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Game Preview: Bears at Phantoms, 7:05 p.m.

December 7, 2018 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Hershey Bears News Release

(Hershey, PA) - Tonight, the Hershey Bears travel to PPL Center to face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, AHL affiliate for the Philadelphia Flyers. Hershey looks for retribution after dropping a 6-2 road decision to the Phantoms on Black Friday.

Hershey Bears (10-12-0-1) at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (13-7-1-1)December 7, 2018 | 7:05 PM | Game 24 | PPL Center

Referees: Michael Sheehan (#74), Peter Tarnaris (#17)

Linesmen: Jason Mandroc (#17), Matt McNulty (#26)

Broadcast Information (Pre-game 6:35 p.m.)

RADIO: WQIC-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, WOYK-1350 AM, Zack Fisch, the Voice of the Bears, on the call.

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




The Chocolate and White enter tonight's game coming off a 6-3 win over Binghamton last Sunday at Giant Center. Hershey snapped a three-game losing streak and got a pair of goals from Liam O'Brien in the victory. Vitek Vanecek stopped 29 shots between the pipes to earn the win on Hershey's record-setting Teddy Bear Toss game. The Phantoms were last in action on Wednesday, suffering a 5-1 setback on home ice to the Cleveland Monsters. After a scoreless first period, Ryan MacInnis gave the Monsters the lead in the middle frame, and Cleveland tacked on four more goals in the third period. Nic Aube-Kubel had the lone goal for the Phantoms.


Hershey last visited the Phantoms on Nov. 23 and Lehigh Valley skated to a 6-2 victory. In that contest, Hershey trailed 3-2 entering the third period and failed to equalize despite several early chances. The Phantoms then rattled off three goals to pull away. Greg Carey led the way with two goals and an assist while Carter Hart turned aside 29 shots. The Bears were held to 0-for-4 on the power play while the potent Phantoms went 2-for-5 on the man-advantage. The loss was Hershey's seventh straight regular season defeat at the PPL Center. The last time the Bears won a regular season game in Allentown was Apr. 5, 2017 when Travis Boyd scored in overtime to give Hershey a 3-2 victory.


Tonight could mark the Hershey debut of defender Ryan Sproul. The blue liner signed with the Chocolate and White on Tuesday. The 6-foot-4, 211-pound defender is a veteran of 276 career AHL games, and also skated in 16 NHL games with the New York Rangers last season, scoring five points. The offensive-minded defender has split time with the Toronto Marlies and Laval Rocket this season, scoring six points (one goal, five assists) in 12 total games. Sproul was a member of the AHL's All-Rookie Team in 2013-14. In total, he has scored 126 points (40 goals, 86 assists) in his AHL career. He has also appeared in 44 NHL games with Detroit and the New York Rangers, collecting 12 points (two goals, 10 assists).


Hershey forward Nathan Walker has been a key contributor offensively for the Bears since returning to the club from the NHL's Washington Capitals. Walker enters tonight's' game with three goals over his past two games and a total of seven points (five goals, two assists) in just eight AHL games this season. The forward is two goals from 50 in his AHL career. Tonight marks his first game against Lehigh Valley this season. He missed the Nov. 23 game in Allentown with an injury. Walker had four points (two goals, two assists) in six games versus Lehigh Valley last year.


The Phantoms enter tonight's contest having scored the game's first goal just six times this season, going 3-2-0-1. Only Ontario (4) has scored the first goal of the game less this season. Despite falling behind early, the Phantoms have 10 wins in the 16 games they initially trailed in. On the other side of the coin, Hershey has scored the first goal 11 times, going 7-4-0-0. The Bears have struggled when allowing the first goal, posting a 3-8-0-1 record. Hershey has scored first in each game versus Lehigh Valley this season.


Lehigh Valley's roster features two of the top five scorers in the AHL. Phil Varone is second in the league with 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) while Greg Carey is fifth with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists)...Vitek Vanecek enters tonight's game having won his last three starts while Ilya Samsonov is looking to snap a four-game skid...The Bears scored four power play goals in their last game, posting that mark for the first time since Dec. 30, 2016 vs. Bridgeport...Hershey's Shane Gersich has five points (two goals, three assists) over the last seven games.

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