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 Hershey Bears

Bears Wrap up 2023-24 Regular Season

April 16, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Hershey Bears News Release

(Hershey, PA) - The Hershey Bears (52-13-0-5) enter the final week of the 2023-24 regular season with first place locked up and a first-round bye secured for the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs; all that remains is a pair of home games against the Charlotte Checkers with a shot at some team and league records on the line.


Goals: Ethen Frank (29)

Assists: Joe Snively (45)

Points: Joe Snively (57)

Power-Play Goals: Ethen Frank (13)

Shorthanded Goals: Bogdan Trineyev (3)

Plus/Minus: Jimmy Huntington (+24)

Wins: Hunter Shepard (27)

GAA: Hunter Shepard (1.75)

SV%: Hunter Shepard (.929)

Only includes qualified players on active roster


- Friday, April 12 - Hershey 4 vs. Lehigh Valley 1

- Saturday, April 13 - Hershey 1 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4

- Sunday, April 14 - Hershey 4 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 1


Monday, April 15

Day Off

Tuesday, April 16

Practice, 10:30 a.m. at GIANT Center

Wednesday, April 17

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

Thursday, April 18

Day Off

Friday, April 19

Practice, 10:30 a.m. at Hersheypark Arena

Saturday, April 20

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

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


Wednesday, April 17 - Hershey vs. Charlotte Checkers, 7 p.m. - BUY TICKETS

Berks Dollar Dog Night - Fans can take advantage of $1 Berks hot dogs on the concourse at select locations.

Goodwill Collection - Goodwill Keystone Area will have a table collecting donations outside the entrance to GIANT Center from 5-7 p.m.

Saturday, April 20 - Hershey vs. Charlotte Checkers, 7 p.m. - BUY TICKETS

Fan Appreciation Night - All fans in attendance will receive a scratch-off card upon entrance for a chance to win a variety of prizes.

Jersey Off Our Backs Night - All fans in attendance will have a chance to win a game-worn jersey right off the back of a Hershey Bears player.

Player Awards Night - The Player Awards ceremony will take place during pre-game to celebrate player accomplishments throughout the 2023-24 season.

TV Coverage: Antenna TV; Video Coverage: AHLTV; Radio Coverage: Bears Radio Network

All times Eastern



Hershey's victory over the Penguins on Sunday evening gave the Bears their 52nd win of the season, passing the American Hockey League mark of 51 for wins in a 72-game season first set by the Calgary Wranglers in the 2022-23 campaign. 52 wins in a season is also a career-high for Bears head coach Todd Nelson, who previously earned 51 victories in back-to-back seasons while coaching the Muskegon Fury of the now-defunct United Hockey League in 2004-05 and 2005-06. Nelson's 405 career AHL head coaching wins are two shy of tying former Providence and Lehigh Valley bench boss Scott Gordon for seventh in AHL history.


With two 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. Currently at 109 points through 70 games (.779 points percentage), Hershey needs to complete the season by earning at least two more points out of its remaining four available to best the franchise mark for overall points percentage (.769, 2009-10), and three points out of the remaining four to shatter the 1992-93 Binghamton Rangers' league record for points percentage (.775).


With the playoffs on the horizon, the Bears have already proven in the regular season that they're capable of winning tight games. Hershey has already established a new franchise record with 23 victories earned in games decided by one goal, surpassing the previous mark of 22 shared between the 2014-15 (22-5-5-3) and 2010-11 (22-11-3-5) teams. Hershey has earned 11 one-goal wins in regulation, eight in overtime, and four via the shootout.


Forward Ethen Frank has two games remaining to reach the 30-goal plateau for the second consecutive season. Frank currently sits seventh in the AHL with 29, and should he light the lamp at least once more, he would become the first Bear to achieve the feat since Alexandre Giroux notched 60 in 2008-09 and buried 50 the following season. Frank's 30-goal performance as a rookie in the 2022-23 campaign earned him a spot on the AHL's All-Rookie Team and is the highest goal-scoring total from a Bears rookie since Craig Fisher established the mark with 43 in 1990-91. This season Frank also leads Hershey in several additional goal-scoring categories, while ranking among the league leaders as well: his 13 power-play goals are tied for fourth, his nine game-winning goals are tied for second, his six first goals are tied for 10th, and his five insurance goals are tied for second.


Hunter Shepard enters the week riding a 6-0-0 stretch of play with a league-leading 0.49 goals-against average, a .980 save percentage, and three shutouts. The goaltender's 27 wins on the season are tied with Cleveland's Jet Greaves for both the most in the Eastern Conference and third overall, and Shepard leads the entire AHL with a 1.75 goals-against and a .929 save percentage. Should Shepard maintain his goals-against average, it would be the best by an AHL goaltender since former Bear Peter Budaj turned in a 1.75 goals-against average with the Ontario Reign in 2015-16, and it would also surpass Alfie Moore's franchise mark of 1.98 set during the inaugural season in 1938-39.


Rookie goaltender Clay Stevenson has also turned in a stellar season in the second-year pro's first full campaign at the AHL level. The Dartmouth College alumnus leads the circuit with seven shutouts, while his 2.03 goals-against average and .923 save percentage is second only to his partner in between the pipes, Shepard. Stevenson's goals-against average is also poised to eclipse Pheonix Copley's franchise record for rookie netminders of 2.17, set in the 2014-15 season.


Despite only playing in his 15th game of the season on Sunday, Dmitry Osipov earned First Star honors against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after dropping the gloves with Raivis Ansons in the second period, then blocking a critical shot that led to an assist on Jimmy Huntington's shorthanded game-winner in the third for Osipov's first point as a Bear, and his first AHL point since Feb. 14, 2023 as a member of the San Diego Gulls. The native of Moscow, Russia has been deployed as both a winger and defenseman this season by the Bears' coaching staff; Hershey has gone 10-3-0-2 when the heavy hitter earns a sweater.


Joe Snively dished out another pair of assists on Sunday for his team-leading 16th multi-point game of the season; Hershey is 16-0-0-0 in those games. The Yale product is enjoying a productive campaign, posting career-highs in assists (45) and points (57), both of which lead Hershey through a career-best 67 games at the AHL level. Snively is three points away from becoming the Bears' first 60-point man since Mike Sgarbossa (65) and Riley Barber (60) reached the plateau in the 2018-19 season, when Snively joined the Bears late in the season out of the NCAA ranks.


Mike Vecchione turned in his second three-point outing of the season on Sunday, striking on the power play in the third period and setting up Logan Day and Matthew Phillips. Vecchione now has six points (2g, 4a) over his last five games, as the forward also put up three points on April 5 at Iowa in Hershey's 7-2 romp over the Wild. The Bears are 7-0-0-0 this season when Vecchione puts forth a multi-point effort.


Several Bears from this season who are eligible for the Calder Cup Playoffs with Hershey are currently up with the club's NHL affiliate, the Washington Capitals, hoping to contribute to another postseason run. Forwards Hendrix Lapierre and Ivan Miroshnichenko, along with defensemen Vincent Iorio, Lucas Johansen, and Dylan McIlrath are all on the NHL roster, as the injury-ravaged Capitals are in a multi-team dogfight for the final Stanley Cup Playoffs spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington's 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins Monday night gives the Caps 89 points leading into Tuesday's clash with Philadelphia. The Detroit Red Wings also have 89 points following a 5-4 comeback overtime win over Montreal last night and are in Montreal tonight to complete the season against the Canadiens. Pittsburgh sits one point back at 88 after doubling up Nashville 4-2 on Monday and visits the New York Islanders on Wednesday. Philadelphia brings up the rear with 87 points and requires a regulation win to edge the Capitals in the standings on tiebreakers.


The Checkers were dealt a significant blow just over a month ago with a late-February injury to defender Lucas Carlsson in a game against Hartford; the news became even more grim when it was announced on March 11 that Carlsson's injury would keep him out for remainder of the year. In the meantime, an AHL-level trade between Charlotte and Chicago on March 8 brought fellow blueliner Mitchell Vande Sompel to the Checkers; the former 2015 third-round selection of the New York Islanders has logged four points (2g, 2a) in 13 games since his acquisition has posted a plus/minus of +14, which ranks second on his new club. Charlotte has gone 11-3-1-0 since consummating the deal for Vande Sompel.


The Bears already boast a 4-2-0-0 record against Charlotte this season; one more victory would give Hershey the most wins in a single season against the Checkers in franchise history. With a 1-1-0-0 record at GIANT Center against the Checkers, the Bears can also match the franchise record for most wins against Charlotte on home ice with a sweep of the week's games.


Jimmy Huntington (2g, 6a) and Pierrick Dubé (4g, 4a) are tied for the team scoring lead against Charlotte with eight points, while Clay Stevenson has been between the pipes for all six outings against the Checkers, sporting a 2.37 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. The Checkers are paced by Mackie Samoskevich's five points (4g, 1a) and have used three goaltenders against the Bears this season; only Spencer Knight remains on the active roster, and the Panthers prospect sports a 1-3-0 record with a 3.05 goals-against average and an .862 save percentage against Hershey.


Despite Hershey's Saturday-night loss at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this past weekend to conclude the road portion of the club's 2023-24 schedule, the Bears finished the campaign with a franchise-record road points percentage of .736, surpassing the previous mark of .675 set by the 2006-07 team...Bears assistant equipment manager Dillon Filepas is slated to work his 500th career regular-season game as an equipment manager on Wednesday. Before joining the Bears in his current role for the 2017-18 season, Filepas served as the head equipment manager for the Chicago Steel's Clark Cup championship team in 2017. From 2008-12, the Elizabethtown native also worked for the Bears as a stick boy and locker room attendant...Bears assistant athletic trainer Max Finley has returned to the team after missing last week's slate of games while competing for Team USA in the inaugural Jeff Sauer International Deaf Hockey Series in Amherst, N.Y. The men's tournament was part of a four-day event featuring deaf and hard of hearing hockey teams from the United States, Canada, Czechia, and Finland...Earlier today Hershey recalled forwards Tyson Empey and Kevin O'Neil, and defensemen Nicky Leivermann and Jon McDonald from the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays...Defender Jake Massie was announced last week as Hershey's nomination for the AHL's IOA/American Specialty Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Hershey and Central Pennsylvania communities...Henrik Rybinski skated in his 100th professional game (all with Hershey) on Saturday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton...Hershey is first in the AHL with a penalty kill that has gone 232-for-263 (88.2%), and six individual players have combined for nine shorthanded goals this season...The power play for the Bears is 5-for-21 (23.8%) over Hershey's last five games...Hershey is 37-10-0-3 against Atlantic Division opponents this season.

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