Game Preview: Bears at Penguins, 5 p.m.
February 11, 2021The Hershey Bears continue the 2020-21 season, presented by Penn State Health, this evening on the road. The Chocolate and White battle with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena tonight at 5 p.m. It's the first of 10 meetings between the two I-81 rivals.
Hershey Bears (0-0-1-0) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (0-0-1-0)
February 11, 2021 | 5 PM | Game #2 | Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
Referees: Brandon Blandina (#39), Mitch Dunning (#43)
Linesmen: Bill Lyons (#27), Jud Ritter (#34)
DOWNLOAD: AHL MEDIA KIT (Rosters, stats, and standings)
Broadcast Information (Radio pre-game 4:30 p.m.)
RADIO: WFVY-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, Caps Radio 24/7, SportsRadio 98.9-FM & WOYK 1350-AM (Joined in progress)
Voice of the Bears, Zack Fisch, on the call
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream, Caps Radio 24/7
WATCH LIVE: AHLTV
LAST TIME OUT:
Hershey returns to the ice tonight after opening the 2020-21 campaign last Saturday night with a 2-1 loss in overtime at GIANT Center to Lehigh Valley. The Bears lone goal came in the 2nd period from Kody Clark, and the Chocolate and White held the 1-0 advantage until the final minute of regulation. With an extra-attacker, Lehigh Valley defender Wyatte Wylie scored at 19:15 to tie the game, 1-1. In overtime, Ryan Fitzgerald scored the winner for the visitors, handing Hershey its fourth consecutive defeat in the club's home opener. The Bears out shot the Phantoms 35-28 in the contest. The Penguins are also coming off an overtime loss in their first game of the season, suffering a 4-3 defeat to Binghamton on Monday. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton squandered a 3-1 lead in the final period despite two assists from defender Cam Lee.
Tonight marks the first game of the I-81 rivalry series between the Bears and the Baby Pens. Hershey was the stronger of the two clubs last year, posting a 6-3-0-1 record in the season series. A large part of Hershey's success in the season series came on special teams as the Chocolate and White went 7-for-35 (20%) on the power play versus the Penguins, while killing off 29-of-32 penalties (92.3%) in the 10 head-to-head contests. Hershey captain Matt Moulson had eight points (5g, 3a) in the season series, with all five of his goals versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coming on the power play. Overall, the Bears have had the Penguins number the last two seasons, going 15-5-0-2 versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since Spencer Carbery took over as head coach in 2018.
Netminder Pheonix Copley stopped 26 shots in Hershey's 2-1 overtime loss in the season opener, and after a brief recall to Washington's Taxi Squad, the fifth-year Bear is back with the club ahead of today's game. That's good news for the Chocolate and White as Copley was sensational last season versus the Baby Pens, compiling a record of 4-1-1 in six appearances. His goals against-average versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season was 0.97, and his save percentage was a near-perfect .964. Both of his shutouts last season came versus Hershey's I-81 rival. In his career with the Bears, Copley is 10-6-1 versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
MACOY MOVES OVER:
Hershey's roster features former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman Macoy Erkamps, who has shifted to the other side of the rivalry. The Bears blue liner spent parts of the past two seasons with the Black and Gold, skating in 36 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last year, collecting four assists. If Erkamps were to play tonight, it would be his Hershey debut. The native of Richmond, British Columbia appeared in eight games with Hershey's ECHL affiliate, the South Carolina Stingrays, earlier this season, scoring one assist and posting 18 penalty minutes.
Tonight's contest features a trio of teammates who previously played for the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights. On Hershey's side, top prospect Connor McMichael led London in scoring last season with 102 points in just 52 games. McMichael, who was Washington's 1st round selection at 25th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, made his AHL debut for the Bears last Saturday versus Lehigh Valley. At forward, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's roster feature's McMichael's old London teammate Jonathan Gruden, who finished fourth on the Knights in scoring last season with 66 points. Additionally, the Penguins roster boasts London goaltender Brett Brochu, who posted an OHL-best 2.40 goals-against average last season in 42 games.
NEW YEAR, NEW STAFF FOR PENS:
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will enter the season with a new head coach for a second straight year. After Mike Vellucci was promoted to Pittsburgh, the Penguins named J.D. Forrest head coach on Sept. 11. He had previously served as an assistant coach for the club for four seasons. On his staff is longtime AHL forward Kevin Porter, who retired recently to move behind the bench as an assistant coach. In the front office, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's parent club, the Pittsburgh Penguins, just hired former Bears goaltender Ron Hextall as general manager. Hextall played with Hershey from 1984-86, and for one game during the 1989-90 season.
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