Game Preview: Checkers at Bears, 7 PM
(Hershey, PA) - The Hershey Bears are set to open the 2021-22 season, presented by Penn State Health, tonight versus the Charlotte Checkers. The puck drops on Hershey's 84th season at 7 p.m. This evening's contest is Hershey's first of eight matchups with Charlotte this season.
Charlotte Checkers (0-0-0-0) at Hershey Bears (0-0-0-0)
October 16, 2021 | 7 PM | Game #1 | GIANT Center
Referees: Carter Sandlak (47), Patrick Hanrahan (52)
Linesmen: Caleb Apperson (78), Rich Jondo (55)
Party on the Plaza starting at 5 p.m. (Weather permitting)
PNC Bank Magnet Schedule Night (First 8,000 fans)
Voice of the Bears, Zack Fisch, and FOX43's Todd Sadowski on the call
TELEVISION: Antenna TV, WPMT 43.2
Comcast 247, Verizon Fios 463, Blue Ridge Ephrata 91, Blue Ridge Newberry/Duncannon 88
RADIO: WFVY-100.1 FM, Fox Sports 1460-AM, SportsRadio 98.9-FM & WOYK 1350-AM
WATCH LIVE: Antenna TV, AHLTV
LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports AM-1460 Stream
Radio pre-game coverage starts at 6:30, TV coverage at 7 p.m.
WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS:Tonight, the Bears welcome a full capacity crowd back to the GIANT Center for the first time in 594 days. Hershey's last contest in front of a full capacity crowd came on Mar. 1, 2020. Tonight's opponent, the Charlotte Checkers, scored a 6-3 victory against the Bears despite goals from Matt Moulson, Brian Pinho, and Philippe Maillet. Hershey's last win in front of a packed GIANT Center crowd came the night prior on Feb. 29, 2020 in a 5-1 win over rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. That night, a sold-out crowd of 10,503 filled the building to see Mike Sgarbossa (2g, 1a) and Daniel Sprong (1g, 2a) lead Hershey to victory.
This evening's content marks Scott Allen's debut as head coach of the Hershey Bears. Allen was named the 27th head coach in franchise history on Aug. 5. The 55-year-old was an assistant coach for Hershey for the previous two seasons and succeeds Spencer Carbery, who took a job as an assistant coach with the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs. Allen has coached professionally for 25 seasons, including in the NHL with the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, and Arizona Coyotes. In his tenure as an AHL head coach with San Antonio and Portland, Allen holds a 52-67-10 record in 129 games over parts of three seasons.
The Bears return many key pieces from the club's successful 2020-21 team that claimed the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL's regular season champions. In total, 20 players who played for the Bears in 2020-21 are on Hershey's Opening Night Roster. Captain Matt Moulson also returns for a third season with the Bears, but he will be out of the lineup tonight serving a one-game suspension that carried over from last season. In net, Hershey's duo of Pheonix Copley and Zach Fucale return after winning the Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Trophy in 2020-21. The pair of netminders combined to earn the lowest goals-against average in the AHL at 2.33, with Fucale posting a league-best 1.80 goals-against average.
STARTING ON THE RIGHT FOOT:
The Bears are looking to start the season with a victory for the first time in six years. The Chocolate and White have fallen on Opening Night for five consecutive years, going 0-4-1-0 in that stretch. Hershey's last win in an inaugural game of the season came on Oct. 10, 2015 in a 5-1 win at Springfield. The Bears also enter tonight's game having dropped four straight home openers at GIANT Center (0-3-1-0). Hershey's last home opener win came on Oct. 22, 2016 in a 5-2 win over Bridgeport.
SCOUTING THE CHECKERS:
After not squaring off for 19 months, the Bears and Charlotte Checkers will see plenty of each other to start the 2021-22 season. Three of Hershey's first four games are against Charlotte, with the Bears traveling to North Carolina for a pair of contests next weekend. Charlotte was the last team to win the Calder Cup, claiming the title in 2019, knocking the Bears out of the playoff in the second round in the process. The Checkers have since changed affiliations, moving NHL parent clubs from the Carolina Hurricanes to the Florida Panthers. The club is also a dual affiliate for this season only with the NHL's newest franchise, the Seattle Kraken.
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American Hockey League Stories from October 16, 2021
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