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Calder Cup Finals Game 5 Preview: Bears at Firebirds, 9 p.m.

June 22, 2024

The Hershey Bears look to take their first series lead in the 2024 Calder Cup Finals when they face the Coachella Valley Firebirds tonight in Game 5 at Acrisure Arena. With the best-of-seven series tied 2-2, the Bears need a win tonight in order to set up a chance to secure their 13th league title on home ice when the series returns to GIANT Center for Game 6 on Monday.

Hershey Bears (12-6) at Coachella Valley Firebirds (12-4)
June 22, 2024 | 9 p.m. ET | Acrisure Arena | Series tied, 2-2
Referees: Justin Kea (44), Morgan MacPhee (43)
Linespersons: Justin Johnson (57), 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: Antenna TV (WPMT FOX 43.2, Xfinity Ch. 247 and 1178, Verizon FiOS Ch. 463, Blue Ridge Ephrata Ch. 91, and Blue Ridge Newberry/Duncannon Ch. 88), Monumental Sports Network (Washington, D.C. market), NHL Network (Coachella Valley feed)
RADIO: WFVY-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, SportsRadio 98.9-FM & WOYK 1350-AM, Capitals Radio, NHL Network Radio (SiriusXM Channel 91 [Coachella Valley feed])
WATCH LIVE: AHLTV
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 StreamCaps Radio 24/7 
Radio pre-game coverage starts at 8:30 p.m. ET, Television coverage starts at 9 p.m.

LAST TIME OUT:
Ethen Frank opened the scoring in Game 4 with his 10th strike of the playoffs at 18:37 of the first period coming on the power play. Shane Wright tied the game for Coachella Valley during a 4-on-4 sequence at 9:40 of the second period, but Hendrix Lapierre put Hershey up 2-1 at the 18-minute mark. Ryker Evans scored just 32 seconds into the third period during another 4-on-4, but Joe Snively netted the game-winning goal at 4:21. Hunter Shepard stopped Coachella Valley's 10 final shots and secured the win with a 22-for-24 performance.

HEAD-TO-HEAD BREAKDOWN:
Through the first four games of the 2024 Calder Cup Finals, the trio of Hendrix Lapierre (2g, 3a), Joe Snively (2g, 3a), and Ethen Frank (1g, 4a) lead Hershey in scoring against Coachella Valley with five points apiece, while Shane Wright (2g, 3a) has paced the Firebirds against the Bears. Hunter Shepard has posted an .889 save percentage, while Chris Driedger has logged a save percentage of .864. Hershey's power play has operated at a 3-for-16 (18.8%) clip against Coachella Valley, while the penalty kill has gone 13-for-14 (92.9%). The Bears have generated 13 goals on 89 shots on goal (14.6%), while the Firebirds have collected 14 goals on 123 shots on goal (11.4%). Hershey has spent a total of 75:41 in the lead, while Coachella Valley has been in front for 101:11.

HOT LAP:
Hendrix Lapierre is currently in the lead of the AHL playoff scoring race with 20 points (6g, 14a) in 18 games. With one more point, Lapierre can climb into a seven-way tie with Tony Cassolato (1980), Doug Gibson (1980), Eric Veilleux (1997), Graham Mink (2006), Tomas Fleischmann (2007), and Chris Bourque (2009) for the most points by a Bear in a playoff year. The second-year pro leads Hershey with seven multi-point games (Hershey is 6-1 when he has a multi-point outing), and Game 4 marked his first three-point game of the postseason. Lapierre's second-period goal also marked the first time he lit the lamp in a road game during the current playoff run. Should Lapierre maintain or tie for the league scoring title at the conclusion of the postseason, he would be the 16th Bear in franchise history to do so, and the first since Alexandre Giroux (15g, 13a) and Chris Bourque (7g, 20a) did so in 2010.

FRANK IN FIRST:
Ethen Frank's goal in Game 4 gave him his 10th of the playoffs, tying him with Milwaukee's Zack L'Heureux for the postseason goal-scoring lead. Frank is Hershey's first double-digit goal-scorer in a playoff year since 2010 (Alexandre Giroux, 14; Andrew Gordon, 13) and is now in a seven-way tie with Willie Marshall (1958), Robin Burns (1974), Harvie Pocza (1981), David Gans (1986), David Steckel (2006), and Scott Barney (2007) for the 10th-most goals by a Bear in a single playoff year.

DISHING THEM OUT:
Joe Snively's assist in Game 4 gave him his 26th career playoff helper for the Chocolate and White, moving him into a tie with Gordon Bruce and Larry Zeidel for 10th in franchise history. With 14 assists in the current playoff run, Snively requires one more to tie Tony Cassolato (1980) and Mike Green (2006) for the ninth-most assists by a Bear in a single playoff year; an additional assist will move him into a tie with Rich Brennan (1997), Josef Marha (1997), Tomas Fleischmann (2007), and Chris Bourque (2009) for the fifth-most assists by a Bear in a playoff year.

BEARS BITES:
The Bears are 9-10 lifetime in Game 5s of best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals...Both teams are an identical 11-0 when leading after two periods...Tonight's game marks Coachella Valley head coach Dan Bylsma's final home game of his tenure at the helm of the Firebirds. Bylsma will assume head coaching duties of the club's NHL affiliate, the Seattle Kraken, following the conclusion of the Calder Cup Finals...Bears defender and alternate captain Aaron Ness has missed the last eight games due to injury, but did participate in warmups prior to Game 4. Should Ness earn a sweater for at least one more game, it will mark his 63rd playoff appearance for the Chocolate and White, giving him sole possession of eighth in franchise history (currently tied with Roger De Jordy)...Pierrick Dube leads all players in shots on goal with 46...Hunter Shepard leads all goaltenders in minutes played (1,084:12) and saves (462)...Ivan Miroshnichenko is tied for second in rookie playoff scoring with 12 points (7g, 5a)...Hardy Haman Aktell is tied for the league lead among defensemen with four goals, while Chase Priskie leads all defenders with 10 assists.

ON THIS DATE:
June 22, 1982 - The Bears announced the signing of a new two-year affiliation agreement with the NHL's Washington Capitals. Under the terms of the agreement, Washington would supply Hershey with 20 players each season. The affiliation with Washington would last until 1984, before the teams reunited prior to the 2005-06 season. Over the lifetime of both affiliations with the Capitals, the Bears have made eight appearances in the Calder Cup Finals and have claimed five Calder Cup championships.




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