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5-11 Weekly

Weekly Release #14: Bears Enter Final Week on Cusp of Division Title

May 11, 2021

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE HIGHMARK HERSHEY BEARS WEEKLY RELEASE #14

The Hershey Bears are on the cusp of a North Division title as the team wraps up the 2020-21 American Hockey League season this week. Hershey’s truncated season will last 33 games, with the club closing out the COVID-19 shortened season with a home game both Saturday and Sunday. Hershey is an impressive 22-7-2-0 in 31 games this season, and the Bears Magic Number to claim the North Division title and win the Oke Trophy is just one point. The Chocolate and White are the second best team in the AHL only to the Laval Rocket and enter this week having won eight straight games on home ice.
 
Last Wednesday, the Bears dropped a 5-3 contest at Lehigh Valley to open the week. Hershey scored 24 seconds into the game on a Philippe Maillet goal, but the Phantoms pulled away with two goals in the third period to break a 3-3 tie. The loss snapped Hershey’s three-game win streak.
 
Last Friday, Hershey got back in the win column with a 2-1 victory in Newark over the Binghamton Devils. Goaltender Hunter Shepard earned his second AHL victory in just his second AHL start, turning aside 31 shots. Matt Moulson and Connor McMichael had Hershey’s goals, each striking for a tally in the second period. Hershey is now 10-1-0-0 versus Binghamton this season heading into the final head-to-head matchup with the Devils this Saturday afternoon.
 
In last Saturday’s game, the Chocolate and White tallied another victory on home ice, blanking the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 3-0. Pheonix Copley stopped all 34 shots he faced to earn his second shutout of the season. The Bears got goals from Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Joe Snively, and Philippe Maillet in the victory. Saturday’s contest was Hershey’s final game versus Lehigh Valley this season. The Chocolate and White finished 5-4-2-0 versus the Phantoms this year
 
UPCOMING GAMES: 
-Saturday, May 15 vs. Binghamton, 1 p.m. 
-Sunday, May 16 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 3 p.m.
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HERSHEY BEARS NEWS AND NOTES:

MAGIC NUMBER CRUNCHING:
Hershey’s Magic Number to clinch the North Division title is just one. If Hershey gains a point in either game this weekend, they’ll win the Oke Trophy. The Bears could also clinch if Lehigh Valley fails to win all three of their remaining games. The Phantoms visit Binghamton on Wednesday, host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday, and welcome the Devils to Allentown on Sunday. Hershey last won its division in the regular season during the 2015-16 campaign when the club claimed the Atlantic Division crown with a 43-21-5-7 record.

HOME ICE IS QUITE NICE: Hershey has won eight straight games at GIANT Center, and the Bears have not lost on home ice since Mar. 14. The Chocolate and White boast a home record of 12-1-2-0, good for a .867 point percentage, by far the best mark in the AHL. While it is a much smaller sample size of just 15 games in the shortened 2020-21 season, this year has been Hershey’s best year on home ice since the historic 2009-10 season, in which the club posted a .875 points percentage at GIANT Center with a 34-4-0-2 record in 40 games. With two wins this weekend, Hershey could finish with a .882 points percentage on home ice though the 17 games played in Chocolatetown.

MILESTONES MET: In last Sunday’s game, three Bears met milestones. With assists on Joe Snively’s goal in the second period, forward Philippe Maillet tallied his 100th AHL assist while Matt Moulson registered his 700th professional point. With the win between the pipes, netminder Pheonix Copley earned his 100th AHL victory, becoming the first goaltender to do this in a Hershey uniform since Dan Ellis on Jan. 2, 2016.

STINGY DEFENSE: Entering this week, the Bears are the best defensive team in the AHL, allowing just 2.35 goals per game. Only Providence has allowed fewer goals than Hershey (73), despite the Bears playing more games than 14 other AHL teams. Hershey goaltenders have recorded four shutouts, the most of any team in the league. The Bears are also allowing just 26.29 shots per game, the fourth lowest total in the AHL during the 2020-21 campaign.

BEARS BITES: Matt Moulson, the AHL’s active ironman, sits at 398 AHL games played entering this weekend. Sunday could mark his 400th contest in the league…Rookie Connor McMichael scored his AHL-leading seventh game-winning goal last week. McMichael’s seven game winning goals in 31 games are the most by a Bear since Chris Connor collected seven during the 2014-15 campaign in 61 games…Forward Mike Sgarbossa and defender Paul LaDue were re-assigned to the Bears from Washington’s Taxi Squad on Monday.


Hershey Bears in a victory embrace

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