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Game Preview: Bears at Thunderbirds, 3:05 p.m.

Game Preview: Bears at Thunderbirds, 3:05 p.m.

December 16, 2018

Hershey Bears (11-14-0-2) at Springfield Thunderbirds (13-8-2-3)
December 16, 2018 | 3:05 PM | Game 28 | MassMutual Center

Referees: Kenny Anderson (66), Alex Normandin (65)
Linesmen: Paul Simeon (66), Derek Wahl (46) 

Broadcast Information (Pre-game 2:35 p.m.)
RADIO: WQIC-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, Zack Fisch, the Voice of the Bears on the call. 
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream,  Caps Radio 24/7


The Hershey Bears look to bounce back after a 6-2 loss to the Providence Bruins last night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Hershey held a 2-1 lead in the second period before the Bruins exploded for five unanswered goals. Providence started the scoring 7:09 into the game after Jordan Szwarz finished a crisp passing play after a spin-a-round pass from Ryan Fitzgerald. Next period, Hershey cashed in on an abbreviated power play courtesy of Ryan Sproul's first goal as a member of the Bears at 2:07. Only 5:13 later, the Chocolate and White took a 2-1 advantage after Mike Sgarbossa perfectly redirected a Nathan Walker shot past Zane McIntyre. The Bruins tied the score at 11:58 after Szwarz and Fitzgerald struck again on a pretty passing play, followed by Kyle Cumiskey's eventual game-winner at 18:59. Providence added three more in the third period including a power play strike from Cameron Hughes at 4:05, an Anton Blidth empty netter, and Tanner Pond's first AHL goal at 18:28. The Springfield Thunderbirds will also look to bounce back after losing last night to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 5-3. Matt Mangene scored twice, and Josh Brown scored his first goal of the season in the losing effort. 

The Bears and Thunderbirds last battled on Dec. 1 at Giant Center, and Springfield escaped with a 4-2 decision over Hershey. Nathan Walker opened the scoring for the Chocolate and White only 50 seconds into the game, but the T-Birds responded with three in the middle period. Anthony Greco scored his first of an eventual two goals at 1:36, and Blaine Byron scored only 40 seconds later to provide Springfield a 2-1 lead. Walker tied the game for Hershey with his second of the night at 6:56, but Jacob MacDonald snapped the 2-2 score with his seventh goal of the season at 10:08. In the third period, the Bears were unable to find the equalizer and Greco scored an insurance tally at 11:03 to round out the 4-2 final. 

Springfield has been a location of great success for the Hershey Bears within the previous decade. The last time the Bears lost a game in regulation at Springfield was on Mar. 8, 2008 against the now defunct Springfield Falcons. In the 3,935 days since, Hershey currently holds a 15 game point streak (11-0-1-3) at the MassMutual Center. In the two previous seasons against the newly rechristened Springfield Thunderbirds, Hershey holds a 5-0-0-1 record. 

Since the Chocolate and White were shutout for the first time this season on Dec. 7 at Lehigh Valley, defender Aaron Ness has collected helpers in three straight. Ness earned the secondary assist on Sgarbossa's second period goal in last night's game, received two assists last Sunday against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and tallied an assist on Dec. 8 versus Hartford. In addition to the current streak, the blueliner has assists in five of his last six games (1-7-8). Ness' career-best is a four game assist streak set on three occasions, and once with Hershey on Nov. 15-25, 2015. 

T-Birds leading scorer Jayce Hawryluk is former teammates with Mike Sgarbossa in Springfield...Springfield's Henrik Borgstrom is third among AHL rookies in scoring with 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) and first in assists...The Birds have the third-best home power play in the AHL with a 27.4 percent conversion rate (20-for-73)...Springfield is the only team this season to score five power play goals in a single game, and they achieved that mark on Oct. 12 in a 7-0 blowout over Lehigh Valley. Also, the T-Birds hold the mark for most shots in a single period by all AHL teams this season, with 25 shots during the second period on Nov. 23 versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. 

Hershey Bears in a victory embrace

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