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

April 12, 2024

The Hershey Bears return home to GIANT Center, where they face their I-78 rivals, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, for the 12th and final time during the 2023-24 season.

Hershey Bears (50-12-0-5) vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (29-29-6-3)
April 12, 2024 | 7 p.m. | Game 68 | GIANT Center
Referees: Alex Lepkowski (74), Taylor Burzminski (13)
Linespersons: Justin Johnson (57), John Rey (16)

Tonight's Promotions:

Fairview Golf Course Logo Chip Night - The first 4,000 fans in attendance will receive a Calder Cup championship golf chip, courtesy of Fairview Golf Course.

Pre-game Happy Hour - Fans 21-and-up can enjoy a $5 16 oz. select beer special, available from doors to puck drop.


Broadcast Information 
Voice of the Bears, Zack Fisch, former Bears captain Garrett Mitchell, and FOX43 sports director Todd Sadowski on the call
RADIO: WFVY-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, SportsRadio 98.9-FM & WOYK 1350-AM (joined in-progress), Capitals Radio, In-Arena on 88.9 FM
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 StreamCaps Radio 24/7 
Radio pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 p.m., Television coverage starts at 7 p.m.

The Bears completed the sweep of their regular-season series with the Iowa Wild on Saturday, claiming a 3-2 shootout victory at Wells Fargo Arena. After Vladislav Firstov netted a power-play goal at 4:17 of the first period, Chase Priskie tied the score with Hershey on the man advantage at 13:05. Alex Limoges gave Hershey its first lead of the night at 18:09 of the second period, but Gavin Hain leveled the score at 10:48 of the third period. After regulation and overtime concluded with the score still 2-2, Matt Strome scored to break a 1-1 deadlock in the bottom of the seventh round of the shootout. The Phantoms traveled to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday and dropped a 5-1 decision to the Penguins, as Jacob Gaucher scored Lehigh Valley's lone goal at 14:57 of the third period after trailing 3-0. The Penguins tallied twice with the man advantage and scored a shorthanded goal.

With five total games remaining in the 2023-24 regular season, the Bears are still in position to challenge a handful of noteworthy franchise and league records. Hershey needs six points out of its remaining 10 available to best the franchise mark for overall points percentage (.769, 2009-10), and seven points out of the remaining 10 to best the 1992-93 Binghamton Rangers' league record for points percentage (.775). If the Bears get one more victory, they will match the 2022-23 Calgary Wranglers' league record for the most wins in a 72-game season (51).

Hershey's Magic Number for the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for first place overall in the league sits at three points, with the Bears holding an eight-point lead on second-place Coachella Valley. The Bears can also see their Magic Number reduced by any points that the Firebirds fail to earn this weekend; Coachella Valley hosts Bakersfield tonight and San Diego on Sunday. Hershey can clinch the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy tonight with a win against the Phantoms and a Coachella Valley loss of any kind against Bakersfield -OR- an overtime/shootout loss against the Phantoms and a Coachella Valley loss in regulation to Bakersfield.

Thanks to a hat trick last Friday at Iowa, Ethen Frank now leads the team with 28 goals, putting him two away from his rookie season total of 30 in the 2022-23 campaign. Should Frank net two more goals over Hershey's next five games, he will be the club's first back-to-back 30-goal scorer since Alexandre Giroux posted 60 goals in 2008-09 and followed that up with a 50-goal effort in 2009-10.

Tonight's game will mark the 121st meeting between Hershey and Lehigh Valley since the Phantoms relocated to Allentown prior to the 2014-15 season. In that time, the Bears have posted a 63-38-8-11 record against the Phantoms, with a 37-12-6-5 record on GIANT Center ice. Hershey has gone 4-1-0-0 on home ice against Lehigh Valley this season. Pierrick Dube leads Hershey in scoring against the Phantoms with eight points (6g, 2a) in 10 games. Phantoms captain Garrett Wilson leads the AHL with 206 penalty minutes; his 544 penalty minutes since joining Lehigh Valley in the 2020-21 campaign is also the most of any player in the AHL during that time.

Hershey leads the AHL with 38 wins earned in regulation, and 46 victories earned in either regulation or overtime...Hershey is 23-0-0-0 when Pierrick Dube scores a goal...Alex Limoges leads the Bears with 15 multi-point games; the team is 14-0-0-1 when he has achieved the feat...Mike Vecchione skated in his 400th career AHL game on Saturday at Iowa, while Todd Nelson was behind the bench for his 700th career game as an AHL head coach...Henrik Rybinski is two games away from his 100th professional game, all with the Bears...Ethen Frank is three points away from 100 professional points, also all with Hershey...Hershey is first in the AHL with a penalty kill that has gone 222-for-252 (88.1%)...Hunter Shepard is fourth in the league with 25 wins, while Clay Stevenson is tied for eighth (and second among rookie goalies) with 23 victories...The Bears have a league-leading 37 wins when scoring first...Hershey has won its last five road games and has a seven-game road point streak (6-0-0-1), one game off the season-high mark of eight (Dec. 17 at Springfield - Jan. 31 at Lehigh Valley, 6-0-0-2)...Hershey is 35-9-0-3 against Atlantic Division opponents this season.

April 12, 2009 - With goaltender Daren Machesney pulled for an extra attacker, Alexandre Giroux beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton netminder Adam Berkhoel at 18:49 of the third period for his second goal of the evening and his 60th goal of the season in an eventual 5-4 Bears loss at GIANT Center in the final game of the 2008-09 season. Giroux became the first Bear in franchise history to reach the 60-goal mark in a single season with the club, and in doing so claimed the Willie Marshall Award as the league's leading goal scorer, the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the league's overall point leader (97), and the Les Cunningham Award as AHL MVP.

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