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Weekly Release: Bears Face Marlies, Monsters on Road

March 28, 2023

The Hershey Bears continue the 2022-23 season, presented by Penn State Health, as they hit the road for a trio of games against North Division opponents Toronto and Cleveland. All three road games this week will air this week live on local television.

TEAM INFO:
Record: 38-16-5-4
Standings Position: 2nd in Atlantic
Click here for full AHL standings

TEAM LEADERS:
Goals: Ethen Frank (27)
Assists: Mike Sgarbossa (35)
Points: Mike Sgarbossa (55)
Power-Play Goals: Ethen Frank (9)
Shorthanded Goals: Beck Malenstyn, Henrik Rybinski, Riley Sutter (1)
Plus/Minus: Gabriel Carlsson (22)
Wins: Zach Fucale (19)
GAA: Hunter Shepard (2.13)
SV%: Hunter Shepard (.917)
Only includes qualified players on active roster

RECENT RESULTS:

Friday, March 24: Hershey 3 at Rochester 4 (SO)
Mike Vecchione scored 29 seconds into the contest, and Sam Anas scored less than five minutes into the opening frame to open up a 2-0 lead. The Bears then got a third goal from Connor McMichael just over a minute and a half into the second period, but the Americans roared back with three goals in the middle frame to draw level. After no change in score occurred in the third period and overtime; McMichael and Joe Snively were unable to score in the shootout, while Mason Jobst and Aleksandr Kisakov tallied for Rochester to get the win.

Saturday, March 25: Hershey 4 at Syracuse 1
Shane Gersich scored at 10:16 of the first period to put Hershey up 1-0, and Mike Sgarbossa scored an unassisted goal for his 20th of the season five minutes into the second period to extend the lead to a pair. After Daniel Walcott scored for Syracuse, Julian Napravnik tallied midway through the third and Mike Vecchione added an empty-net goal, while Hunter Shepard matched his season-high of 33 saves to secure the win. Hershey’s victory allowed the team to clinch a postseason berth, following Hartford’s 4-0 loss earlier that evening to Springfield.

Sunday, March 26: Hershey 3 vs. Lehigh Valley 4 (SO)
The Bears
built 2-0 and 3-1 leads with goals from Garrett Pilon, Sam Anas and Julian Napravnik, but Ryan Fitzgerald and Artem Anisimov scored less than four minutes apart in the third period to tie the game at 3-3 to force overtime, and Hershey failed to score in the skills competition while Jordy Bellerive and Bobby Brink scored to let the Bears come away with only one point.

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE:
- Wednesday, March 29 at Toronto Marlies, 11 a.m.
- Saturday, April 1 at Cleveland Monsters, 6 p.m.
- Sunday, April 2 at Cleveland Monsters, 12 p.m.
TV Coverage: FOX43 (Wednesday & Sunday), AntennaTV (Saturday); Video Coverage: AHLTV; Radio Coverage: Bears Radio Network

TEAM NEWS AND NOTES:

MCMICHAEL STREAK HOLDING AT SEVEN:
A late scratch prior to this past Sunday’s game against Lehigh Valley due to illness, Connor McMichael enters the week riding a season-high seven-game point streak (3g, 4a). The streak began on March 11 at Providence, with Hershey going 3-2-0-2 with McMichael in the lineup over that time. This season, the Bears are 20-5-0-2 when McMichael gets on the scoresheet.

RUNNING THROUGH THE SIX:
The Bears get set to take on the Toronto Marlies Wednesday morning at the Coca-Cola Coliseum after picking up a 4-3 win over the Maple Leafs affiliate at home on March 3. Over the past five season, Hershey has gone 2-2-0-0 at Toronto, with its last victory coming on April 4, 2019 in a 3-0 win; Jayson Megna scored the game-winner 1:18 into the first period, Mike Sgarbossa and Brian Pinho scored 14 seconds apart later in the frame, and Ilya Samsonov made 17 saves for a clean sheet.

NESS SET TO PLAY 300TH WITH CHOCOLATE AND WHITE:
Veteran defender Aaron Ness is slated to play in his 300th career game as a Bear on Wednesday morning against Toronto. The former 2008 draft selection of the New York Islanders is in his second stint with Hershey after previously skating for the club 2015-19. Ness will become only the 15th Bears blueliner to log at least 300 regular season games with the club, a list that tops out at Ralph Keller’s 737, and most recently added defender Patrick McNeil, who reached 325 games with Hershey. Ness is tied with Kevin McCarthy at 144 points for 12th in franchise scoring among defensemen.

FUN TIMES IN CLEVELAND, AGAIN:
The Bears went 1-0-0-1 against the Monsters in two prior home meetings in December; Hershey won back-to-back 4-1 road contests at Cleveland last February. The Bears have a 2-2-0-0 record over the last five seasons at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

CLEVELAND CONNECTIONS:
Hershey defenseman Gabriel Carlsson is a former Cleveland Monster. The native of Orebro, Sweden played parts of five seasons with Cleveland, skating in 146 career games, compiling 32 points (6g, 26a). Additionally, Mike Sgarbossa opened his career with the Lake Erie Monsters and represented the club in the 2013 AHL All-Star Game. On the other side, Cleveland associate coach Mike Haviland served as Hershey's head coach during the 2013-14 season. Haviland was named the 24th head coach in franchise history on Jun. 18, 2013, and in his one season at the helm, he guided the Bears to a 39-27-5-5 record, as the club finished fourth in the East Division and outside the playoff picture. Haviland left Hershey in 2014 to take over as head coach at Colorado College where he worked until 2021.

A FULL 60:
This season Hershey has been one of the league’s elite teams in the first period, with a league-leading goal differential of +32. As the game progresses into the second and third, the playing field becomes more level, with goal differentials of -6 and +2, respectively. That hasn’t necessarily stopped Hershey from closing out games; Sunday’s shootout loss was only the fourth time this season that the Bears had failed to get the win when leading after the second period (23-2-0-2).

BEARS BITES:
The Bears
are second in road penalty killing at 86.3%...Mike Vecchione needs two 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 2.57 goals-against per game…Jake Massie is two games away from 200 in his AHL career…Julian Napravnik has a four-game point streak (4g, 1a).


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