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Weekly Release: Bears Finish Road Trip, Dig Into December

December 4, 2023

The first-place Hershey Bears (18-4-0-0) return to the road this week to close out a four-game road trip, before coming home to GIANT Center for the first two games of five straight on home ice. The Bears will play a pair of North Division opponents this week, as Hershey visits the Syracuse Crunch on Friday, Dec. 8, before quickly returning to Pennsylvania to host the Cleveland Monsters on Saturday, Dec. 9. Hershey resumes its Atlantic Division series with the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday, Dec. 10.

TEAM LEADERS:
Goals: Ethen Frank (11)
Assists: Mike Sgarbossa (18)
Points: Mike Sgarbossa (22)
Power-Play Goals: Ethen Frank (6)
Shorthanded Goals: Bogdan Trineyev (1)
Plus/Minus: Alex Limoges (+10)
Wins: Hunter Shepard (9)
GAA: Clay Stevenson (1.73)
SV%: Clay Stevenson (.933)
Only includes qualified players

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 29 - Hershey 7 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5
  • Friday, Dec. 1 - Hershey 4 at Charlotte 2
  • Saturday, Dec. 2 - Hershey 5 at Charlotte 2

LOCAL PRACTICE SCHEDULE FOR WEEK OF DEC. 4:

Monday, Dec. 4
DAY OFF

Tuesday, Dec. 5
Practice at 10:30 a.m. at GIANT Center

Wednesday, Dec. 6
Practice at 10:30 a.m. at Hersheypark Arena

Thursday, Dec. 7
Practice at 10:30 a.m. at Hersheypark Arena
TRAVEL TO SYRACUSE

All practices are open to the public. Practice dates and times are subject to change.

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE:

  • Friday, Dec. 8 - Hershey at Syracuse Crunch, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 9 - Hershey vs. Cleveland Monsters, 7 p.m. - BUY TICKETS
    • Hometown Heroes Night - The game will feature military-themed activities and recognition throughout the evening.
  • Sunday, Dec. 10 - Hershey vs. Charlotte Checkers, 5 p.m. - BUY TICKETS
    • Hersheypark Pass Night - All fans in attendance will receive a 2024 Hersheypark ticket, valid for one-day admission through June 30, 2024.
    • Ugly Christmas Sweater Jersey Auction - Bears players will be wearing Ugly Christmas Sweater-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off post-game. The Hershey Bears Hockey Club donates a portion of the sale of all jerseys auctions to several area non-profit organizations as part of its community-focused Hershey Bears Cares initiative.

Television Coverage: FOX43 (Sunday only); Video Coverage: AHLTV; Radio Coverage: Bears Radio Network, Capitals Radio Network; Tickets: HersheyBears.com

All times Eastern

TEAM NEWS AND NOTES:

MILESTONE IN SIGHT:
At 18-4-0-0 through 22 games, the Bears are off to their best start in franchise history. Should Hershey win two of its games this week, the Bears will shatter the team mark for fastest 20 wins. The 2008-09 Bears team reached the 20-win plateau in their 26th game, a 3-0 victory over Norfolk on Dec. 7, 2008, to cap an 11-game winning streak. At only 22 games played, Hershey has some wiggle-room to best or match the record. While on their current nine-game winning streak, the Bears have out-scored opponents 36-20.

HOME COOKIN':
December marks Hershey's busiest month at home during the 2023-24 campaign. Bear Nation will be out in full force for seven home games during the final month of the calendar year. Hershey is currently second in the AHL in average attendance at 8,707 spectators per game through 11 home contests. The Chocolate and White lead the league with a 9-2-0-0 (.818) record on home ice this season. Last season, the Bears went 4-2-0-1 at home in the month of December.

KINGS OF THE NORTH:
The Bears get set to face the top two teams in the North Division this week, as second-place Syracuse owns a 12-5-0-2 record through 19 games, while Cleveland has a one-point edge on the Crunch with a 13-5-1-0 record. Hershey has already faced Cleveland once this season, winning 5-2 on Oct. 15 for their first win of the season; last season, Hershey was 2-0-0-0 against Syracuse.

FRANKLY SPEAKING:
Sophomore forward Ethen Frank has picked up right where he left off last season, when he led Hershey (along with all AHL rookies) with 30 goals in his first full pro campaign. After recording his second career hat trick in Hershey's 5-2 win at Charlotte last Saturday, the Western Michigan University alumnus has 11 goals on the season to once again lead the Bears, and paces Hershey with six power-play goals, tied with Springfield's Adam Gaudette and Lehigh Valley's Olle Lycksell for the league lead. Frank's 41 aggregate goals in the regular season since the 2022-23 campaign is the most of any player in the AHL in that same period of time, just edging out Gaudette and Chicago's Rocco Grimaldi, who have 40 apiece.

TWO-HEADED MONSTER:
The Bears have gotten some excellent goaltending through the first third of the season, as Hunter Shepard is tied for the Eastern Conference lead with nine wins (tied with Cleveland's Jet Greaves), while Clay Stevenson's eight victories tops all rookie netminders, and he is tied for the league lead with three shutouts. Shepard has won his last five starts, while Stevenson has won his last four.

IORIO FINDING OFFENSIVE STRIDE:
Second-year pro Vincent Iorio burst onto the scene last year with 22 points (2g, 20a) and a robust plus/minus of +17 in 63 games for the Bears while also making his NHL debut with the Washington Capitals. After being limited to three points (1g, 2a) through his first 17 games of the season, the blueliner has chipped in a point in each of his last three games to double his totals for the 2023-24 season.

BEARS BITES:
Hershey leads the AHL with 14 regulation wins...Hershey is 14-1-0-0 when scoring in the first period this season...The Bears are 14-0-0-0 this season when leading after the second period...Hershey is 9-1-0-0 this season in games decided by one goal...The Bears are 11-0-0-0 when Pierrick Dube records at least a point, and are 8-0-0-0 when he scores a goal...Joe Snively is three games away from his 200th professional contest...Alex Limoges has five points (2g, 3a) in his last four games...Aaron Ness has four points (1g, 3a) in his last three games...Riley Sutter has nine points (4g, 5a) in his last eight games...Hershey is averaging the fewest penalty minutes per game, at 9.18.




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