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 Hershey Bears

Game Preview: Bears vs. Checkers, 7 p.m.

April 17, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Hershey Bears News Release

(Hershey, PA) - The Hershey Bears take the ice tonight at GIANT Center for their penultimate game of the 2023-24 season, the first of two meetings with the Charlotte Checkers. Hershey is coming off a 4-1 victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday that gave the Chocolate and White their 52nd win of the season, setting a new American Hockey League record for most victories for a 72-game season.

Hershey Bears (52-13-0-5) vs. Charlotte Checkers (38-24-7-0)

April 17, 2024 | 7 p.m. | Game 71 | GIANT Center

Referees: Jake Kamrass (3), Adam Tobias (16)

Linespersons: Brandon Grillo (79), J.P. Waleski (14)

Tonight's Promotions:

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.


Broadcast Information

Voice of the Bears, Zack Fisch, former Bears captain Garrett Mitchell, and FOX43 sports director Todd Sadowski on the call

TELEVISION: Antenna TV (WPMT FOX 43.2, Xfinity Ch. 247 and 1178, Verizon FiOS Ch. 463, Blue Ridge Ephrata Ch. 91, and Blue Ridge Newberry/Duncannon Ch. 88)

RADIO: WFVY-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, SportsRadio 98.9-FM & WOYK 1350-AM (joined in-progress), Capitals Radio, In-Arena on 88.9 FM


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

Radio pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 p.m., Television coverage starts at 7 p.m.


The Bears completed a home-and-home set with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday by claiming a 4-1 win, as Logan Day scored a power-play goal at 19:55 of the first period to give Hershey a 1-0 lead. After Vinnie Hinostroza tied the game for the Penguins at 4:02 of the second, Jimmy Huntington scored a shorthanded breakaway goal at 9:08 of the third to put Hershey in front. Mike Vecchione added a power-play goal at 15:46, and Matthew Phillips potted an empty-net goal at 17:46. Charlotte had an eight-game (7-0-1-0) point streak snapped on Sunday at Hartford, as the Checkers fell 5-2. After a scoreless first period, Charlotte's Casey Fitzgerald scored unassisted 43 seconds into the middle frame, but the Wolf Pack ran up five consecutive goals before Rasmus Asplund stopped the bleeding midway through the third period.


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.


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.


Bears assistant equipment manager Dillon Filepas is slated to work his 500th career regular-season game as an equipment manager tonight...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...On Tuesday Hershey recalled forwards Tyson Empey and Kevin O'Neil, and defensemen Nicky Leivermann and Jon McDonald from the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays...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.


April 17, 1974 - The Bears took Game 2 of the Southern Division Finals against the Baltimore Clippers by a score of 4-2 in front of a Hersheypark Arena crowd of 5,057. Don Seiling led the way, tallying a hat trick that included two shorthanded goals, both of which came with Hershey trailing 1-0, and 2-1. Yvon Labre broke a 2-2 tie 58 seconds into the third period, and Seiling completed his three-goal game with under four minutes left in regulation. Denis Herron made 29 saves for the Bears, who won the next two games to sweep the Clippers and advance to the 1974 Calder Cup Finals against the Providence Reds.

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