Bears Weekly: Five-Game Win Streak Has Hershey Rolling
(Hershey, PA) - The Hershey Bears are the hottest team in the Atlantic Division and are currently riding a five-game win streak. The Chocolate and White are 7-3-0-0 over the past 10 games and have moved out of last place in the Atlantic Division. The Bears are just six points back of the final playoff spot in the division with a game in-hand. In the win streak, Hershey has outscored opponents 18-8. The Bears play two games this week ahead of next week's break for the AHL All-Star Classic. The Chocolate and White visit Lehigh Valley on Wednesday and host Laval on Saturday at the Giant Center.
Last week, the Bears won three contests away from home ice. The club started the week with a 1-0 overtime victory at Binghamton last Wednesday. Ilya Samsonov earned his second straight shutout with 16 saves and Ryan Sproul scored the lone goal with 1:40 to play in overtime. On Saturday, Hershey earned a 5-3 win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Jayson Megna scored twice, and Hershey added three power play goals and a shorthanded marker. The win was Hershey's sixth versus its I-81 rival, and the fourth at the Mohegan Sun Arena, a feat Hershey last accomplished in 2012-13. The Bears finished up the past week of games on Monday in Bridgeport. With the game moved to a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee, Hershey earned its first win at Webster Bank Arena since Mar. 2017 with a 4-1 victory. Riley Barber, Juuso Ikonen, Mike Sgarbossa, and Garrett Pilon had the goals for Hershey.
-Wednesday, Jan. 23 at Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.
-Saturday, Jan. 26 vs. Laval, 7 p.m.
Promotion: Faith and Family Night
The Bears are committed to giving back to the local community. Tuesday, Beck Malenstyn and Garrett Pilon visited Highland Elementary to meet with students and lead them in exercises.
WEEKLY PRACTICE SCHEDULE:
Wednesday, Jan. 23: 10 a.m., Morning Skate, Giant Center
Thursday, Jan. 24: Day Off-No Practice
Friday, Jan. 25: 10:30 a.m., Giant Center
Saturday, Jan. 26: 10 a.m., Morning Skate, Giant Center
*Practice schedule subject to change. Follow @TheHersheyBears on Twitter for updates.
STREAKING BEARS: The Bears enter this week tied for the longest active win streak in the AHL at five games. This marks the Bears first five-game win streak since Feb. 11-23, 2018. Hershey has not won six straight games since Mar. 11- 22, 2017. The last time the Bears won seven straight games was from Mar. 17-28, 2012.
HITTING THE CENTURY MARK: Two Bears recently hit impressive milestones. Defender Aaron Ness collected the first three-assist game of his AHL career last Saturday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to give him 100 points in his tenure as a Hershey Bear. Meanwhile, forward Liam O'Brien's first assist in Monday's win at Bridgeport was his 100th professional point. He comes into this week with 99 points in his AHL career.
SIX IN A ROW FOR SGARBOSSA: Forward Mike Sgarbossa enters this week with a six-game point streak that has seen him rack up eight points in the stretch (four goals, four assists). His goal Monday at Bridgeport gave him a team-best 19 markers on the season, and also tied his career-high in goals, a milestone established during his rookie season in 2012-13. He also has eight power play goals, equaling his previous best total on the man-advantage, which also came in 2012-13 with Lake Erie.
SHARP SAMSONOV: Netminder Ilya Samsonov has won four straight starts for Hershey, allowing just four goals in that span. He has a 0.99 goals against average, a .950 save percentage, and two shutouts over his current win streak. Since the streak started, he has lowered his GAA from 3.83 to 3.26, and raised his save percentage from .862 to .874.
BREAKING THE ICE: Monday's game marked the first time this season the Bears allowed the first goal of the game on the road, but earned a victory. For the Chocolate and White, scoring the opening goal on the road has proven to be critical more often than not. Hershey is 8-2-0-0 when they score first away from Giant Center, but only 1-9-0-1 when they surrender the first goal on the road.
BEARS BITES: Hershey forward Riley Barber leads the league in power play points with 22...Defender Aaron Ness is tied for second in assists among defenders in the AHL with 25...Former Bear Karl Alzner has spent time with Saturday's opponent, the Laval Rocket. He is currently on recall to Montreal, but Alzner has appeared in 11 games with the Rocket this season. He played two seasons with Hershey, winning back-to-back Calder Cups in 2009 and 2010.
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