Bears Weekly: Strong Goaltending Helps Bears Continue Winning Ways
(Hershey, PA) - The Hershey Bears have won seven of the past eight games and now hold a 14-5-2-0 record, good for 30 points and a .714 points percentage. Hershey has won four straight home games at GIANT Center and the Bears sit near the top of the North Division after winning a pair of games last week. Hershey is slated to play two more games this week. The club starts by hosting Binghamton on Saturday at 1 p.m. That game will be televised live on FOX43. The Bears then visit Lehigh Valley on Sunday afternoon. The club was also scheduled to play versus Lehigh Valley at home on Wednesday, but that game was postponed due to COVID-19 protocol issues with the Phantoms.
The Bears won both contests they played in last week, starting with a 3-2 decision in Newark over the Binghamton Devils last Wednesday. The Bears peppered Binghamton goaltender Jeremy Brodeur with 50 shots, and the son of NHL Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur, turned aside 47 in his AHL debut. However it was Hershey who would pull away with the win on goals from Matt Moulson, Shane Gerisch, and Joe Snively. Zach Fucale stopped 21 shots in net to earn the win as Hershey improved to 7-1-0-0 versus the Devils this season.
Hershey's scheduled game last Saturday evening at Lehigh Valley was also postponed due to COVID-19 protocol issues with the Phantoms, so the Chocolate and White were well rested heading into Sunday's game at GIANT Center versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
In that contest, the Bears prevailed 2-0 over the Baby Pens with goalie Pheonix Copley earning his first shutout of the season with 21 saves. Aliaksei Protas scored in the first period for the Bears, striking for his first goal in North America, and Brian Pinho added an empty net goal on the power play with 11 seconds to play in regulation to move Hershey to 8-1-2-0 at the GIANT Center this season. Hershey posted a season-high 33 penalty minutes in the game but held Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to 0-for-4 on the power play.
-Saturday, Apr. 17 vs. Binghamton, 1 p.m.
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-Sunday, Apr. 18 at Lehigh Valley, 3:05 p.m.
HERSHEY BEARS NEWS AND NOTES:
CALL THE COPS: Goaltender Pheonix Copley has won his last four starts for the Chocolate and White, going 4-0-0-0 since Mar. 24, posting a 1.25 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage in the span. The North Pole, Alaska native has allowed two or less goals in each of those appearances. He made 21 saves in last Sunday's 2-0 win versus the Penguins to earn his 12th career AHL shutout. Copley has 96 career AHL wins and ranks 11th in the league this season with a 2.43 goals against average.
KEEP THE WINS COMING: Hershey's recent string of success has seen the club win seven of the past eight games (7-1-0-0), outscoring opponents 28-11 in the stretch. Hershey has a power play in six of those eight contests, and in the recent run, the Bears are an impressive 33-for-37 (89.2%) on the penalty kill. A total of 11 different Bears have scored goals over the past eight contests, with Brian Pinho (5), Connor McMichael (4), and Matt Moulson (4) leading the charge offensively.
PROTAS POWER: Washington Capitals prospect Aliaksei Protas collected his first AHL point in last Wednesday's win in Newark, assisting on Joe Snively's game-winning goal. The 6'6" center followed up that performance by notching his first AHL goal on Sunday afternoon, collecting the game-winning marker and earning First Star honors. Protas was Washington's 3rd Round selection in 2019, and the Belarus native collected 18 points (8g, 10a) in 59 games with Dinamo Minsk in the KHL before joining the Bears this season.
CALL ME AL: Defender Alex Alexeyev has rejoined the Bears after completing his season in the KHL. The 2018 1st Round selection of the Capitals played in 58 games with Hershey last season, striking for 21 points (3g, 18a) in his rookie campaign. With Ufa Salavat Yulayev in the KHL this year, Alexeyev finished second among defenders on the team with 16 points (8g, 8a).
BEARS BITES: Hershey's win last Wednesday in Newark was head coach Spencer Carbery's 300th professional win...Defender Paul LaDue was re-assigned to Washington's Taxi Squad on Tuesday...Forward Brett Leason has assists in three straight games...The Bears are allowing the third least shots per game this season at just 25.29...Hershey has scored the first goal in six of the past seven games...The Bears a perfect 8-0-0-0 when they lead after 20 minutes of play...Kale Kessy's 27 penalty minutes in last Sunday's game are tied for the most in the AHL by a single player in a game this season...Axel Jonsson-Fjallby is two games from 100 in his AHL career.
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