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Game Preview: Bears at Bruins, 7:05 p.m.

February 9, 2024

The Hershey Bears return from the American Hockey League's All-Star break by opening a five-game road trip tonight in Rhode Island, as they get set to face the Providence Bruins. Tonight's matchup features the top two teams in the AHL, with Hershey holding a 13-point lead on first place ahead of Providence.

Hershey Bears (36-8-0-2) at Providence Bruins (28-13-3-2)
February 9, 2024 | 7:05 p.m. | Game 47 | Amica Mutual Pavilion
Referees: Michael Zyla (4), Adam Forbes (64)
Linespersons: Ryan Jackson (84), Stephen Drain (2)

Broadcast Information 
Voice of the Bears, Zack Fisch on the call
RADIO: WFVY-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, SportsRadio 98.9-FM & WOYK 1350-AM (joined in-progress), Capitals Radio
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 StreamCaps Radio 24/7
Radio pre-game coverage starts at 6:35 p.m.

The Bears have been idle since last Saturday, when they blanked the Islanders 4-0 at home. Pierrick Dube netted his 24th of the season just 2:01 into the contest, and Aaron Ness scored just over two and a half minutes later at 4:40. Mike Vecchione added a goal at 4:02 of the second period, and Alex Limoges scored at 16:10 of the third to cap the scoring, while Hunter Shepard made 25 saves for his 18th win of the season and second shutout of the campaign. Providence returns to action tonight after besting the Charlotte Checkers 4-2 on Saturday at Bojangles' Coliseum. Fabian Lysell scored just 5:33 into the first, and Dan Renouf added a goal at 8:34 to make it 2-0. After Zac Dalpe scored for Charlotte at 11:34 of the second to halve the Bruins' lead, Jayson Megna scored 53 seconds into the third. Wilmer Skoog netted a power-play goal for the Checkers, but Georgii Merkulov iced the game with a tally at 7:15.

Last Saturday's contest against Bridgeport marked the return of Alex Limoges to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 7, as the forward had missed nine games with an upper-body injury sustained in practice. The fourth-year pro scored Hershey's final goal in the 4-0 win over the Islanders, giving him points in the four straight games in which he has received a sweater (2g, 3a). Limoges has 11 points (5g, 6a) over his last 11 games, and the Bears have posted a 29-7-0-0 record with him in the lineup this season, and a 17-0-0-0 record when he gets at least a point.

Pierrick Dube's first-period goal last Saturday gave him his 24th of the season, and enters tonight's game tied with Springfield's Adam Gaudette in the race for the Willie Marshall Award as the league's top goal-scorer. The second-year pro is also tied with teammate Ethen Frank, Ontario's Akil Thomas, and Utica's Graeme Clarke for second in the AHL in game-winning goals with six. The Bears are 20-0-0-0 this season when Dube finds the back of the net.

Hershey gets set to meet a Providence Bruins squad tonight in a matchup that features the top two teams in the AHL. After a slow start of 6-8-1-2, including back-to-back home losses to Hershey in late October, the Bruins have surged to their present second-place spot in the overall league standings, going 22-5-2-0 in their last 29 games. In that time, the Bears have taken two more wins over Providence for an overall 4-0-0-0 record in the head-to-head series; it is the first time in franchise history that Hershey has opened a season series against the Bruins with four straight victories.

Hunter Shepard is tied for third in the AHL with 18 wins...Joe Snively is three assists away for 100 career AHL/Bears assists. He has 12 points (1g, 11a) in his last 11 games...The Chocolate and White have gone 12-3-0-1 on the road this season when scoring a goal in the first period...Hershey is 12-1-0-2 this season in games decided by two or fewer goals...The Bears lead the Eastern Conference and are second overall in the fewest penalty minutes per game in the AHL (9.43)...Hershey is 27-1-0-1 when scoring first.

Feb. 9, 1968 - The Bears wrapped up a road trip against the (now-defunct) Western Hockey League, winning in Phoenix by a 5-3 score against the Roadrunners. The Bears previously played on the trip against the San Diego Gulls, Seattle Totems, Portland Buckaroos, and Vancouver Canucks, as AHL teams that season played an interlocking schedule with WHL clubs. The trip represented the farthest west the Bears had ever played until they faced the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the 2023 Calder Cup Finals.

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