Game Preview: Bears at Phantoms, 3:05 PM
February 9, 2020
This afternoon, the Hershey Bears conclude three games in three days with a 3:05 PM puck drop against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Hershey will look for retribution after losing a 3-0 decision against Lehigh Valley on Saturday, Feb. 1 at Giant Center.
Hershey Bears (30-15-2-3) at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (21-22-1-5)
February 9, 2020 | 3:05 PM | Game #51 | PPL Center
Referees: Beaudry Halkidis (48), Peter Schlittenhardt (12)
Linesmen: Tyler Loftus (11), Bill Lyons (27)
LAST TIME OUT:
The Bears claimed a 5-2 victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds last night at Giant Center. After a scoreless opening frame, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby got Hershey on the scoreboard, striking at 2:40 of the second period for his 11th goal of the season. Philippe Maillet doubled Hershey's lead at 9:23, but Henrik Borgstrom made it a one-goal contest, cutting Hershey's lead to 2-1 through 40 minutes. Hershey struck three times in the third period, including power play goals from Christian Djoos and Maillet, and an even-strength tally from rookie defender Alex Alexeyev. Pheonix Copley earned his 6th straight win in goal for Hershey, stopping 23 shots. The Phantoms are coming off a third straight victory, taking down the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 5-3, at the Mohegan Sun Arena last night. Maksim Susko scored twice for the Phantoms while netminder Krill Ustimenko made 38 saves to win in his AHL debut.
DJOOS WORTH THE SQUEEZE:
Hershey defender Christian Djoos enjoyed a three-point game in yesterday's win versus Springfield. The defender scored his first goal in exactly two months, and posted his first power play goal since Feb. 26, 2017 at Bridgeport. Djoos also added a pair of assists last night, giving him his first game of three or more points since he struck for four points (two goals, two assists) in Hershey's 4-3 overtime win versus Hartford on Mar. 17, 2017 at Giant Center. Djoos leads all Hershey defenders with 25 points (four goals, 21 assists) in 36 games this season.
Goaltenders have been menaces to opposing shooters in the season series between these two Keystone State rivals. In the last meeting between Hershey and Lehigh Valley on Feb. 1, Phantoms netminder J.F. Berube recorded an 18-save shutout in a 3-0 win at the Giant Center. It was Berube's first shutout versus Hershey since he posted a 23 save clean sheet with Rockford in the IceHogs 5-0 win over Hershey on Oct. 22, 2017. Berube has posted great numbers versus Hershey this season, collecting a 1.71 goals against average and .932 save percentage in five games, despite owning just a 1-1-2 record. Berube is not the only goaltender who has been strong in the season series. Hershey's Vitek Vanecek has gone 5-1-0 versus Lehigh Valley with a 1.46 goals against average and .947 save percentage in six games.
TOP OF THE PACK:
Hershey's victory last night moved them into 1st Place in the Atlantic Division. Hershey has collected 65 points in 50 games, going 30-15-2-3, and with Hartford's overtime loss at Charlotte yesterday, the Wolf Pack now sit in 2nd Place with 64 points in 49 games, posting a 27-12-5-5 record. At this point of the season, Hershey enters in 1st Place in the Atlantic Division for the first time since December 2016. The Bears claimed a 5-2 win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Dec. 9, 2016, moving them ahead of the Penguins for the top spot in the division. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton beat Hershey the next evening, retaking the top spot in the Atlantic.
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