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Bears Weekly #14: Hershey Heads into Key Stretch of Divisional Play

January 8, 2019 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Hershey Bears News Release

(Hershey, PA-January 8, 2019)-The Hershey Bears play three games this weekend as the club looks to gain traction amid a busy stretch featuring key divisional matchups. Six of Hershey's eight remaining games this month are versus Atlantic Division rivals. The Bears visit Springfield this Friday, then look to snap a nine-game losing streak in Lehigh Valley on Saturday. The Bears and Phantoms then close the back half of a home-and-home on Sunday at Giant Center.

Last weekend Hershey opened 2019 by splitting a pair of home games. Last Saturday, the Bears earned a 6-4 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins at Giant Center. The win was just Hershey's second all-time versus Grand Rapids, and the first win versus the Griffins that came in Chocolatetown. Riley Barber scored twice, and Brian Pinho, Shane Gersich, Aaron Ness, and Ryan Sproul also tallied goals. Vitek Vanecek stopped 35 shots to earn the victory. Hershey held Grand Rapids to 0-for-4 on the power play, while the Bears went 2-for-3.

Last Sunday, the Chocolate and White were bested by the visiting Milwaukee Admirals, 3-1, on STAR WARS Night. Nathan Walker opened the scoring for the Bears at 15:26 of the first period on the power play, but the Admirals scored the final three goals of the contest, including a pair of markers in the middle period. With the win, Milwaukee swept the two-game season series versus Hershey.


Ticket information:

-Friday, Jan. 11 vs. Springfield, 7:05 p.m.

-Saturday, Jan. 12 at Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.

-Sunday, Jan. 13 vs. Lehigh Valley, 5 p.m.

Promotion: PSECU Knit Cap Night (First 4,000 fans)


The Bears are committed to giving back to the local community. On Wednesday, Jan. 9 players including Liam O'Brien, Steve Whitney, Maximilian Kammerer and Mason Mitchell will appear at Dave & Busters in Camp Hill from 6-8 p.m. to play games and meet fans.


Wednesday, Jan. 9: 10:30 a.m., Giant Center

Thursday, Jan. 10: 9:30 a.m., Giant Center

Friday, Jan. 11: 11:15 a.m., Morning Skate, MassMutual Center

Saturday, Jan. 12: 11:15 a.m., Morning Skate, PPL Center

*Practice schedule subject to change. Follow @TheHersheyBears on Twitter for updates.

GREETINGS GERSICH: After missing 10 games with an upper-body injury, forward Shane Gersich returned to the lineup last weekend with authority. In his first game back last Saturday, Gersich struck at 15:14 of the first period for his fourth goal of the season. The Bears are unbeaten in regulation when Gersich scores this season, posting a 3-0-0-1 record when the rookie tallies. The forward was originally a fifth round selection of Washington in the 2014 NHL Draft.

VITEK THE ALL-STAR: Last Thursday, the American Hockey League announced that goaltender Vitek Vanecek had been selected to represent the Atlantic Division at the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic on Jan. 27-28 in Springfield. Vanecek has collected an 8-7-2 record this season, allowing two or less goals in nine of his 17 appearances. The Czech Republic native, who celebrates his 23rd birthday on Jan. 9, is 39-30-11 in his AHL career.

APPROACHING THE MILEPOST: Entering this weekend, the Bears have several players approaching milestones. Forward Steve Whitney's next game will be his 100th in the AHL, and the 250th in his career. Forward Liam O'Brien is four points from 100 in his AHL career, and just two points from the same milestone in his professional career.

ASSIST FROM AARON: Hershey defender Aaron Ness continues to produce from the backend, posting assists in his past three contests. The veteran has accumulated five points (one goal, four assists) in that span. He scored a goal and two assists in the win over Grand Rapids last Saturday, striking for a single-game high three points for the fourth time in his AHL career. Ness has points in four of his past five games, and has added to the scoresheet in six of the past 10 games.

BRIAN BACK ON THE BOARD: Forward Brian Pinho has played a key defensive role upfront for the Bears so far this season, but the rookie scored his second goal of the year in the win over Grand Rapids last Saturday. For Pinho, it was his first goal since Oct. 19 at Charlotte, a span of 25 games.

BEARS BITES: Alternate captain Riley Barber leads Hershey with eight multi-point games. He had three points for the third time this season last Saturday...Garrett Pilon had three assists that night as well, giving him the most productive night of his AHL career...The Bears released defender Cliff Watson from his professional tryout on Monday.

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