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Weekly Release: Bears Host Phantoms, Visit Wild

April 1, 2024

The Hershey Bears (47-12-0-5) return home this week for a Tuesday night clash with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms before departing for the Hawkeye State for their first-ever road games against the Iowa Wild in a rare inter-conference matchup this weekend. Hershey enters the final month of the 2023-24 regular season with eight games left, split evenly between Lehigh Valley, Iowa, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Charlotte.

Goals: Pierrick Dube (26)
Assists: Joe Snively (38)
Points: Joe Snively (49)
Power-Play Goals: Ethen Frank (12)
Shorthanded Goals: Bogdan Trineyev (3)
Plus/Minus: Jimmy Huntington (+20)
Wins: Hunter Shepard (24)
GAA: Hunter Shepard (1.86)
SV%: Hunter Shepard, Clay Stevenson (.925)
Only includes qualified players on active roster


-       Tuesday, March 26 - Hershey 1 vs. Providence 4
-       Saturday, March 30 - Hershey 2 at Hartford 1 (SO)


Monday, April 1
Practice, 10:30 a.m. at Hersheypark Arena

Tuesday, April 2
Morning Skate, 10:15 a.m. at GIANT Center

Wednesday, April 3
Travel to Iowa

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


Tuesday, April 2 - Hershey vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7 p.m. - BUY TICKETS

  • Hersheypark Pass Night Night - All fans in attendance will receive a 2024 Hersheypark ticket, valid for one-day admission through June 30, 2024.
  • TRULY Takeover Tuesday - Pre-game Happy Hour

Friday, April 5 - Hershey at Iowa Wild, 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 6 - Hershey at Iowa Wild, 7 p.m.

Video Coverage: AHLTV; Radio Coverage: Bears Radio Network

All times Eastern


KEEP IT 100:
With 99 standings points, the Bears are still in position to earn their 10th 100-point season in franchise history, an achievement that has not been accomplished since the 2014-15 season. The first time the Bears hit the 100-point plateau was during the 1980-81 season. Of the previous 100-point or more campaigns accomplished by the Chocolate and White, five resulted in first-place finishes in the regular season (1980-81, 1987-88, 2006-07, 2009-10), six resulted in an appearance in the Calder Cup Finals (1987-88, 1996-97, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2008-09, 2009-10), and five resulted in a Calder Cup championship (1987-88, 1996-97, 2005-06, 2008-09, 2009-10).

The Bears enter the week with a 16-point lead on the Providence Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division, with an equal eight games remaining. Hershey's Magic Number to clinch the 2023-24 Atlantic Division title rests at one point. Any standings point earned in Tuesday's home game against Lehigh Valley will seal the Atlantic Division championship for the Bears. Hershey's Magic Number for the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for first place overall in the league sits at nine points. The Bears' clearest path to locking up the Kilpatrick Trophy can be achieved by winning all three of their games this week, and second-place Coachella Valley only earning three or fewer points in its three games this week; the Firebirds host San Jose on Thursday and are at Abbotsford on Saturday and Sunday.

With Saturday's win at Hartford, the Bears improved to 22-6-0-5 (.742) on the road this season, guaranteeing Hershey finishes its 72-game regular season with the best road points percentage in franchise history, surpassing the 2006-07 team (25-11-2-2, .675) with three road games remaining. Hershey needs one more victory on the road to match the franchise single-season record of 26 road wins, currently held by the 2009-10 squad (26-13-0-1, .663), and four points out of a possible six to match the franchise single-season mark of 53, also held by the 2009-10 team. Hershey's six combined regulation and overtime losses on the road are also in position to challenge the American Hockey League record for the fewest losses on the road, currently shared with the 2017-18 Toronto Marlies (38 road games, 30-5-1-2).

With eight total games remaining in the 2023-24 regular season, the Bears are still in position to challenge a handful of notable franchise and league records. Hershey needs 12 points out of its remaining 16 available to best the franchise mark for overall points percentage (.769, 2009-10), and 13 points out of the remaining 16 to best the 1992-93 Binghamton Rangers' league record for points percentage (.775). If the Bears get four more victories, they will match the 2022-23 Calgary Wranglers for the most wins in a 72-game season (51).

Hershey finished the month of March with a 6-3-0-2 (.636) record. Pierrick Dube (2g, 6a) and Alex Limoges (6g, 2a) led the team in scoring with eight points apiece, while Ethen Frank paced the club with 27 shots on goal, and Lucas Johansen led the club with a plus/minus of +8. In goal, both Hunter Shepard and Clay Stevenson had an identical three wins, while Shepard posted an eye-popping 0.97 goals-against average, .962 save percentage, and two shutouts in March that combined for an overall shutout streak of 167:35.

Saturday's win at Hartford gave Bears head coach Todd Nelson his 400th career victory as an AHL head coach (400-220-77, .629). Since stepping behind the bench of the Chocolate and White at the start of the 2022-23 season, Nelson has gone 91-31-14 (.721), earned back-to-back selections as the head coach of the Atlantic Division at the annual AHL All-Star Classic, and led Hershey to the 2023 Calder Cup title. Nelson's 400 AHL head coaching wins rank eighth in league history, and his 697 games coached rank 14th; he is expected to coach his 700th AHL game on Saturday at Iowa.

Tuesday's game will mark the 120th meeting between Hershey and Lehigh Valley since the Phantoms relocated to Allentown. In that time, the Bears have posted a 62-38-8-11 record against the Phantoms, with a 36-12-6-5 record on GIANT Center ice. Hershey has gone 3-1-0-0 on home ice against Lehigh Valley this season. Pierrick Dube leads Hershey in scoring against the Phantoms with seven points (5g, 2a) in nine games.

The Bears will make their first-ever visit to Des Moines this weekend when they visit the Iowa Wild at the 8,356-seat Wells Fargo Arena. Opened in 2005, "The Well" previously hosted the Iowa Stars/Chops before the franchise relocated to Cedar Park, Texas for the 2009-10 season. The Wild have called Des Moines home since the Houston Aeros franchise was relocated and rebranded by the parent Minnesota Wild prior to the 2013-14 campaign. Hershey hosted Iowa earlier this season in late November, winning back-to-back 2-1 victories over the Wild. Iowa is currently sixth in the seven-team Central Division under first-year head coach Brett McLean and ended March with a 2-1 loss to Texas to snap a five-game point streak (4-0-1-0). Former Bear Kale Kessy is in his first season with Iowa, and did not dress against Hershey in November while serving a suspension; Kessy has not appeared in a game for the Wild since Feb. 25 at Chicago. Iowa's penalty kill ranks last in the league, going 155-for-209 (74.2%). Chase Priskie leads the Bears in scoring against Iowa with three assists.

Former Bears defender John Carlson skated in his 1,000th NHL game - all with the Washington Capitals - on March 30 vs. Boston to become the 392nd NHLer to reach the 1,000-game plateau. In his NHL tenure, Carlson has recorded 668 points (149g, 519a), and was also a member of the club's 2018 Stanley Cup championship. Prior to making his NHL debut on Nov. 20, 2009 vs. Montreal, Washington's first-round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft skated with the Bears during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 campaigns, helping the team claim Calder Cup titles in both seasons, and owns the franchise record for plus/minus by a defenseman in the regular season (+37, 2009-10), and is tied for the most career playoff game-winning goals by a defenseman (3), and the most playoff game-winning goals by a defenseman in a playoff year (2, 2010). Carlson is just the ninth Bear to suit up in 1,000 games in the NHL, and is the only active player on the list.

Former Bears with 1,000 NHL games:
Vaclav Prospal - 1,108
Alex Tanguay - 1,088
Scott Gomez - 1,079
Radim Vrbata - 1,057
Craig Berube - 1,054
Geoff Courtnall - 1,048
Gaetan Duchesne - 1,028
Keith Acton - 1,023
John Carlson - 1,000

Hershey is 22-0-0-0 when Pierrick Dube scores a goal...Alex Limoges leads the Bears with 14 multi-point games; the team is 13-0-0-1 when he has achieved the feat...Mike Vecchione skated in his 400th professional game on Saturday, and is three games away from his 400th career AHL game...Logan Day is one game away from his 300th professional/AHL game...Hershey is first in the AHL with a penalty kill that has gone 210-for-238 (88.2%)...Ethen Frank is fifth in the league with 12 power-play goals...Hunter Shepard is fourth in the league with 24 wins...Hershey is 8-0-0-0 in games decided in the overtime period this season...The Bears have a league-leading 35 wins when scoring first...Hershey has won its last three road games and has a five-game road point streak (4-0-0-1).

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