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

February 10, 2024

The Hershey Bears make the club's last visit to MassMutual Center this season as they battle with the Springfield Thunderbirds for the fourth and final time in the 2023-24 campaign. Tonight is the second game in Hershey's five-game road trip, and the Bears will look to spoil the party in front of a sold-out crowd in Springfield for the club's annual Ice-O-Topes Night, an evening in which the Thunderbirds change their identity to honor Springfield's adored cartoon family. 

Hershey Bears (37-8-0-2) at Springfield Thunderbirds (21-19-3-2)
February 10, 2024 | 7:05 p.m. | Game 48 | MassMutual Center
Referees: Stephen Hiff (46), Brody Sutter (71) 
Linespersons: Nick Briganti (58), Trevor Disbennett (54)

Broadcast Information 
Voice of the Bears, Zack Fisch, and FOX43 Sports Director Todd Sadowski on the call 
TELEVISION:  Antenna TV (WPMT FOX 43.2, Xfinity Ch. 247 and 1178, Verizon FiOS Ch. 463, Blue Ridge Ephrata Ch. 91, and Blue Ridge Newberry/Duncannon Ch. 88)
RADIO: WFVY-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, SportsRadio 98.9-FM & WOYK 1350-AM, Capitals Radio (Joined in progress)
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 StreamCaps Radio 24/7 
Radio pre-game coverage starts at 6:35 p.m., Television coverage starts at 7 p.m.

The Bears returned from the AHL's All-Star break and recorded a 3-1 win last night at Providence. The game was scoreless through the first 40 minutes of action, but in the third period, Joe Snively broke the deadlock with his 10th goal of the season at 5:12 on a shot from the top hashmark to make it 1-0 Hershey. The Bruins responded with a tying goal at 9:03, but Alex Limoges scored the winning tally at 14:12, capitalizing on his own rebound for his 12th marker of the year. Aaron Ness capped off the scoring with an empty-net goal at 19:34, and Hunter Shepard turned aside 12 shots in the victory for Hershey as the Bears outshot the Bruins 27-13. Tonight marks the T-Birds' first game since last Saturday when they earned a 6-3 road win at Hartford. Former Bear Jakub Vrana had two goals in that contest. 

Hershey's second line of Joe Snively, Hendrix Lapierre, and Alex Limoges once again had a strong performance in last night's win at Providence. Each player added two points with Snively and Limoges striking for a goal and an assist, and Lapierre adding two assists. Last night was the second game in a row the trio skated together, and in the previous outing last Saturday versus Bridgeport, Limoges had a goal and Snively and Lapierre each collected two assists. All three players carry point streaks into tonight's game with Limoges sitting at five games (3g, 4a), Snively at three games (1g, 4a), and Lapierre at two games (4a). 

Tonight is the final meeting between Hershey and Springfield this season. Hershey holds a perfect 3-0-0-0 record in head-to-head action this year and enters tonight's game having won nine straight games versus the Thunderbirds, and collecting points in 15 straight games (13-0-2-0) versus Springfield. The T-Birds enter tonight with just three wins over the past 10 games, while Hershey is 8-1-0-1 in its previous 10 contests. Pierrick Dube leads Hershey with four points (3g, 1a) in the season series while Hunter Shepard is a perfect 3-0-0 with a 1.30 goals-against average. 

Tonight's game will feature the top two goal scorers in the AHL this season in Springfield's Adam Gaudette and Hershey's Pierrick Dube. Both players have 24 goals this season with Dube striking for that total in 47 games, while Gaudette has accomplished that mark in just 40 games. Both players have seven power-play goals on the season, and each player is enjoying a career-best year in the goal scoring department. 

Hershey goaltender Hunter Shepard recorded his fifth consecutive win last night, and is now unbeaten in regulation in his previous 11 starts (10-0-1). His effort last night lowered his goals-against average to 2.10, moving him into second place in the AHL in that category, only to his teammate Clay Stevenson's league-best 1.79 mark. Shepard's two losses this season are tied for the lowest total in the league among qualified goaltenders with San Diego's Tomas Suchanek, who has played 14 games to Shepard's 22. Shepard ranks tied for first in the Eastern Conference with Cleveland's Jet Greaves with 19 wins. 

With his tally last night, Hershey defender Aaron Ness has goals in two straight games...Hershey's Bogdan Trineyev served a one-game suspension last night for a high-sticking incident on Feb. 3 versus Bridgeport...All-Star forward Ethen Frank left last night's game with a lower-body injury for the Bears...Hershey's 34 points on the road (16-4-0-2) ties them with Coachella Valley (16-4-2-0) for the second most in the AHL to Providence's 36 points (17-8-2-0)...Hershey captain Dylan McIlrath is skating in his 599th AHL game tonight, with 173 of those games coming for Hershey and 18 for Springfield.  

Feb. 10, 1984 -  The Bears visited the Sherbrooke Jets and the two teams combined for 18 goals in a 10-8 Hershey win. Hershey came flying out of the gate with five goals in the first period en route to the victory. Dan Miele scored twice for Hershey, including tallying the winning marker in the third period. Luc Dufour and Jim McGeough also had two goals for Hershey in front of a crowd of just 1,746 at Palais des Sports.

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