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Weekly Release: Bears Visit Empire State, Host Phantoms

March 21, 2023

The Hershey Bears continue the 2022-23 season, presented by Penn State Health, with their final weekend three-in-three of the regular season. The Bears make a swing through upstate New York with games at Rochester on Friday and at Syracuse on Saturday, before returning home to GIANT Center for a Sunday afternoon meeting with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Record: 37-16-5-2
Standings Position: 2nd in Atlantic
Magic Number: 4 points
Click here for full AHL standings

Goals: Ethen Frank (27)
Assists: Mike Sgarbossa (33)
Points: Mike Sgarbossa (52)
Power-Play Goals: Ethen Frank (9)
Shorthanded Goals: Beck Malenstyn, Henrik Rybinski, Riley Sutter (1)
Plus/Minus: Mike Sgarbossa (18)
Wins: Hunter Shepard (15)
GAA: Hunter Shepard (2.18)
SV%: Hunter Shepard (.914)
Only includes qualified players on active roster


Wednesday, March 15: Hershey 6 at Lehigh Valley 3
Connor McMichael opened the scoring at 1:54 of the first period when he knocked in a shot from the point that rebounded off the post. Garrett Wilson then scored at 7:59 of the first to tie the game and then put Lehigh Valley ahead at 7:28 of the second period, before Matt Strome tied the game with his first as a Bear at 12:01. Julian Napravnik restored the lead at 12:37. In the third, Shane Gersich scored at 5:38 and Napravnik scored his second of the evening at 10:58, and Bobby Nardella finished the night with an empty-net goal at 17:10.

Friday, March 17: Hershey 2 at Lehigh Valley 1
Ethen Frank put Hershey up 1-0 at 18:56 of the first period, but Ronnie Attard scored at 16:09 of the second period to even the score at 1-1. With the game still tied midway through the third, Sam Anas scored a power-play tally at 10:47 for his 300th career point to lift Hershey to an eventual win, as Hunter Shepard went 21-for-22 in net.

Saturday, March 18: Hershey 2 vs. Rochester 1
Michael Mersch gave the Amerks an initial 1-0 lead at 4:12 of the first period, but Connor McMichael tied the game less than half a minute later with a breakaway goal at 4:40. Ethen Frank scored the eventual game-winner at 3:37 of the second period, and Shepard finished the night with 22 saves for his second consecutive victory.


Monday, March 20
Day Off

Tuesday, March 21
Practice, 10:30 a.m. at GIANT Center

Wednesday, March 22
Practice, 10:30 a.m. at Hersheypark Arena

Thursday, March 23
Practice, 9:30 a.m. at Hersheypark Arena
Travel to Rochester

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

- Friday, March 24 at Rochester Americans, 7:05 p.m.
- Saturday, March 25 at Syracuse Crunch, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, March 26 vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 5 p.m. – CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS
  • Specialty Jersey Auction – Bears players will wear specialty themed jerseys that will be auctioned off post-game. Details surrounding jersey theme to be released this week.
  • Dreamer’s Hollow Children’s Night, presented by Members 1st Federal Credit Union – A variety of costumed characters from Dreamer’s Hollow will be on-site for photo opportunities, interaction with fans, and participation in game-day activities.
Video Coverage: AHLTV; Radio Coverage: Bears Radio Network


The American Hockey League has issued a correction to Hershey’s first goal on March 15 at Lehigh Valley – the goal now reads Connor McMichael from Mason Morelli and Jake Massie, removing an assist to Garrett Pilon. The change retroactively gives Morelli a two-assist night, and his eighth multi-point game of the season; Hershey is 8-0-0-0 when Morelli has a multi-point outing. Morelli’s next game will be the 200th of his pro career.

Last Saturday’s home game against Rochester signaled the start of a stretch in which Hershey will face North Division clubs in six of seven games over 16 days from March 18-April 2. In 11 games against North Division opponents this season, the Bears have gone 7-2-1-1.

The Bears picked up a 4-3 home win against the Crunch on Jan. 8 in their lone prior meeting of the season. Syracuse enters the week situated in third place in the North Division, and is coming off a 4-3 overtime win against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday. The Crunch leads all Eastern Conference clubs with 16.22 penalty minutes per game, while Hershey averages the fewest among the East with 10.93 penalty minutes per game. Alex Barre-Boulet is second in league scoring with 69 points (19g, 50a) in 56 games. Syracuse enters the week without defenseman Darren Raddysh, whose 51 points (13g, 38a) in 50 games place him second in scoring among league blueliners.

Hershey is second in the AHL with 39 first goals. Syracuse is tied with Bakersfield and Colorado for the fewest wins when trailing after the first period this season, with a record of 2-12-4-2. The Bears are 27-10-4-2 when scoring in the first period this season, and 26-6-2-0 when not surrendering a goal in the game’s opening 20 minutes.

In the month of March, the Bears have posted a record of 5-3-0-0. Connor McMichael and Joe Snively have each posted seven points on the strength of two goals and five assists to lead the team in scoring for the month. McMichael carries a five-game point streak (2g, 3a) into Friday night’s game at Rochester.

Through 60 games, Hershey leads the AHL with the lowest shots against per contest, surrendering an average of 25.70 shots. That figure is helped by Hershey’s defensive prowess in the opening frame; the Bears have allowed a league-low 37 goals against and 483 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes of games this season.

The Bears
are second in road penalty killing at 86.7%...Mike Vecchione needs four goals to reach 100 in his pro career…Sam Anas is four assists away from 200 in his pro career…Hershey is second in the league and first in the Eastern Conference with 2.60 goals-against per game…Ethen Frank is tied for fifth in league goal-scoring and leads all rookies with 27 goals; his 165 shots on goal are also tied for the rookie lead…The Bears are second in the AHL with 16 wins when tied after the first period…Aaron Ness is four games away from becoming only the 16th defenseman in team history to suit up in 300 regular season contests with the club.

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