limoges had two assists for Hershey in Game 2, marking his first multi-point game of the Calder Cup Playoffs. He had 15 multi-point outings during the regular season for Hershey...The Bears are 4-7 in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals in franchise history when they split the first two games of the series, with the most recent occurrence coming in 2009, a year in which Hershey went on to win its 10th Calder Cup title...Hershey is 2-0 in the playoffs when scoring shorthanded while the Firebirds are 3-0 when tallying a man down...With the Game 2 win, Hershey head coach Todd Nelson sits in sole possession of fourth in franchise history in playoff victories with 25, behind only Frank Mathers (60), John Paddock (30), and Bruce Boudreau (29).

ON THIS DATE:
June 18, 2013 - The Bears announced Mike Haviland as the 24th head coach in club history. He led Hershey to a 39-27-5-5 record in his lone season behind the bench.




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