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Bears Weekly Release: Bears Rematch with Phantoms, Islanders

January 31, 2023

The Hershey Bears continue the 2022-23 season, presented by Penn State Health, as they head out on the road for meetings with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday and Bridgeport Islanders on Friday, before returning home on Saturday evening for Pennsylvania Lottery Night against the Phantoms.

Record: 28-9-4-1
Standings Position: 1st in Atlantic
Click here for full AHL standings

Goals: Ethen Frank (20)
Assists: Mike Sgarbossa (24)
Points: Mike Sgarbossa (39)
Power-Play Goals: Ethen Frank (6)
Shorthanded Goals: Beck Malenstyn, Riley Sutter (1)
Plus/Minus: Gabriel Carlsson, Ethen Frank (20)
Wins: Zach Fucale (14)
GAA: Hunter Shepard (2.12)
SV%: Hunter Shepard (.918)
Only includes qualified players on active roster


Wednesday, Jan. 25: Hershey 5 at Lehigh Valley 2
Connor McMichael scored on an early rebound for his ninth of the season 1:15 into the first period, but Elliot Desnoyers tied the score at 1-1 at 3:23. The Bears took a 2-1 lead in the second period with a power-play goal from Joe Snively, who wired his fourth of the season past Samuel Ersson at 6:47 for his 100th pro point. Hayden Hodgson made it 2-2 at 13:44. Snively scored again for Hershey exactly one minute into the third period, and Mason Morelli then scored with the power play at 8:43 and netted a rebound goal at 10:54 to cap the scoring with his seventh of the season. Zach Fucale got the win with a 20-for-22 effort and Hershey went 2-for-5 on the power play.

Saturday, Jan. 28: Hershey 7 at Lehigh Valley 3
Mike Vecchione knocked in his 14th of the season at 7:55 of the first period to put Hershey up 1-0, then Shane Gersich broke a 20-game goal drought at 11:05 when he tapped his third of the season past Pat Nagle for his 100th career point in the AHL and with the Bears. Mike Sgarbossa sent Hershey into the dressing room with a 3-0 lead at 19:31 with his 15th of the season. Garrett Pilon one-timed his sixth of the season past Nagle at 1:49, but the Bears then surrendered a shorthanded goal at 10:34 to Cal O’Reilly. Ethen Frank then got his 19th of the season 34 seconds into the third period, but Ronnie Attard answered at 2:53. Frank then got his second of the evening, and fourth point of the night, when he deflected a Dylan McIlrath point shot at 12:05. Jackson Cates scored at 14:03 to bring the Phantoms back to within three goals of Hershey, but Mason Morelli restored the four-goal lead with a power-play deflection at 16:46 for his eighth of the season. Fucale went 20-for-23 in getting his 14th victory of the season.

Sunday, Jan. 29: Hershey 0 vs. Bridgeport 2
The Bears
failed to score on Jakub Skarek despite out-shooting the Islanders 39-21, and Arnaud Durandeau scored power-play goals at 14:19 of the first period and 3:02 of the second period for the lone goals for Bridgeport. Hunter Shepard took the loss, only his second regulation defeat of the season, going 19-for-21, as the Bears also hosted their GIANT Teddy Bear Toss, which commenced with 5.4 seconds remaining in the game and resulted in the game being called at that time as a new world record 67,309 plush items made their way onto the ice.


Monday, Jan. 30
Day Off

Tuesday, Jan. 31
10:30 a.m. practice at GIANT Center

Wednesday, Feb. 1
10:30 morning skate at Hersheypark Arena / Travel to Lehigh Valley/Bridgeport

All practices are open to the public. Practice dates and times are subject to change.

- Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 p.m.
- Friday, Feb. 3 at Bridgeport Islanders, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 4 vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7 p.m. – CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS
  • Pennsylvania Lottery Night – The first 4,000 fans in attendance aged 18 and over will receive a coupon offer courtesy of the Pennsylvania Lottery.
TV Coverage (Saturday only): FOX 43; Video Coverage: AHLTV; Radio Coverage: Bears Radio Network


The Bears went 6-2-2-0 in the month of January to remain atop the Atlantic Division and in a fierce battle with the Calgary Wranglers, Toronto Marlies, and Coachella Valley Firebirds for the top spot in the American Hockey League. Mike Sgarbossa (5g, 8a) and Ethen Frank (7g, 6a) led the way in scoring for Hershey in January with 13 points. Both Zach Fucale and Hunter Shepard posted identical 3-1-1 records, with Fucale owning a slightly better goals-against average of 2.57 and save percentage of .900.

Defenseman Gabriel Carlsson enjoyed a fine January for the Bears, leading the blue line in scoring with five points (0g, 5a). That nearly doubled the eighth-year pro’s entire offensive output for the season, and with 12 total points (1g, 11a) on the season, Carlsson has already matched his previous career-high output in a single season, after previously hitting 12 points in 2018-19 and 2019-20 with the Cleveland Monsters. The 29th overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft was also a robust +9 over his final five games of the month to finish January with a +6.

While Hershey’s season-high eight-game point streak came to an end on Sunday in the home loss to Bridgeport, the Bears still remain one of the AHL’s hottest teams, especially on the road. As Hershey prepares to head out for games at Lehigh Valley and Bridgeport this week, the club’s road point streak remains intact at a season-high seven games (6-0-1-0) dating back to Dec. 17. The last time a Bears team had a road point streak of seven games or greater was in the 2018-19 campaign, when Hershey went 7-0-0-1 over an eight-game stretch from Jan. 12-Feb. 22.

The Bears enter this week exactly halfway through their regular season series with Lehigh Valley. Hershey is a perfect 7-0-0-0 against the Phantoms this season, most recently picking up a 7-3 win at PPL Center last Saturday. Hershey’s seven goals against Lehigh Valley was the most scored against their I-78 rivals since an 8-0 win at Lehigh Valley on March 23, 2016. Mike Sgarbossa leads Hershey in scoring with 11 points (5g, 6a) in seven head-to-head matches, while Zach Fucale has gone 5-0-0 against Lehigh Valley this season with a 1.80 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. Hershey’s power play has gone 9-for-28 (32.1%) against the Philadelphia Flyers affiliate this season.

Sunday’s loss to Bridgeport marked Hershey’s first regulation loss to the Islanders since Nov. 23, 2019, bringing an end to a 13-0-0-1 run against Bridgeport. The Bears still lead the regular season series with a 3-1-0-0 record, with two road games remaining including this Friday’s meeting; the Bears are back at Bridgeport on Friday, April 14. Ethen Frank leads Hershey against Bridgeport with seven points (2g, 5a) through four games.

Following Saturday’s game against Lehigh Valley, three members of the Bears will head north to Laval, Quebec. Head coach Todd Nelson and forwards Ethen Frank and Mike Vecchione will represent the Bears at the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Bell in collaboration with Manulife Bank. Nelson will be making his third AHL All-Star Classic appearance as a coach, while Frank and Vecchione will be making their first appearance in the AHL’s midseason showcase. Live broadcasts of the event from Place Bell will air on NHL Network in the United States on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. for the Rona AHL All-Star Skills Competition, and Monday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. for the Mise-o-jeu- AHL All-Star Challenge. AHLTV will offer a free video stream of both nights of the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic.

Forward Ethen Frank leads all AHL rookies with 20 goals and is second in the rookie scoring race with 35 points…Forward Beck Malenstyn’s next game will be his 200th AHL/Bears game…Mike Vecchione’s next game will be his 100th with Hershey…Defender Aaron Ness is four points away from his 300th pro point…Garrett Pilon has scored three of Hershey’s last four game-winning goals; he now has a new career-high after previously scoring one game-winner in three of his four prior seasons with the Bears.

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