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Game Preview: Bears vs. Bruins, 7 p.m.

March 26, 2024

The Hershey Bears return to GIANT Center as they seek a sweep of their regular season series with the Providence Bruins.

Hershey Bears (46-11-0-5) vs. Providence Bruins (36-18-4-3)
March 26, 2024 | 7 p.m. | Game 63 | GIANT Center
Referees: Patrick Hanrahan (52), Andrew Bell (6)
Linespersons: Jud Ritter (34), Robert Peterkin (51)

Tonight's Promotions:

Toyota Mike Vecchione Bobblehead Night - The first 4,000 fans in attendance will receive a Mike Vecchione bobblehead, courtesy of Toyota.

TRULY Takeover Tuesday - Special pre-game happy hour, presented by TRULY.


Broadcast Information 
Voice of the Bears, Zack Fisch, former Bears captain Garrett Mitchell, 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, In-Arena on 88.9 FM
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream 
Radio pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 p.m.; Television coverage begins at 7 p.m.

The Bears were in Cleveland on Saturday and blitzed the Monsters with five goals in a span of 18:40 as part of a 5-0 victory. Ethen Frank and Joe Snively led the way with a goal and two assists each, while Alex Limoges netted a pair of goals in his 200th professional game. Hunter Shepard stopped all 20 shots he faced for his fourth shutout and 23rd victory of the season. The Bears went 3-for-4 with the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. Providence fell to the Syracuse Crunch 3-2 in the shootout on Sunday at Amica Mutual Pavilion. Patrick Brown and Anthony Richard scored in regulation for the Bruins, while Michael DiPietro stopped 23 shots.

The Bears enter the week with an 18-point lead on the Providence Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division, and Hershey's Magic Number to clinch the 2023-24 division title sits at five points. Tonight's game against Providence represents a potential four-point swing, should Hershey be able to come away with a regulation win against the Bruins.

Since February, Bears goaltender Hunter Shepard has ramped his play up, leading to his takeover atop the league leaderboard for goals-against average on Sunday with a 20-save shutout against Cleveland to bring his goals-against average to 1.89. In his last nine appearances, Shepard has gone 6-1-2 with a 1.09 goals-against average and .953 save percentage, and three shutouts. Shepard enters the week with two straight shutouts and an overall shutout streak of 141:29 dating back to Hershey's 4-3 shootout loss at Utica on March 15.

Todd Nelson's next win behind the bench for Hershey will be his 400th career victory as an American Hockey League head coach. The bench boss for the Bears is in his second season at the helm of the Chocolate and White and has posted a 90-30-14 (.724) record during his tenure, and owns an overall 399-219-77 (.629) record in 695 career games as an AHL head coach for Hershey, Grand Rapids, and Oklahoma City. The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native's 399 AHL coaching victories rank eighth all-time; he needs nine wins to pass Scott Gordon for sole possession of seventh in league history.

Hershey has enjoyed an exceptional record against the Bruins this season, sporting a franchise-best 5-0-0-0 record and looking to complete a perfect head-to-head series in the regular season. The Bears have outscored the Bruins 18-12 through five games this season, with the Chocolate and White earning three wins in regulation, once in overtime, and once via the shootout. The last time Hershey won the regular-season series with Providence on points came during the 2016-17 season, when Hershey went 3-2-0-1 against the Bruins.

Matt Strome has a five-game point streak (2g, 4a)...Ethen Frank has a three-game point streak (3g, 2a)...Alex Limoges skated in his 200th professional/AHL game on Saturday at Cleveland...Mike Vecchione is two games away from skating in his 400th professional game...Vincent Iorio's plus/minus of +27 is tied for third among all AHL skaters...Bogdan Trineyev's three shorthanded goals are tied for fifth in the AHL and are tied for the most by a Bear since Chris Bourque's five in the 2011-12 season...The Bears boast a league-leading 34 wins when scoring first...Hershey ranks first on the penalty kill (201-for-226, 88.9%) and ranks second on the power play (46-for-214, 21.5%).

March 26, 1942 - 18-year-old Gaye Stewart scored 45 seconds into the 10-minute overtime and added an additional goal at the 7:22 mark of the extra frame, lifting Hershey to a series-clinching 3-1 victory over the Cleveland Barons in Game 3 of the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs to win the series two games to one, and send Hershey to the 1942 Calder Cup Finals.

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