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 Hershey Bears

Atlantic Division Semifinals Game 1 Preview: Bears vs. Phantoms, 7 p.m.

May 1, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Hershey Bears News Release

(Hershey, PA) - The Hershey Bears take the ice tonight at GIANT Center against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Game 1 of the best-of-five Atlantic Division Semifinals. It is the first postseason meeting between the I-78 rivals since 2017, and the sixth all-time postseason series meeting between the Bears and Phantoms franchises.

Hershey Bears (0-0) vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (2-0)

May 1, 2024 | 7 p.m. | GIANT Center | Series Tied, 0-0

Referees: Beau Halkidis (48), Alex Lepkowski (74)

Linespersons: Jud Ritter (34), J.P. Waleski (14)

Tonight's Promotions:

Members 1st Cowbell Night - The first 6,000 fans in attendance will receive a Bears cowbell, courtesy of Members 1st Federal Credit Union.

Broadcast Information

Voice of the Bears, Zack Fisch, AHL Hall-of-Famer Mitch Lamoureux, and in-arena host Jim Jones on the call

TELEVISION: Monumental Sports Network (Washington, D.C. market)

RADIO: WFVY-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, Capitals Radio, In-Arena on 88.9 FM


LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream , Caps Radio 24/7

Radio pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 p.m., Television coverage starts at 7 p.m.


The Bears closed out the 2023-24 regular season with a 4-1 home loss to the Charlotte Checkers on April 20. Joe Snively scored the lone goal late in regulation with Hershey trailing 2-0, but Charlotte added empty-net goals from Alex True and Zac Dalpe to close out the game. The Phantoms are coming off a 5-4 overtime thriller in Game 2 of the Atlantic Division first round to complete a sweep of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, as Tanner Laczynski scored twice in the third period to rally Lehigh Valley from 3-2 and 4-3 deficits, and Jacob Gaucher netted the series-clincher just 2:11 into the extra frame.


Hershey is a lifetime 154-104-8-22-17 in the regular season against the Phantoms franchise, dating back to its days at the since-demolished Philadelphia Spectrum. The Bears own a 14-11 playoff record since the two clubs first met in the 1997 postseason, with Hershey also owning a 4-1 series record; Hershey's victories in 1997 and 2009 were part of eventual championship runs, while the Phantoms took the 1998 series victory in the Mid-Atlantic Division Finals en route to their first title. Since the Phantoms relocated from Glens Falls, N.Y. to Allentown in time for the 2014-15 season, the Bears and Phantoms have only met in the postseason once, with Hershey taking the best-of-five 2017 Atlantic Division Semifinals in five games. Hershey claimed the 2023-24 regular-season series with a record of 8-2-0-2, going 5-1-0-0 on GIANT Center ice.


Hershey owns home-ice advantage through the entirety of the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs by virtue of claiming the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as regular-season champions. The Bears boast a lifetime playoff series record of 55-19 when winning the first game of a playoff series, and a 22-39 record when dropping the opening game. In the history of the Bears/Phantoms rivalry, every team that has won the first game of a playoff matchup went on to win the series.


During the regular season, the Bears were paced in scoring against Lehigh Valley by Pierrick Dubé, who collected eight points (6g, 2a) in 11 games. Two of Dubé's goals against the Phantoms were game-winners, both of which coincidentally came in shutout victories. Cooper Marody led the way for Lehigh Valley against Hershey, with six points (2g, 4a) in 10 games.


Bears head coach Todd Nelson will look to pick up where he left off in the regular season after claiming the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the American Hockey League's outstanding coach for the first time in his career. Currently eighth in league history with 406 regular-season wins, Nelson also owns an AHL postseason coaching record of 56-37, going 20-20 with Oklahoma City, 22-11 in Grand Rapids, and 14-6 last season with the Bears. Phantoms head coach Ian Laperrière is making his second appearance in the postseason at the helm of Lehigh Valley in his third season behind the bench, and sports a 3-2 record in the playoffs.


With the parent Washington Capitals being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Hershey has received several players back from its NHL affiliate. Earlier this week the Capitals loaned forwards Hendrix Lapierre and Ivan Miroshnichenko, defensemen Hardy Häman Aktell, Vincent Iorio, Lucas Johansen, and Dylan McIlrath, and goaltender Mitch Gibson to the Bears; Iorio cannot be officially added to Hershey's roster until he is cleared for game action after sustaining an injury in Washington's series with the New York Rangers.


Aaron Ness is Hershey's active leader for career playoff games, with 52; he notably led the entire Calder Cup Playoffs with 12 assists during Hershey's run to the championship round against Cleveland in 2016, and his 15 career playoff assists is also the active leader for the Bears...Joe Snively led the Bears in postseason scoring in 2023 with 15 points (2g, 13a) in 20 games, and followed that up by leading Hershey in scoring during the 2023-24 campaign with a career-high 59 points (14g, 45a) in 69 games... The Bears finished the regular season with the AHL's best record for the ninth time in franchise history; in the seven previous instances in which a leaguewide playoff was held, Hershey went to the Calder Cup Finals five times, and won the ultimate prize three times ...Hershey's active roster has 402 games of Calder Cup Playoffs experience.


May 1, 1997 - The Bears opened their first-ever playoff series with the Philadelphia Phantoms in Game 1 of the Mid-Atlantic Division Finals, earning a 5-3 win in front of 6,801 at the Spectrum. Hershey trailed 3-2 heading into the third period, but a sprawling block by the glove of defender Pascal Trepanier on Shawn McCosh prevented the Phantoms from widening their lead, and the Bears responded with three straight goals, including the game-winner from Kurt Miller, who was scratched in the previous round's series-clinching win against Kentucky. The first-ever postseason series between Hershey and the Phantoms ultimately went the distance, with the Bears overcoming a 3-2 series deficit and winning the decisive Game 7 less than two weeks later at the Spectrum.

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