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 Hershey Bears

Game Preview: Bears at Rocket, 7 p.m.

February 21, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Hershey Bears News Release


(Laval, QC) - The Hershey Bears complete their five-game road trip this evening as they face the Laval Rocket looking for a three-game sweep of Canadian opponents. A victory tonight would make Hershey the first team in the American Hockey League this season to reach the 40-win plateau, and match the franchise record for fastest 40 wins. The Bears enter tonight with a 13-point lead for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, and an 11-point edge on Milwaukee for first overall in the American Hockey League.

Hershey Bears (39-9-0-2) at Laval Rocket (21-20-5-2)

February 21, 2024 | 7 p.m. | Game 51 | Place Bell

Referees: Damian Figueira (32), Chad Ingalls (39)

Linespersons: Anthony Lapointe (58), Jarrett Burton (6)

Broadcast Information

Voice of the Bears, Zack Fisch on the call

RADIO: WFVY-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, SportsRadio 98.9-FM & WOYK 1350-AM (joined in-progress), Capitals Radio

WATCH LIVE: AHLTV

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

Radio pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 p.m.

LAST TIME OUT:

The Bears took on the Belleville Senators on Monday at CAA Arena, and raced out to a 3-0 lead on the strength of a natural hat trick by Hendrix Lapierre. The forward scored an even-strength (7:24) and shorthanded goal (12:15) in the first period, then added a power-play marker at 2:52 of the second frame for his second career three-goal game. Matthew Highmore got the Senators on the board at 5:03 of the second. In the third, Chase Priskie scored a power-play goal at 6:58, while Zack Ostapchuk converted with the man advantage for Belleville at 15:09. Clay Stevenson made 19 saves in the win for Hershey. Laval has been idle since visiting Bridgeport on Sunday afternoon, a 2-1 overtime loss to the Islanders. Emil Heineman's goal in the final minute of the first period had the Rocket in front 1-0, but Matthew Maggio tied the game for Bridgeport midway through the third period and then netted the game-winner in sudden-death.

KEEPING THE PACE:

Through the first 50 games of the 2023-24 regular season, the Bears' record of 39-9-0-2 is identical to that of the 2009-10 Bears team at the same point. The 2009-10 Bears own the franchise record for the fastest 40 wins, earned in 51 games (40-9-0-2); Hershey must win tonight to equal the franchise record. Earlier this season, the current Bears team shattered the club mark for fastest 30 wins, reaching the plateau in 39 games. This season's team is playing a 72-game schedule, while the 2009-10 squad benefitted from an 80-game regular season, culminating in a league-record 60 wins. The AHL record for most wins in a 72-game schedule was established last season, when the Calgary Wranglers earned 51 victories; Hershey must win 12 or more of its final 22 games to equal or surpass that figure.

SUTTER'S IRON MAN STREAK ENDS:

Forward Riley Sutter sustained an upper-body injury in Hershey's game at Toronto on Saturday, forcing the fifth-year pro out of the lineup on Monday at Belleville. Sutter's absence brought an end to the Bears' longest active iron man streak at 82 games, dating back to Jan. 25, 2023 at Lehigh Valley. Pierrick Dubé is the only player to have suited up in all 50 games for the Chocolate and White this season. Hershey's all-time iron man streak is held by Bears legend Mike Nykoluk, who earned a sweater in a whopping 389 consecutive regular-season contests from Dec. 25, 1965 vs. Baltimore - Feb. 21, 1971 at Providence.

LIVING LAVAL LOCA:

The Bears are 2-2-1-0 lifetime at Place Bell, and will look to get back in the win column in Laval after enduring a 3-2 overtime loss to the Rocket back on Jan. 20, 2023. Laval native Jimmy Huntington will make his homecoming as a member of the Chocolate and White (and only the third time in his career he will have played at Laval in the AHL). Hershey enjoyed its largest victory of the season against the Rocket at home on Dec. 16, a 7-1 triumph in which Garrett Roe recorded four points (3g, 1a). Laval leads all Eastern Conference teams in average penalty minutes per game at 17.04, and has the most cumulative opponent penalty minutes this season at 862.

BEARS BITES:

Hershey leads the league with 30 goals when scoring first...Bears captain Dylan McIlrath will not play tonight as he serves the first game of a two-game suspension assessed following his ejection in the third period of Monday's game at Belleville...Netminder Hunter Shepard is tied for the third in the league with 20 wins; Shepard's next victory will establish a new AHL career-high for the goaltender...Hershey leads the AHL with a penalty kill that has gone 156-for-178 (87.6%)...The Bears lead the league with 14 wins on the road when leading after the second period...Alex Limoges carries an eight-game point streak (5g, 7a) into tonight's game; since returning from injury on Feb. 3, his eight points (4g, 4a) are tied for the seventh-most among AHL skaters.

ON THIS DATE:

Feb. 21, 2010 - Hershey set an AHL record with its 20th consecutive win on home ice by defeating the Albany River Rats, 5-3. The Bears would go on to extend the win streak to a record 24 games in a record-breaking season that saw the team raise the Calder Cup in June. Also on this date in 2015, Hershey beat Bridgeport 4-3 at GIANT Center in a game in which the two teams combined for 192 penalty minutes. A line brawl at 15:40 of the second period saw Hershey goaltender Pheonix Copley fight Bridgeport netminder Kevin Poulin.


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