Game Preview: Bears at Checkers, 7 p.m.

Game Preview: Bears at Checkers, 7 p.m.

December 20, 2017

Hershey Bears (12-14-0-3)  at Charlotte Checkers (19-9-0-1)
Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 7:00 p.m
Bojangles Coliseum

REFEREES: Corey Syvret (42), Beaudry Halkidis (32)
LINESMEN: Paul Carnathan (93), Terry Wicklum (58)

Broadcast Information (Pre-game 6:30 PM)
RADIO: WQIC-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, WOYK 1350-AM, Hershey Bears App--Zack Fisch, the Voice of the Bears, on the call
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 StreamCaps Radio 24/7


BEARS AT CHECKERS: The Hershey Bears hit the road this evening for the first of two straight games with the Charlotte Checkers. The Bears enter tonight’s game having lost three straight contests, while the Checkers have been one of the hottest teams in the AHL, going 8-1-0-1 over the last 10 games, and earning three straight wins. Tonight’s contest is the first of eight meetings between the two teams, and the first meetings between the two teams since the 2013-14 season.

LAST TIME OUT: Last Saturday, the Bears dropped their third straight game, falling to the Providence Bruins 6-2 at Giant Center. Despite being the fresher of the two teams, Hershey was blitzed in the first period, falling behind 3-0, and being outshot 15-3. The game featured a combined 89 penalty minutes after a brawl at 6:40 of the second period that saw goalies Pheonix Copley and Jordan Binnington drop the gloves. Hershey responded to the fight with second period goals from Riley Barber and Liam O’Brien, but the Bruins pulled away with two goals in the third period. Hershey was outshot 32-30 in the loss. The Checkers last played Sunday, winning a 7-5 barnburner versus the Laval Rocket on home ice. Warren Foegele and Valentin Zykov each had two goals and an assist in the victory, and Charlotte’s power play went an impressive 4-for-7.

RIVALRY RENEWED: This week marks Hershey’s first contests with the Charlotte Checkers since the 2013-14 season. Charlotte, now in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division, battled with Hershey four times in 2013-14. Hershey went 2-2-0-0, with both wins coming in North Carolina. Wednesday’s game in Charlotte is Hershey’s first since an 8-1 win on Nov. 14, 2013, a night in which Casey Wellman had a hat trick for the Bears, and Nathan Walker added a pair of goals. Since Charlotte joined the AHL in 2010, Hershey is 10-6-0-0 versus the Checkers, with six wins coming in North Carolina. The two teams also met in the Calder Cup Playoffs once, with the Checkers knocking out Hershey in six games in 2011. Tonight is Hershey’s first game at the Bojangles Coliseum, a building that the Checkers moved into in 2014.

300 FOR ALBERT: Hershey forward John Albert is expected to play his 300th American Hockey League game this week. The veteran has five points (two goals, three assists) in 16 games this season with Hershey. In 299 total AHL games with St. John’s, Manitoba, and Hershey, Albert has 160 points (70 goals, 90 assists).

BLUE LINE BLOOD: Tonight’s game features the sons of three of the NHL’s best defenders. On Charlotte’s side of things, blue liner Jake Chelios is the son of Hall of Fame defender Chris Chelios. The elder Chelios won three Stanley Cups and posted 958 points in 1651 NHL games. Jake is in his third season with Charlotte, and the alternate captain has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 15 games this season. The Checkers also have Philip Samuelsson on the roster, the son of NHL great Ulf Samuelsson. The Swede won two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh, scoring 332 points in 1080 NHL games. He served as the head coach of the Checkers last year. Philip had played 398 career AHL games, and has 10 points in 29 games with the Checkers this year. On Hershey’s side, forward Chris Bourque is the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque. Chris himself has had a Hall of Fame worthy career at the AHL level, scoring 671 career points.

SCOUTING THE CHECKERS: The high-flying Charlotte Checkers will be a tough opponent for the Bears this week. Charlotte is averaging 3.83 goals per game, good for second most in the AHL. Their 111 goals scored are the most in the Eastern Conference, and the club has scored five or more goals 11 times this season. Forward Valentin Zykov leads the way for the Checkers, and currently sits tied for the league lead with 17 goals this season. His 11 power play goals are the most in the AHL, while Charlotte defender Trevor Carrick leads the AHL with 14 power play assists. Additionally, Checkers forward Warren Foegele leads the AHL with four shorthanded goals, and six shorthanded points on the season, making Charlotte a dangerous team in all situations.

BEARS-CHECKERS FAST FACTS: Hershey defender Connor Hobbs has joined the team for the road trip to Charlotte. He has not played since Nov. 4 due to a wrist fracture…The Edmonton Oilers waived forward Nathan Walker Tuesday...If re-claimed by the Capitals, Walker could be re-assigned to Hershey…Hershey assistant coach Ryan Murphy and associate goaltender coach Alex Westlund are both former Checkers. Additionally, Hershey head coach Troy Mann spent one season with Charlotte in 2008-09 during their ECHL days as the club’s associate head coach.

Hershey Bears in a victory embrace

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