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 Hershey Bears

Game Preview: Bears at Wild, 8 p.m.

April 5, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Hershey Bears News Release

(Des Moines, IA) - The Hershey Bears make their first-ever visit to the Hawkeye State, playing their first of two weekend games against the Iowa Wild.

Hershey Bears (48-12-0-5) at Iowa Wild (24-34-4-2)

April 5, 2024 | 8 p.m. | Game 66 | Wells Fargo Arena

Referees: Liam Maaskant (62), Chris Rumble (65)

Linespersons: Jake Paugh (28), John Watson (93)

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


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

Radio pre-game coverage starts at 7:30 p.m.


The Bears hosted Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, with Pierrick Dubé scoring the lone goal at 6:34 of the first period and Hunter Shepard recording a 19-save shutout to lift Hershey to a 1-0 victory. With the win, the Bears clinched the 2023-24 Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference titles for the regular season. Iowa's most recent game took place last Saturday, a 2-1 loss at Texas. Sammy Walker scored at 15:14 to cut Iowa's 2-0 deficit in half, but the Wild failed to find the tying score against Ben Kraws, who finished with 26 saves for the Stars.


It is down to a three-horse race for the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy, indicative of the American Hockey League team with the most standings points at the conclusion of the regular season. With the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference already secured, Hershey has a 10-point lead on Coachella Valley and a 15-point edge on Milwaukee. Hershey's Magic Number to secure first place overall in the AHL is down to seven points. The Firebirds are at Abbotsford on Saturday and Sunday, while Milwaukee is at Texas for a pair of games this weekend.


With Saturday's win at Hartford, the Bears improved to 22-6-0-5 (.742) on the road this season, guaranteeing Hershey finishes its 72-game regular season with the best road points percentage in franchise history, surpassing the 2006-07 team (25-11-2-2, .675) with three road games remaining. Hershey needs one more victory on the road to match the franchise single-season record of 26 road wins, currently held by the 2009-10 squad (26-13-0-1, .663), and five more to match the 2006-07 team for road points (54). Hershey's six combined regulation and overtime losses on the road are also in position to challenge the American Hockey League record for the fewest losses on the road, currently shared with the 2017-18 Toronto Marlies (38 road games, 30-5-1-2).


This weekend's games against the Wild mark Hershey's first-ever visit to the 8,356-seat Wells Fargo Arena. Opened in 2005, "The Well" previously hosted the Iowa Stars/Chops before the franchise relocated to Cedar Park, Texas for the 2009-10 season to become the Texas Stars, which the Bears defeated in that season's Calder Cup Finals. The Wild have called Des Moines home since the Houston Aeros franchise was relocated and rebranded by the parent Minnesota Wild prior to the 2013-14 campaign. Hershey hosted Iowa earlier this season in late November, winning back-to-back 2-1 victories over the Wild. Iowa is currently sixth in the seven-team Central Division under first-year head coach Brett McLean and ended March with a 2-1 loss to Texas to snap a five-game point streak (4-0-1-0). Former Bear Kale Kessy is in his first season with Iowa, and did not dress against Hershey in November while serving a suspension; Kessy has not appeared in a game for the Wild since Feb. 25 at Chicago. In late December, the Wild added former Hershey defender Cody Franson to their staff as an assistant coach; Franson suited up for the Chocolate and White in the 2021-22 season. Iowa's penalty kill ranks last in the league, going 155-for-209 (74.2%). Chase Priskie leads the Bears in scoring against Iowa with three assists.


Thursday's recall of Hunter Shepard to Washington leaves Clay Stevenson in charge as the primary netminder. The goaltender has had a sensational first full season in the AHL, leading all goalies with seven shutouts, ranking second behind Shepard among all goaltenders in goals-against average (1.97) and save percentage (.925), and second behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's Joel Blomqvist among rookie netminders with 21 wins. Stevenson led Hershey to its Nov. 26 win against Iowa at home, making 26 saves and surrendering only one goal to Iowa's Jake Lucchini.


Dmitry Osipov has been utilized at both the forward and defensive positions for the Bears this season, most recently skating on Hershey's fourth line as a right wing for the past two games. The Bears have posted an 8-3-0-2 record this season with the 6-foot-4, 229-pound Moscow native in the lineup. Osipov is expected to once again draw into the lineup tonight for Hershey; he has four points (2g, 2a) in 24 career games against Iowa, representing the opponent he has faced the most in his AHL tenure, the majority of which were played as a member of the Rockford IceHogs.


With Tuesday's win over Lehigh Valley, Bears head coach Todd Nelson established new personal season-highs for wins (48) and points (101) during his tenure as an AHL bench boss...Logan Day dressed in his 300th professional/AHL game on Tuesday...Pierrick Dubé took Hershey's second penalty shot attempt of the season on Tuesday; Hershey has not converted on a penalty shot since Riley Barber scored on Alex Lyon on Oct. 28, 2018 vs. Lehigh Valley, and the Bears have not converted on a road penalty shot since Christian Thomas scored on Matt O'Connor on March 11, 2017 at Binghamton...


April 5, 1986 - Goaltender Ron Hextall won his 30th game of the season in the final regular season game of the year, establishing a Bears rookie goaltending record for wins. Hextall and Hershey beat the Baltimore Skipjacks 7-4 at Hersheypark Arena. Hershey finished the 1985-86 season with seven straight wins and 48 wins overall, and Hextall was named the recipient of the Dudley "Red" Garrett Award as the AHL's Rookie of the Year, before platooning with Darren Jensen to lead the Bears to the 1986 Calder Cup Finals.

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